The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Solution for Stephanie

I wouldn't say I'm a Stephanie Herseth Sandlin supporter. I just don't find her all that objectionable and I recognize that she can be a formidable candidate...articulate, good name recognition, Blue Dog, well-financed and attractive.

She has made a couple of missteps recently in my opinion. And, I suspect she really doesn't care all that much about my opinion.

If you go to her website (here) you can read that she hasn't issued a press release since the 28th of July.

On her Issues and Legislation web link you'll find what she has to say about health care. The problem is, and I think the frustration in the state remains, that she really isn't interested in sharing her opinions about (or solutions to) the health care problems we face.

I don't blame her for not wanting to go to a lot of towns and do town hall meetings designed – by Republicans – specifically to scream at Democrats for the mess in which we all now find ourselves. She's being asked by her opponents to come to events they organize and defend Obama's health care positions.

Republicans are in the enjoyable position of declaring that Stephanie doesn't want to talk to her constituents for having the temerity to not accept an invitation to an ass roasting. She knows Obama's health care proposals – whatever they are this week – are likely to be unpopular in South Dakota, where people generally believe they are taxed enough and no matter what a federal health care system includes, it will mean people who pay the taxes will get to pay more.

My problem with Stephanie is that as a voter, I don't know where she stands. Her website gives little insight. And, as a voter, I think I have a right to know where she stands. If she chooses to not share where she stands, I shall exercise my right to vote for someone who will.

So, here's a possible solution for Stephanie: There is no political incentive for her to come to a town hall meeting organized by fellow Forumpian Gordon Howie. And, who could blame her?

I am extending an invitation to Stephanie, Sen. Tim Johnson and Sen. John Thune here and now. Come to a town hall meeting in Rapid City organized and moderated by The Decorum Forum, perhaps the country's most unique political blog. We suspect someone on her staff is watching us, since someone using the House of Representatives' ISP checks our blog two or three daily.

My friend Bill Fleming (from the left) and I (from the right) will moderate the forum and maintain decorum (with the help of some burly security guys), taking written questions from those in attendence and allowing each member of our delegation to answer. Our forum, our rules. Become disruptive and you're out. Ask whatever question you want. Listen to the answers. Ask more questions. Listen to more answers. People will be asked to leave their incendiary placards at the gate. People who wish to turn the forum into a scream fest, will be shown the way out.

Those people who wish to send any of the delegates a message so their voice can be heard, may do so here or via each delegate's website or Rapid City office. Time will be given to attendees to voice their concerns without inciting a riot. The forum would be free and open to the public and the media on a first come, first served basis at a location to be determined.

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