The single truest statement of today’s Aberdeen crackerbarrel came from Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark):
Every time someone’s made a comment today that’s anti-Legislature, it’s been cheered for.
During the crackerbarrel, Senator Greenfield, asserted that no one he’s talked to supports “Democracy Credits,” the public campaign financing portion of IM22. Aberdeen musician and teacher Joe Berns rose, said he supports Democracy Credits, and asked if the Legislature would let stand a voter-approved ballot measure establishing nothing but public campaign finance. Greenfield said to Berns, “Your voice is heard,” but that strangely passive construction, along with Greenfield’s subsequent non-answer, indicated that he himself did not want to hear that voice.
Greenfield’s northern neighbor, Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen), offered his own rhetorical trick to win the Democracy Credits debate. Referring to his bill raising taxes to increase pay at community support providers and nursing facilities, Novstrup asked the audience how they would choose to spend millions of dollars, on Aspire or on politicians. Apparently stacked with logicians, the audience erupted in shouts of “False! False dilemma!” (shouts which I did not start but heartily joined). I suggested from the floor that we raise taxes like Novstrup does and do both.
From the non-logicians’ table, Brock’s mom Lana (Rep. Lana Greenfield, R-2/Doland) tried out the new Curd-Cronin electoral math, saying she justified her vote by the vote to repeal IM22 on her constituents. Rep. Greenfield said Hamlin and Clark counties voted against IM22. She noted that Spink and Brown counties voted for IM 22 but dismissed their totals by noting how many did not vote at all in those counties. She did not mention the abstainers in Hamlin or Clark as delegitimizing their vote, nor the basic fact of elections that abstentions count for nothing and are thus irrelevant in determining the outcome.
The lack of logic and listening from our Republican legislators explains the fuming distrust they heard from today’s Aberdeen crackerbarrel audience. Now let’s see if that mistrust will stick around to support ballot measures and new legislators in 2018.