Pat Powers outs Pierre-area Republican Jim Sheehan as author of a new blog, Republican Territory. Sheehan has been playing Federalist Papers fitfully for a bit over a year, warming his quill behind a suitably Roman superhero pseudonym with a few posts last fall, then returning to online philosophizing this October.
Now that we have a real name with the blog, I'm pleased to add it to my blogroll. But Pat may not be so pleased, if he pays attention to what Sheehan is saying about the errors of Pat's party.
Consider Sheehan's prescient take on the Governor's Office of Economic Development:
The Board of Economic Development is not truly accountable to the people of South Dakota, and this lack of oversight breeds corruption and cronyism [Jim Sheehan, "Off with Their Heads," Republican Territory, 2013.10.08].
Sheehan wrote that two weeks before former GOED chief Richard Benda turned up dead and three weeks before we learned a federal investigation into GOED is afoot. Alas, he also wrote three weeks after Governor Dennis Daugaard cancelled the arrangement Sheehan advocates, a contract with a private company to handle certain economic development activities. Maybe Sheehan's proposal to turn all economic development activities over to a private company and subject them to legislative audit every year would work better.
More damningly, read Sheehan's call for a non-partisan Inspector General to fight the one-party-inspired corruption he sees in our state, an essay he wrote the day Governor Daugaard announced Richard Benda's suspicious death:
A state such as ours, dominated by one party and racked with nepotism in state government, is a prime target for corruption. Human nature does not cease at the borders of South Dakota. With no auditing of our books by outside independent sources, we can be assured of taxpayer money being mishandled. The Attorney General is ill-equipped to investigate corruption that may occur in his own party, and this has been demonstrated by recent partisan misuse of office. The responsibility for investigation of corruption in state government should be as independent of partisan concerns and executive control as possible. The position of Inspector General has proven to be effective as a government watchdog in other states. South Dakotans will receive transparency, government efficiency, and the promotion of ethics through a Department of Inspector General. The ‘go along’ attitude and denial of the misuse of power and state funds should no longer continue. The scandals and accusations of abuse of power and position for personal gain have been growing, while those that are in the favor of the controlling party have the aid of convenient exception, overlooking, and intentional favoritism [Jim Sheehan, "Man the Watchtower," Republican Territory, 2013.10.22].
No longer should a government employee – appointed, elected, or hired – be allowed to directly or indirectly review the performance, effect the employment contract of, or award government contracts to any family of the 3rd degree of the said government employee. This is good government because it protects those that it serves through internal checks and balances. We should never see school districts dominated by single families; nor government road, lawn, or maintenance contracts awarded to family members whose performance is reviewed by other family members; or politicians awarding government grants and loan subsidies to petitioning family members [Jim Sheehan, "All the Governor's Men," Republican Territory, 2013.10.08].
Sheehan can drift into abstraction, but if he can stick with meat-and-potatoes South Dakota issues (and reduce his blog logo size so it fits on my screen!), he could lead an intelligent conversation that South Dakota Republicans need to have... and that his fellow Republican Pat Powers isn't interested in having.
p.s.: Jim Sheehan also calls the SDGOP's embrace of the Keystone XL pipeline a "wretched misstep" that sacrifices our property rights and will raise our gasoline prices. Wow—I know he's an arch-conservative, but Jim sounds more like this Democratic blogger than the Republican blogger who outs him!