He says what rural Iowa thinks



There he went again: Rep. Steve King last week compared transgender soldiers to the Ottoman Empire Battling Eunuchs, and argued that a wall along the Mexican border should be financed by diverting funds from food stamps.

Many offended interest groups responded with outraged quotations.

King is all the stronger for it. He has this thing figured out.

King is saying what most rural Iowans are thinking.

In the first instance, he questioned from the House floor in a speech why the government would cover medical care for transgender issues. Most guys around here I know would have the same question. It may be insensitive, but it is true. If you really get in and study it, or you learn that your cousin’s college-age daughter identifies as male, you think that maybe people are just wired this way, and why are we hassling them? But most of us have never met a transgender person — or don’t think we have.

King also said that funding for Planned Parenthood and food stamps could pay for a much grander wall than President Trump contemplates. Instead of spending a billion or so, we could spend five times that much with King’s diversion plan. Since Planned Parenthood has no rural presence, that’s an easy sell. Most observant Catholics and Missouri Synod Lutherans around here don’t think much of Planned Parenthood. They do abortions. Again, if you get into it and study it a little bit you find that they do a lot of things for women’s health that other outfits just don’t do, especially for poor folks.

But food stamps?

King says they just prop up people who haven’t worked in three generations. And he said they are obese, too.

If you stood in line at the grocery store behind an overweight mother using food stamps you might agree with King. I know a lot of people who do.

In fact, the Freedom Caucus to which King belongs in the House has favored big cuts in food stamps and conservation funding in this farm bill and for sure the next.

So a lot of people think they’re chronic losers eating Cheetos with beer.

Even if it is a skinny widow who can’t get by on her survivor’s benefits.

We have to admit that this is the way most people think in Iowa. Because, that’s the way we vote.

So quit being embarrassed already. We are who we are, ignorant of feelings or facts.

The Des Moines Register Iowa Poll confirmed it Monday, stating that 63% of rural Iowans approve of President Trump’s job performance. If Trump is at 63% in Sac City, King is at 80%

The Register captured the feeling perfectly with a 67-year-old woman from Corydon: “It doesn’t seem like it makes any difference which party gets in there. Whatever they say they’ll do when they get in there, they can’t really do it. I just want him to annoy the hell out of everybody, and he’s done that.”

She was talking about Trump. She might as well have been talking about King.

Rural voters want to tell everyone to go suck eggs, or something like that. Build a wall and tell the world to kiss you where the sun don’t shine. Johnny Paycheck wrote a song about take this job and …

Into that dispirited vacuum is sucked Leann Jacobsen, a 50-something grandma who runs a coffee and wine bar along the Little Sioux River in Spencer. She says she might run against King. After all, she got elected to the Spencer City Council. She spoke of her interest to Iowa Starting Line, a Democrat blog site.

God love her.

And Steve Duncan, a painting contractor who plans to move from Des Moines into the Fourth District to run against King. He is sick of King maligning Mexicans. His grandfather was a hard-working undocumented immigrant in Valley Junction after he fought for our side in WW I.

People run against King. They lose. It has been happening for going on two decades.

It’s because King says what voters are thinking.

We used to be so evangelical about feeding the hungry that we approved of food stamps. It helped support farm prices, the reasoning used to go. That is passé. Now it’s something for moochers. Even though those food stamp recipients work full-time. And they have been working full-time for three generations, many of us, who just can’t seem to find a way out of working. If they could go on welfare they would but there ain’t no welfare no more. Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich took care of that a long time ago.

Republicans and Democrats alike in Storm Lake held nothing against the gay hairdresser. Many conservative women thought he sculpted their hair well. He was busy with Republican and Eastern Star ladies. If he had wanted to serve in the military they all would have missed him. He was an entertaining gossip. They would have thought that he was an honorable man who would not seek anything other than to serve his country. No man, certainly, felt threatened by the hairdresser. They would have gotten along as well on a Navy destroyer as they did at coffee on Lake Avenue.

Now it is all a drain on the treasury and a corruption of somebody’s values.

Something changed around here since we elected Berkley Bedell to Congress repeatedly until a deer tick brought him down.

We used to believe in our special place, that we were here to feed the world like the preacher said. And that we were here to get along with the gay guy who is just trying to make a living entertaining your wife. Immigrants, when they were German or Laotian, used to be welcome. We lived and learned. And then we elected Steve King. We became a harder people after the farm crisis, after we forgot who we were and what we were about.