Not your usual republican - the Book

Harry Welty

My wife, Claudia, pointed out the obvious to me. My soon to be published book’s front cover has a lie on it. She kindly called it an exaggeration. I was delighted. She reads circles around me - two or three books a week since we were  married just short of 50 years ago. Just how much is 2 x 52 weeks x 50 years? Holy cow!  

Until I handed her 300 pages pulled mostly from my Reader columns she never read them. She’s watched me hide in my office for hours over the last six years laboring to sew a Frankenstein monster of a book together out of them. She suggested they weren’t half bad.  

Her skirting my work began 22 years ago when I read her my take down of a wannabe Rush Limbaugh who called me ACDC on his radio program. I didn’t like being called “politically bisexual.” I have a turn the other cheek policy – Once.

But like Michelle Obama, Claudia is more of a “when they go low we go high” kind of person.  

Wary of my reputation she told me I was never to write about her especially her work. She was furious when  her workmates deduced that she might retire when I wrote that she was planning to study at a seminary after retiring. I was proud of her and I couldn’t help myself. I’ve been writing autobiographies in 800-word bites from the beginning. Authors are always encouraged to write what they know. I know my family.  

I do use the words “I’ and “my” a lot. In commemorating the life of Bob Mars a few years ago I mentioned that Bob told me I used the word “I” too much. Other board members often complained to him when I wrote about what the school board was up to and why. It's very true. When I look at the world I write about, I can’t help but use the I word. And that sentence is a perfect example. Its got four I’s. Its a potato.  

And Not Your Usual Republican and its predecessor Not Eudora always took my side for some inexplicable reason. I did take a lot of vacations from the NOTS. I did it when my name was on the ballot. I’ve been on the ballot eleven times since “Monkeyworms” was published in 2002. 

I switched to writing in my blog during the war over the Red Plan. I needed to send out information daily to my allies about the sociopath leading the Duluth Schools. Sociopath is a clinical word for someone who can lie without pangs of conscience. I think about one in 14 people qualify which is fewer than the 1 in 10 who are believed to be gay.  

I think sociopaths are easier to catch in grade school while they are still testing the waters to see how much they can get away with. They soon learn to use their special power sparingly only when they are unlikely to be caught. Having everyone call you a liar is bad for business. It’s a talent and evolution favors useful traits. A nation needs spies who can lie convincingly. Many police and corporate execs are said to be sociopaths. Your neighbor might be one. You might be too.    

I didn’t catch on at first. I was one of the new Superintendents supporters until some things didn’t add up. I eventually found a video of him on his first day at work in Duluth. Keith Dixon talked on film about race his first day and described his black college friend who told him all about his travails as a black kid.  Two years later I called the kid up. He was a retired Minnesota Viking. He told me he’d never talked to Dixon in college. Despite that Keith damn near came to tears on tape describing the heart rending story he’d heard about racism from his acquaintance.  

During the hashtag “me too” movement, long after Dixon won the Red Plan fight, I was sent an email inquiry by a woman who told me Dixon, a school administrator, had  threatened her in high school. Curious about what had happened to the man she had babysat for she’d googled Dixon’s name and found all my blog posts calling him a “liar.”  

Like Dixon, most sociopaths are pretty covert. But today we have a billionaire sociopath trying to get back into the Oval Office and his supporters like his lying even more than evolution does. What’s Donald Trump’s appeal? His supporters think his lies are telling it like it is.  They know he’s lying but he’s doing it to taunt their enemies in the Deep State, liberal bureaucrats, or the liberal media that looks down on them. Trump’s supporters want the good ole days back.  

I have a different notion of the good ole days. Mike Jaros who admits to reading my column is a part of my good ole days. He cleaned my clock in two campaigns for the state legislature. When I came to Duluth in 1974 I was hoping to run for political office. After a desperately weak, candidate hungry, Republican Party nominated me I called Mike to introduce myself as his new challenger. We had coffee at Perkins and enjoyed a cordial conversation.

Mike bunked in a hotel with another legislator who I had campaigned for in Mankato in 1972. I was helping this Democrat because he was a neighbor and despite the fact that I was a new Republican. To be clear he was running for the House. You might have read elsewhere that I got a Republican elected that year too. The Republican was running for the State Senate.

Mike was also a friend of my geography teacher who had a thicker Yugoslavian accent than Jaros. Mike misses Republicans like me. He misses Republicans who compromised and made the legislature work even if they told everybody that Mike was an ultra socialist.  

Oh yeah, about that lie on the front cover of my book.  I claim to have predicted Trump would take over the Republican Party in 1992. The truth is, his was just one of a half dozen sleazy businessmen I listed telling the delegates they were the kind of people who would be running the party. Close enough for me.

Welty can’t wait to hobnob with Margorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz in DC to see if they wet their pants. Stay tuned at