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Paulsen Promises to Protect Property Rights; Schoenbeck Says Eminent Domain Needed for Collective Good

Any conservatives thinking they can help Colin Pauslen beat Lee Schoenbeck in the Republican District 5 Senate primary need to (a) improve their proofreading and (b) broadcast this clip from last week’s candidate forum as evidence that Schoenbeck is a big-government liberal who won’t protect property rights:

Paulsen thinks that landowners should have a greater say over what private companies can do with eminent domain.

“I believe in individual and landowner rights, and it’s important to protect those rights. Having the landowners feel confident and comfortable in their position to have the first voice when those companies are coming to them” is important, he said.

Schoenbeck noted on how critical eminent domain is to the quality of life for South Dakotans.

“If you like to flip the light switch and the light comes on, that’s because of the eminent domain. The electricity to that switch? That’s not magic,” he said [Kerry Kulkarni, “From Detention Center to Pipelines, Republican Candidates Share Views at Forum,” Watertown Public Opinion via Yahoo News, 2022.05.05].

I say “big-government liberal” not because it’s accurate—allowing private companies to use eminent domain for their private profit is better described as crony capitalism or Russian-style corporate oligarchy (again, Schoenbeck is Putin), but conservative voters haven’t been trained by Limbaugh, Hannity, and Carlson to respond to those terms as viscerally as they will respond to “Big-Government Liberal!”

More discerning voters (although there won’t be many discerning voters casting ballots in this District 5 race, since Schoenbeck didn’t draw a Democratic challenger, so the seat will be decided by the iddish Republican base who show up on June 7) may want to investigate Schoenbeck’s claim about eminent domain and electricity and the fallacy it exposes. Eminent domain has been used most recently for the Keystone I pipeline that leaks across East River. Eminent domain may be used now to build carbon dioxide pipelines across East River. The Keystone I pipeline does not and the Summit Carbon Solutions and and Navigator CO2 pipelines would not bring any electricity or other energy to any homes or businesses in South Dakota. The CO2 pipelines in particular provide no vital service to any South Dakota voter; they only turn an ethanol-plant waste product into a profit line for  a few favored private businesses. When it comes to justifying an infringement on basic rights, there’s a big difference between infringing property rights to directly deliver electric light and heat to all of our neighbors and infringing property rights to directly profit a handful of big businesses.

And Schoenbeck’s support for eminent domain may not extend to his backyard. Remember that Schoenbeck was the one who threatened to legislatively torpedo the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline if they dared try eminent domaining some of his favorite constituents.

But Republican primary voters don’t want all that inquiry and analysis; they want ideological Viagra! Pop a sound bite and vote hard-Right! Candidates were asked how they feel about taking away people’s property: conservative Colin Paulsen spoke for individual rights, while liberal Lee Schoenbeck spoke for the collective good. You know what to do, true conservatives! Stifle Schoenbeck’s stinking socialism—vote for true conservative Colin Paulsen!

6 Comments

  1. Donald Pay 2022-05-09

    Exactly. I think there are a lot of issues where progressives and conservatives can agree, and the abuse of eminent domain by private interests is one of them. Eminent domain certainly has its purpose. Delivery of good quality water or electricity are two that come to mind. But I worked with conservative ranchers, tribes and environmentalists opposing the ETSI’s proposed use of eminent domain for its coal slurry pipeline which was to serve interests in the South.

  2. Arlo Blundt 2022-05-09

    Donald–I believe you worked with my brother-in-law Tom Burgess on the ETSI mess. I believe in willing sellers and willing buyers and the Common Good. Eminent Domain has been badly abused with private profit being substituted for the Common Good. Individual Rights, which the Republicans pay lip service to, get trampled in the rush to get big projects done cheaply. Landowners need legal protections from their government.

  3. Francis Schaffer 2022-05-09

    Eminent Domain used for private business is welfare. Please, someone tell Lee.

  4. Donald Pay 2022-05-09

    Yes, Arlo. I know Swami was involved. We all worked on different paths, but all were able to unite to defeat ETSI. I also worked with Swami on the nuclear waste issue in the 1980s.

  5. Arlo Blundt 2022-05-09

    Donald…the Swami passed away two years ago in New York City of Covid…he was an instructor at CCNY Anthropology Department….he was a monkey wrencher and pretty fearless. A card carrying member of the International Workers of the World. And a great guy.

  6. Donald Pay 2022-05-10

    Sorry to hear Swami passed. Yes, he was fearless. Swami worked on a project at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as a temporary worker somewhere around 1983-1984. This was during the height of the nuclear waste compact fight. As part of his job he was looking for some information and came across a stack of various Janklow and DENR proposals on the nuclear waste issue for the upcoming Legislative session. So one Saturday morning he called me up, said he found something big on the nuclear waste issue for me if I could get over to DENR, meet him at the back door, copy the papers somewhere, and hand it back to him at the same back door at noon. I said, “Yes, of course.” I packed my daughter up, we went to the back of DENR, and met Tom. He handed me some of the most explosive information we ever got. My daughter always helped me copy stuff by pushing “the green button” on the copier at Klein’s, so we copied the wad on information and got back with the originals at noon. Fun times.

    I told Tom I wanted to hold the information for a week until an interim Legislative committee was meeting. At that meeting I would dump some of it and then we would leak the rest out over a month or two. Tom thought that was a good plan. The committee was chaired by Sen. Gary Hanson, I believe.. Yes, I was presented Tom’s purloined information, which included a whole new compact between North and South Dakota that allowed a national nuclear dump. Hanson was not happy about hearing this information. I never knew whether it was because he felt snowed by Janklow or he felt snowed by me. He asked me how I got the information, and I refused to answer. He confronted me afterward, saying he could have required me to answer, and put me in jail if I didn’t.

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