May 17, 2008
* (NOT!) Sioux City, Sioux Falls, what's the difference? It's all the same in "flyover country," right? Well, that depends. If you are campaigning for the presidency, and you want those people's votes, you'd better know which is which. Evidently, Barack Obama recovered from his gaffe, and his adoring supporters at the Sioux Falls Arena were all too willing to forgive him. He was introduced by former Senators Tom Daschle and George McGovern, who until recently had supported Hillary Clinton. Read all about it in the Argus Leader. On-the-scene hat tip to Chris.
For you folks in Rio Linda, and others whose knowledge of geography may fall a bit short, Sioux City (est. pop. 84,000) is in Iowa, and Sioux Falls (est. pop. 130,000) is in South Dakota; they are about ninety miles apart. I remember when Sioux City used to be the bigger of the two.
Dmitry Medvedev (former prime minister) was sworn in as president of the Russian Federation last week, and only a day later the former president Vladimir Putin was confirmed as the country's new prime minister. He made some minor changes in the composition of the cabinet, but the three most important portfolios (Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Defense) stayed the same. This shows that there is an immense degree of continuity in the Russian government, and not much democratic input. See Washington Post. Even though Putin has "stepped aside," respecting the constitutional limit on no more than two consecutive terms, the practical effect of the role-switching is minimal. For the time being, it is uncertain whether Medvedev is a mere puppet or a junior apprentice, but in any case, Putin is still regarded as the man with all the power. He remains very popular with the "grassroots" in Russia, but it is hard to say for sure because the Russian government exerts heavy control over the news media there, subjecting independent journalists to intimidation and even death threats.
In Friday's New Leader:
What Augusta County is going through now with the 6th district voting for Kurt Michael despite the fact-finding recommendations shows that the problems with the party are deeper than just Kurt and Lynn (Mitchell). Staunton suffered the same irrational justice last summer at the hands of the 6th District over an election for secretary that had occurred months before, without an outcry from anyone at the time of his election. We never received reasons for their rulings; it was pure bullying brought on by Kurt and Lynn pushing for their intervention. Yes, it is about the power, and it's very corrupt.
Those Republicans who say that this battle is hurting the party are part of the problem. History is replete with tragedy because people refused to intervene at the first signs of a process gone wrong. Power in the wrong hands is a dangerous thing.
Kurt recognizes that he has reached the end of the game locally so like Putin he will pass the baton to one that will follow his orders as he plans to move to the 6th District. Humm...
STACEY MORRIS Staunton
For background, see my May 3 blog post.