SDGOP spin blogger Pat Powers reads the competing blog/newsletter, Dakota Conservative, that Representative Jon Hansen (R-25/Dell Rapids) has started and rightfully notes the irony of a well-connected member of the Republican establishment pretending to challenge the powers that be:
The website bills itself as a newsletter that will be “holding the powerful accountable,” and “demanding conservative governance from politicians,” as well as a restatement that they will “speak the truth and hold the powerful accountable for their actions..”
…I hate to point out the obvious, but Jon is the #2 person in the State House of Representatives, as well as being Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
If the Speaker Pro Tempore isn’t considered a powerful politician in the whole scheme of things in the state, who exactly is he looking to hold accountable? Because there’s only a Legislator or two above him, and then you’re on to to the statewide officials.
As we start to wind into session, I’m sure we’ll hear more about the alleged misdeeds of the powerful according to.. the also powerful [Pat Powers, “New South Dakota Conservative Website Dedicates Itself to Holding the Powerful Accountable… Who Exactly Are the Powerful They’re Referring To?” Dakota War College, 2021.12.21].
Rep. Hansen shows his inability to fully resist the powerful in South Dakota with the second essay on his website, a critique of Governor Kristi Noem’s kid-in-a-candy-store budget that fails to mention Kristi Noem. Lacking the courage of his new District 25 neighbor and gubernatorial candidate Representative Steven Haugaard, Hansen talks all about how the big money states have comes from President Joe Biden but refers only obliquely, without names or examples, to his party leader’s complicity in liberal spending:
Republican elected officials at the state level have been handed billions of dollars from the feds and now have discretion over how it is to be spent. If we Republicans denounce the left’s big deficit, special interest spending, but then take part in that spending ourselves, we are just as fiscally irresponsible as those in Washington DC.
If Republicans are unwilling to refuse the Biden bucks, they shouldn’t just go along with Biden’s big government agenda and spend the federal money on massive special interest projects. Republicans need to do better than merely become agents of Joe Biden’s out-of-control spending [Rep. Jon Hansen, “How State-Level Republican Officials Should Respond to Biden’s Reckless Spending,” Dakota Conservative, 2021.12.21].
But just like Governor Noem, Representative Hansen still wants to spend Biden’s money. Hansen doesn’t reject Noem’s rationalization that we have to spend that big bad federal money because if we don’t, other states will; he just proposes spending “the Biden bucks” on his own priorities:
Instead, Republicans should reject leftist economic thought and embrace the principles that made their party—and their country—great. Limit government intrusion in the free market–don’t pick winners and losers via massive capital injection based upon centralized decision making. Make families the focus of our budgeting. Lower tax burdens on families so they can spend more of their own hard earned money. Provide educational choice so that families have the freedom to select the education option that works best for their own children. And support policies that embrace parents in their role as the primary nurturers, moral teachers, educators, and caretakers of their children. This should be the Republican way [Hansen, 2021.12.21].
If Hansen uses “the Biden bucks” to fund tax breaks, he’ll only increase South Dakota’s dependence on federal government handouts. Is that the Republican way?
Representative Hansen isn’t speaking truth to power or offering any new analysis or concrete policy recommendations. But in his sniveling pretense, sloganeering, and hypocrisy, Hansen’s new blog does make clear what South Dakota Republicans are really about. Carry on, Jon: we all hope you can continue to provide this clarifying content on the sorry state of Republican “thinking” in South Dakota.