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Friday, October 22, 2010

Noem, Herseth Sandlin Take Identical Reasonable Dodge on Speaker Question

South Dakota's right wing enjoys giving Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin a hard time for not telling us who will get her vote for Speaker of the House in the next session. South Dakota's left wing enjoys heaping the same grief on GOP challenger Kristi Noem for her equivalent agnosticism on what ought to be an easy question (that and her inability to address the question without checking with her handlers).

But in their most recent dodging of that question, both Herseth Sandlin and Noem offer identical and perfectly sensible justifications for not naming their Speaker choice:

“I can’t say specifically on John Boehner because I don’t know what my other options are,” Noem said during an interview with the editorial board of the Argus Leader, a South Dakota newspaper. “There could be several people running.”

Noem added that if there were another candidate who better represented South Dakota’s interests, she would support that Republican over Boehner.

...In her own interview with the editorial board, Herseth Sandlin also struggled to answer whether she would vote for Pelosi to retain her position as Speaker if Democrats maintain the majority.

“I don’t know who will be running,” she said. “I haven’t made any commitments” [Anna Palmer, "GOP Candidate Won't Commit to Backing Boehner," Roll Call, 2010.10.21].

I can see the logic in both women's response (yes, even Kristi's, the queen of illogic). Pelosi and Boehner may not be on the ballot. Each may face challenges from other candidates. Heck, if the Dems hang on to the majority, Herseth Sandlin herself may run to roar conservative Blue Dog power. If the GOP takes the majority, Joe Wilson or Michele Bachmann may run to declare the age of Tea (although the Tea Party may be much weaker than the media hypes them to be).

The lone representative from South Dakota perhaps cannot afford to get out in front of the Speaker race and take a chance of alienating anyone who might be the eventual leader. Pick Pelosi or Boehner now, and on the off chance someone else takes the gavel, you've reduced your pull with the winner. Go out on a limb and say you don't back the current leader of your party, and you've just cast your lot with an admittedly unlikely insurgency and put yourself in the dog house with the most powerful person in your party.

Arguably, throwing in with a Speaker candidate now would be like endorsing Pastor Steve Hickey at 9 a.m. on February 16. Waiting until you have an actual slate of candidates to endorse one is not terribly bold, but it's perfectly reasonable.

And given that Noem and Herseth Sandlin are doing exactly the same thing, the whole Speaker vote issue would appear to be moot.


  1. Cory, good post. I might add that if current predictions are true, and the GOP really does take over the majority in the House, the Pelosi issue is off the table... moot point. In other words, if the only reason people are going to vote for Kristi is that she will vote against Nancy, Kristi's job in the House might well be over before she ever sets foot in the place.

    Noem needs to give us some other reasons she's running. My theory is, she needs the money so she can give her son Booker a raise in his allowance.

    $2 bucks a week?

    Come on ma. Who can live on that?

    *aptrox* (...is that some kind of horse, Nick? Or maybe a Dr. Seuss character like the Lorax?))

  2. An intelligent interlocutor suggested to me last night that the only reason Noem is running is that she sees the chance to ride the image fad of Sarah Palin. She doesn't have governing vision for the country; she just has a vision for gaining personal fame by latching on to the rough-tough gun-totin' basketball-shootin' Western woman image. My interlocutor suggests that where some of her out-state support may come from, the folks who aren't really interested in her but are happy to have her reinforcing the Sarah Palin brand. Think about it: in the out-state press, how many times does a mention of Noem include a mention of Palin? Deep marketing?

  3. Your "interlocutor" is speculating about a matter of an interior motive. Unless this person knows Noem, the comments are not worthy of being mentioned for they fall into these "offenses against the truth."

    Rash judgment: without sufficient foundation, assumes the moral fault of a neighbor.

    Calumny: Remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

    Either she is is a right wing true believer or she is doing it for personal gain. Pick your slur at least as you avoid talking about legitimate issues.

    Furthermore, this "interlocutor" is just hiding an ad hominem attack under the auspices of criticizing her views by criticizing motives for which the person has no evidence.

    And, this person uses false information to promote an agenda. As David Montgomery reported, Noem raised more money just in RC than SHS raised from South Dakotan's this last quarter.

    Furthermore, Noem's out of state money is miniscule compared to SHS's. Noem has raised over three times more from South Dakotans than SHS. Conversely, SHS has gotten seven times more money from PAC's and out of state individuals.


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