I Flush Out Dusty Johnson, Sort Of. The Candidate For The GOP Nod For Congress Responds To My Column
I have to give it to Dusty Johnson, who's running for a spot on South Dakota's ballot as the
Hi There Wanna Hug Me?
GOP candidate for Congress. He wasted no time responding to my column about him in the Rapid City Journal last week, the full copy of which is two posts below. Here's the full text of Johnson's piece, which is featured in today's opinion section in the RCJ:
“Dusty Johnson has all it takes in the photogenics department.”
Well, I’ve never heard that before.
I’m used to being described with different terms, like “policy wonk” or “solutions-focused.” When John Tsitrian’s recent column in the Journal described me as “huggable” and “endearing,” I barely recognized myself.
While I appreciate John’s coverage of my campaign for United States Congress, I did want readers to understand there is more to me than the “optimism” and “boy next door” qualities he described.
We are living in serious times, and South Dakota deserves a member of Congress with the South Dakota values needed to represent our state well. Citizens learned about my views and stances during my six years as a state Public Utilities commissioner. More recently though, I’ve released video position statements and online posts outlining my views on the Second Amendment, federalism, private sector job creation, tax reform, net neutrality, the future of Social Security, sexual harassment and the president’s agenda.
I’ve touched on other issues in interviews conducted by the Rapid City Journal, including the drought, the culture of Washington, D.C., and how we should reform health care. Apparently, John missed all that.
South Dakotans don’t vote based on who is more “photogenic.” I’m grateful for that, because most wouldn’t find me (and my slender frame, thinning hair and glasses) all that attractive.
Instead, most South Dakotans vote for the candidate they feel shares their values, will fight for their interests, and who has vision and passion for improving our nation. If that (and being huggable) is what it takes to do the job, I’m ready to get to work."
Johnson's claim that I "missed" the fact that he has indeed been talking about issues is so overblown that I decided to check the points he raised in his RCJ, one by one. I googled Johnson and each topic and came up with this (my comments follow):
1) The Second Amendment:Johnson last October told the Mitchell Daily Republic that he "supports the rights of law abiding citizens to own firearms," but that "he's more concerned with generalized violence throughout society." He's also "willing to learn more" about bump stocks. (I call this pablum, considering he doesn't mention the most pressing issue of assault weapons.)
2) Federalism: Nothing found. (Dusty?)
3) Private Sector Job Creation: Johnson last Fall told the Rapid City Journalthat Washington, D.C. makes it harder to create jobs. (Um, Dusty, have you noticed the job growth numbers and the lowest unemployment rate in nearly two decades lately? They've been trending favorably for about 10 years now. Where have the federal stumbling blocks been placed?)
4) Tax Reform: Moot now that the big GOP bill has passed. Wouldn't mind hearing his thoughts on the new tax code, though.
5) Net Neutrality: Nothing found. (Dusty?)
6) The Future of Social Security: Nothing found. (Dusty?)
7) Sexual Harassment: He recently told WNAX radio that "more is expected of public figures." (Couldn't download the podcast. Would love to see the rest of his thoughts in writing. Dusty?)
8) The President's Agenda: Nothing. (I raised the issue of Trump's hatred of NAFTA and how that might affect South Dakota's largest industry, agriculture, which has benefited "bigly" (to use a Trumpian adverb), but Johnson hasn't said much that I can find. (Dusty?)
9) And while we're at it, what are "South Dakota values?" I hear this phrase a lot from politicians and have never understood them. The phrase implies a uniformity of belief that doesn't seem plausible to me, considering all the differences of opinion and attitude that I encounter here.
Johnson says that he has recently released video statements and online posts outlining his views, but as of January 2 they haven't made it to his campaign website. Except for the requirements of this commentary, I'm not about to scour the internet looking for his posts on these topics, so, yes, Dusty, I have missed all that, "all that" being not much in the first place. How about spending a few of your campaign funds on delivering your positions in the general media or at least to your website? On the other hand, what I did find in your list is pretty thin gruel, so maybe it's best to keep it out of the public eye for as long as possible.