Get Out of Town October 8

(October 8) Before I begin, I have a couple of mini-topics to throw out at you. First off, here’s my thought of the day. Why didn’t that tiger that attacked Roy make his way to the Celine Dion show down the street? Then the animal would have became a national hero.
Secondly, did you know that the FCC has ruled that the “f-word” is now acceptable for broadcast? Earlier this year, Bono from U2 uttered the word while accepting a Golden Globe on NBC. Conservative groups filed a complaint to the government agency, which issued the ruling earlier this week. The bureau wrote, “the word may be crude and offensive, but in the context presented here, did not describe excretory organs or activities. Rather, the performer used the word to emphasize an exclamation.” In other words, I can say that’s “f-ing” great, but I can’t say I want to “f” Liz Phair.
Ok, with that out of the way it’s time to send someone the “f” out of town. As anyone who regularly listens to this segment, I cannot stand partisan politics. Politics is supposed to be an exchange of ideas, and political parties are designed to bring forth multiple ideas to solve our nation’s problems.
Unfortunately, politics in this day and age is nothing but showmanship and character assassination. At times, it seems like nobody on either side of the fence is interested in anything but power. This is why we get nothing but scream-fests on Fox and CNN, and why otherwise rational people still believe Janklow did nothing wrong.
Being as our state is generally more rational than most of the rest of this country, one would think that partisan politics would not play a role in running our government, particularly in our state legislature. Republicans completely run the show in Pierre, so there should be no need for silly games. Whatever Bill…I mean Mike…wants, he has the votes to get.
Yet there is a legislator from our fair city who takes great delight in pretending that he’s the local version of Trent Lott. It’s become his mission to embarrass anybody who doesn’t think like his party. Earlier this week, he crossed the line in my mind.
I’m going to tread a bit lightly while dealing with this man. You won’t hear me calling him a moron, or a Nazi, or any other disparaging term…even though he may resemble those remarks.
You see, this man has a day job. He’s a lawyer, one of the few professions even sleazier than politician. And I don’t need to be sued. I have enough problems in my life without that sort of headache.
The man in question has been in the running for a boot up the ass for quite some time, but there has always been bigger fish for me to fry. But after reading Monday’s daily paper, it has become time for the man to get his due.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about Republican Representative Matt McCaulley, who made headlines earlier this week with the announcement of his plan to introduce a bill to ban any sort of state income taxes.
I’m not here today to debate whether this state should have an income tax. That’s for another time and place. In fact, there’s probably no need to talk about this issue for quite some time, as it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see such a tax.
Income tax is a four letter word in this state. Just mentioning the words sends shivers down the backs of a vast majority of voters. In fact, the last time it was seriously discussed was in the 1992, and a ballot issue over this issue was shot down almost three to one. In the mid-70’s, the Democrats, who had a slim majority in the Senate, killed their party over this same issue. They’ve never been the same since.
As mentioned earlier, the Republicans have such a majority in the legislature that even if somebody did try to introduce such a bill it would be shot down quicker than I am on a Friday night. They have the votes and they have the money to fight any such future proposal.
McCaulley’s bill is nothing but political pandering; a method to put people in a political box. Anyone who votes against this bill, even if they just object to putting this ban in the constitution, could be painted as pro-tax in any future campaign. Keep in mind that our constitution already includes a prohibition against any new tax or tax increase without a vote of the people or a two-thirds vote in each house. Keep in mind that future generations can and will have completely different economic and philosophical challenges to deal with. Why tie the hands of those living in the next century?
In other words, this bill is just a waste of time and money designed for future radio and television commercials. And for McCaulley, it’s just business as usual. This is the same man who wasted our legislature’s time with votes supporting the President’s tax cut, the Iraq war, and the controversial nomination of Miguel Estrada to the U.S. Court of Appeals. That’s fine if McCaulley supports all of these issues; but since our legislature has no jurisdiction their opinion means nothing. Again, it’s just fodder for future races.
And McCaulley is also responsible for the “anti-Daschle” bill; a controversial piece of legislation that passed last year that would have prevented Tom Daschle for running for President and the Senate at the same time. If Daschle had decided to run, he would have been the only Senator in the race who would face this restriction. Yet McCaulley claims that he wasn’t even thinking about Daschle when he penned this bill. Yeah, right.
My Google search yielded a few other facts about Representative McCaulley. He’s against industrial hemp, stating that “it’s questionable as to whether there’s even a market for it.” As someone who once worked at a local retailer who sold hemp clothing and jewelry, I can assure the honorable Representative that our state is losing a ton of potential revenue on imported hemp products.
McCaulley is also in favor of home-schooled children participating in high school activities, and earned a thumbs down from the NEA for introducing a bill allowing anyone to teach in a public school.
Probably most damning is McCaulley’s work last year to enact a number of bills to restrict Native Americans from voting. One such bill would require any absentee voter desiring to vote by mail to apply to the person in charge of the election for an absentee ballot. The application would have to be in writing and be administered by a notary. This would be quite a hardship, particularly for those in ill health, in certain areas of this state where the county seat is miles from the voter’s residence.
These bills were the result of 2000’s tumultuous Thune/Johnson race, where large numbers of Native Americans led to allegations of voter fraud. McCaulley was behind the scenes on this mud-slinging, which culminated in three allegations of paid votes. All three allegations were dismissed by the Attorney General, a Republican, as being fabricated to support the Republican claims. Yet McCaulley used the words “voter fraud” to push these bills through the legislature.
It’s time for McCaulley to take his political bonfires to a state that thrives on such infighting. Maybe he’d be better appreciated in California.


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