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Friday, July 31, 2009

Herseth Sandlin: That's My Gal?

So Representative Stepahnie Herseth Sandlin votes against the American Clean Energy and Security Act (cap and trade and more). She does so not for the Kucinichian reason that it doesn't do enough, but the conservative reason that it does too much. I can maybe live with that, because I've heard some good arguments on how certain aspects of the bill are handouts for big power companies that would come out of Midwestern pockets.

But then she votes for the Food Safety Enhancement Act—twice! It passed on a repeat vote yesterday—even though lots of folks like me see the legislation burdening small farmers and not targeting the big-Ag perpetrators of food health problems.

And now Herseth Sandlin says she can't support the health care reform bill in its current form. She says H.R. 3200—which has the public option, the sine qua non of health care reform—is too liberal. She signals (see HogHouse and Wayne Ortman's AP story) that she is lining up behind the Baucus-Gang-of-6 Senate plan, which is cave-in to the insurance industry lobbyists who will give their left foot to keep us from getting more choice and competition via a public option.

Now I'm not trying to have us all "scream at each other from the extreme," but I have to ask: if Stephanie doesn't vote my way on the big timber, why do I vote for her?

Oh well—that's what I get for representing the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.

Update: SHS, if you're concerned about your ability to sell a public option to your South Dakota constituency, read Paul Krugman. He reminds us that government is the only reason health care coverage works at all in America. A little more government—i.e., the public option—will make it work better.


  1. Your next-to-last paragraph summarizes the thinking of an increasing number of Democrats.

  2. Horray for Stephanie!!! She is voting against both bills and when she does, I will support her (being a very conservative resident in the state). Just because you are a Democrat doesn't mean you have to be for everything they propose does it? I like to feel all of us are able to discern what is good for our country, regardless of political affiliation.

  3. Anthony D. Renli7/31/2009 9:00 AM

    I’m sad to say this, but what did you expect?

    Representative Herseth-Sandlin has always presented herself as a Blue Dog. A friend of mine out in New Jersey keeps telling me that anywhere else in the country, a South Dakota Democrat would be considered a Republican, and sadly looking at our congressional delegation, a large percentage of the time I can’t argue with him. Despite what the conservative blogs might try to say, SHS and Senator Johnson are conservative as far as Democrats go. They have never pretended to be otherwise. Do I wish we had actual liberals (like Feingold and Kucinich) as our congressional delegation? Absolutely. The only thing I have to say is they are better than the alternative.

  4. I'm chiming in with David in agreement with your next to last paragraph, and am mulling over a change in registration - just to signal to the SD Democratic party that they are now losing some of their long time own. In '72 my Dad had me licking envelopes for Democratic candidates and I've knocked on doors, made contributions when I could, made phone calls ... and believed in Democratic ideals.

    Blue Dogs mad dash for cash - weakening bills to line their pockets (while telling us it's all about fiscal conservatism while they write blank checks for war) is not a principle I hold dear. That isn't my party. There are a few (Feingold, Kucinich, Weiner) that I admire.


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