A Farmer and a Politician Greet George McGovern

Farm to Market

Farm to Market

Out in the country good stories get circulated. I don’t mean Liz Mair’s self-described “incendiary” piece on Hillary Clinton, or other tales of paid punditry emanating from inside the D.C. beltway and nearby Maryland and Virginia suburbs.

Here’s one that circulated earlier this week as an example:

FARMER: I’d like to see Hillary Clinton again.

ME: I thought you caucused for Obama.

FARMER: I did, but I met her. Did you hear my story about that?

ME: No, I didn’t.

FARMER: Well a friend invited me to the Democrats annual barbecue and I was in the rope line. I can’t recall whether I had just shaken Hillary’s hand or was waiting my turn. Up came George McGovern and I said, “I don’t suppose you remember me, but I ran your campaign in San Francisco.”

MCGOVERN: Of course I remember you.

HILLARY: Well I ran your campaign in Texas.

FARMER: Yeah, but we won.

I don’t tell the story as well as the farmer, but a couple of things are important.

First, who thought Hillary would be so competitive on a personal level after being a first lady and U.S. Senator? Contrary to what some people say, Hillary made a strong effort in Iowa during the run up to the 2008 caucuses. Even I got an invitation to meet her personally in a small group setting. Some of my best friends and neighbors supported her and got involved in politics—some for the first time—because of her campaign. While there is the famous memo, what gets forgotten is she disregarded the advice.

Second, it was the reforms of the Democratic party after the debacle of the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention that brought us the Iowa caucuses in their present form. McGovern had a hand in those reforms, and Jimmy Carter was arguably the first presidential candidate to leverage them in 1976, beginning with his appearance at the Iowa State Fair. There are still some Harold Hughes for President backers in our county who can tell the tale of what went on to bring about the changes in the Democratic party.

And finally, Hillary is a fighter. This link to an excerpt from the Benghazi hearings shows what kind of fighter Hillary Clinton is. Most readers have seen it before. Of the national Democrats traveling Iowa presently, Jim Webb, was Born Fighting and established an exploratory committee. Elizabeth Warren is a fighter, but is likely not running for president. Not to be dismissive of other hopefuls, but that’s it.

There are other great stories circulating in rural Iowa. I hope to have an opportunity to tell a few more.

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