May 26, 2005
The recent Pentagon decision to close military bases across the country has senators and representatives alike up in arms. One of the bases under consideration for closure resides in little old South Dakota. You might be saying, "Why the hell is there a military base in South Dakota? Are we invading Canada anytime soon?" Defense officials apparently have the same questions. The Pentagon has recommended closing the state's Ellsworth Air Force Base. The base currently is the second-largest employer in South Dakota and was central to the unseating of former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in the 2004 election. Daschle campaigned that his leadership position would have enabled him to ensure that the base remained open, as he did 10 years ago under Clinton. Senator Thune declared that as a Republican he would have the President's ear and could better prevent this closure, a position endorsed by the majority of voting South Dakotans. Thune has now ineffectually indicated that he might defect from Republican positions on issues such as John Bolton, the CAFTA, and judicial nominations in order to try and influence a reversal on this decision. According to the NY Times article on the matter, under Pentagon recommended reassignments "the home state of Dr. Frist, would gain 1,088 jobs under the recommendations, while Nevada, the home state of the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, would gain 1,059 jobs." Oops South Dakota.
Posted by Adam Geiger at 9:21 AM