Let's start with pink slime. Democratic and Republican politicians agree on little these days, but they do find common ground on this point: Pink slime is good stuff. Government officials, from USDA chief Tom Vilsack and the USDA's chief food-safety functionary to Texas' ridiculous governor and two other GOP governors, rallied around the ammonia-reeking substance last week, trying desperately to boost the flagging fortunes of its maker, South Dakota-based Beef Products International (BPI). Confirming pink slime's bipartisan appeal, both candidates for a hotly contested Iowa House seat—Tea Party stalwart Steve King and Christie Vilsack, wife of USDA chief Tom—appeared at an event to sing its praises.
The cross-aisle clamor on behalf of BPI and its burger filler comes even as the company's customers—fast-food and supermarket chains and industrial-scale beef processors—are abandoning it en masse. The company has had to close three of its four plants in response to plunging demand. In other words, the market has rejected pink slime, and market-fetishizing politicians are screaming bloody murder. When Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback exclaimed at a press conference, "Dude, it's beef!…It's good beef," it was hard not to read a note of desperation in his outburst.
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