Bracing news on the political front today: Corinna Robinson, running for the Democratic nomination for SD's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, has struck up a working relationship with South Dakota resident/Harvard University lecturer/political mastermind extraordinaire Steve Jarding. Jarding takes over as Robinson's main campaign consultant. I don't know if there's a title attached to the function, but that Jarding is likely to be involved in shaping and directing the campaign takes the Robinson venture to a major league level. Jarding's well-chronicled involvement with the underdog Jim Webb's U.S. Senate campaign in Virginia that ended in a victory over the hapless incumbent George Allen a few years back has turned into a template of sorts for Democrats seeking office in Republican-dominated states. I have no doubt that today's announcement will draw plenty of attention from national Democratic circles and financial sources.
Regular readers of this blog have long known of my disappointment, disdain for, and ultimate disgust with Republican incumbent Kristi Noem, who I believe has long since abandoned her desire to represent her South Dakota constituents in favor of conforming with the essentially irresponsible ideologues of the Republican Party's extreme right wing. You might remember how Noem last November blatantly voted to shut down the United States Government without for a moment considering the impact on the Black Hills tourist industry, which was KO'd by the closures of Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Wind Cave, and Devil's Tower. Then, as if to really rub in the fact that she didn't give a hoot about the impact of her vote on the local and national economies, Noem blithely voted against raising the U.S. debt ceiling, which, if successful, would have forced the first default on bond payments in the history of the United States, indelibly smearing our country's credit rating.
Noem's consistent intransigience with respect to emasculating the food stamp program during the current negotiations on the new Farm Bill must also grate on the nerves of many food producers in this state. Given that for every dollar spent on Food Stamps, $1.70 of economic activity is generated, the agricultural production industry is the single biggest beneficiary of this program, which subsidizes consumption, not production, meaning that government spending is distributed among a wide range of citizens, not just the few economic plutocrats who've been benefitting from government programs at the expense of ordinary citizens. Noem's repeated alliance with other Republicans who've wanted to strip the food stamp program away from the Farm Bill may make sense to many, but its political untenability has been obvious from the start of the negotiations on it a couple of years ago. That's the reason that the Farm Bill has been long-delayed. Republicans finally gave in on this loser of an issue and now it looks like the Farm Bill has a chance at passing, no thanks to Noem and her stubbornly unrealistic colleagues.
As to Corinna Robinson, her appearance has been sudden. She might yet turn out to be a flash in the pan. While Steve Jarding's involvement will give her campaign some polish and pull in a few out-of-state bucks, its substance has yet to be determined. As I told Ms. Robinson during a brief meeting a few days ago, I'm looking for reasons to support her. Though a Republican by registration and nature, I abhor the obstructionistic elements in my party, the ones that Noem has so clearly been representing, the ones that I believe could bring the GOP to ruin if allowed to take it over. I'm ready for a suitable replacement.