Yesterday South Dakota Democrats failed to win a single state wide race. The gubernatorial election was won by a Republican, which happens so often you'd think it's in the state constitution [Dr. Ken Blanchard, "The Sad State of South Dakota Democrats," South Dakota Politics, 2010.11.04].
True. Funny. But "Line of the Year"? Hardly. Blanchard's closing diagnosis is much more enlightening, compelling, and, dare I say, rhetorically artful:
There is a tragic flaw in the South Dakota Democrat. The best of that species tend to look beyond our borders for greater things. The voters frequently recognize that, and in an act of grace, set them free. Meanwhile, the party withers. This is not good for Democrats in the state, or for the state itself [Blanchard, 2010.11.04].
For even better rhetorical art, try Sam Hurst, who packs more "Lines of the Year" in one Dakota Day post than most of us bloggers manage in a year. He troubles the waters this weekend with the woulda-coulda-shoulda argument that Dr. Kevin Weiland could have beaten Kristi Noem in the Congressional race. Hurst comes to a conclusion similar to Blanchard's recommended remedy, and says it with equal if not greater punch:
Democrats do not just have an enthusiasm gap. They don't just have a finance and organizational gap. They have a charisma gap. Not a single leader in South Dakota can inspire or motivate the base. One depressed Democratic analyst told me after the election, with no small spit of sarcasm, "We need a demagogue" [Sam Hurst, "Could Dr. Kevin Weiland Have Beaten Kristi Noem?" The Dakota Day, 2010.11.05].
Demogogue, from the Greek dēmos for people, agōgos for leading. Leader of people, leader of Dems—we need someone to set Dems agog. We saw that need expressed last spring, when 3834 Weiland Wildcats sprang out of nowhere to call for a primary that the overly cautious powers that be kept from happening.
Paging Dr. Weiland, extension 2012. Dr. Weiland, 2012.