Ed Randazzo flogs the "Primary for Daugaard!" meme that his blog boss, Gordon "Potemkin" Howie has been stoking for over a year. Much to my surprise, Randazzo makes a cogent case that Governor Dennis Daugaard is not a conservative. Randazzo's points:
- Randazzo says taxes have increased under Gov. Daugaard's watch by $100 million. A glance at this year's budget brief says true! State receipts in the last Rounds budget totaled $1.148 billion. State receipts in the first Daugaard budget totaled $1.249 billion. Pierre projects FY 2013 receipts at $1.272 billion.
- Randazzo says Gov. Daugaard is implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act even while participating in the lawsuit against it. Team Daugaard has made it clear that they are eager to see ObamaCare gone. But we can acknowledge the conservative absolutist interpretation that any facilitation of the PPACA is less conservative than no facilitation of PPACA.
- Randazzo criticizes Gov. Daugaard's doling out of $5 million dollars to out-of-state Manpower Inc. to recruit 1000 out-of-state workers. Using tax dollars to make happen the hiring that the free market should do by itself doesn't sound conservative to me.
- Randazzo gives a vague critique of Gov. Daugaard's education reform bill, the infamous HB 1234. I'll firm up Randazzo's conservative critique: HB 1234 increases centralized control of education and pours money into policies that don't work. Bonus critique: HB 1234 inappropriately applies the free-market model to a realm where it will not work; the failure of HB 1234's reforms to improve education will weaken public faith in the free market and increase the chances of socialist revolution. (If I got conked in the head and got amnesia, I could so easily work for Gordon and friends. Think Kermit in Muppets Take Manhattan.)
- Randazzo dings Daugaard for his five hubristic primary endorsements of legislators he says are neither fiscally nor socially conservative. Randazzo et al. must resort to absurd rhetoric on culture-warrior issues to make this point.
Randazzo will have a hard time making the case to Democrats that Governor Dennis Daugaard is not a conservative. He'll have an even harder time getting Democrats, Independents, or 60% of Republicans to replace him with Gordon Howie in 2014. But as a Democrat who enjoys chaos behind enemy lines, I welcome Randazzo and Howie to try.