Finally, Rick Weiland and I have something we can disagree on.
Our Democratic candidate for Senate is telling Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee to pull their ads against Mike Rounds. In a Monday press release, Weiland accuses the national Dems of using negative ads against Rounds to harm Weiland's campaign and boost Independent Larry Pressler:
Everybody knows the ugly attack ads you have been running against Mike Rounds help Larry Pressler, not the candidate of the party you are supposed to be campaigning for. They make me, as the Democratic candidate, look like a dirty campaigner. They damage Governor Rounds. And they let former Senator Pressler stand on the sidelines looking clean and gathering votes from disgusted South Dakotans, just as you intended them to do [Rick Weiland, press release, 2014.10.27].
Weiland's assertion that the DSCC is working for Larry Pressler holds about as much water with me as did assertions back during the GOP primary that Mike Rounds planted Annette Bosworth in the campaign to divide his opposition. If I were the DSCC and had a million dollars to spend, I can't imagine intentionally undermining a progressive Democrat who sounds a lot more like the ascendant progressives in the national party than our preceding Blue Dogs in favor of a quixotic Republican-cum-Independent who will only be around for one term and won't do any fundraising for the DSCC.
But Weiland maintains that's the DSCC plan, as evidenced by their long-standing dismissal of his candidacy:
For every one of the 18 months since I became a candidate for the United States Senate, and the 6 months since I was formally selected to be the candidate of the party you are supposed to represent, I have been asking you for positive assistance with my campaign. Instead of that assistance you have said I am not your choice, tried to dry up my funds by saying I cannot win, refused to have your DSCC even endorse me, and now you have come into my state with ugly, negative attacks against Mike Rounds, ads that you and every knowledgeable political strategist in America knows hurt me and help Larry Pressler, the longtime Republican who has apparently won your support for his so called independent campaign by whispering that if elected he might vote to help you keep your job as Majority Leader [Weiland, 2014.10.27]
I guess I'm not a knowledgeable political strategist. I'm not buying the DSCC-Pressler gambit.
Nor am I buying the suggestion that negative ads are bad. If we don't run negative ads against Mike Rounds, his record of incompetence and corruption goes unchallenged. If we do run negative ads, some people engage in moral grandstanding, but the message gets across, and we have a better shot of winning, as evidenced by the underlying assumption of Weiland's arguments that the negative ads damage Mike Rounds.
Evidently political scientist Larry Sabato isn't knowledgeable, either:
"This is done in all 50 states," he said. "People are so used to these sorts of negative ads sponsored by the party that there usually isn't that much political effect. People will absorb the political information, even as they say they hate negatives" [David Montgomery, "Weiland Accuses Own Party of Sabotaging His Campaign," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.10.27].
Weiland asks that the South Dakota Democratic Party repudiate these tactics. I ask the South Dakota Democratic not to be timid or stupid. Mike Rounds gave Richard Benda and Joop Bollen carte blanche to do whatever they wanted, without regard to state law or Regental rules, because they waved dollars in his face. That fundamental breach of public trust is the biggest reason Mike Rounds should never be trusted with public office again.
It may be ugly and negative to hear that we can't trust our former governor, but it's the truth, and South Dakotans need to hear it, lest they elect the wrong man for this important job.
That said, I'm more than happy to see MoveOn.org complementing the negative ads with this wonderful new 30-second summary of all the positive reasons to make Rick Weiland our next Senator:
Democrats, we can walk and chew gum. We can show Rick's a stud and prove Mike's a dud. And when we're running blue in red South Dakota, we need to use every tool available.81 comments