Former State Senator Stan Adelstein took U.S. Senate candidate Mike Rounds to Israel to rub elbows and burnish his foreign policy cred in May 2013. Now the moderate Rapid City Republican blows the conservative dog whistle and tries to save Rounds's failing campaign by shouting, Don't vote for Obama!:

A vote for anyone other than Mike Rounds for the U.S. Senate is a vote for President Obama. The Republican Party cannot control the majority in the U.S. Senate without Governor Rounds.

If you WANT Barack Obama to continue completely ignoring the needs American citizens then vote for one of the other candidates. If, like me, you want control your of government in your state, vote FOR Governor Rounds. Mike Rounds well understands the needs of this state—and, for that matter, any state [Stan Adelstein, "South Dakota Supports Obama???" A Way to Go, 2014.10.06].

Unlike Rep. Betty Olson, Adelstein at least avoids birtherism and sticks with policy:

Our foreign policy is in disarray and the vicious president of Russia is contemptuous of Obama’s inability to act firmly. He is absolutely convinced of our near impotence in influence abroad. All of the president’s attempts to change our economic situation at home have been a gross failure. Without a change in congressional control these problems, that are a result of inconsistent and contradictory policies, will continue [Adelstein, 2014.10.06].

Adelstein does tailor the generic down-with-Obama talking points with specifics on the South Dakota contest. "None of the other candidates show the vaguest sign" of Rounds's leadership... although all I've seen Rounds lead us into is failure and scandal. Adelstein dismisses Weiland as beholden to the wealthy folks bankrolling him (no mention of Rounds's donors) and bringing no public-office experience or understanding of the process (never mind Weiland's leadership at FEMA, AARP, or the International Code Council, in all of which he had to work with the political process). Adelstein contends his friend Larry Pressler got into the race as a Democratic chicanerer, while his friend Gordon Howie is earnest, caring, and hopeless.

Of course, now that Adelstein endorses Rounds, Pat Powers will have to abandon Rounds, since an endorsement from Adelstein is nothing but bad news, right, Pat?

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From whom does Independent Senate candidate Larry Pressler take more votes, Republican Mike Rounds or Democrat Rick Weiland? I maintain that Pressler's prior Republicanism and Democratic unity behind their best statewide candidate mean Pressler's a bigger threat to Rounds. However, Pressler's centrist credentials, support for marriage equality, and the nervous Democratic anti-Pressler squawkage suggest he could drink more of Weiland's milkshake than I anticipate.

Stanford Adelstein flicks some oatmeal across the table to reinforce my confidence in the former thesis. Kevin Woster reports that the Black Hills lion asked Pressler why he doesn't quit the Senate race to quit hurting the SDGOP:

Former state Sen. Stan Adelstein posed it to former U.S. Senate Larry Pressler Saturday morning, during the weekly meeting of the Old Man’s Breakfast Club. Adelstein suggested that Pressler had raised good some issues and enjoyed a bit of the old days on the campaign trail, but should perhaps face the reality that he couldn’t win and that with his independent campaign for the U.S. Senate might simply be harming the Republican Party and its presumed front-runner in that race, former Gov. Mike Rounds.

When pressed on the point, Adelstein — an important early backer of Rounds during his improbable, successful Republican primary run in the 2002 gubernatorial race — said Pressler should withdraw sometime in August “for the good of the Republican Party” [Kevin Woster, "Over Old-Man's Oatmeal, Pressler Declines Adelstein's Invitation to Quit," KELOLand.com, 2014.07.15].

Pressler declined, predictably. He feistily maintains that he isn't taking voters away from anyone else, that he has his own voters.

But if politics is personal, Woster lays out some cards that suggest Pressler would take satisfaction in raiding more of Rounds's pile than Weiland's:

First, [Pressler] pointed out that the Republican Party in South Dakota hadn’t exhausted itself for him during the 1996 U.S. Senate race, when five-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson denied Pressler a fourth U.S. Senate term. The GOP’s early love affair with Pressler was fading a bit by then, which was just fine with then-Gov. Bill Janklow, who rarely missed an opportunity to badmouth the Humboldt native and didn’t shed any tears when he lost.

...He still wants that fourth Senate term, denied to him by Johnson — whom Pressler initially, understandably resented, but later came to regard with friendship. You might recall that Pressler visited the Democratic senator in the rehab hospital after his near-fatal brain hemorrhage and even voted for him (much to the dismay of the state GOP and its candidate, Joel Dykstra) in 2008 (along with voting for Barack Obama) after Johnson’s return to the Senate and successful run for reelection [Woster, 2014.07.15].

Pressler tells Woster and his breakfast compadres (hey, does Mike Rounds ever deign to dine with the rabble like that?) that the issues he wants to discuss from an independent perspective trump any personal vendettas that we baseballers may want to pitch. But if Woster is on to something—if Pressler's run and his recent aisle-crossing are motivated in part by a desire to get back at Republicans who left him hanging—then Pressler himself would have to accept Adelstein's thesis and mine, that a larger portion of his voters would pick Rounds rather than Weiland.

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Tomorrow morning, the South Dakota Republican Party will choose its candidate for Secretary of State. Since my Democratic Party has not yet announced any candidate for perhaps the most contestable office on the ballot this fall, the SDGOP may indeed be picking the replacement for the beleaguered and bumbling Jason Gant. Should the party pick the woman who forced Jason Gant into the historic decision to not seek a second term, Senator Shantel Krebs? Or should the GOP pick the woman who has kept Gant's fat out of the fire for the last couple years, current SOS Pat Miller?

Former Senator Stan Adelstein wants his colleague Krebs:

...Shantel Krebs is a stickler for honesty. She is intimately knowledgeable on election law and election methods and procedures. In addition to that, Shantel, unlike Ms. Miller, has successfully operated and managed more than one business.

To the best of my knowledge, nowhere in the past have there been as many complaints from businesses about erroneous online filing, lack of confidentiality, and frankly general screw-ups as we’ve seen recently coming out of the Secretary of State’s office.

Republicans would do well to nominate someone who is in a clear position to clean up the messes in the Secretary of State’s office and restore public confidence in its competence and integrity.

If we don’t, the Democrats will [Stanford Adelstein, "Just Say No—to the Possibility of Four More Years of Jason Gant," A Way to Go, 2014.06.18].

I take Adelstein's point that Miller is stained by association with the current regime. But Krebs has given no indication that she would be any less inclined to use the office for partisan purposes than Secretary Gant has. Krebs has made clear she sees no problem with Indian voting rights in South Dakota, an issue where Gant has demonstrated a willingness to put protection of Republican margins above universal enfranchisement. She hasn't spoken out on Gant's failure to train election officials properly for this year's primary, a failure that may have denied some Independents access to the Democratic gubernatorial ballot. Krebs's announcement of candidacy last summer seemed to view the Secretary of State's office as a tool for maintaining Republican dominance as for serving the broader public interest.

Former Secretary of State Chris Nelson has also endorsed Krebs. Hearing often reasonable Republicans like Nelson and Adelstein endorse Krebs tempers my concerns about Krebs's partisan motivations somewhat.

But I'd still really, really, really rather have my Democrats come through with a quality candidate for Secretary of State. Given the scandals of notary violations, partisan influence, election errors, and petition fraud that have taken place in the last four years, South Dakota needs an informative and vigorous statewide conversation during the general election about the duties of the office of the Secretary of State, not a decision made by a few hundred delegates in Rapid City tomorrow.

Update 09:48 CDT (08:48 MDT for you conventioneers): I am remiss in not referring to Ken Santema's thoughtful and detailed assessment of the Secretary of State's race. A somewhat independent observer, Santema leans Krebs, preferring a little more distance between the new SOS and the current regime.

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So Stan Adelstein resigns from the South Dakota Senate, and the opposite-of-classy Pat Powers can only gripe that Adelstein played political hardball with Pat's pals, the same kind of war-college hardball that those pals play with everyone else in their party. Whatever.

Stan Adelstein doesn't have to buy an ad on this blog to get me to point out two less grudgeful views of Adelstein's politics.

Republican John Tsitrian calls his friend Stan a Republican's Republican, and a guy the rest of us can stand to be around:

Adelstein is also a Republican's Republican in the sense that he's true to the essential element of Republican philosophy, which is that individual rights and choices must be preserved at all costs. On that score he--and I'm proud to say, I--have been publicly excoriated by members of the South Dakota GOP who believe that personal choices involving sexual orientation and a woman's decisions about her reproductive apparatus should be the government's business. How a party that is built on a foundation of championing and preserving individual rights can come to believe that rights and benefits should be determined according to the way people run their private lives is an abomination. I've always stood with Stan against the forces in our party who are determined to use the government as a cudgel for imposing their personal, moral views on society as a whole [John Tsitrian, "Best of Luck to You, Stan Adelstein -- A Republican's Republican," The Constant Commoner, 2014.01.04].

Bob Mercer deems Adelstein a feminist, a not-so-great legislator, and a smart politician:

You likely heard or read how then-Gov. Bill Janklow called Adelstein in the spring of 2002 and suggested some financial oomph might make the difference for Mike Rounds in the Republican primary for governor.

Rounds won the nomination. He was elected governor, twice.

And you likely remember two years ago when Adelstein demanded state Attorney General Marty Jackley investigate activities of Secretary of State Jason Gant and deputy Pat Powers.

Adelstein introduced legislation in 2013 to make candidates for constitutional offices such as secretary of state subject to primary elections, rather than continue to be nominated at political-party conventions. This was a direct shot at the process that led to Gant’s election.

The bill failed, but the dissent was planted. On Sept. 3, Sen. Shantel Krebs, R-Renner, filed paperwork to run for secretary of state. Gant soon announced he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2014 [Bob Mercer, "Retiring Legislator Showed Smarts, Courage," Aberdeen American News, 2014.01.03].

Political observer Tom Lawrence suggests we haven't heard the last of Adelstein's politicking. If that's the case, then we won't have heard the last of Pat Powers's rants against Adelstein. Powers uses his GOP spin machine to malign Stan Adelstein, because Adelstein is too rich and too independent to heel to the privilege and patronage through which Powers's friends maintain their rule.

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Bad news for conscience and sanity in the Legislature: Senator Stanford Adelstein has resigned from the South Dakota Senate. Here's the press release from Adelstein's office:

Senator Stan Adelstein today announced his resignation from the State Senate due to complications arising from recent hip replacement surgery. The surgery on October 4th would normally meant full mobility within 30 days. Continuing infection led to three additional operations, with mobility continually being delayed.

The latest medical schedule led him to conclude that he would not be able to give 100% to the job when the Legislative Session begins in January.

Adelstein said he did so "with great reluctance because representing the people of District 32 is something I truly loved doing. This decision is the saddest and most difficult that I can remember."

He appreciated a thoughtful and supportive call from Governor today [Stanford Adelstein, press release, 2013.12.30].

Governor Daugaard thus gets to select his seventh member of the Legislature and his fifth in less than twelve months.

In his resignation letter, Adelstein advises the Governor to appoint a mainstream Republican dedicated to education and civil liberties:

Dear Governor Daugaard,

As you may know, I have recently suffered complications from hip replacement surgery that have required additional surgical procedures. I am hoping to have a new hip replacement completed in early January and am optimistic about my prospects thereafter.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that I will recover fully in time for the 2013 Session of the Legislature. I do not wish to see the people of District 32 served by someone who is not able to give 100%, so I am therefore submitting my resignation from the State Senate, effective immediately.

I know that you have many capable people from whom to choose your appointment to fill out the remainder of my term. I hope that you will select someone who represents the mainstream of Republican thinking, someone who is devoted to improving our schools and universities, and someone who is committed to protecting the civil liberties of all Americans.

I have enjoyed my many years of service in the State Senate and am hopeful that a full recovery will enable me to find new ways to help move our great state forward.

In the meantime, best wishes to you for a successful new year!

Sincerely,

Stan Adelstein

If there is an upside to Adelstein's resignation, it may be that with a little more time on his hands this winter, Adelstein will be able to share more of his stories and good sense on his blog, A Way to Go. Someone get that man a new laptop as a retirement gift... and Stan, start typing!

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Democrats and South Dakota's low-income workers again have a friend in Senator Stanford Adelstein. Rapid City's most interesting Republican renews his call for the Legislature and Governor Dennis Daugaard to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act:

The proposed expansion would open the Medicaid program to approximately 48,000 people who are unable to afford even subsidized insurance. The argument seems to be that excluding these 48,000 South Dakotans from Medicaid will save us money, but (as I stated in my February 8th post) you and I—the taxpayers—are already paying. The difference is that now we are we are absorbing the expense at a higher cost when treatment is sought at the hospital and in the emergency room [Senator Stanford Adelstein, "Medicaid Expansion Makes Sense," A Way to Go, 2013.12.11].

Expanding Medicaid should be an easy call for the Legislature. We've studied the issue throughly; it's a clear fiscal and moral win for South Dakota. Legislators, make Medicaid expansion Senate Bill 101, fast-track it, and put it on Governor Daugaard's desk before Martin Luther King Day.

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Rescue in Denmark Commemorative Event, Mount Rushmore, September 28, 2013With the help of Danish-American groups, the Mount Zion Temple and Synagogue of the Hills, Bishop Zellmer and the ELCA, and the Black Hills Area Community Foundation, Senator Stanford Adelstein (R-32/Rapid City) is organizing a historical commemoration at Mount Rushmore this weekend. On Saturday, Senator Adelstein, a notable member of South Dakota's very small Jewish community, will master a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the rescue of the Danish Jews. Senator Adelstein shares his story of the rescue and explains why he's holding Saturday's ceremony at Mount Rushmore:

On September 28, 1943, the beginning of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) the Nazi occupiers of Denmark had planned a roundup of all of the Jews in the country, and their deportation to death camps. Nearly all of the Jews in the country disappeared into homes of Christian friends, acquaintances, and in many cases strangers.

Black Hills area residents will have the unique opportunity to hear this dramatic story of Christian heroism in Denmark during World War II.

A commemoration of the 70th anniversary of this rescue of Danish Jews to neutral Sweden will be held at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Amphitheater on Saturday, September 28 at 4:30pm.

Rudy Boschwitz, former US Senator from Minnesota and US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, Bishop David Zellmer, South Dakota Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and Professor Emeritus Leo Goldberger will be honored guests and speakers at the commemoration, as well as Anelise Sawkins of the Danish consulate. One of the conveners for this recognition is South Dakota State Senator Stanford Adelstein who will act as master of ceremonies.

Between 1943 in 1940 half of the Jewish boys then alive in the world died in Nazi concentration camps. In 1943 Ambassador Boschwitz, Professor Goldberger, and Senator Adelstein were 12 and 13 years old boys: boys who lived to be men, men who have served their country, men aware—yet unable to comprehend—that half of the Jewish boys and girls of their generation were killed.

Eighty-two year old State Senator Adelstein, whose grandmother was a single mother who homesteaded on the edge of the Badlands, said when reflecting on this commemoration, “Barely a day goes by when I don’t reflect on what have been possible in this world if the other half of children like us would have had just a tiny of the opportunities given to us. Or, simply the opportunity to live.”

At this ceremony, seated beneath our country’s founders, the rescue of a country’s Jewish men, women, and children will be celebrated.

In September 1943, after hearing of Hitler’s orders to arrest and deport all the Jews in Denmark, the Danish people immediately began warning their Jewish neighbors and friends.

Hiding places were then secured in ports and small fishing villages until it was safe to smuggle them across the water in small fishing boats to neutral Sweden.

Because of the courage, compassion and humanitarian efforts of these everyday Danish people, more than 95% of all Danish Jews were saved from Hitler’s death camps.

This is a story of real heroism that veterans, school children and people of all faiths and nationalities will find inspiring.

In a day when we only hear of those individuals who injure others, we forget that a whole nation risked their lives and businesses to save their fellow Danes, of a different faith, who they might not have known personally. The conveners are organizing this public event with the objective of sharing this often forgotten rescue story with as many people as possible. The hope is that this event will, “draw world-wide attention to the amazing things which can be accomplished when we look for our similarities, rather than our differences, and work together” [Senator Stanford Adelstein, press release, 2013.09.19].

Even stories of Jewish survival in World War II carry dark strains. Many families crossing the Øresund Strait to Sweden left their children behind with Christian Danish families for safety's sake, and even when reunited, the trauma of that separation strongly affected parents and children alike. The Danes' noble actions in 1943 came after years of immigration policies as harsh to Jewish refugees as those of other Western nations, as well as three years of collaboration with Nazi occupiers.

Nonetheless, when faced with the final solution of the archetype of evil in the 20th century, Denmark chose the difficult and decent path and saved 8,000 people from the Nazi death camps. That's historic moral courage worth remembering.

Get your dose of history Saturday, September 28, 4:30 p.m., at Mount Rushmore.

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Senator Stanford Adelstein (R-32/Rapid City) has taken M. Michael Rounds to Israel this week. Alas, Stan will probably bring Mike back to South Dakota.

Rounds said his trip would help make him a better senator, if elected.

“This will be a very interesting trip, one that will not only give us a trip to see the Holy Land for the first time, but to learn a lot about one of our major allies in the Middle East,” he said [David Montgomery, "Mike Rounds in Midst of Six-Day Trip to Israel," that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.05.29].

Rounds's challenger in the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Rick Weiland, takes the South Dakota Republican tack and criticizes Rounds for international travel and curiosity:

“As important as the Middle East is, I am much more interested in what everyday South Dakotans are thinking,” Weiland said in a statement. “While Mike is overseas, I will be working the state and listening to the citizens of South Dakota. They are my focus” [Montgomery, 2013.05.29].

Rounds says he is using some campaign funds for this trip, so clearly, this little jaunt with his wife Jean and Mr. and Mrs. Adelstein is not a vacation, since federal campaign finance law forbids using campaign funds for a vacation or other non-campaign-related trip. And according to FlightAware, Rounds did not fly his own plane.

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