Thursday, October 23, 2008

Loyalty and kindness as heartland traits?

A couple of quotes in this New York Times story about South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson's re-election bid jumped out at me. Here is the relevant excerpt, with the first quote from a 72-year-old voter who says he respects Johnson, but fears he cannot "compete" with politicians from other states following his brain hemorrhage in December 2006. Nevertheless, . . .

“We’re a loyal state,” Mr. Lefler said, “so people will back Johnson.”

Most polls show Mr. Johnson, who is seeking a third term, leads [the Republican opponent] Mr. Dykstra by comfortable margins.

“South Dakota is a very kind state,” said Steve Jarding, a Harvard political scientist on leave to run Mr. Johnson’s re-election campaign. “People were rooting for Tim — Democrats, Republicans, independents — they wanted him to be O.K.”
Later in the story, explaining his recent hospital visit to an ailing South Dakota journalist, Senator Johnson explains that the journalist had visited Johnson when he was in the hospital following his brain hemorrhage. Thus Johnson, like his constituents, also evokes "the sort of loyalty and sense of caring that tends to resonate in South Dakota."

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