Dale Peterson, Candidate for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner

Dale Peterson’s semi-militant campaign video has gone viral on the interweb. The Wall Street Journal, Politico and New York Magazine, no less, have made mention of it, as now there’s a fairly clever parody video from Funny or Die making its snickering way through Facebook and the web pages of the nation’s Brahmin news agencies. While there’s no doubt that Peterson’s mad-as-hell, make-my-day approach is amusing, his intensity or the high seriousness of the seat he’s running for shouldn’t be discounted. Unfortunately, at this point–and as always, attention seems to be placed more on his style than his credentials or the incredible importance of the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Industries position.

If only the Ag commission races in each Southern state could be made this visible, we might have Ag Departments that actually reflect consumer and small producer interests, instead of those of agribusiness entities trying to duck regulation. So, keep it going, Dale Peterson. Fire up the klieg lights. With that rage in your voice and all that starch in your Stetson, show us to the polls.


Postscript 6.17

So Mr. Peterson lost in the primary. But my point, however well I made it, stands: The top agricultural post in each state is a hugely important position, and the body politic needs to pay attention.

At the same time, I would hope that our politicians treat the job with honor and respect. If you run for Ag Secretary, it’s because you want to be Ag Secretary, not because the position is a stepping stone. Personally, as a Georgian who cares about Georgia farms and food, I’m disappointed that Brian Kemp could run to be the state’s agricultural chief in 2006 and then jockey for the Secretary of State seat only a few years later (as the current and temporary SoS, appointed by Governor Perdue, Kemp has got a helluva shot).

By the way, you didn’t think Dale would just disappear, did you?:

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