The Displaced Plainsman offers a mixed review of Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland's performance at a public meeting in Yankton yesterday:
Weiland is an earnest speaker. His style seems well suited to retail politics. I want to believe the man.
Unfortunately, I don't know if Weiland knows how to go for the jugular. When asked a question about ALEC, he demurred that he wasn't running for governor instead of pointing out that ALEC epitomized all of the ills of big money in politics, the first subject of his stump speech. He also stumbled through his answer to a question about moving military sexual assault cases outside of the chain of command. If he's going to "take it back," the speech better tell me what the "it" is. This speech didn't [Leo Kallis, "A Minor Musing About Rick Weiland's Town Hall," The Displaced Plainsman, 2013.07.18].
Hyper-partisans wishing to dismiss this criticism may cite the fact that Mr. Kallis wore matching socks and left before pie was served as evidence that he was not fully himself yesterday. I, however, will keep my faith in my blogospheric colleague and agree with his observations (oh, and someone hand me his piece of pie, please).
There's no need for Weiland to demur on ALEC. Sure, the issue is a little more relevant for gubernatorial and legislative candidates, but ALEC is another tentacle of the big corporate squid Weiland seeks to skewer. Fire away!
Weiland should brief out military sexual assault, given that there is a significant chance (25%? where's Intrade when South Dakota needs it?) that he could face a GOP opponent with serious cred on the issue. (By the way, Rep. Stace Nelson supports taking all military investigative organizations outside the chain of command.
And that antecedent-less it in the campaign slogan: even as I passionately affirm Weiland's sincerity and fitness for the job of U.S. Senator, I'll freely admit I'd like to firm up that slogan a bit more.
But let's remember, folks: Weiland is putting himself out there for you to grill him. He drew a full house in Yankton yesterday, and he's coming to a town near you soon (hey, Team Weiland, can we get an Upcoming Events page on the campaign website?). Is M. Michael Rounds out talking to regular folks? Nope: he's too busy ringing phones and begging for money from the big ALEC types.