Saturday, November 1, 2008

Abrahamson smeared, yup...

OK, mustbemustbekidding and pp must be reading the same talking points, they ask about the ugly "Abrahamson has scary ideas" postcard...

The always erudite mustbekidding
Interesting. I didn't see much disputing what the GOP mailer said about Saint Eric. Is any of it inaccurate?
That's the crybaby libs. When somebody points out the truth, it's a smear.

The possible-soon-to-hang-it-up PP (maybe his flavor of snarky politics is retiring too? We can only hope.) says:
Isn't stating that Eric has somehow been "smeared" contesting the basic truth of the statements?

3: a usually unsubstantiated charge or accusation against a person or organization —often used attributively ("a smear campaign", "a smear job")

No, PP, he's been "smeared" by setting up a false thesis and "proving" it with minimal (but true, with a few notable exceptions) information used out of context.

(Note, Abrahamson himself has responded on his campaign blog:
(Pity The Poor Jack-O-Lantern, Nov 1)

Here's my take:

The excellent hard-working team of Abrahamson, Katus and Wojahn on the campaign trail.

South Dakotans are sick and tired of this BS. In this new environment where people are actually listening to what the GOP says, Democrats are in a position where their message can be heard above Republican leadership's ugly, demonizing, and unpatriotic political rants that weaken our democracy.

(Of course not all Republicans are like this; I know many that are straight shooters and don't play these games.... and (shockingly) most of them are pariahs in the current Republican Party. Good guys like Sam Kephardt, Ed McLaughlin, and Colin Powell, and John McCain [c.2000]. You know, the people you call RINOs and I call good citizens.)

The "unsubstantiated" bit here is the use of Eric's words and actions against him out of context. Here we go one by one. I'll include the GOP's references so you can look for yourself, if interested to see how the state GOP used selected snippets of (mostly true) information to blatantly lie about Eric's values and priorities.

1. Abrahamson wants to raise business taxes.
(source: (This is from's "courage test" of tough questions. Seems that Dreyer and Gosch didn't have the courage to take the test themselves. But their opponents Eric and Bethany Wojahn did. Hm.)

Sure, Eric said in Vote Smart that we should "slightly increase" corporate taxes in South Dakota. The reason he wants to do this is because he wants to decrease sales taxes and property taxes on ordinary South Dakotans. Is that such a crime? Large corporations get a free ride in South Dakota and it's a major reason we're a low-wage mecca: cheap corporations love to come here, and cheap corporations do not invest in their workforce. Is this such a shock? Not to the the folks who work for these companies in our state.

2. Eric wants to "raid the trust funds" for more government spending
(source: "numerous public speeches" - cherry-picked out of context, obviously)

This one is patently false. Eric doesn't want to "raid the state trust funds". He just wants to use all of the interest to enhance education, as specified by the people of South Dakota by referendum in 2001.

Beginning in fiscal year 2003, and each year thereafter, the state treasurer shall make a distribution from the education enhancement trust fund into the state general fund to be appropriated by law for education enhancement programs. The calculation of the distribution shall be defined by law and may promote growth of the fund and a steadily growing distribution amount.

The referendum continues with this rule: "raiding" the principal would require a 3/4 vote of both houses of the Legislature. That is not going to happen and anyone who things so has been drinking too much SD GOP kool-aid.

Eric is doing what the South Dakota voters asked in 2001?

If you want some facts about the whole issue in response to empty SDGOP talking points, which cook the statistics to make schools look like the bad guys here, I recommend you the interchange between Rick Kriebel and Jason Glodt over at Republican Tide (going out). Kreibel clearly demonstrates how the SDGOP tweaks selected numbers to spread their version of reality. You'll notice that Republican legislators never talk about education in real dollars or in the context of mandates (even the ones the State comes with). And they certainly don't eat their own dog food.

3. Abrahamson promoted excessive spending that created funding crisis when he was on the School Board.


Abrahamson promoted raising teacher salaries, AND spending down our reserve in Rapid City because it was the right thing to do, and incidentally, in direct response to the Governor's and Legislature's criticism. The State (I should say, the Republican supermajority in the House, and the Governor -- the Senate had a bipartisan deal in place that would helped schools -- a lot!) responded by cutting funding, precipitating the current funding crisis in Rapid City. The Rapid City Journal is a lousy source for this, because they have basically let the Legislature off the hook as the main cause of the problem. Why -- I honestly don't know.

Abrahamson's Republican opponents (Brian Dreyer and Brian Gosch) never talked to our local school board about the effect of the Legislature's actions in the 2007 session; and as a result Rapid City's kids were ripped off the the House funding package. In fact, because of this lack of effort in listening to our local taxpayers and school leadership, the District was cut out of $300,000 or so in funding (which fortunately was later quietly restored by the Governor's staff by squeezing the rules--NOT because of any action by Dreyer and Gosch).

Dreyer and Gosch go on and on (and on) about pushing economic development. They also talk about how hard they are working on alternative energy (the current kiss-the-babies topic apparently.)

THE TRUTH: Gosch and Dreyer sponsored a total of three (yes, three, bills in 2007. Dreyer's two were for the liquor lobby, and Gosch's single bill in 2007 was apparently to sentence criminals as hard as possible regardless of circumstance.

Gosch said in a ugly orange mailer I got today that he has "a proven record of strengthening our economy, improving our schools, and keeping our taxes low."

How? Certainly not from his legislative efforts. And honestly I don't see how continuing to give corporations free rides in this state helps with any of those three things. Really.

But I digress.

4. Abrahamson protested Governor Rounds' decision to remove a link from the state library website.
(source: School Library Journal 9/1/04)

Note the GOP conveniently left out the accurate title of the SLJ article:
"Censorship In South Dakota" and this context (from the article):
It all started when Republican Governor Mike Rounds demanded the removal of specific sites after receiving a letter from Bishop Robert Carlson of the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese

OK Eric is guilty as charged for standing up to the direct lobbying of government by a religious organization (which is legal but frowned up on when the GOP party-line doesn't align with the lobbying), and a cadre of the self-proclaimed "values" crowd (including, you know, folks like former Rep. and convicted child rapist Ted Klaudt--who championed Elli's "values"-charged campaign in 2006). These are folks that think withholding of solid information about sexually transmitted diseases, sexual responsibility, and, yes, the value of abstinence is a good idea. The rest of the State Library Board caved to the Governor's pandering to the far right-wing that would rather our kids are ignorant, while our state's STD rates in the state continue to soar during (strange, as the Abstinence Clearinghouse in Sioux Falls ahs been well-funded by the Bush Administration during those same years.)

5. Abrahamson believes SD should recognize "civil unions" between same-sex couples.

This one is the truth, but it is the ugliest of the charges, because it tries to divide our District using fear of a minority.

Yes, Eric, apparently along with the majority of Americans (including Sarah Palin by the way), and South Dakotans, believe that the law should protect all families. Partners should have the right to visit each other in the hospital, and share property; what the church blesses or doesn't bless is their business and not the governments.

Boy, Eric and more than half of the U.S. (including GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin) are pretty extreme, all right.

This was another ugly GOP attempt to use fear to make cheap political hay off a minority of our population. News bulleting for the Republican Tide: one reason the Tide is going out is because this transparent attack is simply not working anymore. Too many South Dakotans have LGBT friends and family members for this to work any more. Every person that comes out brings six or seven along with them, and things are getting better. The success of the nonpartisan Equality South Dakota and their PAC this year is evidence that people would like the GOP to lay off on the gays already. Amendment C (our 2006 "gay marriage ban"--which is in fact much worse than that) passed by a very narrow majority and actually was defeated in many of Rapid City's precincts.

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