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ou don’t need a pass-
port toget here, but
our neck of the Califor-
nia woods may be asstrange
to Bay Area residents as many
a foreign land orfantasy king-
First off, most of theMother
Lode voted forTrump: Seven
of our eight counties joined
rural voters nationwide in
going for the Donald, mostby
landslide margins of nearly 60
(Hillary Clinton did eke out
a win inNevada County, per-
hapsdue to GrassValley back-
to-the-land enclaves leftover
from the’60s.)
As surprising asTrump’s
success here in the hills may
have been to some,it shocked
no one in the Gold Country.
We’ve been part ofRepub-
lican California (in all, 25 of
the state’ s 58 countieswent for
Trump) fordecades. Which is
kind of like DemocraticUtah
— apparently populatedby
Salt Lake Cityvoters who ha ve
elected fourstraight Dem
mayors, the most recent of
whom is a lesbian.
In the interests of letting
The Chronicle’s readers know
and understand a little more
about their neighbors in the
Mother Lode, I’ll be filing the
occasional dispatch frommy
Tuolumne County home.
But first, some context may
be in order.Withoutit, taking
in my stories might be like
reading tales of orcs, ents,
trolls and hobbits without
knowing anything ofMiddle
Sure,Middle Earth is make-
believe. But to some, life in the
Central Sierra foothills might
The California known to the
rest of the nation outlaws
plastic bags, funds sex-change
operations for inmates, taxes
root beer, mandates earth-tone
houses inupscale neighbor-
hoods, droolsover electric
cars and sends Governor
Moonbeam to Sacramento.
We in theMother Lode
drink ditchwater, drive pick-
up truc ks, hang laundry on
lines, buy guns and let our
dogs run free. Our lawnsgo
unmowed, andrusting cars
clutter ouryards. You can buy
ammo,while it lasts,at a few
of our bars.
We poison-oakers have
elected congressmenwho
would rather jump from the
fiscalcliff than cooperate with
the dreaded Dems.We love

the cash that tourists fromLos
Angeles and SanFrancisco
bring us, butwe don’t trust
the politicians they send to
Sacramento orWashington.
Many of us feel forgotten by
big-city lawmakerswho don’t
know how to tie afly, fire a
hunting rifle or listen to any-
one from a county with only
enoughvoters to electabout a
10th of astate senator.
Some of us are ornery, rude
and just to the right of Attila
the Hun. Others believe in
Bigfoot, UFOs and the Demo-
craticParty. We have a lot of
bars, a lot ofchurches, many
true believers at each and
someat both.
But this isn’t “Deliverance”
country. Folks are friendly,
and if a neighbor stubs his toe,
we’ll organize a benefit dinner.
We throw so many fund-rais-
ing feeds that a diner with a
tolerance for spaghetti could
survive for months eating for
We have theaters, poetry
readings and writers’work-
shops. The local junior colleg-
e’s debate team has posted
better records thanits hoops
Visitors arewelcome to
share our historic towns and
spectacular mountain scenery,
and oftendo. Thousandsvaca-

tion here annually, spending
millions ofdollars while get-
ting lost on our dirt roads and
wonderingwhere theirIn-
ternet and cell servicewent.
Ranching,farming, logging
and miningwere once corner-
stones of our economy. For-
tune-seekersstill dipgold
pans into our creekswhen the
economy takes a particularly
bad turn, logging rasps back
to lifewhen it takes agood
one, and our only remaining
cash crop may be marijuana.
The retail and service in-
dustries (readWalmart and

McDonald’s) now power foot-
hill communities foundedby
prospectors in the Days of ’49.
Speaking of’49, most of us
in the foothills are thatage or
older.At 70, I’m firmly within
our retirementdemographic.
For visitors from afar,we
graying hill folk can be a foun-
tain of perceived youth: Come
up to Geezerville andyou’ll at
least feelmuchyounger.
The Mother Lode period-
ically makes the national
news, usually for forest fires
or sensationalmurders. Occa-
sionally, howeve r, it’s for

something barely believable —
like when a sheriff’s lieutenant
shot himself in the footwhile
showing a reporter his new
sidearm. Orwhen two seniors
— he 62 andshe 72 — were
busted forgettingit on in the
back seat of alurchingFord
Taurus outside a Sonora bar-
becue joint.In broad daylight.
We’ve also made the movies,
scores of them. “HighNoon”
was filmed here, aswas “Back
to theFuture 3.”We were also
Hooterville(or at leastits train
station) for TV’s “Petticoat
A few locals take exception
to any comparison to the
1960s show, rec koning that
we’re nowfar more sophis-
ticated than BillieJo, BettyJo,
BobbieJo, Uncle Joe and the
rest ofHooterville’s good-
But I’ll letyou rea ders de-
cide that one.

Raised in theChicago ar ea,
formerBay Area resident Chris
Bateman worked as areporter,
editor and columnist for
Sonora’s Union Democrat for
nearly40 years. Now
semi-retired, he is associate
editor ofFriends andNeighb ors
Magazine. His writing can be
found online at http://www.seniorfan.


Welcome to Republican California

JamesTensuan /Specialto The Chronicle 2016
Nevada City is 45 miles northeast of Sacramento. Nevada Countywas the only one in Gold Countryto go for Hillary Clinton.

Associated Press file photo
Gary Cooper is seen asthe stern sheriff inthe Western “High
Noon.” The1952 moviewas filmed inthe Gold Country.

By Chris Bateman

The politicalclass isstill
coming to grips withwhat
appears to be DonaldTrump’s
novel management philoso-
phy: governmentby Twitter.
Put aside theby-now-familiar
weirdness of our president-
elect’sgloatingover Arnold
Schwarzenegger’s poor“Celeb-
rity Apprentice” ratings or
swipes at Meryl Streep.
Trump’sTwitter addiction
poses heretofore unnoticed
challenges for hisadministra-
The president-elect often
emphasizes thevalu e of being
“unpredictable.” And he has a
point — in certain contexts.
Keeping our enemies guessing
has adva ntages. Defenders of
Trump’s habit of jabbing cor-
porationsabout their offshor-
ing decisions will tellyou that
Trump is“setting the tone
from the top.” Becausesuch
decisions are often made with
anarrow andsubjective cost-
benefit calculus, the argument
goes, using tweets to encour-
age executives to err on the
side of“America first” is a
valu able way to change the
business culture.
Whether or notyou like
Trump’s economic reasoning,
you can seewhy he likeskeep-
ing CEOs afraid of the crack
of hisTwitter whip.
But what about hisown
appointees and allies in Con-

When I’ ve talked toveter-
ans of theRonald Reagan
administration, particularly
from the speech-writing or
policyshops, I’ve often heard
acommonobservation. Know-
ing whatthe boss believed
was both empowering and
efficient.If you know a policy
or a line in a speech will never
fly with the president,you
won’t bother pursuingit.
Peter Robinson, theac-
claimed speechwriter, has
writtenat lengthabout how
knowingReagan’s vision made
his job easier.Robinson could
write “Mr. Gorbachev , tear

down thiswall!” because he
knewit was what Reagan
wanted to have happen.
The vast literature on lead-
ership and management ham-
mersaway on this point: Pro-
vide a vision and then let the
troopsdo the hardwork. Jack
Welch, the legendary former
CEO of General Electric, putit
this way: “In order to lead a
country or a company, you’ve
got to get everybody on the
same page and you’ve got to
be able to have a vision of
where you’re going.” British
Field Marshal Bernard “Mon-
ty” Montgomery said that his
definition of leadership is:

“the capacity and the will to
rally men andwomen to a
common purpose, and the
characterwhich inspires con-
Except for trade policy,
there are few areaswhere
Trump’s troops have a clear
idea of exactlywhatthe boss
wants, and his compulsive
tweetingadds a layer of un-
predictability. I’ve talked to a
half-dozen committed and
principled conservatives con-
sidering jobs in theadminis-
tration, and I heard one recur-
ring concern: “WillTrump
have myback?”
The point isn’t about per-
sonal loyalty, but resolve in
the face of the inevitable polit-
ical and media backlashes that
will come with any serious
reform effort.
Consider two recent in-
+The House GOP caucusvote
to sharply curb the power of
the Office of Congressional
Ethics.There’s bipartisan
consensus that the office is a
hot mess.When the predict-
able firestorm hit,Trump hied
to Twitter to mock the effort
as a distraction, earning a
nanosecond offavorable cov-
erage by killing the initiative.
+The effort to repealObama-
care.Trump issued a series of
Twitter fatwas lastweek, say-

ing that Congressshouldn’t do
anything that lets Democrats
off the hook for the problems
of the Affordable CareAct.
Politically, I thinkTrump is
right to be concernedabout
the perils of repealingObama-
care without having a replace-
ment ready. But his glib re-
sponse elicits fear among
some conservatives that he
won’t stand fast on repealing
Obamacare, ormuchelse.
There are countless areas —
entitlements, civil rights, im-
migration, etc. —where seri-
ous conservative reforms will
spark controversy, horrible
headlines and negative cover-
age on “theshows” the presi-
Will Trump impetuously use
Twitter to triangulateagainst
his own troops?
Right now, Trump’sdefend-
ers wave off suchconcerns,
saying he’s usingTwitter to
communicate aclear vision to
his team and thewhole coun-
try. To me, that seems like a
generous reading between the
lines — or between tweets
about Meryl Streep.
©2017 Tribune ContentAgency

Jonah Goldberg is afellow atthe
American EnterpriseInstitute
and a senioreditor ofNational
Review. Email: goldbergcolumn
@gmail.com Twitter:


Will Trump’s Twitter fixation repel allies?

EvanVucci /Associated Press 2016
DonaldTrump’s celebrated unpredictability, often manifested
140 charactersat a time,keeps allies and enemiesguessing.
Free download pdf