We've moved!

Social Icons

twitterfacebooklinkedinrss feed

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Herseth Sandlin Turns Tables on Noem; Marking Blows Opportunity

Well, I was hoping to enjoy the archived video of the first Herseth Sandlin–Noem–Marking Congressional debate at the Sioux Empire Fair yesterday. But the video provided by the Web wizards at that Sioux Falls paper got only one question in before it hitched, skipped, and crashed my browser. I'll keep trying....

Nonetheless, I've seen and read enough to take heart: Herseth Sandlin came out swinging, with exactly the aggressive style she needs to beat back the well-funded Republican attack machine operating behind the slogan-chantin' figurehead of Kristi Noem.

Where Noem began with the predictable reference to Al Franken and Nancy Pelosi, Herseth Sandlin responded by positioning herself against the big-spending tendencies of both parties and that obstructionism of John Boehner. Where Noem backpedaled and rode the fence on her own support for proposals to privatize Social Security*, Herseth Sandlin made her position against such Republican tomfoolery crystal clear. Where Noem whimpered about how bad the stimulus act was, Herseth Sandlin hammered the facts that Noem and the South Dakota Legislature gladly used that money to balance the budget, fund ethanol blender pump legislation, and avoid hard decisions.

One of Noem's big points, Arizona's immigration law, shows the misalignment of her priorities and the ease with which teabaggers get tied in knots. Noem shows her desire to Glenn-Beckify the race, talking about another state's policy that doesn't have much impact on South Dakota. Then she wraps her position in this contradiction:

"When we are sitting here in a recession and need dollars to go to our priorities, our priorities should not be our administration and our country suing our states when all they want to do is protect their people."

Oh, wait: so we shouldn't waste federal dollars on lawsuits to ensure that state laws don't violate the Constitution and individual rights (there's the line of attack Herseth Sandlin took), but it's great for states to expend hard-to-come-by tax dollars during a recession to challenge federal laws on the same grounds?

Sure, when Noem is just a pretty face in nice pictures from Texas, it's easy for voters to say, "Sure, I'll vote for her." But put her on the stage, pit her head to head with one of the smartest ladies in the state, and talk about the facts of Noem's partisanship and certain slavish submission to John Boehner and Michele Bachman (not to mention her farm-subsidized hypocrisy), and you'll see South Dakota voters run back to Herseth Sandlin's intelligent, South-Dakota-focused leadership in a hurry.

You can also tell Noem lost this first debate by the tenor of Republican response. Usually Republicans like being the aggressor. They like tough debating style, 1-2 punches and body checks against us wimpy Dukakis liberals who cling to our talking points. But let Stephanie Herseth Sandlin bring the heat and Noem remain stuck on her dull rehearsed lines, and suddenly Noem gets praise for being "mellow" and "on message" while Herseth Sandlin is "agitated" and "not the measured or scripted Stephanie we're used to." Check that, PP: that's the "measured and scripted Stephanie you were hoping for so you could offer your standard blog insults and portray Noem as the strong woman on stage.
Speaking of strength, alas, Independent candidate B. Thomas Marking has none. I agree: the undone necktie was an unnecessary distraction. You either wear it at full mast, or you bag it. And marking's debate tactics are terrible. He gave up valuable debate time, giving brief answers or worse totally ceding his allotted time. I always tell debaters to use every second they have. When I hear a kid at a debate tournament get up for an eight-minute constructive speech, deliver just one main point, and then bail out after just two minutes, that kid has probably torpedoed his team's chance of getting my vote, unless that one point is not just good but amazing.

When you're the third-party candidate, when you're guaranteed to get as little attention as the easily-confused mainstream media can get by with, you don't cede your rebuttal. You don't decline any opportunity to take the mic and talk to a bunch of voters at a fair or on the Web, especially those rare opportunities when you are sitting right next to the two big-name candidates and thus have the chance to show yourself every bit as smart and patriotic and ready for the job of Congressperson as they are. Failing to grab that easy opportunity makes me feel silly for having defended your right to participate in the big media debates.

I do note Marking appears to have shifted position again, saying now that he would treat the online referendum he'd set up as binding on his votes in Congress, not simply as advisory. In other words, Marking doesn't want us to vote for him; he wants us to vote for a computer.
*See Noem's online chat with RCJ's Kevin Woster, May 11, 2010 in which she endorses Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) budget proposal, which includes privatizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Care to limb back on the fence, Kristi?


  1. Well, evidently you didn't see the latest news that Rounds refused the money for education from SHS's proudly touted latest "stimulus" bill as in order to take the funds we would have to raise taxes. Guess that kinda blows her argument that she voted for it for SD!

    As regarding SS privatization, the money my kids have to pay into SS will probably never be seen again by them and is gone like seeds in the wind. I would love for them to have the opportunity to put at least some of that money in a private account of their choosing to invest as they chose rather than giving it to the fed govt. At least they would have hopes of getting some of it back.

    SHS appeared angry and upset many time with answers yelled out and a set smile on her face. And she didn't act very candidate like as she ran out of the building immediately after the debate either. Guess she isn't much on actually talking with her constituents after all. Didn't appear to want to do it.

  2. Oops, forgot the rest of the last line with my original post. Last line should be as below.

    Didn't appear to want to do it this year any more than she did last year.

  3. So SHS shows anger and passion, and that's bad. But tea parties and health care town halls are filled with anger, and that's admirable and patriotic? Is anger only permitted for the people you agree with, Linda?

  4. So why is SHS still avoiding her constituents? Rudely avoiding them BTW. Not very politically astute. She represents every person in SD, not just those she happens to agree with or those who support her.

    She misspoke about her "living" in Brookings and I'll bet won't touch that subject again. She slyly lied about being holding open meetings last summer when people were so upset with Congress and the health care bill. She proudly touted the latest bail out when she didn't mention the strings attached and that it was not good for SD. Doesn't look to me like she did such a great job at the debate. Maybe that is why she ran out - she knew she misspoke and didn't want anyone to bring these things up!

    And the passion SHS showed at the debate was simply irritation at being challenged on her stances on issues. She has not had to do this in the recent races, and she does not like it. But this time more people are aware of the issues, her voting record, the repercussions of said votes, etc. It's a new environment this year!

  5. Midday at SDPB had Ellis of the Argus. When asked who won, he responded, "Nobody lost."

    I would like to suggest that who really lost was South Dakota voters since none of the candidates talked about serious issues and blathered on with irrelevant talking points.

    Herseth shows her gutlessness by failing to compare Pelosi positions to GOP retrogression to already failed positions. Herseth's problem is that she voted against the wrong programs to make a good case.

    As for education funds, South Dakota should see if that money can be shifted to energy efficient heating and cooling systems for schools such as ground source heatpumps. A one shot investment there would provide savings that would aid taxpayers, students, and teachers for years by shifting money wasted on energy-inefficient systems to actual instruction, etc.

    The economic benefits would result nearly immediately and for years to come.

  6. I will agree, Douglas, that SHS needs to hit that Pelosi-vs-Boehner point much harder, press Noem on how slavishly she'll follow the GOP leadership. She made a start yesterday; now let's see if she can keep up the drumbeat and smoke Noem out... and maybe get back some good healthy Dem mojo.

  7. Cory,

    I wasn't there. But I just finished watching it online.

    On the issues:

    There was only four matters that were really debated.

    Arizona Law: Noem said it was a wrong decision to sue the states. Herseth made it a "human rights" issues. I think Herseth's position will fall flat.

    Stimulus (or Recovery Act by Herseth): Noem said we couldn't afford it. Herseth tried to talk about its specifics and her view they were good for South Dakota. Again, I think most South Dakotans lean toward Noem's position.

    Obamacare: While Herseth tried to have it both ways (I was against it but it is good), Noem's position was more clear. I'm against it and I'll work to repeal it.

    Jobs and economic recovery. Noem said it was a matter of too much taxes on business was restraining job creation. Herseth talked about all the things government has done (esp. in the "Recovery Act) for job creation. Considering unemployment has risen 30% since passage, I'm not sure Herseth's position is the view of most of South Dakotans.

    A couple of items I found more interesting:

    Misrepresentation: Herseth had to wave the "senior card" by saying Noem was for privatizing Medicare (and Social Security). Noem is for neither. Even if Noem is for giving seniors vouchers to procure services outside Medicare providers or allowing a portion of S.S. contributions to be controlled by individuals (I don't know where Noem stands, this is not privatization. Again, I don't think they were effective arguments.

    Body Language: Watch the debate again. Herseth was very fidgety and expressive when others were talking. She seemed nervous and defensive (esp. in her "disrespectful" comment). Noem was very stoic which belied a great deal of confidence.

    Missed Opportunities: Herseth had few. She highlighted her strengths quite well.

    But Noem did. First, when Herseth referenced voting against Tarp, Noem didn't press hard enough on the disconnect on not wanting to end TARP but instead wanted it extended. Second was when Herseth claimed to have met with thousands of South Dakotans on health care.

    In short, this debate wasn't even close. Noem won on issues, style and demeanor. The missed opportunities only preventer Noem from running up the score.

    Final comment: While I think Marking in the race helps Herseth and my partisan impulse is to have him excluded, when he had a view he raised an interesting point. I think he should continue to be included in the debates.

  8. Troy, really? I don't think Kristi came anywhere even close to winning the debate, not that it will make any difference on how people will vote.

    I thought SHS demonstrated quite clearly that both Kristi and BT's positions were fairly amateurish, and in Kristi's case, oftentimes self contradictory and irresponsible.

    For Kristi not to have a clear position on the privatizing of Medicare and Social Security is either a complete lie or a total lack of ability to form a personal political philosophy.

    For Kristi to think that there is a snowball's chance in hell that the Healthcare bill can be repealed, see above.

    In terms of demeanor, I'm sorry, but Kristi looked absolutely petrified. You must not be able to read body language very well, my friend. Stephanie was on her like white on rice and Kristi was backing off every way from Sunday.

    At least that's what I saw. And remember, I'm shopping for someone to vote for. You're not. I think maybe you were just seeing what you wanted to see. Something that in fact, wasn't really there.

    And yes, they should keep BT in the debates. He needs the practice.

    BTW, did you notice how Kristi snubbed him? What a snoot. I don't like women who turn their nose up at people like that. Makes me wonder who they think they are.

  9. Oops, forgot one thing, Troy. The clincher of the debate for me had to be the three responses on the military. Both BT and SHS blew Kristi away on that one.

    KN wasn't even in the same room, let alone sitting at the same table.

    Authorizing funds for the Military is a pretty big deal, for a Congressperson, don't you think? Maybe the biggest deal of all? You know, blood, treasure and all that?

    What think I heard from Kristi is that if it's wearing a uniform, she's got the checkbook out, asking them "How much?"

    Not good.

    Plus, she's dead wrong on our not being "nation builders." That's exactly what we're doing. Tearing down nations and building them back up in a way that's more to our liking.

    It's as though Noem doesn't have a clue about anything related to the Military issue other than blind loyalty similar to a high school cheerleader who doesn't have the slightest idea of how the sports games she cheers for are played.

  10. Bill,

    I guess we didn't see the same debate.

    Regarding the military, I don't think they should be nation builders. They are to protect the intersts of the United States against foreign powers. Period. Kinda funny you are defending "nation building" as that was one of the criticisms of Bush and Iraq. Neither did Marking.

    Herseth's "closed checkbook" items weren't tough votes. Few people disagree with her including Thune. Tough votes are where there is controversy and she didn't lay a single one out.

  11. I'm not defending nation building at all, Troy. Quite the contrary. I'm not defending our being involved in either war. Period.

    I just think that Kristi's saying that's not what we're doing shows that she's clueless about what's going on regarding the wars and the military.

  12. Bill said, "Did you notice how Kristi snubbed him? What a snoot. I don't like women who turn their nose up at people like that. Makes me wonder who they think they are."

    Well, I can revise this just a little bit here. "Did you notice how Stephanie snubbed the attendees who wanted to speak with her after the debate? I don't like politicians who turn their nose up at people like that. Makes me wonder who they think they are." I was there. Stephanie absolutely snubbed those wanting to speak with her after the debate, except the few she recognized as friends and glad-handed on her hasty way out of the building. Not good PR on her part.

  13. Sorry, last post was Nonnie. Name thingie didn't take.


Comments are closed, as this portion of the Madville Times is in archive mode. You can join the discussion of current issues at MadvilleTimes.com.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.