Congresswoman Kristi Noem spoke to hundreds of South Dakota's best and brightest young women at Girls' State in Vermillion Monday. Instead of telling these ambitious young women how government really works, Rep. Noem defaulted to her usual fluff and folksy nonsense.
"My grandma said, "˜The only advice that I would have for Kristi would be to say yes as much as you possibly can, because as a mom, so many times you have to say no.' I have applied that to my entire life since then.
"All of you have so many opportunities in front of you ... I hope that when you see an opportunity in front of you, that you say "˜yes.' There are so many other times in life when you won't have the opportunity to say yes," Noem said. "You'll find that amazing things will happen to you if you just will say to yourself "˜I'm going to say yes before I say no'" [David Lias, "Noem: Say 'Yes' to Every Opportunity," Yankton Press & Dakotan, 2011.06.01].
Say yes all the time: What rotten advice for teenage girls! Noem seems to be replacing critical thinking and discernment with a flimsy absolute.
Say yes all the time: Does that mean when the federal government offers handouts that violate your party's espoused principles of small government and free-market capitalism, you say yes? Apparently.
Does that mean when you have a chance to say yes to funding programs that support public brodcasting, promote women's health, and save America from default and global economic chaos, you say yes? Apparently not.
Does that mean when the Madville Times invites you to Madison for a half-hour interview before a live audience on August 5 at noon, you say yes? We'll see....
Noem babbles to the Girls' Staters about the importance of staying positive (anyone want to review her campaign ads against Herseth Sandlin?), working hard, and looking for opportunities. But as usual, she's not really saying anything... at least not anything I want my daughter saying.
Bonus Babble: In her Girls' State address, Rep. Noem recycled her line about how her father's death triggered problems with the federal estate tax, an experience that motivated her to get interested in government. This is a fun campaign line, shielding a tough policy position in a sensitive emotional issue that might make reporters hesitate to serious questions. However, Noem has yet to explain why there were problems with the estate tax when her mother was still alive to act as sole owner of the operation. Maybe the Congresswoman will discuss that with me at our August 5 interview.