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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stricherz Video: Prayer Drives Inaccurate Negative Attack

District 8's only Republican candidate for State House, Patricia Stricherz, offers this video via SDPB's Meet the Candidates page:

Kudos to Stricherz on bringing some enthusiasm and force to her presentation, as well as some good details on her support for Iran divestment and legislation to protect first responders' jobs (what? they don't already have that? what kind of a jerk boss penalizes an employee for being a volunteer fireman?). And on a personal note, I like the hair. (Of course, hair is not a voting issue: Stricherz's long locks won't win my vote any more than would Pastor Hickey's defiant whiskers!)

My Sarah Palin alarm goes off a little when I hear the decision to enter the race was made after "prayerful consideration." That sounds like code for, "The Lord told me to run! You have to vote for me; it's God's will!" But that's probably just atheist me being overly sensitive.

I do find it interesting that Stricherz's prayerful consideration leads Stricherz to go negative early. I don't have a problem with "going negative"—too many commentators and spin-sters use that term to dismiss what may be perfectly valid criticisms of a politician's record. But if you're going to go negative, you should be specific and be accurate. Play that tape again:

My opponent is a career politician quite set in his political ways. By repeatedly switching political parties, he has been allowed to stay in office for eighteen years [Patricia Stricherz, "Meet the Candidates" video, SDPB, 2010.08.11.

Hmm... just one opponent? Which one does she mean: Gerry Lange, Mitch Fargen, or Jason Bjorklund? Those of us paying attention know she means veteran legislator Gerry Lange, but voters just being introduced to the candidates and the race may have no idea which one she's talking about. If you're going to go negative, go full out. Say the guy's name.

Stricherz's text here also misleads. I'm not sure you can characterize any member of South Dakota's part-time Legislature as a "career politician." My neighbor Gerry didn't get involved in politics until he was in his 50s, after serving in the Army Signal Corps and making his living as teacher, professor, and farmer.

And as for "repeatedly" switching political parties, well, I think Gerry ran as an Independent once, but I'm not sure that counts as "repeatedly." What has really allowed Gerry to stay in office for so many terms has been his good public service and good relationships with his constituents.

I will grant that my neighbor Gerry may be "quite set in his political ways" on some issues. but if "set in your ways" is a reason to vote against someone, I can't wait to hear Stricherz advocate throwing out stuck-in-the-mud Republicans like Russell Olson, Roger Hunt, and Don Kopp.

Stricherz's video has its political stretch and spin, but it does show more polish than Stricherz's first political appearances in the 2008 race. It looks like she's ready to run harder this time around.


  1. Cory,

    It is your atheist leanings. :)

    A sincere and devout Christian is called to take major decisions to prayer.

    Just because she received peace in contemplation of the decision, doesn't necessarily translate in God endorsing her as a candidate as much as an endorsement of the fruits that will come out of it. Maybe those fruits will be her victory, maybe it will be her articulation of the issues, maybe it will be in her defeat, and maybe it will be he desires the change that will occur in her as a person.

    All she is saying she considered this decision so serious she took it to prayer and received peace in this decision. Christians then trust God to do with the decision what He wills.

  2. Lange started his political career as a Democrat, later ran on the Independent ticket, then in 2008 had switched back to Democrat....."continuely switching political parties."

    Not necessarily a negative "ATTACK" but stating the facts.

    As far as South Dakota goes, beginning in your fifties and still going in your eighties, pretty much defines a career politican.


    Cordially yours,

    Patricia Stricherz

  3. Now let's be honest, Patricia: everything you put in a campaign video is meant to encourage people to vote for you over the other guy. You cite here one instance of Gerry running as an Indy. Your language and tone in the video clearly intend to portray that one choice as something negative, a reason to vote against Gerry. I've switched parties, too -- is that a reason not to vote for me for office?

    Please don't hide behind language like "just stating the facts." You are stating facts, but you are also saying, "These facts are why a vote for Lange is bad and a vote for me is good." That's a rhetorical attack. That's not a bad thing; that's what a campaigner does. Just own it for what it is.

    And I still question whether someone serving mostly in retirement as a part-time legislator and deriving the majority of his income from other activities can be said to be making a "career" out of politics.


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