In good news, here's a great photo of South Dakota's next Senator:

screen cap, Rick Weiland campaign ad, 2014.10.17

screen cap, Rick Weiland campaign ad, 2014.10.17 (click to embiggen!)

No, it's not your hunting buddy in the cap. I get the feeling he wouldn't trade his grungy sweatshirt and workshop for a necktie and Washington office for all the corn in Canton. (But watch for Adidas to sponsor next year's Tractor Olympics at the Leola Threshing Bee.)

It's Rick Weiland, who's willing to represent that tractor jockey and the rest of us in Washington D.C. That image comes from his latest campaign ad:

Note the black-and-white image of Mike Rounds and Larry Pressler sitting together at the Dakotafest debate as Weiland warns us of those who just want to help the "corporations and billionaires" at our expense. Maybe the Republicans will threaten to sue the TV stations for saying Rounds is a billionaire.

Keep those strong ads coming, Rick!


Governor Dennis Daugaard has declared October "Archives Month" in South Dakota:

“Archival institutions have a responsibility to collect, organize, preserve and make available records that document the history of the state of South Dakota and the plains region for the education and appreciation of present and future generations,” Gov. Daugaard noted in the proclamation.

“October is a chance for South Dakotans to recognize the importance of archives and historical records,” noted Chelle Somsen, state archivist for the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. “There are county, municipal, university and private archives as well as the State Archives and each of these organizations contain historical records that document the rich history of our state” [State of South Dakota, press release, 2014.10.01].

However, the state will delete all record of Archives Month 30 days after its conclusion.


Even the Internet doesn't trust Chad Haber:

Untrusted: Haber for Attorney General; screen cap, 2014.09.29

Untrusted: Haber for Attorney General; screen cap, 2014.09.29

The above warning came up this afternoon when I tried to access Haber's fake attorney general campaign website. No truer words could have popped onto my screen.

Meanwhile, Marty Jackley road tests images for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign:

Marty standing in empty courtroom talking to himself—no. Frozen family shot for last ten second of ad—awkward. Angela striding boldly toward the camera in those boots—yes!


In the noteworthy philosophical juxtaposition of the week, my friend Leo Kallis discovers the real reason for Governor Dennis Daugaard's disdain for philosophy: the Governor has admitted that he is a moral relativist... or as he would have been known in ancient Greece, a sophist:

Off the top of my head, I can think of only two schools of philosophical thought that would accept "everything is relative" as true: the ancient sophists and their descendants, the postmodern deconstructionists. For whatever reason, Daugaard doesn't seem like one of the latter.

Perhaps the Governor would know that if he brushed up on his philosophy instead of condemning it and trumpeting his wisdom about philosophy without understanding the subject. The latter quality does mark him as a sophist.

Just in case I didn't make it clear earlier: not everything is relative [Leo Kallis, "Daugaard the Sophist?" The Displaced Plainsman, 2014.09.25].

Meanwhile, from another quadrant of the political galaxy, Lora Hubbel sends out a campaign e-mail with this year-old video of a Sioux City pastor breaking out the pinstripes (I would like to see Kallis in that suit!) and berating his parishioners for supporting relativist Republicans:

2 Minute Trailer: "Exposing Situational Ethics," by Pastor Cary Gordon, from Cornerstone World Outreach on Vimeo.

I'll agree with both bearded believers: there are some absolutes. One must believe in something bigger than just winning an election.


Larry Pressler sent me the funniest thing I read all day yesterday. His press release celebrating his rising poll numbers quoted campaign chairman Don Frankenfeld thus:

The Pressler campaign is on fire.

Come on, Don! Give us an exclamation point! The press release header exclamation-pointed and all-capsed the declaration that third-place Pressler is IN IT TO WIN IT! A mere period makes it sound like Larry is noting to Harriet that the toast is burning.

Rick Weiland would certainly like to set the Pressler campaign on fire. With Pressler trumping third-party unlikelihood with nostalgia, name recognition, and adult conversation about policy, Weiland is attacking Pressler on his record. Here's the press release Team Weiland sent out right after last night's KSFY Senate debate:

Larry Pressler should be lauded for coming around on his beliefs, which now reflect where a lot of mainstream voters are today. The fact remains however, when Larry stood on the floor 18 years ago, he voted, often on multiple occasions, against the interests of everyday folks.

  • Larry voted against the Minimum Wage (1988)
  • Larry voted multiple times against parental leave (1988, 1992, 1993)
  • Larry voted against limits on campaign finance spending (1992, 1994)
  • Larry voted against greater disclosure requirements for lobbyists (1994)
  • Larry voted against benefits for same sex couples. (1992)
  • Larry voted against banning discrimination based on sexual orientation (1996)
  • Larry voted against a holiday for Dr. King (1988)

Rick Weiland knows where he would have stood on these issues 20 years ago, and they are the same as where he stands today [Weiland campaign press release, 2014.09.10].

Tim Johnson followed a similar tack in 1996, attacking Pressler's record to unseat him from the Senate. Can Weiland do the same 18 years later to keep Pressler from reclaiming that set from Johnson? Is this attack what Weiland must do to pull liberal leaners back from the Pressler precipice? Can Weiland afford to attack Pressler and bank on Rounds to continue sliding on his own as the evidence of Rounds's complicity in the failure of Northern Beef Packers and Bollengate?

Or does fighting on two fronts turn Weiland into another bad guy and open the door for Pressler to ironically restage 2002 and emerge the surprise, clean, positive victor among bickering candidates?


Want a lieutenant governor with hustle? Vote for Susy Blake (and that Susan gal who's running with her)!

Around 2:30 p.m. CDT today, Blake posted this status and photo on Facebook:

"Having an amazing time and meeting wonderful people at the Eagle Butte Powwow!"

Susy Blake: "Having an amazing time and meeting wonderful people at the Eagle Butte Powwow!"

About six hours later, Blake posted this status and photo:

Susy Blake: "Rock'n to Boston!" FB photo, South Dakota State Fair, 2014.08.31

Susy Blake: "Rock'n to Boston!" FB photo, South Dakota State Fair, 2014.08.31

From powwow in Eagle Butte to grandstand rock in Huron in one day—Susy Blake may be the hard-charging South Dakota mom everyone can love. And I have more than a feeling that Blake keeps up this schedule on corndog power! We're ready, Susy! Don't look back! Keep on campaigning!


I see South Dakotans Against Prohibition plan to disrupt the South Dakota State Fair with a protest parade in favor of medical marijuana and industrial hemp. Organizer Cody Gardner of Huron says he has 150 protesters ready to march and thinks he can get a full 1,000 to take over Third Street, the main city street that bisects the fairgrounds.

Protesters plan to cheer for Independent Mike Myers at the State Fair gubernatorial debate on Friday, then march east on Third Street to Dakota Avenue with most if not all of the Libertarian statewide candidates. They say it will take them 30 minutes to march those eight blocks... which makes me think part of the failure of the pro-hempers and Libertarians is an inability to get their rears in gear. (I hear pot does that to people.)

Another potential failure of the Libertarian-hemp movement: the inability to recognize good marketing synergy. They stage their march when everyone's at work on Friday morning, a slower day at the Fair with all those plain old candidates. They miss the chance to march on Saturday, when they could synergize with grandstand entertainer Stoney LaRue. Marketing, fellas... marketing.

p.s.: I support keeping government out of medical decisions. I also support growing hemp to boost South Dakota's economy and improve our soil and water quality. I have yet to see any South Dakota Libertarians capable of organizing an effective movement toward those policies.


At Dakotafest today, Gordon Howie doubled my projection of his vote total in South Dakota's Senate race to double digits.

The Howie boost doesn't come from his good hits on Rounds on EB-5 in today's debate (though I wholeheartedly approve, Gordon—carry on!). It wasn't his amazing ability to draw Rounds into attacking him (really! Rounds did it, saying Howie isn't fiscally conservative! That's worth a couple brownie points!). It wasn't his discourse on the Tenth Amendment and state sovereignty (I take those brownie points right back).

No, the Howie boost comes from the man in this photo:

Gordon Howie, Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, and Nick Reid, campaign manager.

Gordon Howie, Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, and Nick Reid, campaign manager, at Dakotafest, outside Mitchell, South Dakota, 2014.08.20.

Meet Gordon Howie's campaign manager, Nick Reid. Douglas High School debate coach Nick Reid. Debate coach.

We all debate coaches are destined to rule the world. If Gordon can listen to Nick, he just might beat Pressler!

And if he can play that last name right, he might even win the still up-for-grabs endorsement of the Senate Majority Leader.

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