I just heard SDPB's Dakota Digest interview with U.S. House candidate Kristi Noem. She really is South Dakota's Sarah Palin: all slogans and imagery, all anti-intellectualism, no substance.
Just like Ken Knuppe, Kristi Noem took the SDPB interviewer out for a ride in her pickup truck around the ranch. Kristi isn't much of a rancher at the moment: she still has horses, but she sold her cattle to run for Congress.
Among the offensive lines of the interview, Richard Steen, a gruff-sounding male supporter hosting a Noem event, rails against education. He says we've had enough graduates from Harvard and Yale, who've "sold this country down the river." So what, because Noem didn't finish university, we now have to demonize everyone who has, or at least those who attended our best universities? Does it completely escape Noem that you don't have to invalidate different lifestyles and life choices just to affirm your own?
By the way, the only Harvard grad I know of in the current races is Republican gubernatorial candidate David Knudson. He's not my guy, but I don't think he's sold any countries down any rivers. And are we supposed to tell all those bright young people we just feted at graduation receptions that their plans to go to universities are un-American? Is that what Noem tells her kids? "Dream small: University is for losers"?
We also hear the standard empty crowd-pleaser that we need businessmen, not politicians running the government. Sure... just like we need businessmen, not cops, chasing crooks. Or we need businessmen, not teachers, teaching elementary school. Or we need businessmen, not astronauts, flying the Space Shuttle.
Again, Kristi, there really are experiences other than your own. Those diverse experiences are as valid and valuable as your own. A professor, a soldier, a lawyer, a meatpacker, and an artist may be just as qualified to participate in government as you. To say that your particular class is better qualified for elected office than other exposes both arrogance and insecurity (remind you of any former Alaska governors yet?).
Businesspeople are in charge of BP. Clearly, businesspeople are not the best people for every job.
Noem's SDPB interview is filled with happy platitudes. Noem avers that politics won't change her, that she's a "fighter," that people are scared and need someone to protect them from government. But again, there's no practical policy agenda here. There's no answer for how we eliminate the deficit while maintaining a strong military, Social Security, and Medicare. There's no honest discussion of which earmarks and other federal assistance South Dakota sends back to Washington to help balance the budget.
Noem can't talk policy. She's only marginally better than Gordon Howie, trying to ride image, slogans, and the anti-incumbency wave to higher office. Stand Noem up against Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (yes, really, please do, my Republican friends), and the incumbent will shred the challenger on practical policy issues.
Update 15:35 CDT: Heidepriem's running mate, Ben Arndt, is a Yalie... and a businessman... rather like (ulp!) George W. Bush. What will Noem make of him?
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