At Business Insider, Josh Barro discusses some interesting developments on the conservative side of the spectrum with respect to the farm bill. After discussing that some Republican members are upset with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "think tank," for opposing farm subsidies, Barrow writes:
I'm no fan of Heritage. But here's what's maddening about this fight: Heritage is not only right about the farm subsidy issue, they're advocating a consensus view among policy experts all across the political spectrum.
The [Republican Study Committee]'s problem with Heritage isn't that it's trying to push the GOP too far to the right to be competitive in elections. Their problem with Heritage is that they're interfering with the GOP's effort to put special-interest politics ahead of conservative principles.
House Republicans do not actually care about free markets or cutting government. They care about pleasing their electoral constituencies and getting re-elected. Old people tend to vote Republican, which is why House Republicans have built their last two campaigns around attacking President Obama with claims he was cutting Medicare. Almost all rural areas are represented by Republicans, which is why Republicans don't want to cut farm subsidies.
Democrats are just as likely Republicans to pander to special interests. But, I think this special issue is particularly perplexing for many conservatives. Our research shows strong support for farm subsidies among most Americans, including rural, Republican voters. Interestingly, those rural, Republican voters are also relatively free market and small-government oriented. Somethings gotta give.