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Rats do leave sinking ships

December 30th, 2013

We note our friends at Newsmax report that an erstwhile Republican Mr. Larry Pressler is running as an “independent” in a bid to return to the US Senate seat in South Dakota after a 16 year hiatus. Mr. Pressler was the only incumbent so-called Republican Senator unseated in 1996 when Democrat Tim Johnson defeated him due in large measure to Pressler’s crafting of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

This particular bill was criticized by the Consumers Union and others as enabling “the handful of corporations dominating the airwaves to expand their power further.” Indeed, this wedge led to the bilking of investors by Mssrs. Bill Clinton and his fund raiser Terry McAuliffe (now Virginia Governor) in the unseemly Global Crossing scandal, as favors were doled out on the greens of Washington D.C. golf courses.

Regardless, Mr. Pressler, a “moderate” Republican according to the Washington Post, “supported President Obama in 2008 and 2012.” Mr. Pressler’s opportunistic and full-throated support of President Obama led to his political appointment (we dare say quid pro quo) in 2009 by the current Administration under the pretense of “bi-partisanship”. Yet if there ever was a divisive President short of Abraham Lincoln, it would be Mr. Obama, the embodiment of partisan extremism. Perhaps Mr. Pressler had an excuse in 2008. He had none in 2012.

Apparently Mr. Pressler has now had an epiphany. He fathomed the bilge water of public animosity toward all things “big-party”—which includes his own crony lobbyist deals. Rather than switch parties to match his apparent persuasions, and finally run on his preferences as an out-of-the-closet Democrat, Mr. Pressler apparently will attempt to paint his candidacy this time as “Independent”.

Unfortunately, the Ship of State (or Ship of Fools, as the case maybe) is taking on seawater; and mere paint alone will not substitute for the need to weld steel plate—which we call principles—to the hull. America is badly listing, betrayed by a lack of principles, torpedoed by partisanship. Despite the Washington Post vouchsafe, Mr. Pressler has willfully encouraged the very thing he now supposedly stands against. Mr. Pressler is a chameleon—a poor attempt at dazzle camouflage. Under the present circumstances, such paint is no barrier to the seas.

Perhaps if it weren’t simply a cynical marketing ploy to position his personal ambition under the “white” of an independent candidate, Mr. Pressler’s newly painted “independence” would be a good thing. The chaotic decks of a dysfunctional government have certainly been awakened to the realization that despite which “brand” of captaincy is at the helm—red versus blue—it has been politicians like Mr. Pressler who have navigated this nation into treacherous shoals.

So despite his paint job, Mr. Pressler is no White Knight; he is nothing more than an opportunist. And now that the Ship of State is slipping deeper into the waves, we do not doubt that a whole raft of former big-box politicians exactly like Mr. Pressler will paint their aspirations as “Independent.” Rats do leave a sinking ship if at all possible.

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