|Please, Senator Thune|
End The Guessing Game
I doubt that any substantive action on this will be taken by Thune, but his politically reflexive whining about the matter does superficially burnish his "anti-fed" credentials. Thune's website touts him as a leader "in the fight against overreaching federal regulations," so his complaint that the feds ignored South Dakota's recommendation to retain the name of the well-documented mass murderer General William Harney on the peak in the Black Hills seems consistent with that position and mindset. But Thune's grousing notwithstanding, the Senator's options are to like it or lump it. By contrast, our Governor Daugaard wisely and pragmatically decided to go along with the feds on this, choosing to focus on other, more substantive matters that our state has to deal with. End of story.
But for all that, it's really the nature of Thune's response that gets my attention. It's redolent of political opportunism and rhetoric. His blustery vow to rein in the naming board has "appeal to your base" written all over it--and gratuitously so, considering that he's in a reelection campaign that should be handily won. Thune has gotten much mileage out of his persona as a fed fighter, considering that "federal overreach" is probably the most common little couplet in his political vocabulary. What's inconsistent about Thune's reaction to the federally-driven decision is the way he ignores his pledge to fight "federal overreach" in other matters when political convenience or imperatives dictate. For example, last Spring Thune had no hesitation about bringing the weight of the federal government to bear on a private social media company's handling of its news reports. Thune thought Facebook's news feed had a liberal bias to it. The Facebook Trending Topics flare-up was exactly the opposite of Thune's self-designation as a fighter against federal intrusion and overreach. Thune's sternly worded statement that Facebook "must answer" and "hold those responsible" if there has been "political bias" in FB's news feed had the ominous tone of a government Leviathan, not to mention a serious disregard for the Bill of Rights. Happily, Thune's hyper-ventilation on that issue went nowhere.
On a more spectacular level of inconsistency is Thune's alliance with a presidential candidate, Trump, who promises a substantial increase in presidential power and federal authority. Thune has endorsed a presidential aspirant who has repeatedly told his followers that he'd use government as a tool to improve their lots in life. That includes interfering in free markets by punishing private enterprises (including our farm sector) for pursuing global opportunities, increased police patrols in Muslim neighborhoods, federally instigated revitalization of blighted urban districts, punishment for women who have abortions . . . the list goes on. If this isn't federal overreach, what is? I wish Thune would get his story straight.