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Belfrage: Practical Conservative, But Local and Idealist Liberal?

KELO radio talker Greg Belfrage caught heck from some Republicans for endorsing Democrat Mike Huether for re-election as mayor of Sioux Falls. (Huether won yesterday, 55% to 45%, over Republican Greg Jamison.)

Now in response to yesterday's election results, Belfrage is sounding like an outright socialist:

Sioux Falls is a growing community. People realize that facilities and large commercial developments need to go someplace. They can't all be relegated to the rural outskirts of town.

There seems to be an understanding that sometimes things may not be best for us individually, but they're best for the community [Greg Belfrage, "City Election Had No Big Surprises, But Loud Message," KELO-AM: The Daily Dose, 2014.04.09].

Hee hee.

Seriously, in an earlier post, Belfrage enunciates a profoundly important point about how party labels don't matter at the local level:

As I read through the comments of those criticizing me (Republican) for supporting Huether (Democrat), I couldn't find a single reason for their scorn other than party label. Not a single person has yet to articulate to me how Huether's liberal political ideology has negatively affected Sioux Falls.

...This is precisely why Sioux Falls has tried to keep city races non-partisan. Because for some... all thought processes stop when they hear the word "Democrat" or "Republican" [Greg Belfrage, "My Huether Endorsement Draws Blistering Criticism," KELO-AM: The Daily Dose, 2014.04.07].

We hear that stoppage of thought processes all the time when we hear the media trying to boil important and complicated policy issues into thin political soup.

Belfrage goes on to admit that his conservative ideology doesn't translate to the local level:

Admittedly, you may not find me to be very conservative when it comes to local government. I often support large public projects that I feel will benefit the community, such as the Denny Sanford Premier Center. I'malso in favor of spending money on conveniences like snow gates, which I feel will improve the general quality of life during winter, especially for seniors and the disabled [Belfrage, 2014.04.07].

I've seen this disjunction before between national-level political squawking and local community improvement: when we need to pay teachers, pave streets, and put out fires, all the hollering about socialism and Obama and liberal-foisted dependency doesn't amount to a hill of beans. We just want our city councils and school boards to get stuff done. We work together through those governments to fix problems.

Belfrage defends his federal conservatism/local liberalism (that is what it is, isn't it, Greg?) dichotomy by saying we citizens can better hold our local governments to account than we can the federal government.

Is Belfrage's fine distinction really all conservatives and liberals have been arguing about? Belfrage seems to be saying, "Government is not inherently bad. At the local level, vigorous government is good! Liberalism is really a good model for managing a community; it's just tougher to ensure liberalism works in larger communities, like nations." Is liberalism superior philosophically, requiring only the practical check of conservatism at scale?

So if we could come up with a means to promote more transparency and accountability in federal government, if we could keep special interests from co-opting the federal government with big money (McCutcheon, Ravnsborg! McCutcheon!) and empower regular citizens to exert control over their federal government similar to what they can exert over the Sioux Falls City Council and the Madison Central School Board, would we agree that we should go with liberalism instead of conservatism as our primary governing philosophy?


  1. Troy 2014.04.09


    To answer your final question: No. Your "if" is like saying "if we could only suspend human frailty, we could . . . do anything."

    While I disagree with Greg on some of the issues mentioned here, I think Greg is similar to most conservatives (vs. libertarians) in the belief the social contract has a place for government to do certain things both to protect the social contract (i.e. police) but also serve the common good.

    Personally, I'm opposed to a significant amount of endeavors done by the federal government. Some of those things I think can and should be done at the state level (if the federal government were smaller, I'd support bigger state government), some can and should be done at the local level (If the federal government were smaller, I'd support a bigger local government), and some of those things just shouldn't be done because government doesn't do some things well, cause unintended consequences greater than the good done, or isn't the purview of any government.

  2. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.04.09

    Reading Mr Jones comments above, I am just floored. For someone who claims to be a limited government conservative Republican, his espoused ideas are definitely not that which he claims to be. Tax, spend, create more government is NOT the mantra of the conservative right, no matter how much Mr Jones wants it to be.

  3. Troy 2014.04.09


    The total government if I had my way would be much smaller.

    I'll give you one situation. There would be no federal assistance for many of the Federal education "Titles" but I'd support the State and especially local government picking up them. I believe we do it better and cheaper. Maybe you don't think we should educate the blind, deaf and other special needs kids but I do.

    I'd take the same approach to welfare and just about everything that isn't necessary under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

    In the end, total government would be much smaller, it would be more efficient, it would be more accountable to the people, and everything the people choose to have the government do would be more efficient and effective.

    If that makes a liberal in your view, I don't care.

  4. daleb 2014.04.09

    I go back to what rush limbaugh says, if a person is not getting more conservative they are becoming liberal. To me its not a party allegiance thing at all. Belfast was going to vote for huether regardless. The disingenuous part of it is him pretending like an ad made the big difference. Then going off on his show about how the jamison ad was so bad. That said, I do not think belfast swayed the election.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.09


    When you say welfare, do you mean all forms of welfare such farm subsidizes, big oil subsidizes, tax breaks for the wealthy, corporate welfare?

  6. Nick Nemec 2014.04.09

    Home mortgage interest deduction.

  7. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.09

    Thinking about Troy's comment:

    I see a problem with some aspects of local/state control. If left entirely to our own devices, would SD do anything to stop discrimination against American Indians? Or LBTG people? Who would be allowed to vote in this state? What laws would we have for government transparency?

    Theoretically, more localized government is best. But real people don't behave theoretically.

  8. hmr59 2014.04.09

    To be honest, Huether's political philosophy is "Whatever makes me look good." He is like Janklow Lite - all the ego, a third less talent, intelligence, tact, vision...

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.09

    "If we could only suspend human frailty..." so Troy, let me ask it this way: Are you and Belfrage saying that liberalism is how the Kingdom of God will work, and that conservatism is just the crap we have to put up with in a fallen world while we wait for God? (17.8 months to go!)

  10. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.09

    hmr, did you just put "tact" and "Janklow" in the same sentence? Seriously?!

  11. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.09

    human frailty?

    Does that corruption at the local level or the national level?

  12. Craig 2014.04.10

    Deb: "Theoretically, more localized government is best. But real people don't behave theoretically."

    Very well said. Local control always seems so appealing until you realize local control has brought us cities who fight over school boundaries and counties who pander to a large employer no matter how many rivers they pollute. We have a patchwork of various rules and laws that make navigating the legal landscape all but impossible for anyone without a law degree (and even half of them struggle with it).

    If we look at some of the landmark cases of the past 150 years, how many were enacted based upon national pressure? The federal government had to end slavery because many states weren't about to do so on their own. The federal government had to integrate schools. The federal government had to push for equality between boys and girls. The federal government had to enforce a woman's right to choose and the federal government had to tell the states that pesky details like Miranda rights were important.

    More times than not when you hear of crazy legislation it is at the state level, not the federal level. When you hear of groups trying to pass legislation to make discrimination legal, or groups trying to mandate that every citizen owns a firearm it is at the local level rather than federal. Can we really say local control is always better?

    Of course there are exceptions. There are always cities and states that lead a movement, but the point is ultimately the federal government is the unifying group that brings along all those that otherwise would protest. Rest assured concepts like gay marriage or the decriminalization of marijuana will eventually occur nationwide, and do we think South Dakota is going to be one of the first states to adopt those new rules, or rather do we anticipate being forced to go along for the ride due to the federal government?

    Local control sounds great in theory, but keep in mind if it were in practice as often as some suggest, we would likely still have separate drinking fountains.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.10

    Constant tension: we have to check the power of federal government to keep corrupt individuals and corporations from taking advantage of all the power available to them. But we have to empower the federal government to check corruption (I'm using the word very broadly... perhaps I should say abuses of power) at state and local levels. But we have to empower all governments at all levels enough to check the abuses that individuals will commit on each other without some law and order.

  14. Troy 2014.04.10

    The States when creating the federal government delegated most protections of civil rights to the federal courts. I have no problem with that. In fact, I endorse it.

    But that doesn't justify them running everything else.

  15. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.10

    Troy, I am sure one of the "everything elses" to which you refer is Common Core, which so many see as the Federal Government taking liberties which it should not have. I remind you and all Common Core opponents that we live in a highly transient society, just look at our military families alone, to say nothing about folks moving because of jobs. Without Common Core the students in those families are placed at a disadvantage, because something that was covered at their new school last year is not going to be covered at their old school until next year, so they start out in the new school behind. All of the other things that people are so concerned about Common Core, are nuances introduced by local schools and have nothing to do with the basic Common Core.

    I am sure that many of the same folks that are concerned about Common Core, had no problem with No Child Left Behind, and that was a law that failed our education system miserably.

  16. Troy 2014.04.10


    The South Dakota State Constitution makes it clear the State is responsible for ensuring quality and equal education in South Dakota, the State freely chose Common Core as its new standard, and I support the Common Core English and especially the Math Standards.

    Your presumption that I would oppose them is an indication that conservatives are just anti-government neanderthrals, which is common in the liberal community. And, it is why liberals in South Dakota don't get why Republicans are the overwhelming governance choice for State and local governance in South Dakota,. :)

  17. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.10

    Troy, you wrote, "The South Dakota State Constitution makes it clear the State is responsible for ensuring quality and equal education in South Dakota,"

    I would ask, how do you think that we as a State are doing at that? Oh, I know our students rank pretty high nationally. I think part of that is the
    South Dakota ethic, but I also think that it is the teacher ethic and that is why the State Constitution that you speak of is being scoffed at by the Governor and Legislature in their refusal to fund education at the level that they imposed by law quite a few years ago. They continue to do just as they please, the laws they pass and the Constitution be damned.

    And to the point that I think Conservatives are neandrathals, that is not the case, as on many issues I am a conservative. I just think that there are things that government has to do, and education happens to be one of them. If I presumed wrongly that you oppose Common Core, I apologize, but I can tell you that a lot of Conservatives do, simply because it came about under the Obama government.

  18. Troy 2014.04.10

    Common Core didn't come from Obama. It came from the Governors and the federal DOE has approved it as an acceptable alternative to NCLB.

    And, as a son of a former teacher and parent of two, I think we do education great in South Dakota.

    I also think we have great business owners, welders, farmers, etc. with a great work ethic. I would expect teachers to be as great as their neighbors, which they are.

  19. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.10

    So, You approve of the pay we give our teachers?

  20. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.10

    And I didn't say it came from Obama. I said it came under the Obama government, which is where the Federal DOE is.

  21. Troy 2014.04.10

    Common Core didn't originate nor "come from" the Department of Education. It CAME from the Governors.

    I supported Daugaard's HB1234 education reforms which would have increased salaries for the best teachers and it would have engendered reforms in education, better management of our schools, and improved results that would have warranted increased pay.

    As long as the SDEA continues to advocate for mediocrity, I don't support additional state money in education. If a local school district is managing itself and teachers in the direction of HB1234, I'd be advocating more local money into my school district. Unfortunately, my school district is not dedicated organizationally or from a management perspective of continous improvement. So, I don't want to provide additional funds to mediocrity.

    FYI: Just because SD education ranks favorably to national measures doesn't mean they are as good as they can and should be. Compared to national measures, we are great. Based on my expectations, we accept too much mediocrity.

  22. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.10

    But Troy, If it was approved by the DOE, you have to agree that the majority of those opposed to Common Core are doing so, not because it was proposed by the Governors, but because it came with the blessing of the Feds. They believe in local control which is to some degree a good thing. But common standards across the country is also a good thing, as long as you are not asking teachers to teach to a test. And by the way after ten years of NCLB how do you or Dennis Daugaard or the SD legislature know who is a good teacher and who is not?

    And as to your not being willing to accept mediocrity, neither am I in education or in government and to me we are getting below mediocrity in our State government both from the Governor's chair and the legislature. A middle of the winter legislative session in the middle of one of the coldest, windiest and sometimes snowiest states in the United States makes no sense. That session came about when a good share of the legislators were farmers and ranchers, so they didn't want to meet when their heavy work season was on. It did not then nor does it now lend itself to citizen participation, which is what our current government seems to like because they can do everything out of sight of the public.

  23. Troy 2014.04.10

    I am having a hard time understanding the arguments against Common Core from most of the conservatives but that it is just because it has been approved as a NCLB substitute seems a stretch to me.

    I don't think common standards across the country is a good thing. State's are responsible for the education in their state. They can choose the standard they like/want.

    I don't think the Governor or Legislature should be assessing teachers. School Boards, Superintendents, and Principals have that responsibility.

    And, I think Daugaard is in the top 2 Governors in my lifetime and in the top three in the nation.

    Finally, I think winter is the best time for the Legislature. Snow days are insignificant to the other things that compete for our time when the weather is nice.

  24. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.10

    Well Troy, you must be a lot younger than I thought, if you think DD is one of the two best governors in your lifetime. I know that I am a lot older than you, but I know of six for sure in my lifetime that were better and I personally would rate him the second worst Governor in my lifetime. But how in the world do you know so much about the Governors in the other 49 states, that you can rate him in the top 3 in the nation?

  25. Troy 2014.04.10


    Farrar is the first Governor of whom I was old enough to make a slight judgment. Kneip with real knowledge.

    One of the things I have learned is the most over-rated measure (while important) is stands on hot button/partisan issues. By far the most under-rated (and critical) is skill at running state government. While I agree with DD on a ton of issues, I think his management skill might be the best in my lifetime.

    Regarding national governors, I only know what I read and I think Wisconsin's Walker and New Mexico's Martinez are the only two I think compare to DD. It's just my opinion.

  26. Bree S. 2014.04.10

    Common Core was pushed through the Race To The Top program, a Department of Education program that gave money to states for implementing Common Core Standards.

  27. Bree S. 2014.04.10

    By the way Troy, I can support someone who supports something I don't support. lol.

  28. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.10

    Troy, So far. we have kept this conversation civil. After your last two statements, I will say no more in an effort to keep it that way.

  29. mike from iowa 2014.04.10

    Walker borrowed billions of dollars to refinance Wisconsin's debt and push it into the future about 20 years. He gave outside korporations millions in tax giveaways and then declared Wisconsin had a budget crisis and unions were to blame. Walker is little more than a petty tyrant who collects millions of campaign bucks from every billionaire anywhere except Wisconsin. He is as crooked as a dog's hindleg and is able to stay in power because of gerrymandered votes and a compliant,activist wingnut supreme court.

  30. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.10

    Good grief! Daugard and Walker for "good governors"?!! I guess that judgment is a pretty good indication of priorities that are seriously skewed.

    I don't know much about Martinez. Are there *any* Democratic governors who meet with your approval Troy?

  31. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.10

    Isn't Walker the governor that faced a very expensive recall a couple of years ago? As I recall, Republicans ended up being pissed at him because it cost them so much money in ads to defend him.

    I don't quite remember if that was a fight with teachers or unions, or both.

  32. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.10

    You got it all Roger and the main unions he wanted to break were the public employee union.

  33. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.10

    You got it all Roger and the main unions he wanted to break were the public employee unions.

  34. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.10

    Walker is reviled by 49% of Wisconsin's population. He destroyed opportunities for workers to have a fair chance. He shredded accepted legislative processes and customs to force through his corporate priorities. He bullied any who disagreed with him. During Walker's time in office, Wisconsin's economy has plummeted. His "Open for Business" billboards are not successful. Forward progress and innovation have ground to a halt. Local autonomy has disappeared. Voting rights have shrunk. Judgeship races have been completely politicized. Health care is harder to find and pay for.

    The successful Wisconsin of Robert LaFollette and Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl has been trashed by Walker and his cronies. It's a sad state of affairs in a state that was once a bright light of the Midwest. The only business happy to be there is the Koch Brothers, corporate owners of Wisconsin and sponsors of Mr. Walker.

    I'm spending a long weekend with friends and colleagues in Wisconsin. I'll let you know how *well* Walker is doing when I get back.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.11

    The Common Core discussion helps illustrate why it is important for conservatives to be more forthcoming about what their conservatism really means... and why I'm wondering whether it really means anything. The folks raising a stink about Common Core seem to be operating largely from the basis of a simplistic understanding of conservatism, created by conservatives' own campaign mantras: "Government is bad! Less government!" They see Common Core as government doing something... and they go ape from there, piling on rationalizations, anecdotes, and conspiracy theories to prop up their opposition. And we end up wasting a whole lot of legislative and time and public discourse because they won't access more subtle, complex arguments about proper public policy goals as Troy appears to be doing in his defense of Common Core and as Belfrage is doing in his remarkable post on federal conservatism versus local liberalism.

    Both men are breaking labels, and I think that's great. I'd like to see both "conservative" and "liberal" deconstructed and defused as terms in public debate so people would look at what policies actually do and what we actually want to achieve in our communities.

  36. Troy 2014.04.11


    Do any Republican Governors meet with your approval?

    Lanny and I got off track. He asked a question and I answered it. I don't expect liberals to agree with my assessment of Governors as I am not likely going to agree with you.

    That said, I still believe too much assessment of the quality of a Governor is his political views and too little of the Governor's skill at running State government. Weeks go by outside the Legislature when nary of the issues are political. They are administrative and management related.

    While I am sure I wouldn't agree with the political views, like you don't agree with those of Daugaard, Walker, and Martinez, Dem Governor's O'Malley, Malloy and Hickenlooper seem to stand out among their peers with regard to governance skills. (Sidebar: GOP Snyder is getting very high marks on management but he is early in term).

    And, this goes to a larger point, ideologues of both sides, so form their opinion of the intelligence, quality and character of a person based on how much they agree with the person on issues, they fail to recognize other attributes and skills. This approach diminishes people from working together where they agree and for better governance.

    I get why the ideologues here don't approve of DD's policies. I wouldn't likely agree much with a liberal Governor. But that disagreement shouldn't go so personal.

    DD is one of the most humble, kindest and ablest administrators to sit in our Governor's chair. Fight him on issues as he is also quite conservative. But the personal animosity serves no one, especially you and your cause.

  37. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.11

    Troy, You wrote, "DD is one of the most humble, kindest and ablest administrators to sit in our Governor's chair."

    Perhaps, you should talk to some of the folks who worked for and with him at South Dakota Childrens' Home Society. Perhaps, you should talk to some of the Native American families, (and after all he is also Governor of a lot of Native Americans) about how as both head of SDCHS and as Governor, he has ignored ICWA, the Indian Child Welfare Act. I have my doubts that very many of those folks would describe Dennis Daugaard as either, kind, humble or able and not necessarily because they are liberal, but because of his utter disregard for others. He is one of those "from the bottom uppers" who feels, "I made it so you should too".

  38. larry kurtz 2014.04.11

    It was so cold in Pierre last week DD had his hands in his own pockets. Lawyers are like guns: you carry one around long enough sooner or later you're going to it.

  39. Troy 2014.04.11


    DD took CHS from a small nearly 100% dependent on government funds to a large social service entity with significant charitable private support. I don't remember if it is 4x or more the number of kids under the purview of CHC vs. when DD took over but it a significant increase. That took administrative and management skill and a lot of tough decisions.

    Being a conservative requires making tough choices and decisions. Not all will be seen as "compassionate or kind." So it is with being the CEO of a charity. Being called heartless or having a "disregard for others" by those who don't have to make the decisions comes with the territory.

  40. mike from iowa 2014.04.11

    Tough choices like giving welfare to the wealthiest and cutting welfare for the poorest and neediest? Compassion and my superior to anyone else's religion compels me to feed the koch bros. This tough decision ensures my personal future and better enables me to continue supporting myself(with gubmint pensions and insurance) in my old age. Sincerely,(sign with any wingnut pols name you care to put here).

  41. Bree S. 2014.04.11

    I'm not interested in deconstructing and defusing the word conservative, Cory.

  42. Troy 2014.04.11

    A wise person once said to me: "There is nary a difference between a person motivated by envy or greed except the greedy person might admit his motive, which is to small degree a morally superior position."

  43. mike from iowa 2014.04.11

    I doubt it is motive. More like an assertion of divine right by way of being born wealthy.

  44. Les 2014.04.11

    CHS under DD had some issues. Where did the majority of the charitable funding come from Troy? A large San donor out of Soo Foo? It said some of the Indian Children >fed$ issues and family separations resided there? I think DD is a good man surrounded by the wrong times while carrying the past issues forward.

  45. Rick 2014.04.11

    Troy said: 'But the personal animosity serves no one, especially you and your cause.'

    I read Deb's comments and I didn't read anything to suggest personal animosity toward the governor(s). When one chooses to run for political office - whether they win or lose - they open themselves up to criticism. Deb has every right to voice her displeasure of DD or any elected official. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's 'personal animosity'. But it's all too easy to offer up a distraction when one is unable to win an argument.

  46. Troy 2014.04.11


    Yes, Denny Sanford has been instrumental both directly but also indirectly as his gifts being subject to match (I know one SFalls businessman and wife who have shifted almost all of their giving to CHS to take advantage of Sanford's match). And, Sanford's involvement comes with accountability. He measures the "good" from his donation and will pull it in a heartbeat if he thinks there are better places to put it. The involvement of his "analysis" has inspired others to give to CHS. Personally, I think Sanford's personal involvement has been good (regardless of your views of how he made his money).

    While Sioux Falls has many good charities well supported in this community, there are three that have stellar reputations with regard to caliber of their board and concurrent accountability for delivering the most charity work for the buck. CHS, the Good Shepherd Center and Lutheran Social Services.

    Regarding the separation issues, they are very real for two reasons: Sometimes the situation doesn't warrant separation and there is the legitimate natural tension removing an Indian child outside his culture vs. taking no action. Those never will go away and imperfect decisions are inherent when made by imperfect people.

    That said, if we are going to err, I hope we do so in taking action to protect a child vs. leaving them in a dangerous or unhealthy place. This error can be corrected. The alternative can be eternal and irreversible.

  47. Bree S. 2014.04.11

    Uh, yeah, that's it, Mike. My parents were poor divorcees but yeah it's all about wealthy divine right. Victim.

  48. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.11

    Troy, You speak as if DD did the miracle with CHS out of his own genius, when in fact is was/is because of his relationship to the Republican party that he was able to get their financial situation turned around, WITH STATE DOLLARS. It's kinda like the guy who is bragging about how great he has done on all of his own initiative, when in fact he got where and who he is because he got a lot of no bid government contracts because of his political affiliation. The article below will show you some of what I have written.

  49. mike from iowa 2014.04.11

    Bree S-I was thinking of wingnuts like Bush and Money Boo Boo,who were born with advantages but protrayed themselves as self made men. If you are offended,I guess you are welcome.

  50. Bree S. 2014.04.11

    I apologize then for my assumption. I have no idea who Money Boo Boo is.

  51. mike from iowa 2014.04.11

    Mitt Romney is Money Boo Boo.

  52. Bree S. 2014.04.11

    I don't think we'll have to worry about anymore breakdowns on TV. I am sorry I snapped at you. I try to reserve my bite for the deserving but I make mistakes.

    Things are looking up today. I think it will be a good weekend. :)

  53. mike from iowa 2014.04.11

    I was thinking about asking you to the Prom to make nice. Good for you for the weekend. Little ones are such a joy,even for people like me. :)

  54. Bree S. 2014.04.11

    Hmm... I think I'm just a bit past prom. lol.

  55. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.11

    I liked Mikkelson very much. I thought Christie was okay, though wrong on many things. Then he pulled the bridge thing. Perpich of MN was okay. I'd have to look at a list of Republican governors to find more that I approve off.

    The governors who are in all out attack against unions, the poor, sick, disabled, etc., are people I have contempt for. I make no apologies for that. In fact, I can't understand how anyone can support of such people.

  56. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.12

    Why not defuse those terms, Bree? Overall, the terms don't help us solve problems. They simple dumb down the discussion and give too many people a cheap and easy reason to vote for or against someone, ignoring the real skills those people bring to the job. There may be plenty of voters who would knee-jerk vote against Daugaard when I brand him a conservative and who would ignore the excellent administrative skills Troy says Daugaard brings to the day-to-day management of the state.

  57. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.12

    And consider what Deb says about Mickelson. Do we remember Mickelson first and foremost because he was a conservative? I don't think so. His esteem in South Dakotans' minds (possibly inflated by his untimely death, as with Kennedy) rests largely on his efforts to solve practical problems. Mickelson's reputation seems to be another strand of Belfrage's thinking: state and local politics should be more about getting stuff done, not assigning an ideological brand.

  58. Les 2014.04.12

    I liked Gov Mick and he had some great staff. But there were issues as the AG recently reminded us pulling from the gov mansion party case as case law for sealing the Benda crime. Sealing the case from the public to protect the innocent or protecting the guilty or both.
    To give some credit to Indian Children separation happening in state, Troy, I know many adopted and fostered Indian Children, most could never consider caring for with the multitude of health and mental issues they bring, who have now lost culture but been given a loving caring home by white families. Those stories do not show culture being more important than a caring protected home life. The culture many of the children are losing is not the great Native Culture the elders speak of.

  59. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.13

    I think that you've highlighted a very important aspect of politics. The ones I have the most respect for, were not idealists, and I'm including Democrats too. Politicians whose first identity is with their party, seem to do more harm than good. Michelson, Kneip, W D Miller, Farrar - they focused on the best for SD. Janklow first focused on Janklow, then SD. His successors have been progressively worse.

    In my lifetime, the political leader who has had the least interest in power, legacy, popularity, polls, etc, was Jimmy Carter. There was one guiding light - Do what is best for the people and the nation. He risked his presidency, his place in history, by doing what he believed was the right thing. He trusted us enough to tell us the truth without sugarcoating, non focused-grouped, honesty. He was not a good politician. He had too much integrity and bone deep Christian love for that.

    Now what was this post about?

  60. Les 2014.04.13

    Jimmy was not nearly quick enough to be a good man as president. Iran Contra is seldom mentioned in Lord Reagan's quoted history.

  61. mike from iowa 2014.04.13

    If Iran/Contra was the only treasonous dealings Raygun had,it should have been sufficient to get that really rotten B grade actor an audition in front of a firing squad. 241 dead,unarmed Marines in Beirut on Rayguns watch-Obie has been threatened with impeachment over four dead in Benghazi. Dealing arms for hostages before the 1980 election was treason. Clinton was impeached for screwing a blue dress.

  62. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.13

    Depends on what you mean by "quick", Les. He got blamed for the high interest rates, which were caused by the fact that we hadn't paid for the Viet Nam war, the same thing that is plaguing our government today with its 17 or 18 trillion dollar debt, and still having the taxes cut that should have been paying for fighting our current wars or better yet not fighting them. Then on top of that allowing the Fed, which is not a government agency to artificially keep interest rates at historic lows, to push the payment further down the road. But make no mistake, as is always the case the piper will be paid. Sadly by our kids, grandkids and generation not yet born.

  63. Les 2014.04.13

    As Deb says, Jimmy followed the one guiding light. Unfortunately, visiting with Amy on national or international issues should not have been part of his sales propaganda. He was a good man and good men seldom make great politicians..
    Nobody will argue harder for exposing the Fed Res for the corrupt institution of parties it is than I will, Lanny. Start with "The Creature From Jekyll Island".

  64. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.13

    "The Creature From Jekyll Island". And that would be? It describes just about any of them in my adult lifetime.

  65. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.13

    That's the same one,and of course still did not work, but I got the idea, that I should have gotten in the first place and googled it. Never heard of the book, but looks like one I will have to read. Thanks Les.

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