Dave Knudson, Republican candidate for his party's nomination for Governor, has come out squarely against any expansion of gaming in South Dakota. You can read it here.
I thought he was a fiscally responsible, conservative Republican who wanted less government? Apparently, he's okay with the state government's continued intrusion into – and restriction of – an industry that is making major contributions to our state's tax coffers.
The answer must be that Knudson is reaching out to what he believes is a religious base in the GOP. There's a problem. It was a Republican administration that allowed "limited" gaming in the first place. And, it was a Republican Legislature that approved it. And, it is the primarily Republican electorate that has repeatedly voted down multiple efforts to reverse the state's gaming laws. Who is advising this guy? I really wasn't expecting this from Knudson, but had assumed I might hear it from Munsterman, who apparently gets his inspiration from a direct line to God. Read that here. ( I originally found the Munsterman piece on the SDWC.)
The Republican take on gaming expansion ought to be:
1. Government should get out of the way of an industry that has proven to be lucrative for the industry and the state.
2. Get the whole notion of gaming is "sinful" out of the Republican mindset. Republicans approved the "sin." I'd like someone to explain to me that if gaming is sinful, how is it more sinful to play dice or roulette than it is to play slot machines or poker? Agreeing to permit "limited" sin is hypocritical. It's like saying we're going to approve prostitution, but only on bed linens rinsed in holy water. We've approved gaming in this state. We tax the living daylights out of it. Now we should get out of the way and not only let the industry grow, we should encourage its growth.
Candidates for the Republican Party's gubernatorial nomination are going to be baited by the religious right. Taking the bait is folly. Republicans like me are sick of the religious right's bullying tactics. Nominate the best candidate for the job and the religious right will vote for the Republican to prevent a bright Democrat like Scott Heidepriem from winning the office. Anything less is using their crucifix to whack off their nose....