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Two Anti-Norquist Candidates Contend for SD Senate Seat

...and Rounds Made Me a Democrat!

When Jeff Barth and then Matt Varilek entered the 2012 U.S. House race, I gave each man's announcement one blog post. When M. Michael Rounds entered the 2014 U.S. Senate race yesterday, GOP mouthpiece Pat Powers crapped his blog pants with 12 posts, 10 with "Rounds" in the headline, and a speeding ticket.

Sure, a former Governor making clear the political intentions he's been signaling since spring is news... kinda sorta. I would suggest, however, that the only people to whom this news really matters already knew what was coming. The GOP donors knew to whom they'd be writing their checks. The potential serious GOP contenders had already been told by Friends of M. Michael, "Senate is Mikey's ball. You go play somewhere else." And the Dems have known they're going to need to bring the heat.

And that heat may well be Senator Tim Johnson himself, looking to beat Karl's Curse and win a fourth term:

I consider Mike a friend, and I welcome him to the race. I had an excellent working relationship with him during his eight years as Governor, and the fact that he has already re-stated his refusal to take the Grover Norquist “no tax increases under any circumstances” pledge is a very good sign.

Our country faces a real fiscal dilemma, and tax increases on the wealthy absolutely have to be a part of the solution. While I’m sure that Mike and I will have some policy disagreements – which is to be expected – I am more than willing to give credit where it is due. And the fact that Mike realizes that it is irresponsible to take tax increases off the negotiating table is absolutely to his credit.

As in past campaigns, I will make my formal announcement later next year. But I feel great, still have work to do, and I fully intend to put together a winning campaign in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, I intend to continue to focus on my important work representing South Dakota [Senator Tim Johnson, quoted by Tom Lawrence, "And Now Tim Johnson Is In, Too," Republic Insider, 2012.11.29].

Did you catch that note about taxes? Expect to hear that a lot. Senator Johnson is looking over M. Michael's right shoulder and teasing the Nelson-Howie-anti-RINO wing of the Republican Party. Rounds has pledged not to pledge to Grover Norquist, whom Senator John Thune and Congresswoman Kristi Noem are about to throw overboard. Johnson will have fun plying that line between now and the 2014 election. Before the primary, that line will be useful in goading hardcore rightwinger into challenging Rounds for the nomination. After the primary, which Rounds will win against whatever Sibbyite dares challenge him, Johnson will have fun reminding the right wing of what an unsatisfying Romneyite they have at the top of their ticket, with the intent of depressing right-wing rage and buying a precious few percentage-point cushion for November. (Best option for the Mugwumps: skip the primary, go straight to a third party challenge with a Stace NelsonDan Kaiser ticket.)

I'll be happy to help Johnson with that narrative by reminding voters that Mike Rounds made me a Democrat with his big-government hypocrisy. I was a registered Republican back in 2003. I was still wallowing in the grand anti-government abstractions of lazy libertarianism (that's a redundant phrase). I called in to an SDPB Dakota Midday broadcast and asked Governor Rounds to explain how he as a Republican could justify supporting the No Child Left Behind Act, which I viewed as (1) useless and (2) an intrusion of federal power in local affairs. Governor Rounds said (to the best of my recollection), "I don't see how anyone could want to leave children behind." He didn't address the proper role of the federal government. He didn't address the effectiveness of the law. All he did was crystallize the disconnect between my perception of the Republican Party and the reality of the Rounds-Daugaard political machine that had no firm anti-government principles bought only sought power for its own purposes.

Mike Rounds's non-response to my question sent me down a road of worldview reconsideration that made me realize there was no grand battle of philosopher-kings. Once Rounds got me over the hump of my abstractions, I realized there are much more important practical matters to resolve... and that Democrats offer better practical solutions that secure more liberty for more people than the crony-corporate machine that Romney-Rounds Republicans represent.

Yeah, I think this Senate race will be fun. Bring it on, M. Mike! We're ready for you!


  1. Michael Black 2012.11.30

    The governor's race in 2014 is going to be far more exciting especially if we can get some young talent to run.

  2. hmr59 2012.11.30

    Hmmm, a power-hungry, corporate loving, nepotistic drone who doesn't understand fiscal responsibility (unless it has something to do with contributions and kickbacks)??? Sounds like a natural for D.C.

  3. Rorschach 2012.11.30

    2014 could be a very interesting political year. My preference would be to see Brendan Johnson run for the House against Noem (or for the vacant seat if she runs for senate), and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin to run for Governor. It's hard for me to envision Brendan running for house though if Tim is running for senate. But if Novstrups and Haggars can run at the same time then why not Johnsons?

    A formula that boosts Democrats in SD is to have a conservative or libertarian independent running who will siphon votes away from the Elephant/RINO nominee. With all of the GOP infighting, that's a real possibility in the house, senate and goveror races.

    And yes, Tim Johnson if he runs could have a whole lot of fun pointing out the major accomplishments of the Mike Rounds administration: new plane, new governor's mansion, 7 years of structural deficits backfilled by the federal government, low unemployment for the Rounds family.

  4. Steve Sibson 2012.11.30

    "there was no grand battle of philosopher-kings"

    You are correct Cory. The RINO's fascism and the Democrat's socialism are siblings, if not spouses. Remember Rounds is on Obama's health care team with Tom Daschle. Talking about how Big Government feeding money and power to Big Business. When will the grass roots Democrats wake up and realize the conservatives/libertarians have the solution to crony capitalism/corporate socialism by understanding that their political leadership is using them as political pawns and serving them the Marxist Kool Aid...which is where the poison of deception is found?

  5. larry kurtz 2012.11.30

    3 men in a boat on the lake. One starts drilling a hole in it. "I'm libertarian & I'm only drilling a hole under me. Doesn't concern you." RT @cdashiell

  6. Bree S. 2012.11.30

    Dan Kaiser is playing the game and is smart enough not to throw his career away running for Senate. I'm sure Stace Nelson has no interest in moving to Washington DC and he is also an intelligent man. Any "Mugwumps" (that's never going to catch on Cory) faced with the choice between a conservative who might have to fudge on the small print of the Norquist Pledge to get anything done in Congress or a dirty dealing RINO politician, should take a deep breath and think logically. There is no point in throwing an idealistic hissy fit over an important national race. People really should be paying closer attention to their county GOP because that is where the problem starts.

  7. larry kurtz 2012.11.30

    Anyone willing, regardless of party affiliation, to vivisect the law enforcement and 'correction' industries currently operating under the guise of public safely can count on support from this keyboard.

  8. Ken Santema 2012.11.30

    Yesterday when I first seen the Rounds announcement I decided to put my tablet away and stop reading any news for a day. It was too soon to start listening to campaign talk again!

  9. Ken Santema 2012.11.30

    As to the constant Rounds posts from PP. I think someone needs to learn the difference between a blog and twitter. Then post accordingly.

  10. vikingobsessed 2012.11.30

    One of the problems in having a good challenge for Governor is that there are virtually no known Democrats west river. Even if someone is well known in the east they are going to have to get a certain percentage of the votes out here. It would take a scandal at this point to defeat a sitting Republican governor in this state.

  11. JoeBoo 2012.11.30

    I'd be surprised if Rounds is not in a primary battle. He did leave the state in a bunch of dept, his last budget proposal (the one he gave right before leaving), was a joke, his airplane ordeal that probably should have sent someone to jail didn't even get a headline in the argus, secret trips, secret donations, blah blah blah, it was a bunch of crap that everyone put up with because they liked the way he talked on tv, and how he looked with his family. I don't know M. Michael Rounds that well, but I've met his son, and know numerous members of his (large) family. However the problem is just look at some of the crap that went on and ask yourself is that who you want to send to Washington?

  12. Rorschach 2012.11.30

    The impression I got from the Dakota War College posts is that Pat Powers probably had to take 3-4 breaks between them to pound his pud and wash his hands.

  13. larry kurtz 2012.11.30

    Thanks MT @genelingerfelt: God bless@GroverNorquist. Reagan challenged him to create Americans For Tax reform. Grover Norquist, semper fi.

    Retweeted by Stace Nelson

  14. larry kurtz 2012.12.01

    What part of that photo at Pat's Place predicted a path?

    "By all accounts, the past month has been most difficult on Romney’s wife, Ann, who friends said believed up until the end that ascending to the White House was their destiny. They said she has been crying in private and trying to get back to riding her horses." The Atlantic.

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