Last updated on 2013.02.14
Rep. Stace Nelson directs my attention to the South Dakota Freedom Index, in which the "South Dakota Freedom Coalition" rates of our state legislators based on ten votes in the 2011 session. The rubric is clearly Tea-flavored: three of the ten bills considered deal with "ObamaCare," while two deal with abortion. Funny how activists obsessed with freedom can fail to notice that providing everyone with health insurance actually increases freedom or that driving a bigger wedge between women and their fundamental Constitutional rights degrades freedom.
One issue where the Freedom Index doesn't get things backwards is the Large Project Development Fund. The author(s?) of the index oppose HB 1230 "because in a free-market economy, government's role in is not to pick which businesses should receive startup capital, but rather to punish fraud, theft, and injury and vindicate the rights of victims of such offenses." That's funny: this liberal patriot was saying something very similar while knocking on doors last spring to put HB 1230 to a public vote. I'm sure we can count on the South Dakota Freedom Coalition to join us in further disgusting our Governor by helping get out the vote to repeal the Large Project Development Fund at the November 2012 referendum.
Unfortunately, I can't tell who has coalesced to form the South Dakota Freedom Coalition. Bob Ellis, South Dakota's own Stephen Colbert, claims the SDFC is a "group of patriots," which I take as more of Bob's puffery, trying to make a couple guys at IHOP sound like a great revolutionary movement. The group has no online presence and no contact information other than a Gmail address. I suspect we have another case of conservative cranks fantasizing they are the pseudonymous authors of the Federalist papers.
The closest guess I can make is that the document was authored by Eldon Stahl, frequent 9-12 flyer and self-described South Dakota Field Coordinator for the John Birch Society. The South Dakota Freedom Index uses the same ten-item scoring system as the Birchers' Congressional Scorecard.
Sounds like standard John Birch operating procedure: create front groups and letter-writing campaigns, don't tell us who's really behind the activism. Great: just the kind of people I want telling me what freedom is.