Anti-Republican bias? Ha! Jonathan Ellis shows the clear conservative bias of South Dakota's commercial press in his Sunday column. The lead political columnist for that Sioux Falls paper opines that GOP House candidate Kristi Noem was "forced" into her Medicare position.
Ellis asserts that Noem "got caught in a trap, one that had been set months ago." To support this claim, he flatly fabricates a rumor, planting the meme that the "someone on the Internet" who posed the question about Rep. Ryan's budget in RCJ's May 11 online chat could have been an operative for the Herseth Sandlin campaign.
What baseless bull! The online handle of the questioner was Derek Gardner. Ellis presents no evidence of any connection between any Derek Gardner and any campaign. Someone find a link between the questioner and the SHS campaign, and I'll stand corrected. But Ellis is geting paid to do this, not me.
And does Ellis forget that there was a hot and sweaty primary race going on when Noem made her Ryan budget comment? I could just as rationally assert that the question came from a Curd crusader trying to press Noem on conservative cred.
Now I will agree that Herseth Sandlin did a brilliant job this week of knocking Noem into damage control and forcing her to flip-flop. I have yet to hear Noem actually reverse her position in favor of Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare. She's still trying to figure out any position beyond her mimicry of futile teabagger calls for repealing Obamacare.
But Ellis's characterization of Noem's gaffe on privatizing Medicare and Social Security as long-plotted gamesmanship from the other side is the sort of unsupported rumor-mongering that makes me think I'm reading Bob, not Jonathan. (I'm not sure which Ellis will feel more insulted by that comment.)
If there was any "trap," Noem set it herself. Noem spouted off in May about supporting Ryan's budget. Independent of Gardner's question, Noem volunteered her admiration for Ryan and suggested she would vote for Ryan for speaker. It didn't take any orchestrated plot from Dems to open Noem's mouth and stick her foot in it. Noem's got that covered all on her own.
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