On Television: North Dakota Farmers Union And Populist Hypocrisy

I was on Valley News Live’s 6:30 Point of View program for my weekly, and always lively, discussion with Chris Berg and we hit on two topics I wrote about this week.

First was the “news” this week – “Breaking News” as Forum Communications tagged it – that Rep. Randy Boehning would not be resigning. This was “breaking news” despite the fact that exactly nobody, to my knowledge, has publicly called on him to resign.

Boehning is, you’ll remember, the gay Republican whose sexuality was outed because, well, he’s gay and votes like a Republican. Boehning seems to be trapped between reactions from two political extremes. Social conservatives condemn him for trying to get laid like single gay men do in the 21st century, i.e. using an online hookup app. Liberals condemn him because he’s gay and not, you know, liberal.

I guess non-family investment is ok for gas stations – not to mention Farmers Union Oil and Farmers Union Insurance – but not ok if you’re raising swine or dairy cows.

The whole thing is ridiculous. My prediction is that Boehning gets re-elected when he runs again in three years (presuming he does run again). If that happens it will be a victory for the acceptance of gays in North Dakota that probably won’t be celebrated by gay rights activists.

Our second topic was the North Dakota Farmers Union’s apparently successful petition drive to refer reforms to North Dakota’s corporate farming ban to the ballot. As I noted this week, NDFU has been touting a “volunteer” and “grassroots” drive for petition which is in keeping with the populist trappings of their argument against the bill they’re referring, but reality doesn’t quite match that rhetoric.

NDFU paid big bucks to gather those signatures, and they’re not coming clean on how many signatures were collected by volunteers versus paid employees.

Nor does the hypocrisy ends there. Honestly, I look forward to watching the pretzel-like contortions NDFU will have to engage in to tell us all how evil and nasty corporations are even as they profit from their massive and successful chain of Cenex convenience stores.

I guess non-family investment is ok for gas stations – not to mention Farmers Union Oil and Farmers Union Insurance – but not ok if you’re raising swine or dairy cows.

Populism for thee, but not for me, says the Farmers Union.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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