So you heard about Clarence Kooistra's comments as the tent flap hit him in the rear on the way out of the GOP?

I had lunch with a couple of legislators in town for Interim Appropriations, and wished I had heard this ahead of time so I could have allotted some of my time to blog on it. But, better late than never. From Argusleader.com in an article entitled Kooistra becomes a Democrat:
Republican Sen. Clarence Kooistra of Garretson has switched party alliances and is now a registered Democrat.

Kooistra said in a statement today that the move to the Democratic party was “an effort to more closely align my political beliefs with my personal agenda.”

Kooistra — an incumbent who recently lost in the June primary to Arnie Hauge by 230 votes — cited the passing of a resolution supporting the state’s abortion ban at last weekend’s state Republican convention as a reason for the switch.

and...

Kooistra said he has no current political aspirations as a Democrat, but he may run for Robert Kolbe’s seat on the Minnehaha County Commission in 2008.
Go read it all here. "Kooistra beomes a Democrat." This is a revelation?

The GOP is a big tent with room for people of many views. In this case Clarence cites abortion as the reason he's leaving the folds of the GOP. What I would like to point out is that he left the party behind on issues of big brother government and taxation a long time ago.

Ironically, it is literally just a year ago when I gave the departing Senator Kooistra a hard time on those very issues in a post I titled: "Cell phones in your cars to be banned. Christmas and your birthday to be taken away too":
Senator Clarence Kooistra, who fights home schooling because it *gasp* isn't as accountable as he'd like it to be to government, led the fight to ban tobacco sales on the internet, and is going after the adult entertainment industry in Salem has now found a new thing to hate - cell phone use in cars. (check this link too)

and...

Supposedly, cell phones caused 32 accidents last year. How many were caused by messing with the radio? Better outlaw radios. How many were alcohol related? Time to contact the temperance union and get to banning.

If you want to make the state a better place to live? Then REPEAL some laws and MYOB. We managed to survive as a species before some of these laws came along.

And please, stop before you introduce the dog-head-out-of-cars bill in South Dakota and really tick people off.

P.S., that corporate income tax thing isn't going to do you much good, either.
See what I mean? It's not like this comes as a big shock. The most shocking thing about Senator Kooistra is that he wasn't included in the list of those who founded the Mainstream Coalition, because he certainly could have. Although, I think some of his views made them look conservative.

The Democratic bloggers have been all over this story this afternoon hollering about how this shows how the GOP is out of touch, etc. :
From SD Progressive - The Tent is Collapsing
From CCK - Welcome to the Party
From Coat Hangers - Republican Senator Leaves Party Over Abortion Resolution
From the SDDP Blog - Another Republican Switches to Democrat
And so on. I'm a little surprised at their fingerpointing and fanfare. This and other instances of party switching and various flirtations with it don't come off to me as an overwhelming rejection of the GOP as much as a simple illustration of how low a view some of the party switchers have of the Democratic Party.

Because when are they switching? Not after they came off of a victorious election. Nope. They're only considering it after they lost.

Think they would have switched if they had won? No way.

They're choosing to leave the tent because they know there's no way they could have gotten elected by running as a Democrat. So, they simply discarded that "D" letter behind their names which rendered them unelectable and ran as an "R" (while still holding the same views) only while it suited their need to be in office. Now that the election is lost, they can quit pretending.

The thing is, there are plenty of Republicans who lose, and don't feel the need to switch over such malarkey that "the party left them." There are plenty of people who hold a variety of views. Some conservative, some more liberal. I might not always agree with them (and am not afraid to state that), but they at least have my respect when they can defend their position.

When they lose, they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep fighting what they believe to be the good fight to try to change opinions and minds. And I say good for them.

So, Democrats want to crow about picking up someone who apparently didn't think he could get elected as a Democrat? Go right ahead.

Comments

sdmoderate said…
Since when is campaigning against a gentlemen's club in Salem not conservative? That is right up the conservative right's alley.

Your tent isn't as big as you think, Republican incumbents that voted against HB1215 were all voted out (just ask Stan Adelstein, JP Duniphan, and Duane Sutton) and Kooistra realized that his less than radical conservative viewpoints didn't fit within the Republican Party as it stands now.

It's not like he changed affiliation just to ensure he would win another office, he isn't even planning to run for anything this year, he just realized like I did that the party has left the middle behind.
Anonymous said…
Let me use a football analogy. Kooistra was the on the Republican varsity. He scored some touchdowns but usually ran the wrong direction and scored more points for the opposing team than he did for his team. He was challenged by a new player for his position on the team and was defeated and put on the “B” team. Kooistra is no longer a starter but a backup player, a “B” team player. Kooistra then decides to play for the other team.

The other team then wants to paint the defection as a set back for our team. We have the varsity guy who beat Kooistra playing for us and the other team has our former “B” teamer.

Good luck to the Democrats who plan to build their winning team with second string players.
Dusty Johnson said…
PP,

Normally I hate the "RINO" talk, but on this one I have to agree. Clarence is a nice guy, and I like him, but his beliefs really haven't been very Republican.

I've always viewed the Republican philosophy as having three major parts:
1. An belief in limited government
2. A belief in the power of the free market system
3. A belief in family values

The above is an oversimplification, and so will be easy for everyone to criticize. We could spend a lot of time defining any of those terms, but hopefully everyone gets the gist.

I like it when people are conservative by all three measures, but I haven't wanted people to leave the party just because they went "only" 2 for 3. I'll work with them on issues we agree on, and if that is almost 70% of the time, that ain't bad.

To be real honest, this issue with Clarence isn't all about abortion, although some people will want to make it about that. It's bigger than that. I never thought of him as scoring all that great on the other two pieces of the puzzle, either. At some point, he probably figured that out himself.

Clarence and I didn't agree on a lot yesterday, and his announcement hasn't changed that. Despite that, I wish him the best.
Anonymous said…
bu bye clarence
Anonymous said…
I think this is a shame. To be honest, I am a little ashamed at you, PP, and most of the comments so far on this board. Mr. Johnson was a little nicer about it, but, it's kind of sad that to you folks, its all about power.

Kooistra was a willing and passionate public servant. He really believed in what politics SHOULD be all about - the people.

Now, some may say that he had some far out ideas, and that he may not have been as effective as some other of the more power-laiden conservatives, but, one thing I can say with absolute certainty, is that every vote he made, he made it for the right reasons.

I am saddened, sometimes, at how people on this blog seem to draw sides all the time. They like to label and to divide people up. Well, I have a new category for you. We have 105 legislators each year, but only a few of those people are statesmen. Only a very few due it for the right reasons.

Clarence Kooistra was a statesman.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, and don't forget the two people who ran against Julie Bartling. They challenged her primarily because of her pro-life position and they lost, too.

Oh, wait. Julie is a Democrat. Huh! Maybe it's not so much about parties and tents. Perhaps South Dakota is simply pro-life.
Anonymous said…
Dusty,

Family Values? That's what you've got to describe the republican philosophy? Geez-that deep huh. How about using rumor and innuendo to rid others of a possible future political opponent. That appears to be a favorite of some lately.
Dusty Johnson said…
Anon 12:53,

Yeah, I knew that "family values" was a phrase that would draw fire. To be honest, it doesn't do a good job of getting at what I meant, but I was in a hurry and I couldn't think of anything better. Sorry.
Aaron Lorenzen said…
Republican values are for the most part family valus, there could be better words for it but i agree with the termonoligy.

Clarence was a nice guy when i tlaked with him during the legislation the past years, but he needs to show his true colors and that is the blue that runs in his blood that makes him democrat, big loss for the GOP...actually not really...
scimitar said…
All you repubs who think your party has a monopoly on goodness, virtues and values need look no further than your daily paper to see case after case of a lack of goodness, virtues and values: Jack Abramoff, Duke Cunningham, Keneth (Enron) Lay, Connecticut Governor John Rowland, Ohio Governor Bob Taft, Illinois Governor George Ryan - all convicted.

Many more under investigation or indictment, including Tom Delay, Scooter Libby, Bill Frist, Rush Limbaugh.

Family values is merely a mantra to distract simple-minded people from the facts.
lexrex said…
good point scimitar. too many of those who preach "family values" don't live up to them and are hypocritical.
Anonymous said…
Saying you are for "family values" is like saying you are against "meth use." Tough stance to take and it means nothing. Unless, of course, it mean you are anti-gay rights in which case its meaning is hidden and has value as a devisive phrase. Guess I just don't get it.
Anonymous said…
It is great Clarence finally realized he is a democrat. Boy, it took him a long time to catch on, didn't it?

The democrats can have all of the liberals in Pierre as far as I'm concerned. It wouldn't hurt the GOP one bit. Just look at what has happened in Texas in the past 10-12 years. The GOP is riding high because of their take-no-prisioners conservatism.

RINOs should just get out! And that goes all the way to the top in the state capitol. These liberals are holding our state back and the party hostage.

Clarence's belated (retarded) realization is truly something to rejoice about. Let's help our democrat friends in encouraging liberals to quit pretending and just defect to where their anti-social ideas are truly enbraced.
sdmoderate said…
2:17 PM Anonymous said...

These liberals are holding our state back and the party hostage.


That would have to be one of the most ridiculous things I have heard in a long time!

South Dakota has one of the most conservative state governments in the country, having a few moderates trying to reign in the far-right, unsuccessfuliy I might add, was the best thing the state republican party had going for it. Now that they are leaving the party out of frustration, the far right conservative's are free to completely legislate the morality of it's citizens unhindered by such trivial things as personal choice and the Constitution.
Anonymous said…
Anon 12:57, the Constitution is not on your side in your personal choice argument. Judicial activism, not the Constitution has led to the slaughter of more than 46 million innocents.

I wonder why Americans have allowed so many unborn babies to be dismembered in the name of choice without batting an eye, yet when two more soldiers were dismembered a couple weeks ago, they thought it was criminal. If only the abortionist had gotten to them twenty years ago, it wouldn't have been a big deal.

How does that work?

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