Political ruminations

A combination of the doldrums and plain weariness for much of it has kept political musings to a minimum despite the fact there’s a lot going on. In fact, I have yet to actually look for or at any list of bills introduced in the state legislature this year. Still, here’s some ruminations from the last couple weeks. After this it will hopefully be back to routine posts (including the book review I still need to get done).


From a legal and judicial standpoint, the guy is qualified. Do I agree with his views? Probably not. But since all I learned from the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings was that we don’t really learn anything, we’re not quite sure what we’re getting. These mixed views make it difficult for me to criticize Tim Johnson saying he will vote for Alito. I recognize that may be inconsistent with my prior rants about him and Stephanie Herseth not voting on principle. But the sad fact is that even if the Democrats could vote down Alito, that isn’t going to lead Bush to nominate anyone who is not cut from similar or worse cloth. The bottom line this is the price the nation pays for re-electing Bush.

The Abortion Wars

The annual abortions wars are looming again in the South Dakota Legislature, with more ammunition and bombs thrown in by the so-called interim study. I still highly admire Kate Looby for what she does. It can’t be easy to fight this year after year after year and be the person whose photo is on the dartboard of every right-to-lifer in the state. At the same time, there’s a part of me that says let the GOP and religious right totally ban abortion. Then let’s see how quickly they pay the price when the majority who support it in some fashion or another actually wake up. It would also be interesting to know just how many teachers we could hire, for example, with the money spent to defend the legislature’s efforts to pass laws to force a challenge to current legal standards.

The Democrats

When is this party going to get some guts? Nationally, they speechify, grandstand and pose but they have done nothing to really challenge what took us to war, the invasion of civil liberties, the usurpation of power by the executive branch or any other aspect of the Bush Administration. I agree with Jon Stewart, who said on his show earlier this week that reasonable people have to wonder why the GOP and the Dems are our only two choices.


If you’re one of those who thinks the continued disregard for constitutional rights adds some legs to the idea Bush should be impeached, you might consider this language:

Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, [the President], in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens[.]

The source? Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment adopted regarding Richard Nixon. (HT to Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive).

Mideast Democracy

While I can’t think of a better alternative to democracy, the Bushies are learning that sometimes you need to be careful what you ask for. Now that Hamas has legitimately won the Palestinian elections, Bush — the guy who keeps saying he wants to bring democracy to the Middle East — responds by saying the US won’t deal with Hamas because it is a terrorist organization. Gee, doesn’t it suck when you say your foremost principle is to give people the vote and they then put into power those you oppose? The Bushies are now in a difficult spot. How can they reconcile their advocacy of democracy in the region with rejecting the results because of the so-called war on terrorism? Personally, I don’t think it will get any better. We have yet to see the fracture lines expand as the Iraqis try to form a new government and I would bet Islamic fundamentalists would do well if elections were held in other Middle Eastern countries.

The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.

Art Spander

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