Editor’s note: After Matt Labash pilloried the mediocre state of Iowa two weeks ago, feelings were hurt, passions were stirred, letters were written both for and against. Herewith, a sampling, complete with responses to the responses:
How much do Democrats pay you to be a “journalist”? What’s with the Iowa bashing? Where does your left wing call home? – Jim Hastings
I wasn’t aware that to criticize Iowa was to be a left-wing journalist, since Obama beat McCain in Iowa by over 9 percentage points, and since Iowa has more registered Democrats than Republicans (though in keeping with their wishy-washiness, they have more registered “No Party” voters than either). If I hurt Iowans’ feelings, good. It’s high time somebody did. If Iowans can’t take a little gentle ribbing after endless election cycles of receiving reach-arounds from every campaign beat reporter and hat-in hand political candidate who harbors presidential ambitions, then perhaps they should move to a less significant state on the electoral map – any state besides Maryland, since that’s where I live.
Which is not to suggest Iowa is significant. Despite the beauty of its covered bridges, its ceaseless acres of genetically modified corn, and its commemorative Field of Dreams baseball diamond in Dyersville (if you build it, gullible tourists will come), the state’s silly little non-binding caucus awards no delegates. And a good thing too, since Iowans seem unable to decide who actually won the Iowa caucuses. While Iowans are good at many things — eating fried stuff on a stick, self-congratulation, overhyping their exports (ethanol, Ashton Kutcher, etc.) – they’re apparently not very good at math.
What’s it like to take it up the a– from chimps, you whiny little c—s—er? – F. You
While I’m flattered by your proposition, you should know that I love animals, but only platonically. If I were into having congress with a chimp, however, I’d only do so with one that didn’t hail from Iowa. (Since after a year of foreplay, it would still remain 40 percent undecided on whether it wanted to seal the deal.)
Kudos Matt, Your Iowa piece stacks up against some of Dave Barry’s best. Being from Kansas, I acknowledge “sheet cakes and pork products” as the classic zinger it is. Hey Matt, What’s the matter with New York? – Sam Peters
Lots of things. It’s congested. It’s the home of the Yankees. And perhaps worst of all, New Yorkers live there. As my esteemed colleague Chris Caldwell recently touched upon, in the old days, there was an upside to going to New York, because at least upon your return, you could earn the admiration of your heartland friends by reporting that you made it back without getting mugged. But now, in kinder, gentler New York, you still have to endure all the geographic snootiness and superiority from New Yorkers, but are now unable to earn your Combat Action Badge there. I’ve found myself walking through Harlem in the middle of the night, and feel safer there than I would at the Mall of America during a clearance sale at Williams-Sonoma. In fact, go to the Mall of America, then to Times Square, and see if you can tell the difference.
That said, as self-satisfied as New Yorkers are, it could be worse: they could be Iowans.
Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” is now available in paperback from Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.