Unable to come up with any rational defense of the man who gave him a cushy state job, GOP Pat Powers offers this feeble flacking for former Secretary of State’s overhyped overseas voting plan, which by the latest count spent $668,000 to provide an alternative electronic method of absentee voting that was used by a 27 soldiers:
Sorry, but criticism should not be leveled on trying to find a better way, especially when we were given a grant for it. Unless we’ve started to punish trying in America [Pat Powers, “Is It Fair to Damn Gant for Progress? Not Unless We Punish Trying in America,” Dakota War College, 2015.11.01].
We could tease Pat for joining Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and everyone else in Pierre in saying, “Damn Gant!” We could point out that for $20,000, we could set up three satellite early voting stations on South Dakota reservations, which could easily increase voter turnout by hundreds, giving us far more democratic bang for the buck than the techno-flop Gant peddled. We could point out the absurdity of a purportedly conservative Republican looking at a glaring example of wasted tax dollars, shrugging and saying, “Hey, the guy tried!”
If “trying” is Pat’s new gold standard for evaluating government, then he’ll need to revisit his punishment of numerous South Dakotans:
- Sioux Falls city councillor Michelle Erpenbach tried to make Sioux Falls streets safer with a cell phone ban. Pat Powers called her try “draconian” nanny-statism, portrayed her as a far-leftist, and sowed opposition to her purported aspiration to run for mayor.
- Brookings city councillor Tom Bezdichek tried to reduce waste by banning plastic grocery sacks. Powers called that try nanny-statism and said Bezdichek lives in a “dippy liberal world.”
- Kathy Tyler tried to stop a CAFO from stinking up her home county with pig poop. Powers called her “ridiculous” and “the worst kind of legislator.”
- Kathy Tyler tried to get re-elected by spending several hundred dollars on a newspaper ad. Powers called that try an expensive waste.
- Shari Kosel tried (successfully!) to get South Dakota to pass tougher animal cruelty laws. Powers called that try a sneaky effort by the Humane Society of the United States (which was not involved in Kosel’s lobbying effort) to attack South Dakota agriculture.
An eager reader came up with that short list of Pat’s disdain for “trying” in a few minutes. Commenters, I welcome your further examples.
“In many cases,” Powers concludes, “we can curse the darkness, or light a candle.” If he said that every political enemy he skewers, we might be able to believe it when he says it about his friend Jason Gant. But his empty resort to cliché rings hollow. Gant’s lavish expenditure on meager results shows that iOasis was a waste of money that gave Gant an excuse to junket around Germany and cloak himself in “I love veterans!” fur.
Jason Gant was indeed trying… trying on the patience of South Dakotans who expect competence and integrity in the conduct of elections. For such trying, we should not hesitate to damn Gant.