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Noem’s Arrogance: My Words Need Not Connect with Reality… or Voters

Rep. Kristi Noem speaks on KOTA TV, but she won't debate Matt Varilek on air.
Rep. Kristi Noem speaks on KOTA TV, but she won't debate Matt Varilek on air.

I noted in my Thursday post on Matt Varilek's on-target criticism of Rep. Kristi Noem's dereliction of duty that our lone Congresswoman this week turned down yet another important debate with her Democratic challenger. She doesn't have time to come to Rapid City to debate on live television... but she does have time to come to Rapid City to hold cute babies.

But she also has time to stare blankly into the camera and say words that say nothing. Asked by KOTA TV what her intentions were for debates this fall, Noem said:

We've been talking about that. We've got many requests for debates so we're going to continue to evaluate these and see if we can get them done.

If Noem communicated with such meaningless fluff, SDSU should revoke her diploma.

That same day, Team Noem sent KOTA this e-mail finally declining the invitation the Rapid City TV station sent on August 15 for Noem to debate Varilek in a live statewide broadcast that KSFY would also have carried for East River viewers:

Thank you for the invitation, but we our campaign will not be participating in the debate. Thank you for your understanding.

Understanding? What understanding? You don't tell us, Kristi, why you aren't debating, why you aren't taking advantage of an opportunity to speak to constituents statewide and defend your job performance. You don't tell us what great scheduling conflict keeps you from deigning to speak to us. You don't give us anything to understand other than the appearance that you clearly can't be bothered to speak directly to the people paying your salary.

The only thing hard at work in Congress right now is Kristi Noem's arrogance.


  1. Dougal 2012.09.09

    Noem is running her own campaign! No experienced campaign manager would turn down the time honored State Fair debate or debates at KSFY in Sioux Falls and KOTA (the Duhamels for God's sake!) in Rapid City.

    She's running scared and doesn't want to answer hard questions, just the softball questions and cutesy pie pictures the men in the state's press corp toss out to her.

    Eventually she's gonna face her reward for being such a lazy lawmaker.

  2. Vincent Gormley 2012.09.09

    Soon to be toast.

  3. Mark 2012.09.09

    Incumbents generally want to limit debates. Everyone gets that. From a campaign management standpoint, that's probably smart politics, all the while shortchanging the electorate.

    If one wishes to avoid debating, one should give a concrete and cogent reason for doing so.

    Maybe the TV stations should send Noem (or the person trying to run her campaign) a letter saying they'll accommodate her schedule and tape a debate any time and any place for later viewing.

    I'd love to see the Noem campaign beg off from that.

  4. Owen Reitzel 2012.09.09

    Noem doesn't want to debate because she can't back up what she is campaining on.
    Like: She wants to end Obamacare but can't say what she wants to replace it with.
    Like: Following the Republicon lie about the President taking away $716 billion from Medicare. She's afraid she'll get called out on it.
    Like: Calling for massive budget cuts and not saying what cuts she wants to make.
    Like: Why she supports tax cuts for the rich?

    I wouldn't want to debate either if I was her

  5. mike 2012.09.09

    I don't think Noem is avoiding the debates because of Obamacare. That is a winning issue in SD. Remember it wasn't good enough for SHS to just say she wouldn't vote for it but not repeal it. Whether you like Obamacare or not it's a winner for Noem in SD.

    2. I'm not sure about the Medicare issue yet but I'm sure Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney will clear 60% of the vote in SD. Winner for Noem.

    3. I also think cutting the budget is a winning issue for Noem.

    4. Don't know about tax cuts for the rich because not all voters describe the tax cuts in your terms.

    Where Noem is in trouble is that she seems like she's all image and not substance. She's a made for Fox News star but she doesn't advocate for SD when she's on TV only leadership. When it comes to the farm bill she forgot to speak on behalf of SD in committee, She forgot to show up to meetings. She doesn't advocate for South Dakota. She praises leadership all the time. She runs the other side down all the time. She doesn't discuss ideas with bipartisan support. She won't vote to force a vote on the farm bill.

    She's AWOL! That is the problem with Noem and it's a winning issue.

  6. mike 2012.09.09

    Noem isn't debating because she doesn't like being criticised. She knows the attendance issue is dragging her down. She knows the farm bill is hurting her and she doesn't know how to turn the debate back on Varilek yet. (I'm not sure why because Varilek supports cap and trade, Obamacare, liberal stuff....)

    Noem's biggest problem is not that voters are fired up about Varilek but that they don't like her. Most of the issues are on her side. Noem is the prima donna that's the problem not the issues.

  7. mike 2012.09.09

    If I was a reporter and I allowed that answer to stand I'd be embarassed and start looking for a different career. Most reporters in this state do not ask adequate follow up questions. MAKE THE PERSON ANSWER or make them look bad!

  8. Bill Fleming 2012.09.09

    Mike, in other words, are you saying Kristi's the latest incarnation of Larry Pressler? (I remember Bob Samuelson running against Pressler one year. [He lost, of course]. His campaign slogan was "Not Just Another Pretty Face." Maybe Matt should ressurect it. ;^)

  9. mike 2012.09.09

    I think you might be on to something Bill. Noem is starting to look a lot like Larry Pressler. She's aloof and out of touch and her staff protects her from constituents like they are the enemy.

    I'd like to see someone do a comparison between Noem's office, Thune's office and Johnson's office to see which one takes the longest to get back to constituents. Target their main offices. Watertown for Noem, Sioux Falls for Thune and I'm not sure which one is Johnson's main constituent office...

  10. Jana 2012.09.09


    Kristi's reluctance to not just debate, but to have substantive town halls, in-depth interviews, reflects her and her campaign staff's fear of exposing her lack of depth, fear of having her record -or lack thereof- being exposed and a fear of someone asking a question that requires more than a bumper sticker platitude.

    In short, she's afraid of being seen as nothing more than a pretty face...thank you Bill!

  11. JoeBoo 2012.09.09

    I get dodging debates, its something incumbents do, especially those that are not great at debating. But at the same time, the answers she has for why she isn't debating are pathetic. Say something like, I'm busy, I will agree on X amount of debates and maybe we can make 1 or 2 more work out. Not the arguments she is making.

  12. Bill Fleming 2012.09.09

    You're welcome, Jana. :-)

    But seriously, folks. It would make sense for Kristi to avoid debates if her polls showed she was way ahead (like in the 60% range or so.)

    Conversely, one way to look like you're more ahead than you are is to refuse debates. So it's hard to know.

    Too bad there are no public polls out there that would give us a clue other than the Neilson thing that nobody seems to trust.

    We should be seeing some buzz shortly. Surely somebody knows, but so far, nobody's sayin'. That in itsef is kind of interesting I think.

  13. Jana 2012.09.09

    Two letters from Kristi have come to our house. One was a brag letter saying how she was one of 30 to be named a good working mom by...wait for it...Corporate Voices for Working Families and Working Mothers Media...(If you are thinking it's an astroturf group, give yourself bonus points)

    The second was to point out that she participated in the 8th Annual Women Unite event in Sioux Falls.

    Think she's not worried about the Romney/Ryan personhood bill? Redefining rape? No exemptions for rape, incest or health of mother in the GOP platform?

    She knows these issues will hurt her if exposed.

    You don't suppose the media would actually ask her if she agrees with Romney/Ryan on personhood and redefining rape do you?

    More bonus points if you call her out when she walks that support back with the empty Ryan "rape is rape" comment without any explanation to previous support.

  14. Rorschach 2012.09.09

    Thank you for the multiple taxpayer-funded self-serving franked mail pieces your office has sent out this election year, but my family will not be supporting your candidacy. Thank you for your understanding.

  15. larry kurtz 2012.09.09


    o·le·ag·i·nous   [oh-lee-aj-uh-nuhs]
    having the nature or qualities of oil.
    containing oil.
    producing oil.
    unctuous; fawning; smarmy.

  16. G-Man 2012.09.09

    Noem's Campaign: Going down like a sinking ship...

  17. mike 2012.09.10

    Janna, Save those post cards and send them to Cory. I'm pretty sure she said not franked mail in her congressional campaign.

  18. Justin 2012.09.10

    It's probably franked by Americans for Prosperity or ALEC.

    Which would also be useful!

  19. Justin 2012.09.10

    Could be her PAC, too. Anybody can buy a franker just like anybody can print postage through a printer.

    I wonder if the code is public info you can get from the USPS.

  20. Rorschach 2012.09.10

    My grandmother has received at least 2 pieces of mail "Printed and mailed at taxpayer expense" saying how the GOP is saving Medicare. My household has also received the one talking about her "Corporate Voices for Working Families" award. They all said something to the effect of "call my office if you need anything." She certainly has figured out how to campaign using taxpayer money.

  21. Jana 2012.09.10

    The one where she brags about herself getting the atroturf group "Corporate Voices for Working Families" states at the bottom.


    The other one about participating in the Sioux Falls women's event did not have that disclaimer at the bottom.

Comments are closed.