Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How can the White House have a Council on Community Solutions without a rural member?

Our friend Bill Bishop, co-editor of the Daily Yonder, seems pretty fed up with what he calls "the Obama Administration’s single-minded allegiance to urban, credentialed experts," the latest example being the lack of any rural person on the 25-member White House Council for Community Solutions, which the president appointed last week.

"It's all a big bunch of nothing ... except that, once again, the Obama Administration has forgotten all about rural America," Bishop writes. He says it reminded a friend what then-House Speaker Sam Rayburn reportedly said about the whiz kids of the Kennedy administration: “I’d feel a lot better if just one of them had ever run for sheriff.”

The legendary Rayburn was born in Roane County, Tennessee, in our part of the country, and grew up in culturally similar northeast Texas, which he represented in Congress. But just about anyone who has run for local office in a rural area knows what he meant. Bishop cites former University of Oregon president David Frohnmayer, who was a state House member: "He said running for sheriff teaches you things you can’t learn in school or in a Washington, D.C., think tank. You find out that there are a lot of people sitting around democracy’s table and that they all have a voice." For Frohnmayer's remarks, click here.

1 comment:

Scott Walters said...

I agree entirely. I am a big Obama supporter, but he seems to have a huge blind spot when it comes to rural America. Like so many of the US populace, he seems to think the only good ideas come from Ivy League schools and the major metropolitan areas. My area is the arts, and I see the same thing: Rocco Landesman, the Boradway producer, heads the NEA, and the first thing he did was diss Peoria.