CSotD: To Speak of Country Matters

Steve Sack offers a bit of good old country comfort from the frozen north, as a way of breaking the Democratic logjam.

Logjams being a hazard Minnesotans learned to deal with generations ago and country matters being where the Democrats dropped the ball in 2016.

And “Hot Dish” being a Minnesota tradition at church dinners and such gatherings, to the extent that, back in 2003, Senator Al Franken organized a hot dish competition among legislators.


Amy Klobuchar won, with her “Taconite Tater Tot Hot Dish” and not only do I have kinfolk on the Mesabi but my father was one of the researchers who made taconite a practical source of iron.

So there.

Let’s just cut to the important part:

This being one of those moments where, if you look at that and think, “Well, that doesn’t sound very healthy!” or, worse yet, “My god, who would eat such things?” you have demonstrated precisely why Donald Trump is kicking your ass and just might again.

It’s simply the opposite of people who won’t eat sushi because — yuck! — it’s raw fish!

People who eat things like Hot Dish tilted a handful of those Midwestern states cattywampus in 2016 and you can weep all you want about the Electoral College but if Herself had gone up there for a couple of Hot Dish dinners, we might be looking at a very different world today.

Granted, I’m told that Senator Kolbuchar is not a pleasant person to work for, but, first of all, I’m not planning to work for her.

Second, I just finished re-reading “Mutiny on the Bounty” in which we learn what an incredibly unpleasant person to work for that Capt. Bligh was, and am halfway through re-reading “Men Against the Sea,” which tells how he led a hazardously overloaded open boat some 4,000 miles through open seas to a safe harbor.

We could use just such a desperate rescue about now and I’m okay with a skipper who snaps at people as long as we make it.

And if she brings some Taconite Tater Tot Hot Dish, I won’t ask for quinoa and kale.

Which is not an endorsement of Amy Klobuchar so much as it is an endorsement of people getting off their high horses and walking for a time in the footprints that broke the trail.


Which brings us to

This guy, as drawn by Steve Breen.

Let’s start by pointing out that he isn’t breaking any rules, and if you object to his buying his way into the campaign, blame the DNC, who should have pared this thing down to three or four people by now.

And blame people who give him high polling grades despite stop-and-frisk, despite his having said that ending racial discrimination in mortgages caused the last depression, despite his having apparently paid off as many unhappy victims of sexual predation as the faux-millionaire he wants to challenge.


And blame Drudge for starting a ridiculous rumor and blame the gullible media for echoing it, including I guess Steve Kelley who made it into a cartoon, though he doesn’t depict Hillary as leaping at the prospect.

Meanwhile, there was a parallel rumor started about Bernie choosing Tulsi Gabbard as his runningmate, but that one appears to have stretched credulity a little too far, since it hasn’t inspired any serious discussion.

It’s getting hard to distinguish serious proposals from satirical jokes from purposeful disinformation, but the Mike/Hillary stuff seems like such a sure way to deliver the flyover country vote to Trump that I’m calling it a strategic fake-out.


Meanwhile, besides the women speaking up about how he treated them, and minorities reminding us of what “stop and frisk” was like, we find that Bloomberg has also, as Jeff Koterba points out, pissed off the farmers.

Where this becomes even more … well, annoying or hilarious or whatever … is when a Fact Checker comes along and shows their own lack of any knowledge of life beyond where the sidewalk ends.

In 2016, Bloomberg told a group that educational inequality was a problem, saying that ancient things like farming were easy to teach, and so was ancient technology like running a lathe, but

Now comes the information economy and … the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze. And that is a whole degree level different. You have to have a different skill set. You have to have a lot more gray matter. 

And the Fact Checker defends him by pointing out that

The former mayor’s simplistic description of farming — “You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, you add water, up comes corn” — … comes in the context of him talking about “the agrarian society [that] lasted 3,000 years,” and machine workers using a “lathe” machine in the “industrial society.” A lathe machine is one of the oldest machines known to man.

Pulleys and levers and inclined planes are older than “lathe machines,” but they’ve been around awhile, sure.

But the fact checkers share some fanciful — and slightly racist — notion of farmers that not only ignores that other Jethro Tull but a whole lot of technological progress, as Koterba properly notes.


I wrote the above paragraph in June, 1987, which was a long damn time ago, and the local eggery was already using computers to analyze and mix their feed.

Willie and Craig were what folks in that intellectually demanding information industry call “Early Adopters.”


Nor were they an anomaly. When I visited this sugarhouse 40 years later, I found that the farmer’s son and daughter-in-law were now doing most of the heavy lifting — he with his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and she with a master’s besides.

Look, it’s okay to be wrong. Country folks are happy to show you around and bring you up to date.

But, good lord, if you know enough to kiss a baby without calling it ugly, you should know better than to let people know you think they’re stupid and backwards.

Because farmer’s daughters (okay, rancher’s daughters) aren’t as dumb as you’ve been lead to believe.

And they vote.


5 thoughts on “CSotD: To Speak of Country Matters

  1. I could be wrong — and please correct me if I am — but my understanding re: Bloomberg and redlining isnt that he was blaming poor people but instead taking aim at the banks for exploiting the situation with incomprehensibly-written, predatory loans the banks knew these folks couldnt afford. Further, the banks were doing it to everyone, black, white, brown, anyone they thought they could bilk into taking these things on.

    God knows Bloomberg has his faults, but in this particular case — assuming I’m understand the situation — he was in the right on this.

  2. A distinction without a difference. He ignores the racial aspects of redlining which, intentionally or coincidentally, tended to deny loans in minority neighborhoods.

    But he’s more than a bit ingenuous to claim that the government — damn them! — then forced banks to make insane subprime loans to people who wouldn’t possibly repay them, regardless of race, religion or previous condition of servitude. I’d love to see the law that required all those bizarre mortgages to be written.

    Nobody intelligent enough to be president would be dumb enough to say that sincerely. However you feel he’s dealt with minorities, you should be insulted in the way he’s dealing with you.

  3. :: sigh :: Up here, if you want to buy a house, the bank is required by law to tell you the max mortgage you can afford based on your current salary. No exceptions. No predatory loans. You buy what you can afford.

    Side note: the very things the US banks were doing to cause the collapse are *very* forbidden by law up here by a series of regulations put in place by Chrétien and Paul Martin. Our former PM tried to pull those regulations (because they werent “business friendly) until someone pointed out that they were saving Canada’s rear end — then of course, he couldnt claim credit for them fast enough.

  4. Just watched Ken Burns’ wonderful documentary on the Dust Bowl, and learned quite a lot about farming and the deadly consequences (for the planet) of simplistic approaches vs. use of science. Of course, there was also a pretty socialistic president available to help pull the country out of those consequences, so some may not want to watch. 😉

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