Last updated on 2014.02.18
I really don't want Marion Michael Rounds to win South Dakota's open Senate seat. He would legislate as he governed, absent of vision and sacrificing principles for the crony capitalism that does more daily practical harm to liberty and democracy than any of the bogeymen Rounds's friends and tools tell us to fear.
But I must also consider the possibility than any Republican who wins the primary election is the favorite to win the general against Democrat Rick Weiland. Most observers place South Dakota in the lean/safe GOP column, and even the poll Weiland buys has him behind, before any big GOP money has been spent. Weiland's a great campaigner (no other Republican has visited over 170 of South Dakota's 311 towns this year), and we Dems still have plenty of time to make our case, but it will be an uphill battle. I thus wonder: what happens if we lose? Which Republican would be the least bad Senator?
Salesman-sleazy as he is, Marion Michael Rounds is the only pragmatic, hintingly sane Republican in the race. He says he would have voted, like Senator Tim Johnson and Senator John Thune, to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling:
Rounds said he would have “very reluctantly” voted for the measure if he were in Congress. Republicans, he said, should have ended the government shutdown once they realized they didn’t have enough votes to defund the Affordable Care Act.
...“Today, they had no choice,” Rounds said. “They had to fix the issue on the debt crisis, one way or another, or at least give themselves a chance to find some reasonable individuals there who will sit down and begin the process of reducing the federal deficit meaningfully” [David Montgomery, "Rounds Backs Shutdown Deal; GOP Blasts It," Political Smokeout, 2013.10.17].
Rounds's opponents, as Toby explained Wednesday, all support the kamikaze politics of Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Kristi Noem. State Sen. Larry Rhoden, State Rep. Stace Nelson, and Annette Bosworth all say they would have voted against Wednesday's deal, left the federal government crippled, and plunged a defaulting America into a global economic meltdown... all for the sake of making a futile political stand.
I've complimented Rounds's pragmatism before. That pragmatism keeps him from signing silly pledges like Grover Norquist's no-new-taxes pledge. (And, again as Toby noted, even Norquist prefers Rounds's pragmatism to Cruz's/Noem's/Rhoden's/Nelson's/Bosworth's suicidal ACA obsession.) That pragmatism would have kept Rounds from casting what could have been the most destructive vote of the 113th Congress... a vote every Republican challenging him would have cast.
There are many reasons I could encourage my Republican friends to nominate someone other than Marion Michael Rounds. The uninspiring Larry Rhoden would be easier for Rick Weiland to beat. Stace Nelson would provide much more exciting debates with Weiland. Annette Bosworth's spontaneous combustion would make for much easier blogging.
But if Rick Weiland gets a record deal and moves to Nashville, Marion Michael Rounds is the safest, sanest choice for Senate.