I've made clear that I have trouble getting excited about a Democrat (or anyone else) who calls the proposed Hyperion refinery "fantastic" and a "boon." So you can expect my read of Karpen's campaign literature to be less than favorable.
As I read his letter, the first thing I learn is the length of his marriage and the names of his wife, kids, and grandkids. Yes, yes, we all have wonderful families. Yes, I'm proud of my daughter, too, but that doesn't render my political judgment any more valid.
After ascribing his political activities to the inspiration of "the spirit of the pioneers who made our country great," Karpen gets down to the real résumé, citing his experience on township board, school board, and county commission. Interestingly, in discussing his tenure as a Union County Commissioner, he does not mention the words "Hyperion" or "refinery":
Being Chairman of the Union County Commissioners fostered in me the importance of allowing everyone the right to be heard while ensuring that the wishes of the majority are sustained. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "The most sacred of the duties of a government is to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens" [Doyle Karpen, campaign letter to Democratic convention delegates, June 2010].
Well, at least Karpen is good at spin.
Karpen does mention Hyperion on his online résumé. Karpen says he "focused on laws and ordinances rather than emotions"... since, of course, if you oppose an unsustainable, polluting, economically unviable oil refinery, you're just being emotional.
I'm starting to worry that when Karpen talks about bringing "the pioneer spirit... back to the people of South Dakota," he's really talking code for letting big oil corporations pioneer their projects roughshod right over us natives (ah, just like the 1800s).
But where's our alternative? Challenger John Zaiko hasn't sent out similar mail. He did click "attending" on the Democratic convention Facebook page, so I'm hoping we can have a conversation in Sioux Falls Saturday... and maybe at least one interesting vote at the convention!