Monday, November 2, 2009

The Democrats' Very Own Dakota Territory

Matt Yglesias reminds everyone today that there are two Dakotas because Republicans, when they had the chance, decided to take partisan advantage of their majorities in Congress and create two Dakotas instead of one.

Which, in turn, gives me an excuse to wonder yet again why the Democrats are not doing the same thing right now with DC Statehood. DC Statehood is, on substantive grounds, perfectly legitimate (yes, it would be a small state. So what? Plenty of precedent for that -- but no other cases similar to the District's mostly disenfranchised status). Granted, DC might not have the impressive cultural legacy of South Dakota, but I'm sure District advocates can think of one or two attractions. Moreover, and this is certainly the main point, on partisan grounds it's a big winner, since both Senators would be Democrats forever.

I haven't seen a reasonable Constitutional argument against the carve-out statehood proposal (the Constitutionally-designated District would shrink down to the tiny area where containing the White House, Congress, the Mall, and some federal buildings, while the remainder -- where actual people live -- would become a state).

And yet not only are the president and Congressional Democrats ignoring a possibly once-in-a-generation opportunity to press a major partisan advantage, but even online activists, known for their partisan fighting spirit, don't seem to care about it. A quick check of Open Left found that Chris Bowers seems interested in Puerto Rican statehood, but otherwise nothing.

I'm totally baffled by this one; it seems to me totally obvious to me that this is a no-brainer for Democrats.

2 comments:

  1. I think they're trying to appear less partisan. Olympia Snowe on board was a big deal until Joementum cried for attention. I often wonder if this is a White House that actually was offended on a policy level by the way the last one did business: all partisan, all unitary executive, all the time. So, they flub health care by saying "Congress, what do you think?" and they don't push a partisan advantage because they don't want to be seen as partisan.

    I don't buy my own argument, but it does keep occurring to me, and I can't make the argument go away.

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  2. "Matt Yglesias reminds everyone today that there are two Dakotas because Republicans, when they had the chance, decided to take partisan advantage of their majorities in Congress and create two Dakotas instead of one."

    Matt got that wrong. If you reread the link he provides (the Omnibusted one) it says that the Democrats created two Dakotas and noone has any idea why.

    I love your blog, by the way, I've read a whole bunch of archives even earlier than this one. Still hoping to reach the part where you explain why W. was a weak President -- I've seen enough of your evidence that he was, just not why. From all the stonewalling I thought he and Cheney were tough.

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