By Jason Offutt

(Editor’s note: With the primaries over and the November mid-term election bearing down on us, it’s time to pick up some tips from Jason. He’s an expert who knows which five questions  to ask in selecting a candidate, not to mention how to include bacon in thousands of recipes.)

The radio made me angry. Well, not the radio itself. It’s a nice radio, tucked under the kitchen cabinet to keep me company while I cook. I think these radios were popular in the 1980s when combining sharp knives with talk radio was cool.

I stood in the kitchen creating something manly (it had bacon in it) and listened to grown men argue about whether a baseball manager did the right thing in last night’s game when we all know he didn’t. I mean, every one of us sports fans know more than some doofus who’s only been in the game his entire life. Duh.

Then the program went to commercial and I almost burned the bacon with my mind.

It was a political commercial about something I thought was, was, was… hmm, what’s a good word for it? Oh, yeah, stupid. I thought it was stupid.

I used to care about politics back in my naïve youth before I realized the people most qualified to serve in public office are smart enough never to run for it.

On my 18th birthday, I popped out of bed early just so I could register to vote in that year’s presidential election. I did, and my candidate won. Whoo-hoo. Then things went downhill.

I’m not going to get into my political leanings; I figured out a long time ago that’s a great way to lose half my audience, and I don’t take the loyal readership of eight people lightly.

Politics, much like college sports, is personal, and if someone doesn’t agree with you, they’re not only an idiot, they’re un-American.

As we’re crawling into the 2014 midterm elections, there are congressional seats to fill with incumbents who don’t remember they have constituents, or the newly elected who just want to get drunk and set things on fire. If you haven’t made up your mind on who to vote for, here are Jason Offutt’s Five Questions Guaranteed to Elect the Right Person:

Question 1) Does the candidate duck a lot? A 2011 article in the journal Social Science Quarterly showed that between 1789 and 2008, taller candidates win 58 percent of the time. William Henry Harrison was 5’8” and Jimmy Carter was 5’9”, so it’s not an exact science.

Question 2) Does the candidate golf? Do you know how much time that wastes? As of January, Barak Obama has played more than 160 rounds of golf while in office. Harry Truman didn’t play golf at all, and what did he accomplish? Oh, he just stopped the biggest war our planet has ever seen. Coincidence? I think not.

Question 3) Does the candidate return phone calls/emails/tweets, and if so, do they include inappropriate pictures of his private parts? Vote accordingly.

Question 4) Which candidate does the national media like? It’s probably best to choose the other one.

Question 5) Which candidate would you have over for a cookout? I came up with this during the (I’m not disclosing) administration, and quickly decided I have no idea what I’m talking about. Fun times, though.

Jason Offutt’s latest book, “Across a Corn-Swept Land: An epic beer run through the Upper Midwest,” is available at

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