MINOT, N.D. — I'll admit that I haven't thought about author and left-wing pundit Clay Jenkinson since the last time I was in a state park gift shop and saw an employee blowing the dust off some of his books.
But he cropped up during a recent CBS segment — an installment in the gee-aren't-these-dumb-rubes-funny genre of national journalism — pontificating about the squabble over where the actual geographical center of North America is.
Is it in tiny Rugby, which has long laid claim to that title as a tourism initiative?
Or even tinier Robinson, where a trolling bar owner managed to grab Rugby's trademark of the title after they let it expire?
When Jenkinson was called on by CBS to help interpret what had these hicks in a tizzy, he couldn't help but unleash a barrage of withering condescension.
He derided Rugby's "pathetic claim to cosmic fame" and suggested that the whole thing, which far less pompous observers saw as a bit of harmless and amusing rivalry, made North Dakota seem like a "loser state."
At this juncture, you may wonder why I'm dunking on Jenkinson, and I would resist the temptation, usually, but his glee at running down our state for the visiting journalists ("you don't live here for the boutique theater or the fine dining" he told a giggling Lee Cowan) was emblematic of something I've noticed about our state's liberals.
They like North Dakota well enough — it's clear that Jenkinson, specifically, loves our landscape — but they don't seem to care much for North Dakotans.
This attitude, which permeates our state's left-leaning political circles, is not the reason why North Dakota's Democrats have been out of power for going on three decades, but I suspect it is one of the reasons.
How do you connect with people you, at best, don't understand very well?
Or, at worst, actively dislike?
When Democrats seek to explain their lack of electoral success in our state, they talk a lot about how they're saddled with the national Democratic brand, which is much farther left than most North Dakotans are willing to vote for.
There's truth in that, but can we ignore how every legislative session brings with it a lot of bellyaching from Democrats about how our policy debates must look to the rest of the nation?
How long has it been since you saw one of your Democratic friends crack wise about North Dakota on social media?
Our liberal neighbors spend a lot of time being embarrassed on our behalf.
Jenkinson and his scurrying efforts to make the visiting journalists laugh at our expense was exactly that.
A North Dakota liberal eager to have his disdain for North Dakotans validated by someone from somewhere he likes a lot better.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.