Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Whether speaking at a small town civic luncheon or pontificating on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Idaho's Larry Craig is an imposing craftsman of impeccably spoken English and model of imperturbable self-confidence who can cower and silence the boldest critic.

There are not many topics about which Sen. Craig can't claim to be an expert. Woe be to anyone who debates him without preparation. But Craig's mien wilted quickly the other night when he appeared on CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" to advocate legalizing alien migrant workers.

The host, New York-based Lou Dobbs, a fierce critic of U.S. immigration failures and outsourcing of American jobs, argued against Craig's support for special legal status for farm workers after a probationary period. To this, the poised Craig shot back in patronizing condescension:

"Lou, it's interesting that you demonstrate by that statement you know very little about American agriculture. Have you ever picked apples out of a tree or cherries out of a tree? Or crops out of . . .."

Big mistake.

Despite his Harvard degree in economics and being founder of an Internet corporation,, devoted to space topics, Dobbs is no city slicker by birth. He's a native of Rupert, Idaho, who made Craig squirm when replying: "I've picked beets. I have carried potatoes. I've sacked them. I've stacked them. I have cut hay. I have stacked it and I have carried it."

Oops. So much for messing with an Idaho boy.

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