Inside the Beltway: Sarah Palin courts the farm vote

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One can’t get much more grass roots than this: Sarah Palin is the keynote speaker Thursday at an agricultural “field day” near Baltic, S.D. — population 1,090 — situated on the scenic banks of the Big Sioux River in the eastern corner of the state. The former vice presidential candidate/potential U.S. Senate hopeful is going no-frills, however, journeying to the heartland accompanied by her youngest daughter.

“It’s an honor to get to travel with my entourage, er, that would be Piper, to be with those who are feeding the nation,” Mrs. Palin said in a Facebook post about the one-day event.

The goal of it all, say organizers Darren and Brian Hefty, who are both rural media moguls and farmers, is to showcase the best ways to raise crops. There’s a free lunch, a free supper and complimentary snack goodies. There’s a corn panel, a soybean panel, and forums on drainage laws, crops insurance and grain marketing. The kids’ area is crowded with games and giant inflatable toys.

“We have several air conditioned tents, as well as a new air conditioned shed and other sheds on the field day site, so we are prepared for the elements — of course, we’re praying for a beautiful day,” the brothers observe.

But it is a big deal, and the ever-canny former Alaska governor knows it. This particular field day is the largest in the Midwest, and Palin fans are many.

“Last year, we had farmers from 24 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. So, if nothing else, if you just talk to farmers all day, you ought to get a pretty good idea what the crop is like everywhere else,” the pair of genial hosts say.

REPUBLICANS IN SUMMATION

“Zero jobs have been created by Obama speeches,” tweets Sen. Darrell E. Issa of California, recalling the 1 hour, 6 minute speech President Obama gave in Illinois on Wednesday, with two more to follow.

Indeed.

“Every time this administration gets mired in scandal, they trot out President Obama to repeat the same empty speech he’s given every other time he wants to change the subject from his failed policies,” says Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who adds, “Rather than flying around giving speeches, President Obama should park Air Force One and start working with us on bipartisan solutions to the serious problems facing middle class families across our country.”

And from Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina: “For years, we have been hearing the same prescription from President Obama — bigger government, higher taxes and more spending. Let’s unleash the potential of small business owners, workers and families by lowering taxes and reducing the size of government. Instead of punishing success, let’s encourage it.”

WIFELY RHETORIC

Observers are still wondering if Hillary Rodham Clinton coached Huma Abedin as she swore allegiance to her husband Anthony D. Weiner despite his ever-unfolding sexting scandal and endless campaign for New York mayor. Ms. Abedin has served as an special adviser to the former secretary of state. Did Mrs. Clinton lend her a hand?

Their jaunty styles are strikingly similar. Here is what then-first lady Clinton told CBS News in 1992 after songstress Gennifer Flowers claimed she once had an affair with Bill Clinton that lasted a dozen years.

“You know, I’m not sitting here — some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette. I’m sitting here because I love him, and I respect him, and I honor what he’s been through and what we’ve been through together. And you know, if that’s not enough for people, then heck, don’t vote for him.”

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