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Thune Flack: Herseth Sandlin Doesn’t Buy Groceries

I was going to leave this alone, but some Republicans just can't win with class.

The Thune campaign successfully backed sock puppet Kristi Noem against Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. They got someone nice and Palin-y in the chute to run for Senator Tim Johnson's seat in 2014 (assuming the Palin and Teabagger fads can last that long...and gods help us if they do).

But gloating over their Ice Queen coronation isn't enough. The Thune campaign now feels compelled to play Oprah and tell Herseth Sandlin how she ought to live her life after an election defeat:

Andi Fouberg, press secretary for Sen. John Thune, said Thune was very visible in the wake of his razor-thin loss to Sen. Tim Johnson in 2002.

Thune, who then held the congressional seat that Herseth Sandlin does now, lived in Sioux Falls and was seen at the grocery store, at his children's ballgames and in the community, Fouberg said.

"Senator Thune held a press conference the day after the 2002 election and had conversations with reporters throughout that week and beyond that," she said. "There wasn't really a period of silence" [Tom Lawrence, "Ousted Congresswoman Says She Has 'No Regrets,'" Mitchell Daily Republic, 2010.12.01]

Senator Thune, you pay Andi with an i $100,000-plus a year to say things like this? Our tax dollars at work? Try our tax dollars at jerk.

Andi with an i neglects to remind us that the "press conference" the day after the 2002 election was more likely Thune's concession speech, since the 500-some vote margin wasn't called in that race until the morning after the vote. And the Thune-Noem machine wasn't terribly interested in giving Herseth Sandlin any visibility right after they won, since Noem trotted out to give her victory speech hardly 30 seconds after Herseth Sandlin had begun her concession speech.

Andi with an i makes a whole whack of bogus implications with her other references:

  • "lived in Sioux Falls"—still pumping the lie that Herseth Sandlin doesn't live in South Dakota. How many times does someone have to say she lives in Brookings for you to accept the plain fact that she lives in Brookings? Even in victory, is the lie so titillating, so addicting, that you can't give it up?
  • "seen at the grocery store"—seriously? this matters? What do you want, Hy-Vee receipts? (Actually, speaking of receipts, we shouldn't forget that Herseth Sandlin was spending more money in South Dakota than Noem during the campaign.)
  • "children's ballgames"—golly, we're sorry that Zachary isn't old enough for pee-wee football yet. Should Herseth Sandlin submit affidavits from neighbors who saw her around town with Zachary at McDonald's or the Children's Museum or other places?

Herseth Sandlin tells the press that she spent the past month at her home in Brookings, on a family Thanksgiving trip, and back at the office in Washington. She's been particularly busy there: in addition to making every vote so far in the lame-duck session, she's had to move her office, hand over office equipment, and let staff go, even though she's still on the job for another month. Whatever calls she's getting for jobs, the Lawrence article makes it sound as if Herseth Sandlin, the good boss, is more focused on helping her staffers make the transition and land on their feet.

Now I know the Thune-bots at Dakota War College are crushed to lose a fun headline-meme. (Heavens forbid bloggers lose easy snark and have to come up with original, useful news about policy.) But if Herseth Sandlin had taken the opposite route and made lots of public appearances post election, the Thune-bots would simply have resorted to some other slimy line, like "Who does she think she is? She loses but keeps trying to hog the spotlight. Why can't she leave the stage gracefully?"

In a political and media environment highly inclined to brush aside losers, outgoing Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin has been doing her job, helping her staff, and reclaiming some well-deserved privacy. And maybe, just maybe, Stephanie has been making up some quality time with a little boy who's a lot more important than providing fodder for those of us in the chattering class.


  1. MikeH 2010.12.04

    Cory, you are right about SHS spending money in SD - but it was in earmarks not grocery bills.

  2. caheidelberger 2010.12.04

    No, Mike, go back and read the link. Noem bought her adas in Texas. SHS did exactly what I said she did, buying groceries from Hy-Vee.

    As for earmarks, I haven't heard any of you Republicans calling for Noem to send the South Dakota earmarks back. Ingrates.

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