Lesson number one: There's no reason for the campaign to exist. Cheney didn't offer Wyoming Republicans much of a change, considering that Senator Mike Enzi is a reasonably reliable conservative voice in Washington, maybe more focused on domestic policy than on foreign. Cheney's orientation might be more global, thanks to her dad's role in crafting foreign policy when he was George Bush's Veep, but it's hard to imagine Cheney voting much differently on any issues, foreign or domestic, from the way Enzi has. With former South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler's campaign, the twist is slightly different, but eventually it comes out the same way. Pressler says he's running as an independent because he thinks the major parties are too beholden to special interests, which will have no sway with him.
That really doesn't cut it in a field where a couple of the Republican
primary candidates, Rhoden and Nelson, are gadflies by past performance as elected officials and and promise to be so by their campaign presentations. If a majority of Republicans in South Dakota want a Senator who will most definitely buck party and special interest pressure, they can turn to those two candidates within their party. I doubt that either has much of a chance at gaining the nomination, but that doesn't make long-shot Pressler's effort any less redundant. Come the general election in November, I doubt that many Dems will abandon Rick Weiland to vote for an old Republican stalwart like Pressler. Meantime, Pubs already have their "independents" to pick from. They'll likely lose to the mainstreamer, Mike Rounds, but probably won't abandon their party in any meaningful numbers in November, or at least meaningful enough to give Pressler much of a chance.
As to lesson number two, Pressler's crusade, like Cheney's, is all about ego. Both campaigns are based on name-recognition. Wyoming voters were probably turned off by Cheney suddenly barreling in from outside their state and making a splash that eventually turned into a ripple, not a tide. A tougher problem for Pressler is that his ego-based campaign will make him the focus of it, and a lot of old stories that dogged him in his last bid for the Senate in '96 will re-appear. True or not, fair or not, they'll be a factor. When it's all over, I think South Dakota voters will see Pressler as gratuitously emerging from the past and that his pointless campaign will dissolve as quickly as Cheney's did next door.