Clint Didier, the Self-Made Man Who (Like Everyone Else) Isn't

If the only qualification to be a leader was that you had to make all other men feel like lesser men in your presence, then Clint Didier would already be President. A Seattle Times profile of the Senatorial candidate finds the ex-Washington Redskins tight end "standing in an alfalfa field gripping a hammer." He stands 6'5'', wears ostrich-skin boots and runs his campaign out of a barn when he's not baling hay.

I mean, just look at the picture to the right that ran with the article. He is a goddamn John Ford Western come to life. But just don't call him a self-made man.

To be sure, Didier is a hard-working guy. He's a farmer. At 51 years old he still gets up early, doesn't get to bed till late and in between does the kind of back-breaking labor that delicate guys like me who smack keys around for a living can't fathom doing, for fear of further aggravating our carpal-tunnel.

But Didier is also a prime example of the guy who claims to be the American embodiment of "rugged individualism," while also conveniently ignoring all those other factors that helped him get to where he is today.

We've gone over some of the conflicting details before. Like how Didier hates government handouts but has still accepted nearly $300,000 in farm subsidies. But the Times profile offers one hunk of new cud to chew on.

It's already been reported that Didier's kin benefiitted from New Deal largesse. If it weren't for FDR's Columbia Basin Project, his family plot would still be desert.

But in the Times profile, Didier (wrongly) argues that it's he, and other farmers like him, that are actually subsidizing the cheap electricity the system sends to Western Washington. Even though studies show the opposite is true.

The rest of the article offers more of the same. Didier wants to get rid of the Department of Education, even though he (presumably -- it oddly doesn't say) was educated by the public school system. He wants to slash programs for the poor in the middle of a recession, even though spending is what helped America emerge from the Great Depression.

"We've got to get rid of this 'protecting the weak,'" he told the Times, without a trace of irony.

Good for this "self-made man" that no one was saying the same thing when it was his family that was poor, his family that was weak.

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