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Noem Whines: Stop Smearing Me by Pointing out That I Skip Work!

I would love to have attended the Matt Varilek&ndashKristi Noem debate on Friday, but hey! I ahve the taxpayers' work to do here at Spearfish High School.

Even if I had cut class to attend, I might not have gotten a seat. University Center Rapid City picked a room with maybe a hundred seats; UC ended up making room for around 400 people before finally turning folks away.

Black Hills Pioneer reporter Adam Hurlburt got to listen. His straight assessment: Noem packed the room with more supporters and signs, but Varilek won the debate:

Despite the fanfare it was Varilek, it seemed, who emerged from the 90-minute debate on top.

Varilek, a 37-year-old lawyer from Sioux Falls, supported many of his assertions with data sourced from his own research and that of outside "fact-checkers," while Noem largely relied on partisan finger-pointing and the resonance of popular Tea Party idioms.

A good example of this came from a discussion of Noem's much maligned House Subcommittee attendance record. Varilek stated Noem had only attended four of 20 Agriculture subcommittee meetings, five of 22 Native American Affairs subcommittee meetings and one of seven Early Childhood subcommittee meetings.

Noem responded by saying that her attendance record is a false issue "that's been a smear campaign started by the democrats," and that she intentionally decided not to attend specific subcommittee meetings when issues affecting South Dakota weren't on the agenda [Adam Hurlburt, "Nearly 400 Attend Noem, Varilek Debate," Black Hills Pioneer, October 13, 2012].

Rep. Noem can't respond on the issues, because she knows that anyone who looks at the facts will see Varilek is right. She has skipped a majority of her committee meetings. She has not produced results for South Dakota. Her only hope is to make people feel bad for her by portraying any factual assessment of her job performance as a "smear."

Even her paltry response here to her absenteeism shows her inability to understand her job. A Congressperson doesn't just show up to hear about issues that affect South Dakota. A Congressperson shows up to learn, to contribute to the discussion, and to make South Dakota's voice heard on all issues. Noem, however, thinks that South Dakota should think the way she does: If it isn't about me, me, me, why should I pay attention?

I don't care how nice Kristi Noem may be as a mom. I don't care how cute her kids are or how well she conforms to our fantasy images of the all-South Dakota woman. We pay her $174,000 a year, plus free stamps and plane tickets, for a job that she shows up and does only when she feels like it. Matt Varilek rightly points that fact out. He should point that fact out every time he meets her. If he does, he'll win every debate the same way he won in Rapid City.


  1. Rorschach 2012.10.14

    Matt's not a lawyer is he?

  2. hmr59 2012.10.14

    The part I really like was comparing Noem's Ag committee transcript records with Thune's and Janklow's. Now, it's not just a party thing, but an actual argument on job performance. "Capitol Barbie" has got to go.

  3. grudznick 2012.10.14

    The very young Mr. Varileck would be less effective than Ms. Noem. We will be re-electing Ms. Noem again for the sheer entertainment of watching some of you out there bulge your eyeballs fiercely. That is all.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.14

    Grudz, it may be physically impossible to be less effective than Kristi Noem. Why would you vote for her just to make me mad, when I'm most mad that she isn't representing South Dakota effectively? Are you planning to drop by the house and encourage my daughter not to do her chores just because that will aggravate me? Please, Grudz, let's talk politics as adults.

  5. grudznick 2012.10.14

    I don't think Mr. Varileck would be effective at all, Mr. H. Not in the least. I have seen him on TV. I cannot vote for him, and to not vote at all would be abdicating my responsibility to help choose. I choose not to abdicate that responsibility to you, or Sibby, or even Mr. Fleming, so I will vote and I cannot vote for Mr. Varileck unless he really straightens up and shows me something fast.

  6. grudznick 2012.10.14

    And Mr. H...I would do nothing at all to ever discourage your daughter from her homework. I was not thinking of your eyes bulging, but rather several others.

    Please confirm with your daughter that I am all for homework and studying. I am sure she has teachers in the top 20%.

  7. LK 2012.10.14

    I would guess Larry's posting Varilek's education stats just cost Varilek a few dozen votes.

    I really would like someone to explain to me what Noem has done to deserve a second term as a representative for South Dakota. She has represented Boehner et al quite well, but South Dakotans have been treated like the horse droppings her son allegedly deals with in that ridiculous ad she's running

  8. Ken Santema 2012.10.14

    The most important line in your post is: "A Congressperson shows up to learn, to contribute to the discussion, and to make South Dakota's voice heard on all issues." As a libertarian I am split decision on her right now.

    On one hand she is incompetent and has no place running for elected office.

    On the other hand her constant travels and self-promotion may keep her from bothering to attend votes for key legislation that Republicans would likely vote yes on. By not paying attention to her job she is in fact supporting non-Republican causes.

    No matter what I think she is worthless as a politician. But from my perspective she may be better than Valerik that would care about issues, committees and voting. That would be good for the Democratic party, but I'm not sure it would be good for South Dakota.

  9. grudznick 2012.10.14

    Larry hates Varileck. I don't.

  10. Joe 2012.10.14

    It speaks to how sad it is when having 2 master degrees, 1 from one of the most storied Universities in the world is a negative, compared to someone who just got a bachelors degree in Poly Sci from South Dakota St. (nothing against the place).

    I don't believe Matt Varilek is a lawyer. I believe that is a mis-print.

    2 problems I have with Kristi Noem, other then her attendance.

    1 she runs as if she is not a member of congress. The debt is going up, (yeah you voted for those budgets), candidate for congress on her ads, not member of congress. How she doesn't mention anything she has accomplished in any of her ads.

    2 is her lies/fantasy land. Vote for her and other republicans and everything will be fixed, your taxes will go down, your benefits won't be cut, everything will be fine.

    I guess the math just doesn't add up on my balance sheet but in Washington they've learned the secrets and haven't told us yet.

  11. Michael Black 2012.10.14

    The amount of education you acquire does not necessarily give you more wisdom. I know of farmers with barely a high school education that could govern the country with far more common sense than any of the candidates for House or President.

    Matt V's chances of victory are diminished by his lack of name recognition.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.14

    Ken, if the only reason you would consider voting for Kristi Noem is that she can most effectively not do the job, then I want to hear you on the air immediately in a campaign ad... for Matt Varilek!

    Seriously, Ken, even if I put on my libertarian hat, I can't accept the notion that we should vote for an incompetent jsut to keep government from working. We should vote for an effective legislator who will listen to your concerns and just might be persuaded, if you can show that whatever you propose is good policy for South Dakota. Remember, Noem won't just sit there and muck up the works. She'll serve as a rubber stamp for Speaker Boehner and other power elites with whom you have no voice.

  13. grudznick 2012.10.14

    Like how Varileck, if he even goes to congress between his beer chugging parties, would be nothing but a rubber stamp for Obama.

    Mr. H, we cannot vote for a rubber stamp for Obama. South Dakota will not. That is why your man will lose. I will pay for breakfast that Fleming will serve and Newlands house if Verilek wins.

  14. LK 2012.10.14


    I don't know if Larry was being mean. He was using a rather common simile.

    If he had written "hell looks like Grudz,"that would have been mean.

  15. grudznick 2012.10.14

    breakfast AT Newland's house. Not pay for breakfast AND Newland's house. AT Newland's house out there west of Hermosa, high above the flood plain.

  16. larry kurtz 2012.10.14

    we smell like winners, Dems: shout at will!

  17. Kelly Fuller 2012.10.14

    I wish Kristi Noem's campaign would quit sending me mailers telling me to vote for her and that she's fighting for me. I can't and she's not. I moved away from South Dakota two years ago and have been registered to vote in Maryland almost that long. I've lived in four states and never before have been followed by campaign mailers to a new state. But I've gotten two of Noem's mailers in the last month. These are not being forwarded - Noem's campaign is using my Maryland address.

  18. owen 2012.10.15

    "Mr. H, we cannot vote for a rubber stamp for Obama. South Dakota will not. That is why your man will lose."

    grud, I don't think he would be a rubber stamp-even though that wouldn't really be a bad thing.
    What do think Noem is now. She does what's she's told and pukes out the right wing rhetoric

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