Exploratory Senate candidate Annette Bosworth is off gallivanting around the state to "have a conversation with South Dakota." Howard last week, the Black Hills last weekend, Madison Tuesday, Mitchell Wednesday, Brookings this p.m.... Dr. Bosworth says she's having "real discussions with South Dakotans," but she's so busy traveling, she hasn't had time to respond to a press inquiry that I sent her nine days ago, asking her to address these ten policy questions:

  1. What action should we take to curb the NSA surveillance of Americans' communications? Would you vote to repeal the Patriot Act?
  2. Do you support ending federally subsidized crop insurance?
  3. How has the PPACA affected your medical practice? What elements of the PPACA would you keep, if any? With what policies would you replace the PPACA?
  4. Do citizens have a right to health care?
  5. Should the government close Ellsworth Air Force Base to save money and make the military more efficient?
  6. Are government budget cuts having a negative effect on economic growth?
  7. Should teachers carry guns in school?
  8. Beyond health care, what are the three most urgent policy issues that Congress should address?
  9. Will the Keystone XL pipeline be a net plus for South Dakota and the United States? Why or why not?
  10. South Dakota currently receives more money from the federal government than it pays in taxes. Should South Dakota reduce its reliance on federal funding? If so, what programs should South Dakota cut or what taxes should South Dakota raise to make up the difference?

Note I threw in #3 and #4 as softballs, right down the middle of her single area of policy expertise. Alas, even the health care questions are too complicated for her or her interns to dash off a paragraph or two.

Citizens, if maybe-candidate Bosworth has answered these questions with you on her listening tour, feel free to submit those answers here so we all can have a conversation not just about her but about policies that matter to all voters.

Maybe-candidate Bosworth does make a vague attempt at policy by reformulating Adam Smith's three proper roles of government:

Bosworth said the federal government should have only three roles: protecting the country, educating the people and caring for those who can’t care for themselves.

“I think using those as a foundation to grow from can be a launching pad,” she said [Chris Mueller, "Bosworth Gauges Support for U.S. Senate Run," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2013.06.20].

Triply mixed metaphor aside, Bosworth can't even get right the Tea Party message that she needs to motivate the anti-Rounds conservatives to support her. Real conservative want to abolish the federal Department of Education. A strict Tea-Scalia-Birch reading of the Constitution would also likely say there is no provision for the federal government to care for the sick and poor.

Bosworth's pale attempt at political philosophy also ignores the Constitutional mandates for the federal government to regulate commerce, establish uniform rules on naturalization and bankruptcy, coin money, deliver mail, promote arts and science via copyright, manage the District of Columbia, and protect the basic liberties of all citizens from stupid local politicians who haven't studied the Constitution.

It's a hoot and a half to travel around South Dakota seeing the sites and talking with people (especially if someone else pays the bill... and who is paying for Bosworth's listening tour, anyway?). But if you're serious about running for Senate, you need to be able to answer some basic questions about policy and civics. Bosworth appears incapable of that task.