Saturday, January 6, 2018

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 Journal that 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.  


  1. Tim Bjorkamn is one of the most thoughtful candidates I have ever observed. John if you ever get a chance ask Tim what he reads or now with the campaign when he gets time. My impression is a wide cross-section of publications in an attempt to really study the issues from every angle and really makes a sincere attempt to listen rather than just be in a bubble which really worries me about our country being so polarized.

    While taking a Political Science Class at Northern years ago we were taught to identify publications and where they leaned politically and make it a habit to read all of them as much as possible in an attempt to fully understand as many perspectives as possible and that was something else that really impressed me about Tim Bjorkman. He is running to serve. All good candidates but at least for me Bjorkman stands out as by far the best for South Dakota and our Country.

    Miranda Gohn

  2. Oh John, I was worried that you were not going to mention the one that hit me in the face as I read Dusty's defense of his candidacy but alas there it was at number 9, South Dakota values.

    I would want to ask Dusty, would those values include approving the eminent domain of private property by a foreign company to build a pipeline, that just recently leaked 210,000 gallons of tar sands oil onto said private property, as you did as a member of the PUC?

    Would they include running for a public office and then right after the election, resigning to take another job so that the cronyism in state government could continue and allow a member of your party to be appointed by the governor to take the job, for which the PEOPLE elected you?

    Would they include the fiascos perpetrated on the people of South Dakota by EB-5 and the Mid-Central fiasco? How about the job done by your party to overthrow the people's attempt to correct some of that corruption?

    I fear to say, that without exception, the Republican Party continues to send to Washington, people whose view of government, and you would probably fit right in, Mr Johnson, is that it is the job of government to protect the wealthy, the powerful, with no concern whatsoever, for the rest of the people. For you, just like Thune, Rounds and Noem, it would be the party first not the country, just as it has been here, the party first not the people of the state.

  3. Mr Stricherz, Trans-Can claimed the latest spill was crude, not tar sands. Have you any information to the contrary? I know the line was built to move dilbit.

    Also, if Trans-Can was piping crude they are supposed to pay 9 cents a gallon for hazardous clean up fund. The much more hazardous dilbit isn't taxed because congress decided it wasn't crude oil.