Saturday, April 12, 2014

And The Winner Is . . . Stace Nelson. Way To Represent, Marine.

     Just got through watching the webcast of this morning's "meet the press" event, which drew all 5 of the GOP U.S. Senate primary candidates to a well-paced and -oganized round robin.  Clear standout was one of the "minor" candidates, Stace Nelson, who until now hasn't impressed me much.  I saw Nelson in a "debate" in Rapid City last Fall and found him unfocused, inarticulate and too easily drawn to his experiences in the Marine Corps, which he cited endlessly during tangents that drifted far away from the questions at hand.  As an old "jarhead" myself, I was more than a little put off by it.  Since then he has honed his campaign persona, remaining on-topic throughout.  More compellingly, there were even outbursts of passion and charisma that lifted his personality to a level that commanded attention and clearly overshadowed the acknowledged front runner, former Governor Mike Rounds.
     As to Rounds, he got on my nerves with that "South Dakota common sense" meme that he must have repeated for what seemed like a few dozen times.  Or was that a few hundred?  I mean, like, we get it already, Mike.  We're loaded with common sense in this state.  Everybody knows that, right? Right.  For example, we have so much common sense that our governor would never leave his successor with a $127 million hole in the state budget.  And there certainly wouldn't be any call to add 1500 employees to state government during the course of two terms.  No way are those facts the legacy of a common sense administration, right? Right.  Must've been a momentary lapse of common sense that created those lines on your resume as governor, Mr. Rounds, although 8 years is quite a stretch to be considered "momentary."  I guess with politics all things are possible.                                                                                                                     The rest of the field acquitted themselves in a so-so fashion, with Annette Bosworth revealing herself to be somewhat disconnected from political reality by calling for the abolition of the IRS. Ravnsborg was calmly articulate when discussing his view of the federal shutdown, Rhoden somewhat strident in his wish for eliminating direct federal aid to South Dakota's Indian reservations.  The extreme positions laid out by Bosworth and Rhoden categorically eliminate them from consideration as credible candidates for the United States Senate.  Of the four lesser, for lack of a better word, candidates, Ravnsborg makes the Constant Commoner's cut, as does Nelson, whose feisty provocation aimed at Rounds over the EB-5/Northern Beef Packers fiasco went essentially unchallenged.
     I doubt that today's "debate" will do much damage to Rounds' strong front-runner status because I'm guessing that few voters watched it, being on webcam and all.  Just the same, it demonstrated that Rounds has clay feet and shouldn't be considered a shoo-in by any stretch as the inevitable stage of intense public scrutiny takes hold.  Though his opponents haven't got nearly as much as Rounds has collected in the way of a war chest, money alone doesn't guarantee re-election in a small, word-of-mouth state like South Dakota.  Ask Stephanie Herseth, whose nationally financed re-election campaign was upended by the little known Kristi Noem a few years back.


   

14 comments:

  1. Rhodes and Boz don't need to make sense to be effective. Jason sounding as good as he does still does not give him a sound I'll take for a US senator. It is obvious Rounds has never had to campaign. They need to drug him and get him settled down, both for commercials and live persona. I've seen him do better in front of 200 angry cowboys in West River than he's done in this campaign.

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    1. The extemporaneous Mike Rounds makes me realize why up to now he's been sticking to friendly venues and carefully crafted video performances. Still looking for some "there" there.

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    1. Looks like all is okay, readers. At another site someone told me that he was having trouble commenting here, thought I'd test it out.

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  3. John,

    I didn't watch the whole thing this morning, but from what I saw, I agree with your assessment. Imagine my excitement when I got to your site and saw your headline, because I saw what you said about his overuse of his Marine service and I agree. When I went to the VA here in SF a few years ago, there was a guy there selling military paraphernalia and I bought an Army cap. After a few wears, I got rid of it, not because I wasn't proud of my service, but because there are/were so many guys like you Viet Nam vets who were disrespected and I feel if anyone should be getting respect now for their service it is the Viet Nam vets. Thanks for a good column.

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    1. Thanks, Lanny. Once a Marine, always a Marine, but none of us old jarheads need to beat it to death, so I'm glad that Nelson has gotten over his fixation on it. Your comments about my Vietnam service are most welcome and appreciated. It was my privilege to serve.

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  4. Mr. Tsitrian, I agree with you're assessment of the debate with Stace Nelson the clear winner. I just think he needed to refer to Mike Rounds by name instead of calling him the other candidate or the candidate to my right. He should have also called him out on his lies, especially when Rounds said Stace was for Obama care.

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    1. Nelson could indeed have been more pointed. I keep thinking that all the candidates, Rick W. included, could make Mike Rounds and his tenure as governor a worthy and successful campaign issue. And really, this isn't necessarily the same as going "negative," because bringing up an opponent's track record is the fairest possible game in a political contest. When a track record speaks for itself in terms of the way it repudiates a candidate's position, i.e., Rounds' spending proclivities while governor vs. his profession of being a fiscal hawk, I think it adds some information to the race that voters need to know about. Rounds certainly won't bring it up.

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  5. "South Dakota Common Sense"—I count the phrase ten times in Rounds's statements.

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    1. Thanks for correcting and apologies to Rounds and readers for overstating. Still a cloying phrase after its 3rd or 4th use. Is there a transcript somewhere?

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    2. The Argus on line has a transcript, but It only started for me this morning at the point at which I was able to join yesterday, so I still missed the first 45 minutes or so. I would also like to know if there is any other on line version. Thanks.

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    3. No luck at the Black Hills Pioneer Press site, where I watched the webcast, Lanny.

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  6. John, I found another link to the Argus video and was able to watch it from the beginning. I have a new observation, I am retired and I am drawing Roosevelt Security. I also now have my healthcare through Johnsoncare. The Republicans keep calling the Affordable Healthcare Act, Obamacare at their own peril. They keep talking about it adding so much to the taxes of our country. Bosworth said that it is the highest tax yet and she is willing to end the IRS because of it. But what she ignores is that the highest tax yet is our healthcare, not Obamacare. Our healthcare because of the explosion of cost from the insurance industry and from the healthcare system iteself has doubled in the past 20 or so years. If Obamacare, as they like to call it, is anywhere near as succesful as social security and medicare, the Republican party may become extinct if they keep assailing it as something communistic or socialistic, because it is neither. It is just common sense. It would have been better had a socialistic form, such as Universal Single Payer healthcare had been adopted because it would have been less expensive, but at least give AHCA a chance to see if it works before calling it the biggest tax increase ever.

    the site is: http://www.livestream.com/argus_leader_tv/video?clipId=pla_bb57db31-25d3-4d46-892c-183f3d6fc9a9&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb

    or a tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/qd9mul3

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    1. Thanks for the link, Lanny. I never took Bosworth's candidacy seriously and nothing I saw in the debate yesterday changed my attitude. Seriously proposing an end to the IRS is a deal-killer when it comes to credibility as a candidate. Pubs will soon abandon their single-minded obsession with ACA because it will be a political loser. I imagine that if those who opposed Medicare were alive they'd still be calling it a commie plot. Those who can't accept fundamental changes in our institutions are relegated to the fringes, where their irrelevance is only slightly drowned out by their annoyance.

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