I spent a couple of hours last night at the "debate" between GOP U.S. Senate candidates Stace Nelson and Annette Bosworth. The South Dakota Tech-hosted event could attract just those two out of a field of 4 candidates running for the GOP nod in the coming primary (Larry Rhoden and Mike Rounds were absent, both pleading "prior commitments"). That Nelson and Bosworth showed up just the same said much about their commitments to their unrealistic shots at the nomination. That they couldn't break out of their standard Tea Party/right wing fringe rhetorical parameters said even more about the near-impossibility of their respective crusades. Don Quixote himself would shake his head at the futility of their prospects.
They lashed out at the national debt (though neither had much of an answer to my question about how they would stimulate the economy to generate tax revenues as a way of reducing the debt, Bosworth saying she would get rid of regulations that stifle free enterprise, Nelson resoundingly announcing that he'd repeal Obamacare--two answers that are pablum for the extreme right but don't resonate in real life), decried the bloated bureaucracy in D.C. (a rhetorical safe harbor for would-be federal officials who don't have much in the way of realistic plans to reduce the size of government), denounced the Affordable Care Act (Bosworth calling it "evil", Nelson comparing it to what he considers the overly-bureaucratized and poorly delivered health care that he gets from the Veterans Administration. Neither candidate gave up much in the way of how they would fix this country's healthcare status quo. Bosworth said she would remove the layers of people who get between physicians and their patients and move toward a direct cash payment system at the points of contact--and she wasn't kidding. Nelson said he would let the free market work, whatever that means.)
The choir these two were preaching to was small (around 60) in numbers but sizable in enthusiasm, with repeated bursts of applause for answers that to me seemed generally incoherent and rambling. Nelson was especially fond of interspersing his comments with irrelevant references to his service in the United States Marine Corps that apparently were intended to make some sort of a point but essentially carried him off into tangents that had little to do with the discussion at hand. Bosworth explained that she decided to go into medicine because, having been raised on a farm, she "hated to do hog chores," which struck me as a rather flip, if not altogether disdainfully condescending, disregard for the huge bloc of voters that will come from the agricultural production communities in this ag-oriented state of South Dakota.
Anyway, after two hours of this I got the idea and left during the break. All I can say is that I appreciate the willingness of Bosworth and Nelson to get into the process of serving as elected officials and I wish them both well in their campaigns and coming endeavors.