We can’t have Mount Rushmore open. People might not think Republicans are destroying the country!
Despite a well organized plan by South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard to keep Mount Rushmore open with state funds during the government shutdown last October, the Department of Interior kept the place shuttered for a fortnight before finally relenting.
The Department of Interior rebuffed (Daugaard) for two weeks, and I think they did it to make it hurt,” said Jillian Kay Melchior, the author of a superb story in National Review.
Well, it had to hurt, because President Obama and Republicans were involved in a high-stakes game of chicken over the shutdown, and we couldn’t have happy faces gazing at Mount Rushmore while Republicans were being blamed for the ruination of mankind.
What if other national parks started to open? This could get much too pleasant.
Particularly for the man who arrived at the park to remember his deceased wife. From an internal National Park Service memo obtained by Melchior:
We just had contact with a gentleman that came to Mt. Rushmore to memorialize his wife who passed away 1 year ago today. He was aware of the shutdown and had done the responsible thing and checked to see if Rushmore was indeed closed. [After reading this Washington Times article about Daugaard’s efforts to keep the park open, which Hart calls “misleading,”], he headed off to South Dakota.
He was quite surprised and angry when he arrived to find us closed. Not only closed, but now [he was] unable to complete the purpose of his trip. Ranger Wollman spoke with the distressed man on the side of the road for quite a length of time. When the contact ended, the gentleman was no longer angry, but obviously upset.
Not that the NPS was enthusiastically forthcoming in response Melchior’s Freedom of Information Act request for records. Here’s a letter to governor the Park Service branch of the Openness Administration provided.
Viewers, no need to adjust your TV sets. That’s what it looked like. Redaction explosion! The governor’s office gave Melchior the letter instead.
But why were they hiding things? Democrats wouldn’t put politics before people. That’s the kind of thing Republicans do! Obama is for the people.