Well, folks, today will be my last Washington Whispers column. The next time you’re reading this column, you’ll hopefully be reading the words of someone with more wit and wisdom than this old man. Or, am I a woman? I’ll never tell.
After today, this column will no longer be written by a nameless figure in Washington, but I know the fine folks at the High Plains Journal will hand the reins over to someone who will shoot it straight, just as I have for the past decades.
Some may miss the weekly banter, while others may rejoice at its absence. Either way, thank you for allowing me to give you an insider’s look at Washington, D.C.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to reminisce about favorite columns, which sometimes were readers’ most disliked columns. Hey, I can’t please everyone.
In 2007 and 2008, I re-wrote the lyrics to the popular Christmas songs “Jingle Bells” and “O’ Christmas Tree” to congressional Democrats’ out of control spending.
One topic over the years that would always evoke reader comments was mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, commonly known as “COOL.” Heck, it is still being hotly debated today.
In 2010, I wrote about pop music artist Lady Gaga’s famous meat dress at the MTV Video Music Awards.
In 2015, I presented an interesting turn of events on the U.S. Senate floor. Just before the Iowa caucuses, then-presidential candidate Ted Cruz from Texas had just voted to cut crop insurance. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts from Kansas, also known as the father of crop insurance, pulled him aside. Only those two know what really transpired, but I’d put money on Roberts reminding Cruz that Iowa is an ag-heavy state that relies on crop insurance. Cruz then switched his vote.
In 2016, anti-GMO activists screamed “Monsanto money!” while throwing real cash on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Lest we forget about the countless columns written about the good, the bad and the ugly of multiple farm bills. I had a good time writing about controversial topics, such as Michelle Obama’s insane school lunch regulations, the infamous “Waters of the U.S.” rule and animal rights activist antics.
I got serious mileage out of an Obama USDA regulation mandating producers provide “enrichment” activities to entice organic birds to go outside. Think chicken yoga.
I’ve lived in and written about Washington through several presidents and more sessions of Congress than I can count. I’ve found it’s much easier to write a column when I’m unhappy with politics or policy, which makes me understand the modern news cycle. Not too many people really want to read about good policy ideas or folks getting along. But, I tried to find feel-good stories and give credit to lawmakers when they’re doing their job.
Unfortunately, too many of the topics I dream of writing about are far too insider and would certainly give away my identity, but, boy, would they be juicy.
Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.