John Andrist: Who Is This John Oliver Guy Anyway?


As a political junkie I’ve always enjoyed talking politics with both Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives.

I guess that’s why I had so many friends who were Democrats. I’ve always served as a Republican, although I’m somewhat closer to being a Libertarian.

Call it friendly banter.

Trouble is, bantering with some hard-nosed folks makes “friendly” pretty difficult. So sometimes it’s better to talk about weather or baseball or “the crops”.

When the tea party was forming, I was a somewhat smug cheerleader, but I’ve gotten over that since they became so intractable with their less conservative party colleagues.

It’s great to have principles, but it’s even greater to accept the reality that in a divided world you can’t have everything you want, no matter how strongly you feel about your principles.

The tea party cannot expect to win the presidency any more than the Bernie Sanders crowd can.

Tea party lovers are fond of starting every sentence with, “My constituents elected me to . . .”


Only 20 percent of electors are loyal supporters. Quite likely they got as many or more votes from folks who didn’t like the other guy.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]A Forum columnist blatantly asserted Saturday that Oliver was right, oil companies do anything they want in North Dakota — because they are in bed with politicians running the state. That’s stupid, insulting and North Dakota mean.[/mks_pullquote]

And then there probably are another 20 percent who don’t know didly, because they aren’t really interested, but they believe they have a responsibility to vote.

If I’ve correctly added up my invented numbers, that leaves another 40 percent who voted for the other guy, the loser.

The Bernie Sanders idealists and the Ted Cruz tea party followers can’t win anything. Because more than anything else the election deciders are not the strong advocates of the polar regions, but those who politically hover in the more temperate equatorial zones.

If America needs to be taken over by anyone it will be those who are able and willing to understand politics is the science of the possible.

Whether they know it or not, they will elect the next president, even if their only choice is candidates from one or the other extreme.

Who is this Oliver guy?

I don’t keep up with the entertainment world these days, but truthfully, I don’t think I ever did.

It’s easy to feel sorry for basketball star Lamar Odom, who suffered several strokes after ingesting drugs and spending $75,000 in a Nevada brothel, but I’m not really exercised over the news that Khloe Kardashian wants him back. She can have him.

Few North Dakotans had ever heard of the British comedian named John Oliver, until he raised eyebrows with his comments that North Dakotans should be meaner, rather than nicer.

He then rattled off complaints about North Dakota oil spills, asserted our politicians are in bed with the oil industry, etc.

I’m fascinated only because the eastern North Dakota media and news people seem to think he is important.

A Forum columnist blatantly asserted Saturday that Oliver was right, oil companies do anything they want in North Dakota — because they are in bed with politicians running the state.

That’s stupid, insulting and North Dakota mean.

Fargo people are just as nice as North Dakota people from the west, in my opinion — even though they are exposed only to a media that rarely pays any attention to the western half of the state, unless they are talking about oil spills, or crime, or outlandish rental prices, or drug busts, or human trafficking.

The people in “eastern” journalism seem oblivious to the good things found in the Bakken that have come to North Dakota.

And they seem also to be oblivious to the enormous part of their growth that comes from North Dakota’s newest source of wealth.

But the people of eastern North Dakota? Still North Dakota nice, doggone it.