Friday, October 13, 2017

A Q For SD Pubs Running For Congress: Your Thoughts, Please?

     It's been many months since Shantel Krebs and Dusty Johnson announced that they'd be running for the Republican nomination for Congress next year.  So far it looks like they've been going through all the standard motions, but apparently neither of them feels the need
Trump Toady or Independent Thinker?
to be burdened with positions on issues that matter to us South Dakotans. As you might expect their respective websites don't reveal much in the way of specifics, so I've been looking elsewhere for their thoughts on policy.                                                                                                                         
Upon googling, it looks like the closest Krebs has come is to make a broad proclamation to the Rapid City Journal last month, telling the paper that when Trump was elected she was "all in," and that her motivating force is that she "wants to help him deliver results."  Her "logo" (doesn't Krebs mean "slogan?"), she explains, is "Get it done."  I admire that she rejects procrastination, but I also wonder what the "it" is that she's determined to "get done."  If "it" references her complete devotion and dedication to Trump and his policies, I wouldn't give Krebs much consideration as a congressional  representative.  "All in" is pretty inclusive, which sounds to me like she's determined to be a rubber stamp for the administration.  If elected would she have the mettle to assert some independence when White House policies may not be the best for South Dakota?  For example, is she "all in" with Trump's hostility toward NAFTA?  He's on the record as calling it the "worst trade deal" ever approved by the United States, yet the benefits to farm states since the treaty's inception a quarter-century ago are self-evidently positive, as our senior Senator John Thune noted in a radio interview recently.  
     My guess is that Krebs will be quick to reject the notion that she'd be a rubber stamp for the White House.  I mean, who on earth would go on record as being a toady?  But by doing so she would be repudiating her "all in" commitment to the President.  Her website provides a nice bio and platitudes along the lines of making Washington "responsive" to the needs of our state, but doesn't touch specifics. So what is it, Ms. Krebs, are you all in with Trump or are you willing to consider issues on their merits and make decisions based on what you think is best for South Dakota?
Dusty Johnson, whom I've met and like, is also running a campaign that's long on self-promotion and short on policy substance.  He says he's running for Congress because he's an "optimist."   That's about as good a reason as any, I suppose, but given his background as a Commissioner on South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission, I'd expect him to say much about national energy policy and how it would affect South Dakota.  For example, last week's repeal of the "Clean Power Plan" by the Trump administration could have significant effects on ethanol production, which depends on South Dakota's largest crop, corn, as its feedstock.  Does Johnson have a position on this?  I did find a comment about healthcare in the Rapid City Journal last July--Johnson thinks more control should go to the states, a not terribly earth-shaking position by a Republican.  He could have given us a clue about how he stands on the measures to achieve that end
Optimist, But What About Policy? 
that have so far failed in the Republican-dominated Congress.  

     That programmatic response on healthcare is probably a signal that Johnson will do as expected by the GOP, but considering his long-standing status as both an appointed and elected official, I'd love to know more.  In particular, given his experience as a state government insider, his opinion of how South Dakota could successfully run a federally funded program after our state's abysmal track record with EB-5 and Gear Up needs some explanation.  
     As with Shantel Krebs, Dusty Johnson is politically pragmatic enough to know that avoiding serious policy commitments is a way to stay out of trouble on the campaign trail.  But given what seem to be equal measures of affability, experience and media appeal, it would be nice if they could find a way to differentiate themselves on the basis of something other than gender.  


  1. I think they both have disqualified themselves. Ms Krebs because she has been attending the xenophobic meetings regarding Muslims and Middle Easterners in our nations and supporting discrimination against them.

    Dusty Johnson, whom I also liked, and voted for the last time he ran for the PUC, only to watch him resign after the election to take the Chief of Staff job under the governor. This of course has been an on going theme with the Republicans, after you have won and resigned, the Governor then can appoint another Republican to take your place. My State Senator Mark Johnston, who was the Senate Majority leader die the same thing, purportedly to take a very important job with Sanford, only to surface months later as an aide to the newly elected US Senator Rounds.

    It's not bad enough that the Republicans have gerrymandered the Democrats out of existence in SD, they have to use nepotism to hold absolute power in the State.

  2. Tim Bjorkman addresses the issues. He's very genuine.

  3. I might give Ms. Krebs a pass on attending the meetings put on by the very anti-Muslim groups since I know a few people who are completely opposed to their message who have nevertheless attended in order to know what they are saying. I am far less willing to give her a pass when she says she was "all in" supporting President Trump. I have talked to Republicans who are not happy with our president, I have heard from a few who have fled the Republican Party, and I know a number of South Dakotans who think Trump is destroying the nation.

    Considering that the state never took the Medicaid expansion, leaving scads of low income South Dakotans in the lurch and sticking hospitals and providers with unpaid bankrupted bills whose cost was passed on to other patients, in my opinion Mr. Johnson's belief that the state should be in charge of our health care counts against him right off the top. And as you said, Gear Up and EB-5 don't inspire confidence.