Press "Enter" to skip to content

Rounds Shoots Right, Signs Left; Metaphor for Campaigning vs. Governing?

Republican Senate candidate M. Michael Rounds and his paid advertisers want you to know that he likes guns. He splashes photos of himself with a shotgun online to assure us he can govern well.

And note, that's his right shoulder.

M. Michael Rounds in hunting gear, with shotgun


M. Michael Rounds in hunting gear, with shotgun

So on the campaign trail, Rounds shoots right. But when he governs, which hand does he use? Left...
mike signs 2006 abortion ban


mike signs bill

...even takes his coffee left...

mike coffee Fermilab

So Lance and Bob and all those other RINO hunters are right: Mike Rounds really is a lefty who shoots right just to get your vote!


  1. Donald Pay 2013.05.31

    "We will never compromise our 2nd Amendment rights to keep and bear arms." What the hell does that mean? To me it means there is just one more politician pandering to non-thinking knuckledraggers. Who are "we?" Does "we" included an incarcerated felon? What about a man who states he's going to buy a gun to kill the fetus his girlfriend is carrying because she refuses to get an abortion? How about that, Mike? Willing to compromise some 2nd Amendment rights to save the fetus? Want felons and fetus killers to sign up?

  2. Kal Lis 2013.05.31

    The ex-Governor seems to be campaigning like it's 1994. That's the year James Inhofe created the "God, Guns, Gays" framing. This week Rounds did a Holy Land visit to check the God box on the checklist. This ad lets him check the guns box. I'm sure he'll be able to complete his checklist before July 4th.

    I really wish Rounds weren't so plastic and obvious. I know he's the frontrunner but he doesn't have to be so boring.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.05.31

    Donald, Rounds is here to stimulate, not explicate.

    Kal Lis, Rounds is clearly less interesting than the other Republicans who've sent up primary smoke signals.

  4. mike 2013.05.31

    I know a lot of people who shoot with the opposite hand they write with. I'm not sure why but it's not that uncommon. Most likely it has to do with the actions being on the right side of the gun unless you buy one specifically for a lefty. Most people as kids in the 50's or 60's probably didn't get a special gun to hunt with.

    It also might have to do with which eye is most dominant.

  5. Winston 2013.05.31

    These hunting/NRA photo ops that politicians love to do in South Dakota are so cliche. The only thing that's missing is a baby in a orange hat to kiss....

  6. Joan 2013.06.01

    Mike is just plain boring, he has the most boring voice I have ever heard. That being said, the fact that he made a trip to Israel to fulfill a God persona, he can't support LGBT people. The conservative God people just don't do that. The two don't go together. However, I would vote for Dumbo, before I would vote for Rounds.

  7. Joan 2013.06.01

    What in heaven's name does he have covering the top of boots and going up the front of his jeans? The out of state hunters that I have seen don't even look as "decked" out as he is.

  8. Dave 2013.06.01

    Could Mike be attempting to appeal to the LGBT community with his fashion statement? I hesitate to make this observation, in fear of insulting my gay acquaintances ... but I'm pretty they're laughing with me. I (and I'm pretty sure my LGBT friends) can't help but think that no straight-shooting hunter would dress like that.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.01

    Hilarious, Jana! But in order of simple logical explanation, I have to go with pure design coincidence... followed maybe by someone in the Team Rounds office with a nasty sense of subtle satire.

    But don't go ragging on those brush pants! I'd gladly wear those tough britches to follow Lee Schoenbeck through the high wet brambles.

  10. Stace Nelson 2013.06.01

    Well good to see Governor Rounds signing a pledge! Now what is his spin staff going to do about their major fumble with the idiotic comments about the ATR & Grover Norquist no tax raise pledge? Now before our host & esteemed liberal audience gets distracted by that issue, first realize that the South Dakota Republican Party platform 5.2 requires Republicans to work to REDUCE taxes on South Dakotans and 5.17 indicates Republicans should read the platform & pledge to support it!

    See the pickle he is in?

    My memory fails me, what is it they say when you make this big show out of claiming you shouldn't make a pledge on such major issues as taxes, but then you do it on another major issue such as 2nd Amendment rights?

  11. Donald Pay 2013.06.01

    Is there anything more childish in politics than a politician signing a pledge? Maybe dressing up in an outfit for a staged photo op, and party platforms.

    Does anyone take pledges, staged photos and party platforms seriously? These are the tools of making our politics childish to appeal to the fools.

    Really, I don't have a high opinion of the Republican Party, but even I don't think there are that many crazy Republicans who would actually want to enact much, if any, of that platform. Platforms have just become sort of an esteem-building mechanism for the people in the party who don't have much of anything to offer except their grunt work. If these folks get a small part of their delusions into a platform they feel included and not so goofy. Uh, sorry, they're still bats**t crazy.

  12. Stace Nelson 2013.06.01

    I guess we come from two totally different parts of the planet Mr. Pay. I have signed a lot of pledges over the years, and I took each and everyone of them very seriously. The earlier ones indicated I would give up to & including my life in defense of this country. I guess it all has to do with the way a person looks at the strength of their word & their commitment to it.

    While you don't have to like your opponent, it is fool hardy to underestimate them. I would point out that the strength of the SDGOP platform is one of the major elements that has been beating Democrats across the state pretty handedly the last several years. It is when Republicans stray from a principled course, that people lose confidence in them, as what has been seen nationally.

    To your credit, many elected SD Republicans have taken the same view and claim that conservatives that support the platform are somehow "fringe"; however, those same politicians always go running back to the public claiming they are "conservatives, conservative voices, etc" to get votes. Read into that, & "Republican" dominance at the polls, what you may.

  13. Owen Reitzel 2013.06.01

    The Democrats have to a better job of asking the Republicans what they are going to cut. What services will be saved or ended.
    if smaller government is coming who exactly will pay the price? The poor and the people who can't stand up for themselves? Will the sacrifices be shared by all? Personally I thnk the rich will come out just fine. They want to go back to the "trickle down theory" of Reagan. Didn't work then and won't work now.
    I think pledges are a a joke-no matter which side. I took the same pledge as you Stace, just for not as long and I agree with you that's one pledge I took seriously.

  14. Douglas Wiken 2013.06.01

    The only "pledge" politicians should make is the Pledge of Allegiance and the oath of office.

    Even "Read my lips" can sink the ship of state. Events can make any pledge irrelevant and voters should know that even if politician's arrogance prevents them for getting that.

  15. Donald Pay 2013.06.01

    There's a difference between pledges and oaths. An oath sworn upon entering the services or an official office or to uphold certain ethical standards of a profession is not the same as pledges made to special interests during a campaign. Anyone who treats them the same ought not to be elected to any office.

    I guess my principles require a bit more principle than blind adherence to some campaign pledge concocted by some public relations specialist working for some political consultant who is being employed, ultimately, by some billionaire or industry.

  16. Bree S. 2013.06.01

    I don't consider pledging to not raising income taxes to be a pledge to "special interests." It's a pledge to American people. This is the text of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge:

    "ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

    TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

    Here is a link to the actual Taxpayer Protection Pledge that Senators sign.

    Nowhere in that pledge does it say legislators have to like or do the bidding of Grover Norquist. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is short, sweet and solely concerned with income taxes.

  17. Donald Pay 2013.06.01

    Bree, that tax pledge is about as phony as it gets.

    It has been successful in fooling some people, but they are the sort of folks who want to be fooled. I uess you are one of them.

    Look closely at what sort of tax policy comes out of these same people. The people who concocted that pledge support tax policy and legislation that shifts taxes/fees from the rich to the middle class and poor. Look at all the tax plans of the Republican Party and their rhetoric about the lower middle class not paying any federal taxes. All of the Republican presidential candidates signed that pledge and they all had tax plans which would have jacked up taxes on the lower middle class. Why? Because that's the whole point of the pledge---make the poor and middle class pay for the tax cuts and tax loopholes of the wealthy.

    Rather than these hooky "pledges" which are meant to fool folks, candidates ought to tell us what they specifically will do to reform the tax code.

  18. Bree S. 2013.06.01

    Labeling something as "phony" doesn't make it so. Saying something "fools" people doesn't make it so. Your third paragraph is an interesting conspiracy theory - for a Michael Moore movie.

    The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is exactly what it states - a pledge to not raise income taxes on the American people. You, a progressive liberal, disagree with that notion. I, a fiscal conservative, agree with the pledge. We will leave it to the South Dakota voters to decide who they agree with.

    It's interesting that you think having a candidate "tell us" what they will do is more valuable than a signed contract. Now, who's fooling who?

  19. Stace Nelson 2013.06.01

    @Donald Pay No, no.. I'm your huckleberry. The pledge I took to South Dakotans that I would not RAISE their taxes is secondary to the pledge I took via the South Dakota Republican Party platform 5.2 via 5.17 which I pledge by running as a Republican to REDUCE taxes. In order for those pledges to be "phony" I would have had to have made them in bad faith or if I had violated them, which I have not.

    Everyone wants to believe that Ivanhoe will win the day despite his wounds. That is not being a sucker, that is believing in the greater good that our fellow man/woman represents. Especially when they go to such a dramatic effort as signing a public pledge that can then used to be hold them accountable when they betray our trust.

    If every American got a separate bill every time the local city, state, & federal government spent money on their behalf, that they had to pay incrementally? I have no doubt that a vast majority of the crap politicians pass would be tacked on their tarred & feathered bodies as people ran them out of town on a rail.

    Now to the liberal left, taxes are seen as a way of redistributing wealth from those they believe have to much to those they believe have too little. To the bureaucrats & politicians, taxes are the cookie jar they get to raid in order to build more government & provide deals to their cronies. To me? Taxes are a necessary evil that we must have in order to provide government functions for the people that they cannot provide themselves. Sadly, taxes have become way more of the former two then the latter. As long as we have the first two driving the train wreck? There is no way any real reforms of any tax codes can be accomplished.

    But to claim I sit around with "Lovey & Thurston" over grasshoppers and conspire to stick it to my fellow middle-class, well, suffice it to say I don't particularly care for grasshoppers nor mint juleps and such ignorant stereo types should be above you.

    We had a $50 Million budget surplus this year, where should I have supported tax increases Mr. Pay? How many of the dozens of new programs that they passed, that ate up that $50 Million and $100 Million (?) more were you and South Dakotans not getting by with before?

    With the waste of tax dollars I have seen? With the expansion of spending & state government that clearly you did not HAVE to have? I am good at standing pat on my efforts to reduce their bi-partisan spending & tax increases. Call it a more educated pledge, than the one I made in 2010 when I first ran..

  20. Donald Pay 2013.06.01

    Well, you've got a "taxpayer protection pledge" concocted by people who have a consistent policy and a history of proposing tax legislation to shift taxes from the rich to the middle class. I'd say that pledge is as phony as the 501 (c) (4) organizations doing public welfare work promoted by the billionaire funded Tax Party that shift their taxes to the middle class.

  21. Kal Lis 2013.06.01

    If one needs a candidate to sign a document before trusting the candidate to follow through, one shouldn't vote for the candidate.

    Whatever good may have come from the Norquist pledge has been minimal. It has, however, added over $1 trillion to the national debt because the US, for the first time in history, fought two wars without tax increases to pay for those wars.

  22. Bree S. 2013.06.01

    I don't think I should have to sign anything if I get a loan from the bank either. They should just trust me. If they can't trust me, they shouldn't be a bank. And it's Bush's fault anyway.

  23. Douglas Wiken 2013.06.01

    Bree is a perfect example apparently of somebody easily fooled and unconcerned about actual oaths and phony pledges distinctions.

    The Norquist pledge tells us that Republicans are willing to forget their constituents in order to satisfy the wishes of one man. There is something about that which is fundamentally undemocratic and in contradiction to oaths of office and pledges to actually support interests of their voters and states.

  24. Kal Lis 2013.06.01


    There's a fundamental difference between enforceable contracts like a bank loan and political pledges. Feel free to attempt to sue any politician who has signed and broken the pledge. I wish you well in collecting damages.

    I have followed many of your comments here and at DWC. It's been my experience that engaging in discussions with those who exhibit the certitude that you show in those discussions is neither profitable nor pleasurable.

    Do not consider my lack of response to your future comments as either sign of agreement or inability to refute some point. The lack of response will indicate an unwillingness to metaphorically beat my head against a stone wall merely because it feels good when I stop.

  25. Bree S. 2013.06.01

    If they break the pledge, and very few have, you punish those politicians for their misbehavior. You publish their record for all to see and make it known to all that they have lied to and misled the voters. Politicians are not Lords of the Manor or privileged. They are beholden to the people.

    I have done well so far in collecting damages - but thank you for your good wishes. :)

  26. mike 2013.06.01

    I'm glad people here are making sense about pledges. It's so childish to make someone sign a tax pledge. We all know Rounds is just as right wing as most Republicans. Who in the world thinks Mike Rounds is the second coming of Obama?

    I'd vote for Rounds 7 days a week and twice on Sunday if I could because he's vastly superior to Noem in work ethic and intelligence. Noem might vote the same as Rounds but she's totally a slacker who doesn't show up for work in DC and when she does she has to tweet pics of her attendance. It's a joke.

    I have always been a fan of Stace Nelson but that platform sales pitch about tax pledges is a very hard sell and no one cares because very few people think Mike Rounds would raise taxes ever.

  27. mike 2013.06.01

    Good points about raising the debt ceiling to put the debt on the next generations backs. It's out of control. We need to have a discussion about whether we are willing to raise taxes or cut spending - not do like Noem and raise the debt ceiling instead of having a hard conversation.

    I say we make serious cuts now.

  28. Bree S. 2013.06.01

    Good luck selling that pile of dog poo to the public, "mike."

    Superior intelligence indeed.

  29. mike 2013.06.01

    Republicans have a good candidate. Democrats need one now.

  30. Owen Reitzel 2013.06.01

    "Good points about raising the debt ceiling to put the debt on the next generations backs. It's out of control. We need to have a discussion about whether we are willing to raise taxes or cut spending - not do like Noem and raise the debt ceiling instead of having a hard conversation.

    I say we make serious cuts now."

    What do you want to cut Mike? I've heard this over and over again from the right and I've heard nothing in return yet.

    By the way I think Rick Weiland is a great candidate if people give him a chance and dig into more about M. Michael Rounds

  31. Donald Pay 2013.06.01

    There's a lot of rather unsophisticated talking points that the right uses on taxes that serves as a barrier to breaking new ground on the tax issue. The idea of using the tax system to redistribute wealth is something that is done by right and left, Rep. Nelson, though the right tends not to admit that what they are doing is redistributing wealth upward. Every tax break given to corporate and upper income levels has resulted in redistributing wealth. The result of about 40 years of tax policy has been a relentless redistribution of wealth upward, and a steady decline of the middle class. Most of that time tax policy was controlled by Republicans, though Democratic tax policies have also been responsible for hollowing out the middle class.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.02

    Kal Lis makes me wonder: is there an apt analogy between the pledges that have become the topic here and prenuptual agreements?

  33. Douglas Wiken 2013.06.02

    The "Norquist pledge" is backed up by promises to drop funding for candidates who break it and also to fund primary opponents and opposition ads. It is a lever most of us don't have in attempts to make our representatives behave rationally in our interests.

  34. Troy Jones 2013.06.03

    Good catch CH on Rounds being a lefty shooting righty.

    As a Dad who took his daughters hunting and taught them to hunt, I want to acknowldege that I discriminated against my lefty. Even though the first gun my kids learned to shoot was double barrel 4-10, it never crossed my mind that she should learn to shoot lefty.

    Ironically, I wanted her to bat lefty but she wouldn't. In the first grade, she was the only lefty and didn't like her batting spot wasn't "dug out" for her feet like the the righty's. "Dad, I can really zing it" with the hole. So, for that year, off the tee, she zinged it to the shortstop because at that age throwing that far wasn't accurate and often he wasn't busy building a mound using his glove as a front-end loader.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.03

    Maybe Rounds is the perfect man to fight for the Second Amendment rights (or should we say lefts?) of left-handers. Why should gun manufacturers make it harder for 10% or so of Americans to practice the Second Amendment? Maybe we could pass legislation requiring symmetrically designed guns with safeties and other features equally accessible to left- and right-handers.

    Full disclosure: I'm right-handed, but I shoot pool lefty.

  36. Stace Nelson 2013.06.03

    @Donald Pay I would argue the "Republicans" that were responsible for such, were in fact not Republicans in the first place. Traditional Republicans believe in limiting government, reducing spending, reducing government, and reducing taxes. You are correct though. Many of the spending pork bills that got passed in SD with Democrats & Republicans piling on would not be getting passed if they did not have the top-cover of a 'Republican" governor bringing these spending & government increase bills the last 12+ years. Just like when the "Republicans" had control of Congress & the White House, they did their best to out tax and spend the very people they railed against to get elected.

    Sadly, traditional media is dead. The governor and legislature increased spending, increased state government, and increased taxes. Someday, we will have a staffer claiming how those responsible actually reduced all of that (if we exclude all federal monies).

Comments are closed.