Last updated on 2013.10.15
The trio of U.S. Senate hopefuls working to keep South Dakota Republicans from anointing everyone's favorite insurance salesman, M. Michael Rounds, as the party's nominee must be watching with a little bit of anxiety as two of their most important big city friends get in a little dust-up over party strategy in the wake of the government shutdown.
As Sioux Falls physician Annette Bosworth, State Senator Larry Rhoden (R-29/Union Center), and State Representative Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton) all work to stake out rhetorical territory to the political right of the moderate Rounds, they've each hitched their wagon to the once-(and-possibly-still-)rising star of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Rhoden, also on Twitter, "stands with" Cruz in his strategy to use shutting down the government as a ploy to defund the Affordable Care Act, even after Rhoden took a verbal lashing from the Capital Journal in Pierre for supporting a previous "potentially disastrous" Cruz anti-Obama stratagem.
Norquist initially told the Washington Post that Cruz "crashed and burned" in a failed attempt to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act through a 21-hour speech on the Senate floor. He had even harsher words in a later interview on Newsmax TV. RINO-hunter Norquist doesn't say Cruz fails to live up to conservative philosophy; Norquist just says Cruz is pretty stupid about how he has tried to enact that philosophy:
"No one's questioning [Cruz's] conservative credentials. It's his wisdom and his judgment and the name-calling that he has thrown at every Republican in the House and the Senate," [Norquist] said.
"[Cruz] promised he was going to magically … get five or 15 Democrats to agree to abolish Obamacare and … get the president to sign it. And if the president won't sign it, you need 67 senators and you need two-thirds of the House.
"Arithmetic told you this strategy that Ted had was never going to work [Bill Hoffman, "Grover Norquist: Ted Cruz Dragged GOP 'Across Broken Glass' in Obamacare Fight," Newsmax, 2013.10.11]."
Norquist also says Cruz has hurt Republicans and needs to make amends:
"So Ted Cruz needs to explain to Republicans why he just spent several months and then several weeks dragging them across broken glass for no purpose [Grover Norquist, quoted in Newsmax, 2013.10.11]."
So, if we South Dakotans are to judge our non-Rounds Republican trio by the people they associate with, we get a confusing picture. One associate, Cruz, stands firm in a filibustering, frustrating, and failing crusade that's shutting down the government. The other associate says it's time to do the math and accept the practical reality of defeat in this particular crusade (yes, I recognize that it's strange for Norquist to come out of any comparison looking like the less dogmatic one).
Annette, Stace, Larry, who's got it right? Is it your friend the first-term Senator from Texas with his sights set solely on tanking the President's policy—and maybe on taking the President's job? Or is it your other friend the wonk-y one-man Republican litmus test who thinks your first friend is either stupid, dangerous, or both?