The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Dean against casino wampum? Say it is so, Joe...

Well, perhaps it was so. Once, at least.

Up in Vermont, the (a?) main tribe is the Abenaki; and they weren't too impressed with the abjectness of Dean's kow-tow as governor, to judge from comments in a piece last November in the Rutland Herald:
April St. Francis Rushlow, chief of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi, questioned whether the delegates at the national gathering were aware of Dean's record of dealing with the Abenaki. "I think they need to take a look at his record in Vermont before they decide to vote for him on Native American issues," Rushlow said, calling Dean's overtures to them "a joke."

"He didn't do too much for us when he was governor for 11 years," she said. "He denied that we existed, unless it brought money into the state of Vermont."

Dean is not as green as he's cabbage-looking: the article continues
Dean's disagreements with the Abenaki were well chronicled. He opposed state or federal recognition of the tribe, fearing they would launch land claims or attempt to open a casino if the federal government approved their status as a sovereign Indian nation.

Now, as previously mentioned here, the casino racket is the modern equivalent of FDR's WPA racket: it's a mechanism whereby pols hand out favours, and the favoured kick back a proportion of the bunce, or express their gratitude at the polls.

The problem with the casino racket is that the greedy white pols gave away humungous sums (revenues of $5 billion a year for California's gaming Indians), but failed to insert an annual termination clause. They Indians are home free with their loot, unless they want to be greedier, and, Oliver Twist-like, ask for more. Those greedy white pols are contemptibly stupid, into the bargain!

But not, perhaps, Dean. Up to a point. The Herald piece quotes one of Dean's hacks thus:
Governor Dean began his speech to the National Congress of American Indians by mentioning his personal opposition to gaming, but that, as president, would support it wherever it was legal. His directness was received by an enthusiastic and supportive audience of tribal leaders.

The Good Doctor is personally opposed to vice, but, as President, he shan't be inflicting his opinion on the country...

Thanks to the Little Big Horn agreements white pols made with the tribes, and assuming nothing creative from the Nauseating Nine, the American voter is stuck with wampum for years to come. What's needed is creativity: if the agreements can't be cancelled, or the wampum sucked back in taxes, other ways of putting a crimp in the Indian's gaming day need to be found. At least, a proactive attitude to looking for such ways should be shown by Presidential candidates.

Now, we are very much in Ninth Beatitude [1] territory: I'm pretty sure that, ere long, both Dean and George W will be donning the feathers and war-whooping for wampum with the rest of them. But the fact that Dean even for a while was able resist the temptation of wampum has placed an unexpected credit in his plus column.

  1. Blessed is he who expects nothing: for he shall seldom be disappointed.

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