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Dan Kaiser Threatens to Bring Ron Paul Nullification Agenda to State House

Last updated on 2016.09.25

The South Dakota Democratic Party twists Pat Powers's knickers again with a hard attack postcard sent to District 3 to tie police officer Dan Kaiser to his support for Ron Paul's radical libertarian agenda.


Now Kaiser doesn't mind. In a July interview, he invited all comers to "feel free to drag me through the mud... bring it on."

But this card isn't mud; it is essentially true. Dan Kaiser calls himself an "avid Ron Paul supporter." Ron Paul avidly if impotently supports legalizing drugs. Ron Paul was weaselly on Social Security during the 2012 primary, but he has said Social Security is unconstitutional, has compared it to slavery, and that he'd like to get rid of it. Ron Paul would eliminate farm subsidies. It is hard to imagine Dan Kaiser being an "avid" Ron Paul supporter and not aligning with Ron Paul's positions on these significant issues.

Incredibly, Powers manages to raise a larger issue: does the South Dakota Democratic Party misfire by attacking Kaiser (and Rep. Jon Hansen, according to a DWC commenter) on national policies that won't be much in his bailiwick as a state legislator? I agree that the Dems' attack on Kaiser smells of the same irrelevancy that I've heard from folks like Gordon Howie and Jason Bjorklund who campaign for state office on Tea-Party karaoke that has little to do with immediate practical policymaking.

However, Dan Kaiser appears to be using his candidacy for State House to promote himself and his pursuit of Ron Paul's national agenda. Listen to Kaiser holding forth in this July video interview with national "Paul Fest" organizer Mat Larson (starting at 32:30):

[Editor's note: this video went inactive shortly after my publication of this post. Come on, Libertarians! Cowboy up!]

Kaiser says he is running to promote the "cause of liberty" and "revolution" to "take this country back from a state level all the way up." He says he is seeking to get his name more visible in party and statewide, with an eye toward other races.

Interestingly, the next office most clearly in his sights is not national but local: when a caller tells him to run for sheriff so that he wouldn't have to answer to anything but his personal interpretation of the constitution, Kaiser says he'll consider it in two years when the current Brown County sheriff's term is up. Kaiser says a State House position could get him the name recognition to easily win sheriff's race.

Kaiser sees himself as promoting Ron Paul's national agenda even now in uniform as an Aberdeen police officer. He does so in a careful dance between his strict libertarian principles and the need to keep his job... which Officer Kaiser himself calls "hypocrisy." He speaks with apparent regret of busting a drug house. "If I happen to come across an illegal drug... I'm going to do my job to require me getting a paycheck." Kaiser "would challenge anybody to find any record that says I've ever wrote... a seat belt ticket." The video host says Kaiser won't be out as a "Nazi cop" there enforcing local laws, and Kaiser doesn't disagree.

Apparently Officer Kaiser thinks his role is not merely to enforce the laws the people have chosen, but to decide which laws are worth enforcing. And his commitment to enforcing some laws appears to be no deeper than his selfish commitment to keeping his paycheck.

Kaiser shows his Ron Paul stripes clearly with his language on guns. He says the Second Amendment is not about self-defense or hunting. He says the Second Amendment isn't about going to shoot deer with a government-approved license. He says the right to bear arms is about having the ability to overthrow the government if it becomes too tyrannical "To clarify," Kaiser adds, "I'm not advocating that right now."

Kaiser refers to "garbage" from Mitt Romney about assault weapons having no place in our communities. He declares Romney an "idiot." Kaiser says he is "an avid carrier myself" and believes that "everyone should carry." Everyone.

Instead of defending Kaiser, Powers should be going ape over Kaiser's Republican apostasy. Relevant to drug policy, Kaiser says, "I don't want the government telling what I can and can't put in my body." That sounds like a direct endorsement of drug legalization.

Kaiser also says "I don't want the government telling me whom I can and can't marry... if it doesn't affect me, I don't care." That sounds like a rejection of the GOP's insistence on denying homosexuals the right to marry.

In a move that might endear him to some Republicans, Kaiser sounds inclined to skirt campaign finance laws. A caller urges him to send a note to a Ron Paulite PAC. The caller notes that Kaiser can't coordinate with the PAC after that first call. Kaiser says he'll do that. That sounds like a sleazy wink-wink dodge of our already too-weak campaign finance laws.

Kaiser also drops the big Ron Paul nullification bomb. He says we "need to get liberty-minded folks across the state to understand such things as nullification, just so we can kind of flex our states rights under the tenth amendment." Like his fellow Ron Paulite Rep. Hansen, Kaiser embraces the idea of ignoring the laws we don't like. That attitude should disqualify a policeman. It should also disqualify a legislator.

And just to send the GOP a signal that they shouldn't mind the Dems' attack, Kaiser makes clear he'll be the next Stace Nelson. On Pierre and politics, he says, "I have no ambition of going there and making friends. I want to go there and butt heads with some of them... we might need a cop in there because there are a lot of criminals in state legislature right now. I want to go there and clean house...." Later in the video, the first legislator that springs to mind as worthy of his and Ron Paulites' endorsement is Rep. Stace Nelson, as well as conservative radicals Isaac Latterell, Manny Steele, Lance Russell, and Brian Liss. Kaiser dismisses all of his potential Senate counterparts: he says "we've got no hope" in the Senate and "can't think of any Senators that are real staunch liberty folks."

Ron Paul's policy positions may not all be relevant to state legislative policymaking. But Dan Kaiser's embrace of Ron Paul's nullificationism appears to cause him to ignore his sworn oath to uphold the law, not just the laws that he prefers. In this regard, pointing out Kaiser's allegiance to a national ideologue and agenda are perfectly relevant to District 3's evaluation of his fitness to hold public office.


  1. mike 2012.10.31

    I'm in favor of a big tent party. I'm all for people like Kaiser in Pierre. I can't imagine anyone would be like Stace Nelson (there is only one). The last thing I care about is that people get along or vote in a party block. Heck, I would have liked it if fellow Republicans would have opposed HB 1234 instead of voting in a mindless block.

    I don't want zombies in Pierre. I want people who think for themselves and if that means a Ron Paul supporter or two then good.

  2. Ken Santema 2012.10.31

    Maybe its my personal bias. but I thought this article was a pretty good endorsement for Kaiser.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.31

    Mike, I might enjoy having Rep. Kaiser to raise a ruckus in the caucus, too. Heaven knows Stace Nelson is good for blogging, and I like a fair chunk of the things he says.

    But a bigger chunk of the things Kaiser and Nelson say are bad policy based on fear and misconceptions.It's fun for me to wish chaos on the Republican caucus, but a Nelson-Kaiser majority would probably threaten my liberty even more than the dull old mainstream corporate-crony Republicans. Folks like Daugaard, Olson, and Lust use and abuse the social contract to help the rich get richer, but Kaiser and his Paul-minded pals would tear up the social contract and turn South Dakota into Somalia.

    And what of this business of a cop picking and choosing which laws to enforce? Look: if there's a city noise ordinance, if my neighbor's violating it with a loud party, and if I call the police to bust up that party, I expect Officer Kaiser to come over here and break up the party and/or issue tickets, not sit and have a debate about whether his Ron Paul principles justify enforcing that law. If he wants to make or repeal laws, he should run for elected office (which he is, and that's great). But when he's wearing the badge, he enforces the laws that we the people hire him to enforce. An officer of the law fulfills his oath to the people; he does not just do the bare minimum necessary to keep his in-house sabotaging of the popular will off of our radar.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.31

    Ken, I can see where you are coming from. But advocating Ron Paul's principles is no recipe for good policymaking. Advocating nullification threatens the Union itself. And even a libertarian should recognize the ill in practicing the rule of man instead of the rule of law that Kaiser espouses with his selective enforcement.

  5. Bree S. 2012.10.31

    Oh come on Cory. A conservative majority would destroy our liberties and turn America into Somalia? Since when did a free market system cause the destruction of economies and civilization? Let us compare Estonia to Greece.. South Korea to North Korea.. Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan to China. Look at the differences that have been wrought in productive output and standards of living in less than half a century. South Koreans hitting the big time on Youtube and the Billboard Hot 100 while North Koreans are desperately attempting to escape from labor camps.

  6. Bree S. 2012.10.31

    Give it a few years Cory. You'll be so busy trying to stamp out the libertarian flames in your own party that you won't have time to worry about ours. :)

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.31

    Not a conservative majority, Bree. We have that. I'm talking a Ron Paul majority. A John Birch majority.

    And hey... wait a minute, Bree! haven't we had this conversation? There was no libertarian revolution this year. There will be no libertarian revolution. There most certainly will not be one in the Democratic Party.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.31

    (Uh oh—I feel a rabbit hole coming up....)

  9. Bree S. 2012.10.31

    Cory let's not play semantics. On a Socialist Scale we have a conservative majority. From my perspective we do not.

  10. Bree S. 2012.10.31

    I don't have to argue the future of libertarianism in America. I will just come back and point and laugh at you in a few years as you desperately hop from foot to foot in the midst of fiscally conservative fire you cannot put out with spoutings of "reproductive rights" and "gay marriage."

  11. Ken Santema 2012.10.31

    I actually hope Ron Paul is not the libertarian movement of the future. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Paul and agree with him on a lot of issues. However the Ron Paul movement has almost become too much about him instead of what he stands for. I've talked to many Ron Paul supporters that don't actually know many of his stances. To me this shows even the libertarian elements are making the same mistakes the Dems and Reps are: blindly following. Ironically this is exactly what Dr Paul has spoken against at his rallies.

    On the issue of Kaiser. I have no doubt he chooses which laws to uphold. The only difference between him and other cops is his honesty about it. There is no way he is the only cop that turns an eye to laws that they believe to be silly. That goes for the police cars that go down Kline St going 30mph (a 20 mph zone). And the pickup that parks directly by the stop sign on 7th and Jay that at least one police officer drives by every day without leaving a ticket. I"m not saying Kaiser is right to turn an eye, but if he is wrong then the whole force is wrong as well. And they are put into this position by there being too many laws; most of which are focused around victim-less crimes.

    And honestly Aberdeen has bigger problems with our police force than Kaiser. We have a police chief that has officers shoot what they believe was a deadly dog in a residential neighborhood, then choose not to look for the dog when it ran away. If it hadn't been for the person that found the dog and reported it I think we never would have found out about it.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.31

    So Ken, if Kaiser throws in with Paul as the future of the Libertarian movement, does that diminish his standing as a good pick for the Legislature?

  13. Ken Santema 2012.10.31

    No, not all Paul followers do it blindly (just enough to annoy me, they are missing the point). However Kaiser still doesn't get my vote simply because he says he is libertarian. I look at what he says and has done. Then compare that to who he is running against. I actually do agree with most of Kaisers stances so its an easy vote for me. Are there some I disagree with? There are some stances I agree with in principle, but his actual ideal implementation differs from mine. It would be unrealistic to have everyone agree with everyone else.

  14. Daniel Willard 2012.10.31

    Cory seriously? Dan Kaiser when elected will be one of what three honest people (Chris Nelson, Stace Nelson, and Dan Kaiser) in Pierre that you will actually be able to trust and know what he says in the truth and honest (granted you may not like his party affiliation). Also Ben Nesselhuf has seriously gone dumpster diving this year to come up with these BS stories and the SDDP needs to kick him to the curb and get a respectable person to run things (not saying the current SDGOP is any better). What’s funny is your blind hatred for Ron Paul and his beliefs are clouding the fact the a lot of what Dan Kaiser and Dr. Paul believe lineup with what you say you believe also. So why don't you actually talk to him and find out what his stances on the issues really are instead of just hoping he is the boogieman just because he is Republican. Cory don't forget that Dr. Paul and Dan Kaiser both enjoy a lot of support from Democrats so what’s with that if they are so extreme. On a side note I voted NO on everything on the ballot props and most of the candidates also. Most everything on this year’s ballot was very disappointing see, maybe 2014 will be better.

  15. mike 2012.10.31

    Did anyone else notice the Dan Kaiser video has been removed?

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.11.01

    Dang, seriously? Chickens!

    Ken, this is not dumpster diving. This is saying, "Kaiser supports Paul; Paul supports X, Y, and Z." No sleaze, no illogic, just a pretty straightforward desire to hold a candidate accountable for his beliefs and actions.

    But Kaiser is welcome to drop by the comment section and make his case as to why his avid support for Ron Paul does not equate to avid support for Ron Paul's policies.

    And B.S., Dan: quantify your claim that Paul and Kaiser enjoy "a lot" of support from Democrats.

  17. Ken Santema 2012.11.01

    I don't know Cory. You can't assume all of his beliefs align 100% with Dr. Paul (its possible they do though).

    To bring this to a favorite candidate of yours, Varelik, it could be said: Varelik supports corporate welfare because he supports what Obama stands for, and Obama was the facilitator of one of the largest corporate welfare actions in Detroit. Therefore a vote for Varelik is a vote for corporate welfare.

  18. Justin 2012.11.01

    Anybody that claims to be libertarian while wanting to crawl into everybody else's vagina with a bible isn't libertarian.

    Just as anybody that believes that cutting taxes is "dealing with the deficit" isn't a fiscal conservative.

  19. larry kurtz 2012.11.01

    Was just reading through hundreds of millions of monthly awards to private contractors set to perform work at Ellsworth AFB among others.

    There is no end to corporate welfare as we know it: whether it goes to out of state campaign contributors or to T. Denny.

    If Kaiser really believed what he espouses he'd quit taking a public sector salary.

  20. Justin 2012.11.01

    Romney would spend the cost of bailing out GM twice over annually on unnecessary contracts to military contractors/campaign supporters.

    Corporate welfare is easy to spot. Who are the corporations giving money to?

  21. Ken Santema 2012.11.01

    Exactly, there are too many cases of corporate welfare from the government (federal, state, local, etc..). That fact helps to make the case that government is too large. Small government candidates are necessary to reverse the constant size increase that is occurring in government. Politicians choosing winners and losers in the economy discourages entrepreneurs from creating innovative new products and services.

    There has been a lot of talk about how taxes affect unemployment. To me the true debate out there should be: "How are government regulations and government choosing winners in the marketplace affecting the entrepreneurial spirit that build the US?"

  22. Bree S. 2012.11.01

    See Ken knows what he is talking about. Which is why people like him should join up with the Democratic Party, based on alignment of social issues, and chase out all the Socialists. :)

  23. Ken Santema 2012.11.01

    Haha, I have a close relative that thinks there is something wrong with me for not supporting the Republican party. Supporting the Democratic Party would outright give him a heart attack!

  24. larry kurtz 2012.11.01

    Attendance at Romney events in free fall. South Dakota: elect Matt Varilek to the US House.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.11.01

    Indeed, the video is gone! Mat Larson's promo for the July 25 interview is still available, as are videos older and newer, in which he notes that Kaiser was a delegate for Ron Paul in 2008. What happened, Mat?

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.11.01

    No Ken, not equivalent. The cites three specific Ron Paul policies. I provide links to substantiate those polices are Ron Paul's. Those policies are central planks of Ron Paul's platform. Kaiser declares himself an avid supporter of Ron Paul. It's hard to believe he supports Ron Paul but not those central policies.

    Your claim that Obama supports "corporate welfare" is a charged statement lacking basis and detail.

  27. Bree S. 2012.11.01

    A charged statement? Does the word Solyndra ring a bell?

  28. larry kurtz 2012.11.01

    'We're spending more than is recommended & our national security is not any better.' —fmr GOP Sen. Larry Pressler on our defense budget. RT @CurrentSpitzer

  29. larry kurtz 2012.11.01

    LIVE: 'The Romney-Ryan budget does not include disability benefits.' —fmr GOP Sen. Larry Pressler on why he supports Obama. RT ‏@CurrentSpitzer

  30. grudznick 2012.11.01

    Kill more kitties, cut more trees, build more roads.

  31. Ken Santema 2012.11.01

    Ah I see. I guess I don't see these three issues as "Ron Paul" issues, but liberty-oriented issues. Going from left to right on the postcard:

    Farm subsidies. Yes I would also advocate the removal of farm subsidies. The issue of farm subsidies is the perfect example of unintended consequences. Most farm subsidies are not collected by 'poor farmers'. They are in fact collected by large corporate farm operations. And theoretically farm subsidies allow farmers to get more for their goods. However the surplus of goods that is created by the subsidies creates lower prices (due to great supply versus the demand). Its a never ending cycle that uses taxpayer to fund one specific industry. As a whole this industry is richer than the state average. Another problem with these subsidies is they are usually based upon historic data, instead of whether the farmer actually needs the subsidy.

    Now for Social Security. I would not have compared it to slavery. However using the "general welfare" clause of the constitution along with the amendment (16th?) allowing congress extra authority in taxing income was a stretch. But, right or wrong Social Security exists. The numbers show that the system is not self-supporting. Having an option to opt-out of social security and invest your own money in a retirement plan hardly sounds radical. Would some like to end Social Security: yes. However Social Security has been seen as a contract between the Federal Govt and the citizens. Even those opposed to social security and entered congress or the presidency would need to find a way to keep the current system working (to fulfill that contract) and give an 'out' for those that no longer want to be part of the broken system.

    And finally drug laws. This one would take way too long to go into. But to start there are direct correlations between the prohibition of alcohol and the prohibition of drugs. It creates a black market. Anytime a black market is created for a product people want it creates crime to support that black market. Being against the 'war on drugs' does not mean you are pro-drug. Many anti-drug warriors have now switched to a stance on ending the war on drugs. This is simply because people that do need help with drug problems are treated as criminals, instead of actually being helped. Now for those like me that understand marijuana is not BAD, it is about liberty and ending a 'war on' that: creates criminals from victim-less crimes, increases racial tensions, prevents chronic pain sufferers from using an alternative to opioids, etc...

    And no calling Obama for Corporate Welfare is not a charged statement. There is no bigger example of corporate welfare than what he did to Detroit. The next biggest example of corporate welfare was from his predecessor in the name of TARP. Another example of corporate welfare from Obama is his advocating using taxpayer money for green companies. He might not use the term 'corporate welfare', but nonetheless that is what it actually is.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.11.01

    Ken, the Dems aren't pointing out the Kaiser is a Ken Santema supporter. Your interpretations are interesting and worth discussion, but they aren't relevant to the postcard. The Dems and I both are saying that Kaiser is pretty deeply involved in promoting Ron Paul's agenda. The three items they point out are significant parts of Ron Paul's agenda. Kaiser's statements in the now-pulled video make clear he views his state-level candidacy as part of the larger campaign to promote Ron Paul's nationwide agenda. My point here is that, far from a sleazy attack, that's a pretty straightforward concern about where Kaiser stands on policy.

    Now let me grant you the flip side: If you establish that corporate welfare is a key part of Barack Obama's agenda, and if you establish that Matt Varilek is an avid supporter (he's not as avid as I am!) of Obama's agenda, and if you establish that Matt Varilek sees his candidacy as an integral part of promoting Barack Obama's nationwide agenda, then rock on: you have yourself grounds for an attack ad on Varilek that is just as fair as the Dems' attack on Kaiser. We can then argue about the validity of the policies on that agenda—I can argue Solyndra is part of sensible big R&D policy, which will inevitably include failures, like all science; you can argue that drug legalization, revamping SS, and ending farm subsidies are good ideas—but we cannot argue, at least not straight-facedly, it is unfair or dishonest to point out the associations of our preferred candidates with our preferred national candidates.

    By the way, can you defend Kaiser's support for nullification? Down that road lies secession, war, and the collapse of the Republic. I don't think you and I would find the Second Civil War terribly liberating.

  33. Ken Santema 2012.11.01

    I actually had to re-read your post, its been a long day and forgot what you actually said. I only added my opinions to each postcard item to get a contrary view for anyone that reads this site (which appears to be a lot of people).

    I do think from a Democratic Party viewpoint this is a valid attack. Unfortunately that is how our current political system works: as a series of attacks instead of debates. All sides do it, right or wrong. I'm very disappointed by the pro drug prohibition being on the postcard though, this used to be an issue for the left. The liberal portion of the political spectrum has apparently given up on fighting against the drug war.

    I agree by the way. Associating local candidates with national candidates is the wrong path to go. I was actually trying to make that point (rereading my post I see that I failed). To me this postcard from the Democratic Party saying Kaiser endorsed Ron Paul's Radical Agenda is the same as the Republican Party sending a postcard saying Varilek endorsed Obama's Radical Agenda. Both are true, but don't really tell the whole story.

    I also think nullification is a continuous debate that has to happen. State powers have been trampled by the Federal Government for many years. Our own representatives in Washington have shown little or no respect for the rights or opinions of South Dakota citizens (Noem is a perfect example of this, but she loves publicity photo ops!) I don't see any actual realistic scenario where this would lead to the collapse of the Union. Secession would be a goal of many, but is very politically unlikely.

  34. Ken Santema 2012.11.01

    An interesting related-but-not-related item:

    I happen to be in Denver right now. An ad I saw against the ballot item to legalize marijuana is attacking the Democrat Party for supporting this proposed law. I just find it odd the Democratic Party in one state attacks someone for something the Democratic Party in another state is doing. Gives me hope that the two big parties are actually fracturing on the national level.

  35. larry kurtz 2012.11.02

    Gov. Gary Johnson has bought ads in the West: seeing them in SD, Cory?

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.11.02

    I have heard that robocalls are out in Colorado trying to win some Obama folks by saying Obama has broken a promise to legalize drugs. Is that Johnson, or is it dirty tricks by Romney?

  37. larry kurtz 2012.11.02

    The Obama campaign owns Colorado: Montana still in play.

  38. larry kurtz 2012.11.09

    PP deriding SHS for apparent short sale while bemoaning crappy real estate market in Brookings County: his CMA for our property came in at a fraction of its selling price.

  39. larry kurtz 2012.11.14

    Colorado prosecutor snuffing cannabis cases, too.

Comments are closed.