Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Larry Pressler Can Learn From The Liz Cheney Debacle In Next Door Wyoming.

     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. 

6 comments:

  1. All about ego? 18 years is a long time to stew and wait to assuage one's ego. If the ego-thesis is true, wouldn't Pressler have done more to position himself for the comeback, or have tried to do it sooner?

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  2. I think if he really gave a damn about the politica/economic/social situation in SD and the rest of the country that he would have been making his voice heard pretty stridently for all those years, his feeble effort against Janklow in '02 notwithstanding I don't know the guy and can only speculate, but this looks like some late-life last hurrah that's more about Larry Pressler than setting the country's political process straight.

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  3. I heard him on SDPB this noon. I'll say this: he's talking more concrete, specific policy problem-solving than any of the Republicans in the race, Rounds included.

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  4. I wish him well. His campaign will depend on the kindness of strangers in the media. I'm hoping some needling tactics from the blogosphere will spur some of these guys on.

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  5. Mr. Tsitrian, your comment about some late-life last hurrah........that's a good thing. I think Senator Pressler along with Michael Myers who are both 70 something are running to be advocates for the people. They are free from any party affiliation and can focus on issues that are best for the people of SD. Quite refreshing to be Independent.

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  6. Duly noted and appreciated, Ms. Volesky. I wish both Pressler and Myers well. Don't know much about the latter, but hope that Pressler can add some positives as an Independent to the campaign, dubious as I am about the prospect right now. I do give him credit for getting his face out there as much as possible--a model that the Rounds campaign would do well to emulate.

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