LaMalfa’s fanboy

Chico E-R Editor David Little swoons over Doug LaMalfa after a town hall event

Back when I was a reporter at the Chico Enterprise-Record, there came a point when I stopped reading the editorials. I just couldn’t take what I’m going to call the wince-factor. Granted, I didn’t cringe at every editorial—just enough of them to decide it was better for my sanity that I remain “uninformed.” It also gave me an out when someone would complain to me about what was printed. “I didn’t read it,” I’d respond, thus ending the conversation.

Now I force myself to read the editorials out of sheer curiosity and amusement. It’s mind-boggling how the E-R’s editorial writers and I come to such vastly opposing conclusions on certain issues. The increasingly hard-right bent has unfortunately extended to Editor David Little’s column, especially recently. A few months ago, for example, he spent his 700 or so words dismissing climate change based on his own anecdotal experiences. Then, a few weeks ago, the whole space was devoted to Congressman Doug LaMalfa and what a swell guy he is. That one almost made me lose my lunch.

LaMalfa is evidently back home kissing babies and holding town meetings—gatherings he failed to mention to this newspaper. Little went on one of his rare journalistic outings—actually attending an event. And, boy, has LaMalfa found a fanboy in him. In a column headlined “Where’s LaMalfa? He’s still here,” he went to great lengths to paint a picture of a down-home local who’s working hard at our nation’s Capitol on behalf of his constituents. LaMalfa truly is one of us, true to his slogan, Little seemed to say.

The column noted how the House had sent 352 bills to the Senate, only to have them die there. How many of the GOP’s 50-odd attempts at repealing or altering Obamacare does that include? How many other obstructionist pieces of legislation were among them? Meanwhile, where was LaMalfa with comprehensive immigration reform? Nope, no progress there. There’s a reason LaMalfa and company are called the Do-Nothing Congress.

As for being “one of us,” let’s call it like it is. Doug LaMalfa was born into privilege—the child of wealthy rice farmers. That doesn’t make him a bad person, but it doesn’t make him sympathetic to the poor. We know based on his vote to simultaneously reduce food stamps and increase farm subsidies—taxpayer welfare that his family has benefited from to the tune of more than $5 million—that he feels entitled. In truth, LaMalfa is nowhere near one of us.

Somehow his folksy rhetoric worked on Little, so you won’t read any of that in the E-R. For the real scoop on LaMalfa, I’d suggest Googling the work of intrepid L.A. Times columnist Michael Hiltzik, who’s dubbed our representative Boondoggle Doug LaMalfa.

Chico E-R’s editorial board didn’t endorse LaMalfa in the primary, but they didn’t go so far as to endorse his challenger, Heidi Hall. Instead, the paper took the easy road, saying no Congressional incumbent should be re-elected. If the E-R goes back on that endorsement this fall, I may actually hurl.