Monday, September 8, 2014

Hey, Mike Rounds! Duck! It's A Debate!

     Mike Rounds just cannot rise to the challenge of taking advantage of every opportunity to debate his opponents.   And neither, apparently, can he and his campaign rise to the challenge I posed a few days ago when I asked them to identify the "scheduling conflict" they deemed important enough to blow off Sioux Falls TV station KSFY's debate on September 10. Given that Rounds is asking me and every other South Dakotan to hire him as our U.S. Senator for the next 6 years, I think as a prospective employer I'm being reasonable enough.  He claims he can't meet with me and my fellow South Dakotans in a format where I can compare him in real-time to the other applicants for the job because he has something more pressing on his schedule.  I'd like to know just what's so important that he's skipping this joint job interview.  The comment section here is open for an answer.
     Meantime I note that Rounds has also skipped out on a September 12 debate at the United Tribes Technical College in Rapid City.  His excuse this time is actually quite revealing.  After claiming that the date doesn't work, Rounds spokesman Ron Skjonsberg told Native Sun News, "I still don't think a debate is the best venue for a two-way conversation on these issues.  Instead my offer for a one-on-one, the students and your staff, stands.  We can accomplish what you seek with a conversation, I believe."   This is a fatuous claim, on two levels.  First off, how do Skjonsberg and Rounds presume to know what the Indian community and its students "seek?"  This is an unwitting disclosure of political condescension, disingenuously claiming the campaign knows what is best for the sponsors of the debate.   Secondly, the debate was scheduled for a reason:  Its sponsors and attendees want to see the candidates live, interacting with each other, giving off their thoughts in a format that is intentionally stressful--somewhat like the confrontational challenges that occur on the floor of the United States Senate or in its meeting rooms when collisions of power, philosophy and economic interest demand toughness and composure. How best to measure those qualities than in the battleground of a live debate?
     I suppose you could make the case that as front-runner, Rounds has much to lose and little to gain in these debates, so it's politically smart to avoid them as much as possible. Unfortunately for Rounds, it's becoming apparent that the political calculation is one of necessity, not general strategy.  The Rounds campaign is festooned with charges and questions coming out of the EB-5/Northern Beef fiasco that occurred during his watch as Governor.  No doubt the matter will come up during the course of the two  debates with state-wide coverage he's limited himself to, so for now, as far as Rounds is concerned, less is more.  What they actually fear, of course, is that where exposure to Rounds in debate mode is concerned, more is less, much less.


  1. John,
    Just as interesting as Rounds playing hide and go seek with the debates, is whether he will make an appearance at the Sept. 24, GOAC hearing, place his hand on the Bible and tell voters what went wrong with NBP and the GOEC/EB-5 program.

    1. Indeed. Kathy Tyler took it to the next level today.

    2. Rounds couldn't tell the truth even if his life depended on it, he answers to the Koch brothers and dances to their tune and dose what they tell him to do and says what they tell him to say and drives around in there financed big bus. If you think that Benda was the only person that was bleeding money from that packing plant you better guess again and he was the scapegoat for Rounds and his crooked dishonest deals and was done away with so that the truth didn't come out, there were a lot more crooked deals that Rounds was involved in and it will only take time before they all come out and that my friends is why he doesn't want to debate because he cant remember from one lie to the next and the truth will come out

  2. Maybe, Mike Rounds is hoping that there will be enough mud slinging at the debates, that he can back into the US Senate seat the same way he did into the Governor's job 12 years ago.

  3. I did see the debate at the SD State Fair. It was the other three candidates piling on Rounds. He was on the defensive the whole debate. The ground rules offered a chance for rebuttal. They all did their opening remarks and they all took rebutal on the opening remarks. So it stayed interesting.
    Before that debate Sen. Pressler polled around 15%, I see on KOTA tv tonight he is up to 25%. Still a lot can happen, especially with Rep Kathy Tyler pushing. She has a lot of information to sift through and most voters won't look at all that information. The GOP is trying to keep a lid on it.

  4. Thanks Dallis Basel. I hope when all of this is said and done, folks will remember that Kathy Tyler gets the credit which she so richly deserves. After all it was she who last October or November tried to get the legislature to call a special session to start investigating EB-5 and particularly the failure of the Aberdeen Beef plant and the death of Richard Benda.

    In addition to the getting of their just desserts by Rounds, Daugaard and Jackley, I hope that when it is over the members of the legislature whose job it was to start that investigation but put a stop to it also get the rewards which they deserve, the scorn of the electorate and thrown from office. (I can dream can't I?)

  5. Is Rounds taking the South Dakota voters and tax payers for granted?

    I think so, and for a good reason, there seems enough people in South Dakota who are willing to be taken for granted.