Representative Gassman isn't the only District 8 Representative who has a problem choosing his words.

As you might have read on this blog last night, or this morning, I was noting that Representative Gassman’s comment in the Capitol Journal’s Legislative preview took the award for the "stand out comment." And I didn’t think telling his constituents “he hasn’t done anything to improve their lives” was going to be a ‘helper’ in the next election.

But shortly thereafter, underneath that post, this comment appeared:
Well, being a constituent in the district served by all three that you mentioned (Gassman, Lange, Sutton), I have to agree that the former two haven't accomplished anything for us. Gassman has truly done nothing. Lange at least tries but his unpopular ideas make him ineffective. This district needs better representation, so why do the majority of my fellow constituents keep sending those two back??? Cuz they're nice guys, but that doesn't cut it in the legislature. I am hoping that you are right and Gassman's statements, as well as Lange's that we deserved what we got on 9/11, come back to haunt them next election.
I really questioned that comment, because it was a pretty outrageous charge. Lange suggesting that “we got what we deserved on 9/11?” Nah. It couldn’t be true. Could it?

It sounds so outrageous that a state legislator in South Dakota, one of the reddest of red states, would make a statement so vile as to imply that nearly 3000 Americans deserved to die because a terrorist organization decided they hate America. So, I decided to look into it.

In 2003, the legislature heard HCR 1018, A measure primed by Representative Gerald Lange asking the US to commit to a policy of containment in Iraq. I listened to it over Lunch as I ate. And at about 30 minutes into it, I almost lost my meal in shock and horror.

Don't think Representative Lange said that we deserved what we got? Maybe not in those exact words. But I'll leave you to listen and decide for yourselves. Because what he said certainly implied that the United States was in some way at fault.

And worse yet, when the question was posed to him “if he could go back in time and consider a pre-emptive strike against al-queda, would you carry it out?” Part of his response was “I would absorb the punishment.”

What I've done is taken the introduction to the bill, and then Representative Rhoden's line of questioning of Lange on the measure (with Gerry's responses). The clip I've selected from the testimony ends with a response to Representative Rhoden's question "Do you believe defending your home country is satanism?"

Think that’s not true? Think that’s too outrageous? Listen for yourselves.

I have trimmed it down considerably from the 45 minutes plus of bill testimony. If you're worried I've taken things out of context, here's the link for the bill from the LRC, and here’s the full committee hearing on the bill (Real Media). Listen to it in it’s entirety, and you can draw your own conclusions.

These statements were made in 2003, and I’m kind of surprised it wasn’t brought up in 2004. But as we stand at the starting gate for the 2006 election, don’t be surprised if these statements come back to haunt him.

Because they should.

Comments

Anonymous said…
From MSNBC's Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, why did he—this is so basic. But I know you know it pretty much by now as well as anyone. Why did he attack us on 9/11?

PETER BERGEN, AUTHOR: I think it really begins with the introduction of U.S. troops into Saudi Arabia in 1990 as a result of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. I mean, bin Laden saw that U.S. military presence as a sort of defiling the holy land of Islam, and he is looking to reverse American foreign policy in the Middle East generally, and at that point particularly, the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia.

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10819762/

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