Monday, April 14, 2014

Rounds got "pounded" In Saturday's Debate. He Cancels The Rematch That Was Supposed To Happen Tomorrow.

   Wow.  GOP senatorial candidate and former governor Mike Rounds took some lumps at Saturday's South Dakota Newspaper Association "debate" last Saturday, as I noted in my last post.  One of the journalists on the panel of questioners, Jonathan Ellis of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader later posted on his site that Stace Nelson (the winner as I called it)  used the occasion to "pound" Rounds.  Ellis adds in his piece that Rounds' claim of balancing state budgets during his tenure as Governor has a major qualifier to it: Rounds sometimes had to draw on state reserve funds to bring the budget into balance, a practice that was abruptly put to an end by Rounds' successor, current Governor Dennis Daugaard.  Daugaard's first budget was shorn of $127 million in spending in order to bring expenses into line with revenues, a gap that was routinely and blithely ignored by Rounds and his predilection to spend reserve funds to fill the hole.
     As Ellis notes, in Nelson's view Daugaard's  is a truly balanced budget, not the chimera that Rounds presented to South Dakotans.  I think most business types like me would consider a fiscal year that was brought into balance by diving into reserves a bad one, just because it is.  Bragging to our friends, as Rounds has done to his constituents, that our enterprises are in balance is plain old baloney.  Nelson has that one right, so given that on this issue Nelson occupied both the real and rhetorical high ground, he  had the confidence to do the "pounding" that Ellis describes.
       I have no doubt that Rounds has some mitigating explanations as to how his self-declaration as a fiscal conservative squares with his inability to get revenues and expenses into line when he was governor.  In fact, I was anxious to see how he dusted them off for presentation at tomorrow (4/15) night's gathering in Sioux Falls at the Siouxland Republican Women meeting, to which all the GOP senatorial aspirants had been invited.  Per Cory Heidelberger over at the Madville Times blog, the meeting had been set up last Fall and Rounds had committed to attend last January.  Heidelberger says that he was forwarded "an e-mail sent out by the SRW Saturday, at about a quarter to two in the afternoon [my note: that would be just after the debate in Pierre], announcing that a member of the Rounds campaign had just called and withdrawn from the forum. The SRW e-mail says Team Rounds had committed in January to attend, but "They will not be attending now due to a conflict."
     And just what is that conflict?  Sources tell me that Rounds will be attending an opening of a campaign office in Rapid City on Tuesday.  I'm sure the Rounds team has plenty of explanations about how this sudden conflict materialized, and I'll take them at face value when offered.  However, I think it looks bad, especially coming so soon after the drubbing that Rounds took last Saturday.  If Rounds can't confront his field of underfinanced and little-known rivals face-to-face in South Dakota, how on earth will he be able to play political hardball in the United States Senate?  Whole thing looks pretty milque-toasty to me.  
     More to the point, Rounds is cheating himself and the state's voters of a chance to explain the hows and the whys of many decisions that he made as governor that are at odds with the persona he's presenting as a candidate. 
For example, I still want to know why state government had to grow by 1500 employees while Rounds was in charge.  Then there's that EB-5/Northern Beef Processors fiasco that occurred during his watch.  Apparently, Rounds would rather be surrounded by his supporters instead of facing his rivals tomorrow night.  Is this the kind of fighter he'll be if elected to the Senate? I certainly hope not.  

10 comments:

  1. I posted this afternoon on Madville Times, that I had wished that Stace Nelson had taken his gloves off, but that is why I am not his campaign manager. But You sure took the gloves off John. And a point that you forgot to mention in addition to Rounds taking millions out of reserves in order to balance the budget, is that he also took a lot of federal stimulus money, which at first he was going to turn down, as well. Thanks for another very insightful blog, John.

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    1. I'm most dismayed that Rounds isn't just itching to get back and confront his antagonists tomorrow, Lanny, choosing instead to hastily cancel that appearance for a routine campaign event that must have been arranged long after his commitment to appear at the confab in Sioux Falls. You make a good point about stimulus money, which was a good deal for South Dakota as Rounds finally realized. I'm hoping Daugaard makes a similar realization with respect to Medicaid money. Incidentally, I appreciate the detailed analysis of the SDNA debate that you provided over at Madville Times. Added much information and insight to the overall conversation.

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  2. Thanks John, for your comments on my observations on Madville on Saturday's debate. I don't know if it is my computer or what, but I sure had a hard time hearing all of what was said. I just realized that we only have less than two months to the primary and I hope that all who comment on this and Cory's blog will write LTEs to their local paper. I just realized that I only have one available because of the fact that I had one just before the City election here and we only get one every 30 days.

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  3. John, in my opinion as a democrat, republicans must have some serious concerns about the Rounds campaign. Is this really the guy they want to elect?

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    1. Early on, with the big lead in money and name recognition, I'm pretty sure my fellow Pubs were content with, if not enthusiastic about, Rounds' likelihood to win the seat. That Rounds just chose to avoid getting on stage in a relatively high-profile setting in Sioux Falls tells me that many Pubs are beginning to have some misgivings, if not doubts altogether, and with good reasons. Rounds' track record as governor cannot be glossed over by the plasticity of his video ads and the emergence of a strong alternative, i.e. Stace Nelson (much to my surprise, btw) has undercut Rounds' base, particularly among the Tea Party-esque ideologues in the GOP. As a Republican I'd say your concerns are justified.

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  4. Hey John, how about a story about Lora Hubbel getting snubbed by the SRW. The Gubernatorial Republican primary is going on and they are completely ignoring her. Are there any Gubernatorial debates scheduled. And Lanny, you will see a real battle with Hubble if she's ever allowed to debate. She's got her gloves off, but Daugaard won't get in the ring.

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  5. I am trying to understand, Tara, who are you for for Governor, Mike Myers, for whom you are the campaign manager or Laura Hubbel?

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  6. About the point of hiring 1500 state positions while Rounds was in office, many of those positions were never filled. They were funded but nobody was sitting at the desk. Just another sly move by the slimy Mr. Rounds.

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    1. Any specifics to back that up, Lorri May?

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    2. Wow, I wasn't that far off in liking him to "slick Willy" on another blog.

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