Got some intellectually light reading today

I got a copy of "Under the Dome: trying to do good in the People's Cathedral" today. Written by Former Representative and Senator Gerry Lange, it's a self-published book - 97 pages which are so self-indulgent it would make Onan uncomfortable.

In the introduction, Former Rep. Lange notes that
"this book might be viewed as a "catharsis" pulling together all of the frustrations the "misery on the Missouri," the disillusionment inevitable when a liberal-minded optimist (with true conservative exceptions) runs into the buzz saw of political reality in an entrenched, "red," one-party state."
Really? That sounds to me more like he's being a big crybaby because he's one of the few seats Republicans managed to capture in an election where we took it in the shorts in a lot of other places. Of course it had noting to do with comments like this (Listen for yourselves) where he illustrated how ridiculously he's out of touch with most other people in the state.

As I'm starting to read this, it looks more like a disjointed collection of articles, newspaper clippings, and "things he should have said when...." as opposed to something that contributes to South Dakota culture as a whole.

Actually, more than anything, at first blush, it reminds me of a blog. Except by printing it, he isn't affording anyone the opportunity for public discussion. Especially the opportunity to refute those things he offers forth that are absolute nonsense.

If I read anything in there that's worth discussing, I might make note of it. But I'm not hopeful.


Anonymous said…
As a former citizen of District 8, I couldn't have been more tickled when Lange was outsted from the state legislature. Republicans from that district refer to him as the Don Quixote of the Democratic Party... every year, year after year, introducing a corporate income tax. He was one of the most ineffective lawmakers ever to travel to Pierre. I'm just sorry it took so long to vote him out of office.

His recent publication just demonstrates how bitter he is.
William said…
I could never understand how he kept getting elected. South Dakota's version of Dennis Kucinich.
greatplains said…
Well, this District 8 constituent proudly voted for both Gerry and Dennis Kucinich! (And no, I'm not the only one.)
Chris Madsen said…
Awww, come on, PP, aren't you being a little hard on the guy?

Gerry Lange is an interesting person. Granted some of his political views are left of center. Nevertheless, Gerry was always a gentleman and a thoughtful, intelligent person. I don't know what he said after he lost the recent election. Maybe he was bitter, just as I am sure some GOP incumbents who lost their seats were.

At the risk of judging a book by its cover, I'll bet there are some interesting observations in Gerry's book. I'll also bet I won't agree with some of them and might with others.

In the grander scheme of things, Gerry definitely spoke for some segment of the South Dakota population who share his ideas. In the end, a lot of those ideas were shot down by the legislators who tend to speak for those among us who DON'T share those same views. Just because Gerry fought quixotic battles doesn't mean those discussions and dialogues should be banned.
PP said…
Chris - I probably am, but I think his approach is getting my goat. He's talking as if something is wrong with the people who didn't re-elect him, or that there was this big conspiracy to oust him.

That's just hubris on his part.

They made a choice, and he lost. Bitching about what didn't get changed just seems bitter. I would think he'd just thank the people for the time they gave him.
greatplains said…
No, it's not just hubris. Let's take a look at the campaign expenditures. When Russ Olson thought he needed to outspend Gerry by 5 to 1 on the campaign, it sure does look like someone wanted Gerry out. Russ spent $25,000 ($22,000 of which was advertising) to Gerry’s $5,000 (and Dave Gassman’s $2,400). Maybe you can explain why Olson would need to spend so much (in District 8, no less—we’re not talking Minnehaha county here) unless it was a concerted effort to get Gerry and/or Dave out of the House.

"I would think he'd just thank the people for the time they gave him."

He does. I've heard him do so.
William said…

Are you SURE you're not the only voter in district 8 to vote for both Lange & Kucinich?

Seriously, I've wondered if it might not be the college voters, many of whom don't REALLY live in the district or have long term ties to it, that kept him in office.
greatplains said…

Yep, 100% positive!

In the last election Lange won (2004), he had 2,388 votes from Lake County. I believe DSU has a student population of about 2,000 students. Obviously, there are a fair number of students who are originally from District 8 (sorry, I don’t have those #s) and, thus, do have long-term ties to the district. Then you would have to eliminate those students who vote in their home districts. Again, I don’t have the numbers, but experience tells me that a good number of students do this. I kind of doubt that the remaining non-District 8 and non-home-district-voting students were responsible for Lange’s past election successes. (In 2004, he had a total of 4,399 votes: 2,388 from Lake Co., 547 from Miner, 947 from Moody, and 517 from Sanborn.)

Other ideas?
greatplains said…
Oops, I used the #s from 2006. Here’s what Lange got in 2004: 2,845 from Lake Co., 557 from Miner, 1,222 from Moody, and 530 from Sanborn for a total of 5,154.
Anonymous said…

Considering Russel's business ties and the fact that Lange wanted to tax them into the ground, I think it's no surprise the money that came to him. You tell me if it was a good strategy to spend the money he received on his campaign.
I served with Lange for 4 years and other than his endless quotes of Adam Smith, he was as ineffective as Frank Kloucek. He is an intellectual which I certainly don't begrudge him but his philosophy doesn't jive even with his fellow democrats. The longer he remained in Pierre the more bitter he was becoming and district 8 made a good choice replacing him.
William said…
great plains,

Do you know how many votes Kucinich got?

greatplains said…
Kucinich got 81 votes in District 8 in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. Yeah, not a lot, but honestly more than I expected!

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