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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Daugaard Policy Armor Cracks; Heidepriem Primed for Offensive

South Dakota GOP candidate for governor Dennis Daugaard must be reading too much War College. Daugaard apparently believes the propaganda that the campaign is over, it's a blowout, it's hopeless for Heidepriem... believes it so much that he's starting to slip.

First Team Daugaard puts out an ad so doggedly designed to deny reality that even mild-mannered journalist Bob Mercer, not the most obviously liberal journalist in the state, felt obliged to point out that the ad outright lies when it claims we balanced our state budget without raising taxes. Mercer catalogs a few tax and fee increases propping up our state budget; contact your local county commission and school board to learn the tax hikes they've had to pile onto your local assessment to make up for the state's budgetary neglect.

Then Daugaard tells nursing homes that they probably won't get the $21 million in medicaid stimulus Washington sent them. "We need to guard against the increasing tendency to look for the government to save us," Daugaard lectured the nursing home workers' convention in Sioux Falls Wednesday, even as he defended Pierre's pouring that stimulus money into the general fund to save our budget. That's the same shell game Daugaard and his boss are playing with the $26.3 million in education stimulus approved in August, diverting it from its intended purpose and guaranteeing it won't have the stimuluative effect lawmakers intended.

Now Daugaard skips a great opportunity to defend his record and his plans on a major state policy issue. Tonight's Inside KELOLand (10:30 p.m. CST) will discuss the recent Zogby poll, sponsored by the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, on South Dakota voters' views of K-12 education. Democrat Scott Heidepriem will be there. So will an ASBSD official. Daugaard was invited, but he won't be there. Team Heidepriem is telling supporters that Daugaard said he doesn't want to debate this issue with Heidepriem. Maybe Daugaard, like fellow Republican Kristi Noem, is just getting tired of having his indefensible claims challenged and thinks he can coast to victory in November with fluffy ads and nice hair.

Whatever Daugaard's reason for skipping this discussion, Heidepriem gets free shots for a half hour on the highest-rated TV station in the state. And what will those free shots include? Paraphrasing the latest Team Heidepriem e-mail, Heidepriem will likely cite various expenditures the state has incurred even while breaking its promise to schools and shorted K-12 education this year:
  • Rounds and Daugaard happily sent TransCanada an extra $10.5 million in tax refunds to incentivize a pipeline TransCanada had already built through our state.
  • The current administration has given over $533,000 dollars in pay raises to their top 19 executive branch staffers... who have turned around and given Daugaard over $62,000 in campaign contributions.
  • They've refused to sell any of the state airplanes.
  • They closed the Black Hills Playhouse while spending over $200K to renovate "Valhalla," the historic Peter Norbeck cabin just up the trail that Governor Rounds has turned into his personal playground.
Tonight's KELO broadcast is the beginning of what could be a big media week for Heidepriem. His big 30-minute documentary is already making the rounds at Dems events and hits the airwaves on all the major South Dakota channels this week Thursday. And by dodging a discussion of education and papering over bad policy with cheery optimism and plainly false claims, Daugaard may be making it that much easier for Heidepriem to grab folks' attention and make the big push for November.


  1. Cory -

    You're kind of ignoring the facts.

    The campaign IS over.

    It IS a blowout.

    And It IS hopeless for Heidepriem.

  2. No, I'm pointing out that the narrative you're trying to manufacture ignores the facts about bad Rounds/Daugaard policy that Heidepriem is pointing out. If Daugaard keeps turning out ads that so blatantly ignore real problems, and if Heidepriem stays focused on those facts, the poll numbers can slide H's way.

  3. Having sat through and taken notes on the proposed airplane sale bill, I find it hard to believe that Heidepriem still uses that as a soap box. I'm not trying to defend Daugaard here, but there are two sides to every coin. Maybe more people should take an active role in the appropriations process. It is a lot of work for both parties.
    Maybe, just maybe, if people took the time to pay attention to the whole process, we could stop arguments based upon sound bites. We could have a little more say in things like Valhalla.
    Just an idea...

  4. That's a good idea, Katelyn... and a lot to ask of a public that prefers personality over practical policy. As you say, appropriations is a lot of work!

    Curious: given your experience, can you boil down for us the reasons that selling the state planes is a rickety issue? I can imagine it's a small, mostly one-time revenue bump, but could we still stand to reduce the fleet?

  5. In better economic times, we could downsize. But, as originally written, the bill required the sale of all four planes in the fleet. As Noem's traffic record points out, traveling across South Dakota is more time consuming than in smaller states. Sometimes, flying is the best option for travel, given demands on time. The one-time bump in funds to the state general budget wouldn't cover the loss.(Two of the planes are older than I am.)
    When the economy turns around, sale might seem more reasonable, but the prices "based on current market conditions" the states planes would fetch aren't worth the usage the state can get out of them.
    It was a decent place to look to cut state expenditure, but currently, it's not very worthwhile.


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