Salt of the earth; or, from DC to Mankato, he’s the one they call old whathisname


Sometimes, the quickest way to discern meaning when analyzing a piece of writing is to identify the audience.

While reading the NRCC MEMO: MINNESOTA PRIMARY RESULTS, which was to “interested parties” from NRCC political and NRCC and Communications, I chuckled when I read:

. . . Randy Demmer’s background as a salt-of-the-earth southern Minnesotan make this the most likely Minnesota Congressional seat to flip parties this November.

“Salt-of-the-earth” isn’t exactly how I’ve heard the Hayfield Republican described. For whom did the NRCC pen that description of Demmer?

He’s not likely to be mistaken for an extra in the famous movie of the same name nor the character in a Green Day song.

Maybe it’s the suits he wears, or owning three NAPA franchises. Or his youth spent as the scion of the local implement dealership that undercuts the notion of Demmer as a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy.

Or perhaps it’s Demmer’s support of a People’s Bailout–for Randy Demmer. He’s received some pretty pennies from taxpayers, as the DFL has pointed out:

Or maybe it’s his opposition to the DISCLOSE ACT. Demmer believes corporations should be able to keep their privacy intact (even though individuals have to disclose large political contributions).

Probably not. As an editorial in the Mankato Free Press points out:

Regular citizens who donate $200 to candidates have to make the disclosure. Why exempt multi-billion dollar corporations?

Disclosure of corporate donations should be mandatory at federal and state levels. There should be no exemptions for the NRA or anyone else. That’s just the right thing to do, and Congress should do it sooner than later.

Allowing secrecy is not only unfair to donors who must disclose their identity, but undermines public confidence in a system that already has millions of voters saying it’s not worth their time.

Corporations already have tremendous power to influence democracy through lobbying and access to elected leaders. They will have even more power if they’re allowed to spend unlimited sums under the cloak of secrecy.

Ah, alas. So who was the audience the NRCC addressed in its memo?

Since Demmer’s origins aren’t humble by southern Minnesota standards–and he doesn’t side with the humble–I can only conclude that the “salt-of-the-earth” description is fluff for the NRCC’s real audience for the memo. Not the voters in southern Minnesota, who know whether salt has its savor; no, this memo was written for DC elites.

And what might this mean in their argot? I’m told it translates as “We got nothing.”

The NRCC’s exercise in cynicism deserves a musical classic in that genre: