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:
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.
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?
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!
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, 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!
Rick voters and blog readers are also cool with flower power and adult beverages in moderation.
Candidate Weiland had a moment between sets to chat about the campaign. Before playing the big show Saturday at his brother Kevin's Piedmont place, Rick walked the Central States Fair parade through downtown Rapid City. Parade in the morning, working the stage and working the crowd all afternoon and evening (and before the sun dropped below the ponderosas, it was hot on that stage!)... you tell me who the hardest working man in the Senate campaign is!
Rick noted that the last time he marched in the Central States Fair parade (another campaign, another decade), he recalls folks actually booing at him. Saturday morning, he said parade-goers were cheering and stepping out to shake his hand. That's long-term momentum!
It’s the “almost,” of course, along with a young, palm-studying staff of smart-phone addicts, that gets Weiland out of bed early each day to pound the pavement, press the flesh and pass mile after mile of lonesome South Dakota roads in a low-budget, wrist-wrenching retail campaign he wouldn’t trade for just about anything. OK, maybe he’d trade it for a lot of campaign cash and a 15-point lead over Rounds, but let’s get serious. This is South Dakota, where Republican candidates begin any statewide campaign with a 50,000 vote edge over Democrats in registered voters.
Still, Weiland is serious about the campaign and actually seems inspired by it. Asked to compare this campaign to his previous two, Weiland said: “This one has been much more hands on. It’s a real campaign, and these are real visits. Our goal has been to meet at least one person in every town. And we’ve done that" [Kevin Woster, "Haven't Been to Hillsview? You Haven't Really Campaigned," KELOLand.com, 2014.08.05].
Rick vs. Mike—David vs. Goliath
Compare Rick's hard-charging minivan tour of South Dakota with Mike Rounds's comfortable cruise around the state in a giant wrapped bus, and you can understand why the press, not to mention hard-working voters, might talk more about Weiland's travels than about what a Weiland fundraising pitch deems the GRA$$ROOT$ EXPRE$$. Weiland's Everywhere-Everyman-van versus Rounds's luxury travel could also explain why, even though he has more name recognition, his favorable–unfavorable ratio is notably worse than Weiland's.
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