Keith and Darlene

A year ago my wife and I were having a drink on the riverfront in Savannah.  It’s an open town, and you can take your drinks down to the benches close to the water.  It was cocktail time, and my wife reserved a bench while I got the drinks from a bar.  I was getting ready to join her, and claim the bench, when a very heavyset couple beat me to it.  They allowed as we should join them, so we all squeezed together.

They were Keith and Darlene, from right outside Macon.  Keith said he made his living bowling peanuts and selling them at a roadside stand.  Some days he’d take in up to 300 dollars.  Cash.  I asked him what you do when you bowl a peanut, and he said I bowl ’em for two days in salt water.  You use fifteen pounds of salt with a hundred pound bag of peanuts.  I still didn’t get it, and Darlene explained he meant boil.

We got to know Keith and Darlene pretty well.  We kind of hit it off.  They told us a lot about their lives.  They both struggled with their weight. Keith had lost sixty pounds, and was down to 260.  Darlene was still up there at 290, but she was making progress. They’d sworn off boiled peanuts.  They were nice people.  Keith was a big NRA guy, and I told him a couple Alaska stories, which he liked.

We went on to Stone Mountain outside Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, Gatlinburg, across North Carolina to the Outer Banks, and down to Charleston.  Three weeks.  We met and mingled with a lot of people, black and white.  It was all very pleasant, and we learned a lot.  We’d never spent any time in the South.  This was the first time we got to know these people.  We’re westerners.

I don’t mean to say I understand the South.  By no means.  But I got a feel for the place.  To understand politics you have to understand people, and I got to know the people of the South a little bit.

Which brings me, of course, to the Reagan Amendment.  What would Keith and Darlene, and all the other people, Southerners, that we met, think of it?  It’s an important question.

I think they’d buy in.  The South and the West have been allied against the East forever.  You’re pretty close to 26 right there.  The Midwest has to go along as well.  I haven’t spent much time there, but I’ve met a lot of these people.  You’ll have to make the case that they, personally, will benefit from the Reagan Amendment.  It’s politics.  What’s in it for me?  We can make that case.

To get to 38 you’ll need Maine, Kentucky, Iowa, Minnesota.  These are the people who will decide.

Nationally the fight would be with the environmental left, and their allies in government, the media, entertainment, the lawyers and lobbyists, the academy, the trust funds and foundations, and all those who put their faith in government.  And all those who live off it.  It will be a battle royal.  The stakes would be enormous.  I think we win it.

They’ll be fighting the tide.

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