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Varilek Radio Ad Hammers Noem on Farm Bill, False Attacks, Oil, and Absence

Matt Varilek follows up his warm fuzzy metaphor punch with a much more direct radio ad hammering Congresswoman Kristi Noem for non-performance:

Varilek's text:

I'm Matt Varilek, and in my campaign for Congress, I've been doing lot of listening. I'm hearing from farmers and ranchers fighting through this drought and wondering why the US House hasn't produced a Farm Bill yet.

One thing I wish none of us had to listen to is the false attack ad Congresswoman Noem is now running against me. The ad is false, it's wrong, and it's a pretty sad way to launch her campaign for reelection.

Congresswoman Noem is resorting to these attacks because she doesn't want to talk about the stalled Farm Bill, or the thousands of dollars in campaign contributions she's taken from Big Oil companies like Halliburton and ExxonMobil. And she sure doesn't want to talk about all the committee meetings she's missed.

Well I will fight tax giveaways for Big Oil. I will work to cut spending and reduce the deficit in a balanced way. And I'll show up every day to fight for South Dakota in Congress. I'm Matt Varilek, candidate for Congress, and I approve this message [Matt Varilek, campaign radio ad, September 5, 2012].

I would hazard the hypothesis that Noem is resorting to these attacks because she is afraid. If Varilek didn't have a chance, the way Noem's spinsters have been wishfully thinking out loud for months, Noem wouldn't waste her time with such negative attacks... not unless she were really, really petty.

Related: Noem dodges yet another debate, with no explanation. But she can get out to Rapid City to hold babies for a picture.


  1. Jana 2012.09.06

    Matt. Call her out on her lies!

    There seems to be a lot of that going around in the Republican party. Invite the media to ask her to go beyond just transcribing her platitudes for her.

    She should be afraid after seeing the R and the D conventions and seeing who is fighting for whom and who is just fighting the incredible urge to lie about something as simple as running a sub 3 minute marathon.

    Keep it up Matt and don't be afraid to be bold and fight through the crap for South Dakota.

  2. Justin 2012.09.06

    When I read that RCJ "article" today, I was confused to say the least.

    I guess there is a "baby handling gap". If this is how far Noem's supporters need to reach to find an angle that makes her look good in comparison, they have to realize the ship is sinking.

    Personally, I've always found the people that hand their babies over to politicians creepy.

  3. mike 2012.09.06

    Varilek should just hammer her on not showing up for work and skip the big oil stuff.

    I agree that Noem isn't polling very high. My guess is ten points ahead of Varilek to warrant her attacking him by name on cap and tax. Which says more about Noem than Varilek if her support is weak. Most voters probably couldn't tell you who her opponent is but they clearly can say they don't like Noem.

    Noem will be in the fight of her political life in 2014 if she survives 2012.

  4. Jana 2012.09.06

    Saw that too Justin.

    OK Matt, send them a picture of you rescuing 4 cute kittens up a tree trying to escape a mountain lion...while wearing "I heart hunting" collars.

    We must out pander Kristi with cute pics if she isn't going to be held to discussing issues.

    Of course...maybe the cute two baby pic was just a part of the negotiations to get Kristi to actually recognize the Journal and debate in Rapid City.

    Who knew politics was so hard.

  5. Jana 2012.09.06

    Uh oh...Kristi turned down a second Rapid City/West River debate.

    Quick a picture of her with a cute pony so we can hear her discuss the issues with Matt.

  6. JoeBoo 2012.09.06

    1st of all, the political junkie in me just doesn't understand the Noem campaign. She ran 1 heck of a race, and I'll tell people, she ran the better race against Herseth. But I just don't get some of the very bad moves she has made this time around.

    2nd of all the Varilek add is good, but I like previously stated, just hit her for not showing up. South Dakotan's hate people who don't show up for things. Hit her on that, pivot to the (very) few public appearances she has made, and then pivot to the # of private (donor) meetings she has had. And then nail her for dodging debates.

    Matt has ran a very solid race so far, not quite as sharp on some little things as I would like, but he has made solid macro decisions on the campaign. He went up early with ads. And is hammering Noem on issues. Keep it up, but fine tune it and don't quit.

  7. mike 2012.09.06

    I don't remember Herseth attacking Whalen or Lien ever in '06 or '08. Something is very strange about how proactive Noem's team is being by going after Varilek.

  8. Justin 2012.09.06

    Mike if there were a poll that had Kristi 10 points ahead, don't you think her camp would be touting it heavily since the only poll most have seen shows her with only a one point lead?

  9. mike 2012.09.06

    One thing everyone is tired of is her constant talking about her family and her fathers tragic death. We know that story but now it's time for her to talk about the issues.

    Her story about her dad is starting to come off like a crutch or a sympathy card instead of heart felt.

    And if we have to hear about her kids again I'll throw up. Her facebook page is full of photos of her kids and not her meetings where she is working for SD.

  10. mike 2012.09.06

    Justin, I don't think ten points is very far ahead. It's actually very close and if Noem's team was touting a poll showing her ahead by only ten the GOP base would be flipping out. Johnson, Thune and SHS all got 69-75% of the vote on their run for reelection. If Noem isn't up by huge numbers against an unknown she knows she isn't viable against SHS, Brendan Johnson or Mike Rounds.

    voters can't judge Varilek because they don't know much about him. That means they are rejecting Kristi Noem. There isn't any other reason Noem is going after Varilek by name accept that this race is closer than most of us assume.

    If it was closer than 10% the DCCC would be involved already. I think Varilek has a chance to pull this to single digits but I doubt he's there yet.

  11. mike 2012.09.06

    I want one ad that is all about her not attending meetings or speaking. When Varilek held up that paper at the debate and praised Janklow, Thune and Herseth for advocating for SD in the Ag committee and then said Noem's words wouldn't even fill half a page it was brutal. An ad with that audio would be incredible.

  12. Justin 2012.09.06

    Thanks for explaining, you obviously know more about the process than I do.

    I think it must be close too, based on the negative ads and the debate dodging.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.07

    Mike, that ad wouldn't be hard to post. But as a debate coach, I'm inclined to go with the spread, at least in this format. It's a one-minute ad, so he can fit four main points in their: false attacks, no Farm Bill, Big Oil money, and Ag committee absence. Each is a valid issue. Each has different appeal to different voters. In a 30-second ad, even if we wanted to focus on the Ag committee absences, I might still go for two points by adding her absence from town halls, to expand the argument from one specific area to a laziness or incompetence that she shows in Washington or here at home. I'd cap that ad with the photos of her at the Laguna Beach cocktail fundraiser. Then if she tries to rebut, she's can't just trot out the Ag committee speeches she's rushed to make since the campaign got going; she's got to make three separate excuses.

  14. Dougal 2012.09.07

    Noem failed to show up in court for her reckless string of traffic offenses. Noem failed to show up in the vast majority of House ag committee meetings. Noem now fails to show up for time-honored debates at the South Dakota State Fair and KSFY.

    Is she that arrogant? Or ignorant that showing up matters? It may not matter to her, but it matters to everyday South Dakotans. Her attacks on Matt are illogical, and I can't imagine that a competent ad firm would recommend attacking an opponent by name who has less than 50 percent name identification among most likely voters.

    This points to one thing. The candidate has decided to become the campaign manager, which exposes a campaign in chaos. It's like they say about defendants who act as their own attorney: They have a fool for a client.

  15. Rorschach 2012.09.07

    As much as I dislike subsidies and tax breaks for big oil, I just don't think it's a salient issue with swing voters. "Big Oil" is an overused slogan that goes in one ear and out the other without pausing in between. If Varilek wants to talk about big oil he needs to give a more specific example that people can relate to of a company getting a tax break while making big profits and then behaving badly - and he needs to tie Noem to that company. That's a tall order.

    I agree with Mike & Dougal. Varilek needs to focus on Noem's poor performance in office, her lack of work ethic, and her casual disregard for meeting with South Dakotans. Build on the questions voters already have about her aloofness and her competence.

  16. Justin 2012.09.07

    I agree R. Most people I talk to here think they are some sort of beneficiary of big oil.

    If he wants to go after her big oil financiers, the key thing I would stress is "out of state money". That seems to strike home more, as it should. Those folks see us as one of the cheapest states to buy influence in.

  17. mike 2012.09.07

    I'm convinced Noem is polling below 50%. Substantially below in some cases.

    Cory, I like your idea. I think most SD voters already have the preconcieved notion that Noem is not doing a good job in congress. I don't know how well the big oil thing plays in SD. As mentioned above the out of state money thing and Laguna beach probably wouldn't play well for her.

  18. mike 2012.09.07

    Dougal makes an interesting point about Noem and her campaign going after Varilek by name. Why are they doing this???

  19. Michael Black 2012.09.07

    I was at the SD State Fair in Huron on Sunday. My son and I went by both the Democratic and Republican Party buildings around 5-5:30 pm and several times later on. The streets were full of people yet I didn't see any candidates out front engaging voters in discussion. You'd think that they would be more hungry for attention than that. I was disappointed.

  20. Michael Black 2012.09.07

    I am concerned for those in public office with children. You cannot possibly do everything you should for your elected job without sacrificing personal time with your kids.

  21. Justin 2012.09.07

    Isn't that true for most demanding jobs, Michael?

    At least when you are a politician you can skip work whenever you want. As I understand it, you could also hire a nanny with your PAC money.

  22. Michael Black 2012.09.07

    Kids deserve attention from their parents. The good book says that you cannot serve two masters. Maybe politicians should wait until later in life to run for office.

  23. Justin 2012.09.07

    I don't disagree with you that it is better for parents to spend more time with their kids than less. The issue is most families today have both parents working. It has become a fact of life.

  24. Michael Black 2012.09.07

    There is a season for everything in life.

  25. Justin 2012.09.07

    That may be true for political office. I worry more about the families that have to have two breadwinners working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. I don't think politicians work more than anybody else, in fact in the case of Kristi it seems like a pretty cushy gig.

  26. Dougal 2012.09.07

    Conventional wisdom has it that if you win a first term by 2 percent and failed to get 50 percent of the vote, you better fight like hell to be re-elected ... and if you're re-elected, you can rest back a bit on your laurels. This isn't like running in a state legislative race in a district gerrymandered for easy Republican victories, which was how she won re-election to Pierre.

    Noem should stay home. Apparently, that's what she's been doing in her first (and maybe last) term in Congress. I don't think she wants the job because she clearly isn't interested in fighting for it.

  27. G-Man 2012.09.07

    The dirty little secret is that I believe Noem knows she's about to be toast in this election.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.07

    R, I'll cede the point: In South Dakota, "Big Oil" is not as strong a campaign point against Noem as her no-show problem. If I have to prioritize, I pick the no-show first. I save the Big Oil line for back-up with certain audiences, in the context of certain questions when I can make the point more specific about tax breaks for rich guys... or when I can use it is one example in a broader argument about Noem going Washington and looking out for rich guys instead of the home folks.

  29. Jana 2012.09.07

    My favorite is Kristi doesn't show up! Doesn't show up for South Dakota.

    I would also tie her to Paul Ryan as much as I could.

    Paul Ryan has lost a tremendous amount of credibility nationally that will play out as the campaign heats up. I would tie Kristi to Ryan on telling the truth, vouchers for medicare, women's issues including redefining rape and outlawing contraception, the Catholic Bishops who call his budget outside of the Church's teaching, the impact of what the repeal of Obamacare would mean to families...marathon times, you name it.

    She's never been accused of having a good grasp on policy and everyone knows that she is a puppet for whatever the prevailing talking point is. Linking her back to a discredited puppet master doesn't help her with independent voters.

  30. Jana 2012.09.07

    Not to mention her flirtation with the Tea Party that was enough to seduce their vote and then act like she forgot their phone number.

  31. Bill Fleming 2012.09.07

    Clock teaser?

  32. Jana 2012.09.07

    That was pretty good Bill!

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.07

    Oh yeah, that rape thing. We haven't even pushed her on the rape-exception question, have we? But I wonder: would pushing Noem on abortion and rape get less traction in SD than Matt's Big Oil argument against her?

  34. Justin 2012.09.07

    I don't think it's a losing issue Cory. After all we voted against an abortion ban as a state twice. I assume anybody who is for raped women being forced to carry to term isn't a sentient swing vote anyway. It would have to be done carefully though, and depends on what Varilek's record is because if he has been left of the SD majority that will come out too.

  35. JoeBoo 2012.09.07

    Here is my line of attack..... feel free to use all or some of it in your own attacks, feel free to correct me or sharpen the message.

    Where have you been on the farm bill? Why has the leadership, which you are a part of, failed to put the farm bill up for a vote? Why is the House version of the farm bill that you are supporting favor southern farmers more than Mid-western farmers? Why do you blame Democrats for not passing a farm bill, when your party is in the majority and a farm bill got 64 votes in the Senate? Why do you continuously miss Ag Committee meetings? Why did you take money from the Koch Brothers? Why is your largest contributor this cycle a Petroleum company? Why did you voice support for Congressman Ryan’s 1st budget that would make Medicare a voucher program, and cause the program to go bankrupt by 2016? Why did you vote for Congressman Ryan’s 2nd budget that would reduce block Medicaid by 1/3rd leading South Dakota hospitals and nursing homes to be gravely affected?

  36. JoeBoo 2012.09.07

    I don't like big oil as a direct attack but its ok to sneak it in under the radar.

    I think the Ryan budget is fair game, but don't attack it as the Ryan budget, attack it as support for the GOP budget, I'm going to guess Paul Ryan polls alright in South Dakota.

    I don't like to give ideas to campaigns (actually I do), but I'd go after the block medicaid and what it means to South Dakota nursing homes. too many people think medicaid and think poor people, but its crucial to nursing homes as well, and South Dakota is an aging state.
    Go after vouchercare as well. State that the Romney/Ryan plan she supports would end medicare by 2016.

  37. MIchael Black 2012.09.07

    My vote will be based on Matt's and Kristi's positions on meaningful and significant deficit reduction without putting us into recession or detrimental damage to the very young or the elderly.

    My vote will not be based on negative campaign ads pointing fingers at the other candidate. In case of indecision, the one who calls me the most times with recordings on the phone loses.

  38. Justin 2012.09.07

    Well Kristi supports the idea that the deficit can be reduced by reducing taxes. I can tell you there is zero econometric evidence looking back 32 years that comes anywhere close to suggesting that the regression coefficient of tax cuts with tax receipts is close to or above the 2.0 level that would imply either "tax cuts pay for themselves" or "tax cuts more than pay for themselves".

    It's basic common sense, we can't spend our way out of the deficit either. Tax cuts and spending increases are two sides of the same coin. Recent research and experience shows that neither have nearly the multipliers politicians would suggest.

    The question for me is whether America has the stomach to handle the hard times we are going to have to get through when we quit overstimulating the economy with both vehicles for the last 32 years. We can either gut it out, or go back to pretending that tax cuts and spending increases will solve the problem until our economy collapses into Mad Max. I far prefer the former, but one of the two is going to happen.

  39. Justin 2012.09.07

    one huge typo in there, 2.0 should be 1.0 the way I wrote that sentence. Some syntax error in the third to last sentence as well, but it is far less important.

    In other words, the "second order effect" of stimulus created by tax cuts (or increases in discretionary spending) is never enough to make up for the "first order effect" of increasing the deficit on a one for one basis.

  40. MIchael Black 2012.09.07

    I want to hear what Matt says about the budget.

    Automatic cuts will soon go into effect that will cut the budget without any action from Congress.

  41. Justin 2012.09.07

    I would like to hear what he has to say as well. It's pretty uncommon for politicians to have much knowledge of economics, unfortunately, so I'm not expecting to be blown away.

    Anything other than saying we need a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit is unsound based on the empirical data.

  42. JoeBoo 2012.09.07

    Be careful when Noem says close tax loopholes as well. I would want her to name them. Congressman Ryan liked to say the same things until he became the Veep nominee. Many of these "loopholes" they talk about are vital to the economy. such as tax deductions for home loans or tax writeoffs for machinery. they were all considered "tax shelters" in Paul Ryan's budget that Noem supports.

    Deficits are important but what is more important is specifics. Is it Medicare, Medicaid, financial aid, block grants. Or is it other large parts of the budget?

  43. Justin 2012.09.08

    Yeah, Mitt has completely backed off that, hasn't he?

    I thought he was the best GOP candidate purely because of that. But if you want Adelstein and Koch money you have to play their game.

    I was hoping he was going to name foreign tax treaties as the primary loophole, which are the ones he KNOWS provides the greatest loss to the Treasury. Because they are the ones he has most egregiously exploited as a private equity investor. Well, I guess also the facts that carried interest is taxed at capital gains rates and "unearned income" has historically (before ACA) been completely exempt from contributing in any way to the FICA pool. He was never going to get rid of those though, or his private equity brethren would have crucified him.

  44. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.08

    Well, Michael, on the budget, Varilek says he won't balance it on the backs of veterans and seniors. And he sure won't vote for the Paul Ryan budget, which Kristi Noem supports.

  45. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.08

    And Michael, negative ads are not inherently bad. If Varilek says, "Noem advocates privatizing Medicare and Social Security, and that's a bad idea," Is that negative campaigning? If he says, "Noem isn't showing up for town halls or committee meetings," is that negative campaigning? I'd say it is... but I'd also say those are valid and important points to make

  46. Michael Black 2012.09.08

    Cory, that's not good enough: I need more details about the hard choices that are going to be made to control the deficit without destroying the economy or the safety net for those that need it most. Will he toe the party line or would he join Republicans when he felt it necessary to pass legislation? I vote for the person and not the party. The hard line deadlock in Congress on both sides of the aisle gets nothing done.

  47. MJL 2012.09.08

    Michael: "I need more details about the hard choices that are going to be made to control the deficit without destroying the economy or the safety net for those that need it most. Will he toe the party line or would he join Republicans when he felt it necessary to pass legislation? I vote for the person and not the party."

    What details have we gotten from Noem and the Republican party? Ryan's own budget has no details in it as to where his cuts will come to off set the tax cuts he and the republican party would support. It is also difficult to ask Varilek about the looming automatic cuts, because they will occur before he would take office. His job would be to clean up the mess that the intransigent Republican's have made (again).

    When determining based on willingness to compromise with the other side, consider how many concessions that the Democrats have offered the Republican party over and over for a multitude of bills, and they simply refused to give in unless they got everything that they wanted (I don't think that fits the definition of compromise.)

  48. JoeBoo 2012.09.08

    First of all the Ryan budget does NOT balance the budget as they like to say. It has a lot of what ifs and believe us and it still doesn't balance the budget for 20 years even if the economy grows at a rate 3X faster then it did during the 90's. (something I doubt will happen)

    I'm guessing Varilek supports a variation of Obama's budget to cut 4 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years. It has between 1 and 1.5 trillion in tax increases. It cuts agricultural subsidies, it slightly raises insurance deductibles to those on federal programs. raising deductibles on those who have federally funded flood insurance. (some pay 70% below the actual cost)

  49. Michael Black 2012.09.08

    I want to see positions from Matt, not speculations on what he may or may not do.

  50. Justin 2012.09.08

    Michael, are you under the impression the purpose of this thread is to convince you who to vote for? I'm sorry you don't want to hear us discussing what we think the best strategy is. Your world may revolve around you, but mine doesn't.

    You also seem to be under the impression that we speak for Varilek. We don't. If you want to ask him a question, why don't you email him?

  51. Michael Black 2012.09.08

    My goal is to gain more knowledge for everyone.

  52. Justin 2012.09.08

    So how does your last post play into achieving that goal?

    It seems to me trying to contact the campaign and reporting what you hear back is a far better strategy.

  53. JoeBoo 2012.09.08

    It is hard for any politician to say I'd support X Y and Z while running, and is even harder for those that know how Washington works. Say you make a campaign pledge to cut spending on program A and B but you support C. Well a bill comes to the floor cutting A and B, but it also cuts C so you don't support it. And then your opposition in the next election is already cutting the ad against you.

    Varilek has said he supports cutting the budgets in all areas, including tax increases for the richest americans.

    If you have questions, email him or contact his campaign.

  54. mike 2012.09.08

    When will the Varilek yard signs show up? How about highway signs?

    Those will be important to his efforts. I didn't see any in the primary.

  55. mike 2012.09.08

    I think they also need to focus some Letters to the editor on Noem. Those are free.

  56. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.08

    Michael, it's better than anything, including voodoo economics, that Noem has offered. But Michael, I will keep my eye out for more specifics to educate us all.

    Joe, I like your questions as line of attack. Now if Noem would just show up to more debates and town halls and take those questions, on the record, we could get somewhere. But that's why she so assiduously avoids such forums: ask her real questions, and she wilts.

  57. JoeBoo 2012.09.08

    I've seen a few signs, but I'm in Varilek country where he is related to half the county. I did talk to a couple of democrats this past week and they said the state dems were doing a big campaign buy. So I don't know if he is part of that. Yes you are right he needs to get those out to the local dems and they need to get them out. However and its odd I haven't seen too many Kristi signs out either.

  58. JoeBoo 2012.09.08

    and by campaign buy, they were buying yard signs, buttons, pens, etc.

  59. Justin 2012.09.08

    I know one thing for sure, Varilek isn't suggesting that we can spend or tax-cut our way out of our deficit.

    The GOP strategy seems to be no matter how many times it has been tried, if you keep repeating the nonsense about VooDoo economics it will become reality.

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