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Editorials: Anybody but Trump

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If Joe Biden is using a walker with an oxygen tank attached, and if his eyelids are propped up by toothpicks, and if he cannot debate after supper time, we will vote for him on Election Day with gusto. Biden had his Mitch McConnell moment during the debate last week, freezing under an assault of lies and slander from convicted felon and philanderer Donald Trump.

Biden is running. He has enough pledged delegates for the Democratic nomination. Gavin Newsom does not. Neither does Gretchen Whitmer. Many Democrats, including those who participated in the Iowa Caucuses, preferred somebody else — namely, Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg is now the talk of Washington parlors. Biden was back in the Iowa pack, and Vice President Kamala Harris was even farther behind. For that, Biden and the Democratic National Committee told Iowa and its caucuses to get lost. Iowans in 2019 might have seen this day coming.

We are where we are: an elderly Biden with a competent vice president who is finding her footing. Biden has been a decent president, despite his many frailties. Trump is a criminal who promises to seek retribution on his adversaries — all of them. When Trump was president, he destroyed ag markets and was forced to write huge checks to soybean growers for screwing things up. He is married to an immigrant but maintains that immigration “poisons our blood.” He was found liable by a jury for sexual assault, he was found guilty of fraud in another civil judgment, and he was found guilty by a jury of 34 felony counts for trying to pull the sheets over his soiree with a porn star.

If Joe Biden has a pulse, vote for Joe Biden. (The Constitution doesn’t say he needs a pulse, does it?) If he doesn’t, vote for whichever Democrat takes his place. Anybody but a criminal Trump back in the White House destroying our democracy and banishing our freedoms. We would suppose that to be Vice President Harris. We would be proud to vote for the daughter of immigrants, and the first woman president. Meantime, Biden is president and is running for re-election. He looked good enough the day after the debate, saying he hasn’t lost it and he still knows the truth. It will just have to do.

Damn lawyers

The mother of the Brothers Cullen told us to become lawyers, preferably US senators. Your Uncle Jimmy is a lawyer and he wears fine suits in DC. He plays tennis. We took the lower road toward journalism, a craft approaching art but not a profession. We have always admired lawyers for the way they think down a straight line, while we meander in search of the lyrical.

That dear old mother was close friends with Bones Hamilton, the legendary Storm Lake lawyer and baseball player (who coached the Beavers before Jay Beekmann). They got in a fight over Bobby Kennedy and Gene McCarthy and didn’t speak to each other for years until Mom got jammed up one night in Aurelia. Bones got on the phone and demanded the cop drive her home. He did!

That’s a lawyer.

Bones raised two sons in the law, Willis and Steve, and later brought on his daughter Mary, and now granddaughter Molly works under the shingle. Willis and Steve have been getting us out of jams ever since we started this newspaper for a reasonable fee discounted for the First Amendment and the good of Storm Lake. Their reward on Earth will be a probate fee on a $10,000 estate but it will be great in Heaven. Bones also mentored Judge John Duffy, who freely shares his folk wisdom; Dan Connell, who offered free counsel while holding court at the Pantry Cafe; and friendly Phil Redenbaugh, who always got by nicely and worked with Diane Hamilton to write fat checks to politicians so we could dredge this lake. They stroked Tom Harkin and Tom Vilsack while the local Republicans held their noses. Harkin and Vilsack kept the money flowing. Storm Lake is better because of the whole lot.

There are bad lawyers. They work for Donald Trump. They call us and threaten to sue us on unfounded claims. Willis always answers the phone. “Hall-o Cullen. What’s wrong? Calm down. Yeah, okay, I’ll handle it and set aside this guy who just fell off his roof and broke his back.”

And he does, while jawboning an insurance company to pay the guy with the broken back.

If Willis isn’t in Steve or Mary or Molly can be found.

Or Dave Jennett is a phone call away when you’re just wondering about taking a bad swing. Ned Bjornstad is doing the Lord’s work with ne’er-do-wells at Monday hearings. Gary Armstrong has kept the City of Alta out of more trouble than it can know or he can bill for.

Damn lawyers. What would we do without them?

Editorials, Art Cullen

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