Extremism is one thing. Detachment from reality is another. Here's Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas calling for a repeal of the 17the Amendment, taking away direct election of U.S. Senators and returning to the system of having them appointed by state legislatures: http://
trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com /2013/12/ ted-cruz-at-alec-summit-end-dir ect-vote-for-senators.html/ He delivered this retrograde broadside today at a "summit" of the American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC) in Washington, D.C., confirming that the need for the restoration of common sense to
the Republican Party just got starker than ever. I mean, disenfranchisement
anyone? Good grief.
That a covey of elected South Dakota state representatives have been attending these gatherings (Cory Heidelberger at The Madville Times did a nicely comprehensive piece about it yesterday--http://madvilletimes.com/2013/12/ten-south-dakota-legislators-attend-alec-events-wick-skips-budget-address-for-alec/) isn't particularly surprising, given the ideological tilt of our state's legislature and ALEC's patently obvious existence as a forum and promoter of extremely conservative political agendas. Besides Cruz, for example, Grover Norquist, who thinks cutting government spending is the only pathway to fiscal nirvana, is a featured performer--make that speaker--at this circle of not-so-smart ALECs. In my view it's the extremist, my-way-or-the-highway approach to governance by Cruz and his following in D.C. that could prove to be the end of the Republican Party, driving so many of the political realists out of the fold that the GOP will be left only with a relative handful of screaming, if powerless, ideological diehards. Those of us in the party who believe that politics is the art of the possible just stand by and shake our heads at these extremists who view politics as the art of self-immolation.
But I stray. My main beef in all this isn't that some SD reps choose to attend a political gathering. Heck, they can attend any meetings they want. No, my beef is that they take these ALEC-organized junkets on the state's dime. I'd be just as annoyed if I learned that reps who happen to be Democrats are attending leftist gatherings at the state's expense, and frankly, I'm beginning to suspect that some of them do. Either way, this whole practice of taxpayer-supported trips to political gatherings should come to a halt, and I hope there will be some legislative review of this activity. In the meantime, I'd like each of the relevant elected officials to report back to someone (me, if possible--I can be reached right here at this blog) and explain what occurred at the ALEC meetings that justified spending my money on them. I'll gladly publish the information, and thank them in advance for complying.