Despite GOP efforts to scrub Congressman Sean Duffy's gaffe about struggling on his taxpayer-funded salary of $174,000, that particular turd will not hold a polish.
The freshman congressman from Ashland, Wisconsin, occupies Dave Obey's old seat, having risen on the 2010 Tea Party tide, Sarah Palin's tailored coat tails and his own mediagenic notoriety. His marriage was made on television, and he makes terrific, funny ads centered on his mad lumberjack skills.
After he told a Polk County constituent that he struggles with personal indebtedness, it touched off a tempest that, despite GOP damage control, is beginning to slop over the rim of the teapot. As his stunned constituent, I thought I'd look more closely, and offer some small perspective on how the little people he purports to serve happen to live, up here in the north woods.
Ed takes down Duffy
Last night, after I got home from my job as a nurse (which, by the way, offers me zero insuranceÃ¢ÂÂI am a health care provider who is uninsured), my husband told me that Ed Schultz's take-down was of Duffy and his debt. After laying out Duffy's debt, which included not only student loans and a mortgage on a rather nice home, but credit card debt and vacation home debt that would make my old Norwegian grandfather (who died still hanging onto his confirmation money, I swear) break out in hives.
Vacation home? Seriously, Sean Duffy? My husband and I have no debt and no mortgage, and we still would give our respective left gonads to have a little cabin in Iron River. Shit, we'd like a trailer in Hurley. The cost is out of reach for most around here.
As Ed says, maybe it's time for some tough family choices. Where I work, in mental health, a "take-down" is a physical intervention intended to rectify loss of control and rather poor choices.
Talking Points Memo recently acknowledged that, while Sean Duffy is one of the Tea Party freshmen who makes a show of sleeping in his office, and who is rather poor in comparison to other freshmen congressmen, he still makes a heck of a lot for someone living in Wisconsin. If for nothing else, watch the clip (since taken off-line by Duffy) of wife Rachel talking about how she flies in sushi for the holidays.
In describing her imported sushi parties (Princesa, I can tell you where in this neck of the woods you can buy scrumptious sushi), she also manages to dis cheese.
Cheese! (This is Wisconsin, chica. We put queso on top of queso, here) And dis the culinary traditions of her husband's little people.
Watch her entertaining tips and weep miso tears.
Wisconsin's 7th CD
The median salary in Wisconsin as a whole is $52,103 a year, and in the large and rural 7th CD, it is even lower. The job market has been tight in the best of years, the soil is too boreal and poor and the climate too cold for intensive farming. Tax dollars somehow find their way to Madison and Milwaukee rather than up here, north of Highway 29. You want to work up here and you are not a teacher, physician, lawyer or nurse? Good luck. Hayward, an outpost town where Duffy was born, has a lot of bars and restaurants. Oh, and a Wal*Mart. Three jobs ought to bring you up to the median income, I'll bet. Recently, one of the few manufacturing jobs just moved to Mexico. They're making Polaris machines down there, now. Here's a link to the crap he was talking about his opponent, Julie Lassa, related to that.
Food drive for the Duffys
I have to run and would love to spin out this tale to its absurd end point, but can not. I'd like to leave you with this crucial, merciful link to the DPW effort to collect food and clothing for the Duffys. I know I have been looking for a home for that ancient can of spinach in my cupboard.