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GOP Senate Debate: Who Said What, and Who Won?

Last updated on 2014.04.23

Update 2014.04.16 10:20 CDT:
Tasi Livermont of Sustainable Dakota offers some video clips of the SDNA debate on Youtube! Yay, Tasi!

The South Dakota Newspaper Association hosted the first public forum featuring all of the ballot-qualified Republican candidates for South Dakota's open U.S. Senate seat yesterday morning in Pierre. After reviewing the video, I offer the following summary of the candidates' responses to the ten questions presented.

1. Jonathan Ellis of that Sioux Falls paper opened by asking the candidates if their response to Russia's annexation to Crimea would have been closer to Senator John McCain's response or Senator Rand Paul's. (For the record, Senator McCain has advocated "sanctioning Russian officials, isolating Russia internationally,... increasing NATO’s military presence and exercises on its eastern frontier..." and "making every effort to support and resupply Ukrainian patriots." Senator Paul seems to take a less interventionist, more diplomatic position, although he has sent contradictory signals.

  • The first words out of Marion Michael Rounds's mouth were an unforced error: he said he wasn't in the Senate when Russia annexed Crimea, so he would not answer a hypothetical question. Rounds then resorted to hypothetical history, saying that if we had a better energy policy and if we would have exported more fuel to Ukraine, then the U.S. could have responded more strongly to Russia's annexation of Crimea.
  • Stace Nelson first words were a clear and honest poke at the man sitting right next to him: "I'll respond to your actual question: I would have stood with Rand Paul." Citing his two decades of military experience overseas and his children who serve (daughter in Navy, son in Coast Guard), Nelson said he would only commit troops where our national security is at stake. He mentioned no specific action to take against Russia.
  • Jason Ravnsborg invoked Reagan's "peace through strength" but did not elaborate on what strength he wanted to project to push Russia toward more peaceable action. He did speak of his own work with NATO forces and the need for diplomats to work out solutions. Tacking toward's Rounds's perhaps broader view, Ravnsborg said our deficit hinders our ability to achieve robust foreign policy goals.
  • Larry Rhoden said the Obama Administration has made such a mess of foreign policy that it's hard to answer the question. He joined Nelson in saying he'd have stood with Rand Paul. He joined Rounds in saying we need to promote good foreign policy with good energy policy... although his energy policy seems to boil down to letting the energy industry do whatever they want because, you know, the free market just magically solves everything.
  • Score: +1 for Nelson for directly addressing the question. –1 for Rounds for needless dodge.

2. Katie Zerr of the Mobridge Tribune asked the candidates to propose alternatives for the eight million Americans who've signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

  • Nelson took his turn at not answering the question. He said he wants to repeal or defund the ACA, but he mentioned no alternative. He waded into his preferred pitch to the hard right that Rounds fought efforts to block the ACA in the state Legislature (including, noteworthily, a bill brought by conservative Independent challenger Gordon Howie, whose entrance into the race this month raises doubts about conservative faith in Nelson's campaign). He said Rounds put in for millions in federal grants to implement the ACA in South Dakota. None of that tells folks helped by the ACA what a Senator Nelson would do to help them when he pulls the health care rug out from under their feet.
  • More aptly responding, Ravnsborg said the GOP can't just be the party of No. He repeated his support for Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn's Patient CARE Act, package of comprehensive insurance reform, tort reform, and targeted tax cuts that in the real world makes things worse and the fantasy Republican world of the American Enterprise Institute lacks detail and compromises too much with the ACA.
  • Rhoden advocated free market replacements like health savings accounts (which aren't a replacement, since we already have them, and which involve the IRS in your health care spending just like the ACA). Rhoden poked at Rounds for not supporting selling insurance across state lines.
  • Rounds let Nelson draw him in and spent the first half of his response asserting that he and Attorney General Marty Jackley worked hard to oppose the ACA. Rounds blipped that he likes Senator Coburn's plan, too, but then went back to saying the ACA broke a system that was working in South Dakota with 93% of people insured and over a dozen companies competing for health insurance business. Rounds also tried to work in the "ACA kills Medicare" point that Republicans seem ready to use again to scare seniors who benefit from robust government health insurance into voting for candidates who would deny younger Americans a much less robust health coverage program.
  • Score: +1 for Ravnsborg, for showing he's reading specific (if stupid) plans. –1 for Nelson for not responding to the question, put +1 for drawing Rounds away from the immediate question too.

3. Lance Nixon of the Pierre Capital Journal asked the candidates for their thoughts on last October's federal shutdown: was it effective, and would they support a similar action?

  • Ravnsborg said the number-one issue he hears from South Dakotans is their frustration that Washington doesn't get things done (interesting: is this conservative suggesting that South Dakotans want Washington to do more things?). With none of Rounds's hesitance to talk hypotheticals, Ravnsborg says he would have started budget negotiations sooner. He said shutting down the government is the "most powerful extreme position" that should be reserved for extreme situations. He did not explain what constitutes an "extreme situation."
  • Rhoden said he agrees with much of what Ravnsborg said. Rhoden said the October shutdown was not productive and we should have acted sooner. However, he appeared to promise more kamikaze fiscal votes, as he said he would refuse to vote to raise the debt ceiling unless it was tied to a vote for a balanced budget amendment. Rounds also felt it relevant to this question to mention that, as Majority Leader in the South Dakota Senate, he found 90% of problems can be solved if you bring sides together and communicate. (Interestingly, in his closing statement, Rhoden said 90% of our problems are brought about by President Obama. So by Rhoden's logic, if we just talk to President Obama, we'll solve all of our problems, right?)
  • Rounds softly reheated his opposition to the government shutdown, saying there was no game plan (I assume he means the GOP leadership had no game plan) during the shutdown and that it left South Dakota ranchers without help while no one worked on the Farm Bill (what?! Paging Congresswoman Noem...). But Rounds drifted off as well to say we need to communicate better, and those darn Democrats in the Senate don't communicate with the House. (Evidently, for Rounds, "communicate" means "capitulate."
  • Nelson said he'd have voted along with Senator Ted Cruz against raising the debt ceiling. Nelson took a harder tank-the-economy line than Rhoden: he said he won't vote to increase the debt ceiling, period, because the national debt is the number-one threat to national security. (Paging President Putin: Senator Nelson will hand you victory in the next arms race.) Nelson played some vote word games, saying that folks like Ted Cruz didn't vote to shut down the government; they voted on the merits of the bill before them to increase the debt ceiling. Nelson likened the debt-ceiling votes to his votes against South Dakota state budgets: he didn't vote to shut down South Dakota government, but he did vote against increased spending.
  • Score: +1 to Rhoden and to Nelson for staking out specific positions on debt-ceiling votes

4. Ellis asks the number-one question I wanted: EB-5! Support, change?

  • Ravnsborg says Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has it correct: either end the EB-5 visa investment program or substantially reform it. Ravnsborg says EB-5 sells our citizenship and picks winners and losers in the marketplace. He says we lost $80 million in the EB-5-backed Northern Beef Packers (Ravnsborg misstates dollar figures: NBP made $95 million in foreign investors' EB-5 money disappear, plus the nearly 10% fees they paid to friends of Mike Rounds; by my count, the state lost $2.9 million in NBP handouts).
  • After six months of intense media coverage of the scandal that could give any serious challenger the talking points he needs to take down the frontrunner, Rhoden still fumbles for the meek response that he needs a lot more facts in front of him before he can declare he opposes EB-5. Rhoden evidently has enough facts before him to say that EB-5 has economic development potential but that South Dakota went wrong in not imposing enough oversight. (So Larry, what you're saying is that Mike Rounds went wrong when he privatized EB-5 management, right? If you want the point, you've got to say it!)
  • Rounds, who now plays Michael Douglas to EB-5's Glenn Close but who keeps boinking her instead of drowning her in the bathtub as he should before she kills someone he loves, says EB-5 is all about creating job opportunities, and we can't turn down job opportunities in the middle of a recession (what? says the BEA). He pokes back at Ravnsborg (and any time the frontrunner pokes back, you guys are winning!) with semantics: EB-5 doesn't sell citizenship, just green cards. (Sure, Mike: try that distinction out at the next Tea Party forum.) Rounds claims South Dakota lost no taxpayer dollars on EB-5 (baloney at best, semantics at worst, if Rounds is parsing the argument that it was his beef plant NBP that lost the money and not his EB-5 program). To conclude with both irrelevancy and falsehood, Rounds claims to have created 28,000 jobs while governor (South Dakota Department of Labor statistics show 406,405 jobs in South Dakota in January 2003 and 422,445 jobs in Janaury 2011; net increase during Rounds administration: 16,040, meaning Rounds is exaggerating by 75%.)
  • Nelson reminds the crowd that he brought a bill to end South Dakota's use of EB-5. Nelson says Richard Benda died because EB-5 failed in Aberdeen. Nelson said Rounds's calling that successful "takes the wind out of me." Nelson repeated Senator Grassley's point that EB-5 is a huge security risk to the U.S., opening us to the machinations of the Communist Chinese. Nelson says he will move to repeal any crony capitalism in the U.S. Senate.
  • Score: +1 for Ravnsborg and Nelson for citing big Republican Grassley to back EB-5 concerns. Another +1 for Nelson for saying "Benda" two feet from Rounds's ears. –1 Rounds for semantics, –1 for false and irrelevant job stats.

5. Zerr asks the candidates if they support the cuts proposed in Rep. Paul Ryan's budget and how they would justify those cuts to the folks hurt thereby. Darn liberal media.

  • Rhoden still can't work up the gumption for a straight answer. He won't say he supports the Ryan plan carte blanche, but he says he does support "dramatic steps." Allow growth, curb spending, and food stamps are rife with abuse (no, they are not).
  • Like Rhoden, Rounds dodges. He commends Ryan for what he's done and looks forward to working with Ryan. Rounds relaunches his statement that the ACA takes $743 billion from Medicare but doesn't mention that the Ryan budget keeps those same Medicare cuts. Non-sequiturally, Rounds claims South Dakota balances its budget every year.
  • Nelson can't help swinging at Rounds's pitches... but Nelson is doing his job as underdog and attack dog. He says he dealt with the aftermath of Rounds's busted budget in 2011, when he had to help cut the state budget 10%. On the question itself, Nelson says the Ryan budget doesn't go far enough (liberals cheering for a Nelson upset in the primary, pay attention!). Nelson also claims we have to look harder at the foreign assistance larded into our defense budget (1% of the entire budget goes to foreign aid; 14% of the defense budget goes to overseas military operations).
  • Ravnsborg says he likes the Ryan plan but prefers to lower tax rates and cut everything, everything by 1%. He also complains that we are cutting veterans benefits while spending big money on breast implants (sorta true! See Tom Coburn's complaint that hookers can deduct breast implants on their tax returns).
  • Score: +1 to Rhoden for using a French phrase (but –1 tactically, since GOP voters will hear elitist socialism).

6. Nixon asks whether out-of-state poltiical contributions affect the autonomy of small states like South Dakota. *Q6 Nixon: more than half of itemized contribs from outside state; SD Law Review 2010 asks whether out-state polit contribs affect small state's autonomy.

  • Straight to the Score: –1 for everyone, because no one answered the question. They talked about their own funding, tried to say other questions were bigger, but didn't address what that money buys and what South Dakotans lose, if anything, when our candidates take it.
  • In political theater, Nelson whacked Rounds for bragging about raising $9 million. In the only moderator-authorized special rebuttal of the event, Mark Roby allowed Mike Rounds an extra minute to respond to that attack, and Rounds bit. He said Nelson is the only he knows who's gotten kicked out of caucus for misbehavior. Rounds slammed Nelson for having a press conference with an Obama-backing, tax-hiking, gun-background-checking, ACA-steroiding, Keystone-XL-opposing Democrat (yes, Rounds said all that) to bash Republicans. Nelson asked for a chance to respond to that attack, Roby said the rules said no, and Nelson delivered a hilarious Gleasonesque take. Always cast a big guy in your show.

7. Ellis asked the candidates how we can build economic development on our poverty-stricken Indian reservations.

  • Nelson noted he attended the Native American economic development forum last November with Democrat Rick Weiland. He noted that Rounds and Rhoden did not. Nelson said the folks at that forum said they want someone who will show up and engage with them. Nelson did not enunciate any policy that would address the issue Ellis raised.
  • Ravnsborg says he's the the only candidate who's gone to the reservation to meet with Oglala Sioux Tribe President Bryan Brewer, who Ravnsborg says found it refreshing that a Republican comes to his territory. Ravnsborg said Indians are the fastest growing demographic in state, and we need to listen see if we can help. Finally getting to real policy, Ravnsborg plugged the "Save the VA" effort in Hot Springs as a way to maintain vital services for veterans on the reservation. (Remember, kids: that's government-run health care.)
  • Rhoden talked about talking, too. He said he has an old Indian friend, David Bald Eagle, whose family has turned out great. If all Indians would just be like his friend, everything would be fine. Government is the problem, not the solution, says Rhoden.
  • Rounds said he met with tribal leaders when he was governor. Indian Health Services is failing, the feds control Indians' lives, and we need to just let people have businesses on the reservation.
  • Score: White men talk much, propose little. No points.

8. Zerr asks what the GOP can do to attract more lady candidates.

  • Ravnsborg does not answer the question. He says we need to elect the best person and be all-inclusive like Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Rhoden does not answer the question. He says the lady legislators he's worked with are "well-equipped."
  • Rounds does not answer the question. He says women are special and we need participation from both women and men.
  • Nelson kinda answers the question. He first jokes that he's done his part by raising four daughters who all lean hard to the right (Fulton boys, keep that in mind... as if any of you would dare ask Stace Nelson to date one of his daughters in the first place). He then seriously ties the question to his main campaign message: the GOP has trouble drawing women, youth, and others because they want to see a party following principles. Instead, they see the GOP not living up to its professed principles on spending, taxes, and crony capitalism.
  • Score: +1 for Nelson for at least turning the question from platitudes to a specific alignment with one of his main messages.

9. Nixon asks the candidates if they believe climate change is real and human-influenced and what action government should take against it.

  • I don't think Ravnsborg said the words "climate change" once. He said we need a comprehensive energy policy and not President Obama's war on coal. He said other countries need good energy policies, too, but that we need to use our own resources and build Keystone XL.
  • Rhoden opens with, "To address the question... there are opposing views." But he avoids any evaluation of those views. He just says carbon sequestration and cap-and-trade are "ridiculous" policies, and that the U.S. implementing such policies without global cooperation is like "a no-pee zone in a swimming pool."
  • Rounds forgets the question is about climate change and says U.S. energy policy is bad because focused only on carbon-based fuels, making it tough on our own people to make our own energy. He says that if we don't use our coal and oil, "it'll get shipped to China" and thus we should pass Keystone XL (which, I repeat, will ship North American oil to China). Rounds is still whining about Big Stone II, trying to blame the EPA for the project's failure to offer a profitable business case.
  • Nelson blamed Mother Nature for pollution (oil seeping up from the sea floor), said we need to use our oil and be energy independent, but also avoided answering the question
  • Score: –1 for all for non-answers (unless we be generous and read their avoidance of the issue as their signal that they don't think the issue exists), but +1 back to Rhoden for saying "no-pee zone".

10. Ellis gets the last question and asks what specific programs the candidates would cut.

  • Rhoden: Eliminate the EPA!
  • Rounds: Eliminate the Department of Education (har dee har har!), and pass the Raines Act to require any new regulation causing more than $100 million in economic impact to receive Congressional approval. But for Pete's sake, spend more money to give our soldiers the best weapons in the world. Peace through strength!
  • Nelson: Whack the Department of Energy and EPA, reduce the IRS severely... but don't explode government the way the other guys at this forum did. Nelson says those guys (and he means Rounds and Rhoden, because Ravnsborg is a military man, too) have no military experience and can't talk credibly about military spending. He says the candidates bought by special interests (and he means Rounds) are more interested in sending planes and tanks to Egypt and making money. Nelson says he's the only candidate with a record of cutting government and opposing spending.
  • Ravnsborg: eliminate Education and Energy, then follow Senator Coburn's Wastebook to eliminate redundancy. Ravnsborg says he himself identified a $250K budget error in Afghanistan and saved Uncle Sam some cash.
  • Score: +1 to Rounds and Ravnsborg for citing specific legislative proposals.

I invite your own scorecards on the validity of the candidates' policy responses, but I agree with John Tsitrian's assessment: Stace Nelson comes out of this race looking like the main challenger to Mike Rounds's coronation. Nelson lodged the most aggressive and forthright critiques of the frontrunner's record, and that frontrunner showed he's most afraid of those critiques by attacking back. And note that when Rounds most directly attacked Nelson on the caucus-expulsion and standing with Weiland, Rounds was not at all responding to the issue of his seeking $9 million in big campaign donations; he was throwing up a smokescreen of other insults about Nelson himself. If Rounds weren't worried, he wouldn't be responding. And a face-to-face debate forces Rounds to respond, makes him look weaker, and opens the door for every legitimate challenger to score points.

Everyone in the room but Rounds is thus shouting: More debates! More debates!


  1. John Tsitrian 2014.04.13

    Nice work on the point by point, Cory. I gave it to Nelson more on the basis of demeanor and command of the situation, which probably naturally follows from being consistently more on point than the others. Rounds was defensive and repetitive. I can see why he's cloaking himself with supporters in Rapid City Tuesday instead of confronting his challengers in Sioux Falls the same night. Tom Lawrence a while back noted that it was a South Dakota version of the "rose garden strategy." Considering Rounds is standing up a pretty classy and influential group of Republican women this week, I'd say he's running a serious risk of having that strategy blow up in his face. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

  2. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.13

    Was Bosworth there?

  3. David Newquist 2014.04.13

    One can only say that all the people who are giving up on South Dakota are being given damned good reasons.

  4. Bree S. 2014.04.13

    Gordon Howie is a true patriot for his willingness to stand up to the Establishment and run in the South Dakota Senate race as an Independent, thereby giving conservatives the ability to vote for a real Republican in the General.

  5. Bree S. 2014.04.13

    To be fair to Cory, Bosworth's on camera word salad is probably best left alone.

  6. mike from iowa 2014.04.13

    Certainly no original or outside the box thinking going on there. Maybe that is what South Dakotans want or expect. The first auto-disqualifier is talk of more taxcuts. Insanity at its finest. Give them a score of anywhere between minus one and minus ten.

  7. rick 2014.04.13

    Mike Rounds has a glass jaw. Nobody has been allowed to stand toe to toe with him and he's been out of office long enough that some of the Teflon the press coated him with 12 years ago is finally flaking off.

    Nelson may be a bigger threat to win the general election than originally assumed as long as he explains himself without getting angry. What Stace does best is talk to the audience. He sounds and appears authentic when he keeps the emotion of his statement under control. The contrast with the other candidates was powerful. Stace will get better with practice and some smart coaching.

    Rounds talks at the audience in a saccharin style that is both dismissive and solicitous. His spinning of EB-5 was the worst part of his performance. As I once heard a Pierre lobbyist say about him, Mike gets away with peeing on your back and calling it sunshine.

    When you listen to him in the debate, note the frequent use of the word "we" when he's twisting facts and ducking responsibility.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.13

    Rick, just one comment about the "Mike gets away with peeing on your back and calling it sunshine".

    Women pee, guys piss!

  9. rick 2014.04.13

    Roger, you're correct about the verb. That was the actual word that was used. I thought my choice of verbs was more fitting of a classy forum that Cory has built into the 'best ever' political blog in South Dakota.

  10. owen reitzel 2014.04.13

    Bosworth is a non-candidate.
    On healthcare Stace at the very end of his response to the question said he wanted a market-base approach. Like Rounds.

    But Rounds, in my opinion lied and has been lying, when he talks about 17 insurance companies competing and now because of the ACA there is now only 3. Unless I'm missing something the reason there is only 3 is because Sanford and Avera have gotten into the insurance business making it hard to compete for anybody else.

    Finally Rhoden said if he became Senator he'd make the last 2 years of Obama miserable as possible. Is that what we want in a senator from South Dakota? I don't no matter what party he's from.

  11. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.13

    Nothing behind the Republican curtain or in front of the Republican curtain.

  12. rick 2014.04.13

    The only one who walked away from that alleged debate is Stace Nelson. The rest were too corrupt or too green. With coaching, Stace may win the primary and then the general. He may turn into the worst nightmare for Democrats in Washington ... but those Bozos have that coming. Yes the GOP House needs a good flushing, but so does the DNC, and for the same reason.

  13. Tim 2014.04.13

    These people scare the hell out of me, enough people like these republicans get elected at the same time, the damage they could do to this country will take decades to repair.

  14. Donald Pay 2014.04.13

    These guys have no idea what they are talking about. Their b.s. answers to the last question demonstrates why each of these folks should automatically be kicked off the ballot.

    The question asked "what specific programs" would they cut. Despite their pretense at being "conservative" they couldn't even come up with one program!

    Just to point out the obvious, EPA, the Department of Education and the Department of Energy aren't programs. One is a cabinet-level Agency and the others are a cabinet-level Departments. None of them are programs. They have many programs within them, but these clowns couldn't even name one program within these federal agencies and departments to cut.

    HMMMM? Would they cut all the money the Education Department provides to South Dakota through their programs like the Title programs and IDEA? How about cutting the money Daugaard is going to seek from the Department of Energy for his "shale studies" supporting a high-level radioactive waste dump? I could get completely behind that. But, no, these fools are more interested in trying to b.s. their way through this primary.

    They can't expect us to actually swallow their b.s that they are going to cut these agencies and Departments, but can't single out one program as being wasteful or unnecessary. The former Governor and Legislators should know that EPA provides most of the money running the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources? If they wanted to cut that, they had the opportunity all by themselves. They could have just turned down the money and fired those state workers.

    I don't believe one word of their b.s.

  15. larry kurtz 2014.04.13

    Good on Stace for being the least sociopathic candidate in his party's race for Senate in the never-great-state of South Dakota!

  16. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.13

    When politicians talk about cutting federal programs such as mentioned, they talk as if they have the power as a senator do that. And then when the get in the halls of congress, some more powerful senator will firmly remind them which side of their bread is buttered.

    These clowns make big talk to appeal to various elements of their party without the realization or ramifications of the economic impacts to the state. South Dakota's existence on federal money should say it all, South Dakota politicians need to grab every piece of pork they can and damn the national debt.
    The next time you hear Rounds say he is going to cut the Education Department, or Rhoden is going to cut funding to Indian reservations or Nelson the EPA, etc., ask them if they are aware that laws created these departments and how will they proceed to change those laws. Surely they know they will get a push back from within their own party.

  17. DeeJay Beejer 2014.04.13

    Noticed that Jonathan Ellis made no mention of Bosworth in his column today, just as cory doesn't mention here here. This could bet the ultimate indignity for her. People just ignore her. I don't believe her ego could handle that. Unless upon hearing the first question on McCain/Paul and the Crimea, she pretended to get a phone call about a "medical emergency" and bolted from the room! I need to watch that video.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.14

    Bree: word salad! An apt metaphor for much of what we hear from candidates, as Mike and Donald and Douglas note. Donald's complaint is particularly appropriate: the candidates bleat about departments, but they don't talk about the specific programs those departments carry out. Does Mike Rounds really want South Dakota school districts to pick up the full tab for special education and Indian schools?

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.14

    And to be clear, just as nations reserve the right to refuse to recognize illegitimate governments, we should reserve the right to refuse to recognize illegitimate candidates.

  20. Loren 2014.04.14

    I just wish we could plug all these Republican ideas into a computer and have it give a glimpse of what a Republican America would look like. More guns, no environmental over site (fracking, drilling, spilling, polluting, pipelines everywhere), no/less IRS over site, corporate welfare but no public welfare, repeal of the ACA with no alternative, more military spending, more international intervention/policing, no unions, no minimum wage, more kids because of limited birth control access and no abortion, but no welfare for those kids oncer they are born, vouchers instead of Medicare, more jobs going overseas with more trade agreements,... Feel free to chime in. I'm sure I have missed several items.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.14

    Ken Santema takes a different approach to the debate, breaking it down candidate by candidate instead of point by point. It's a good read!

    And permit me to note that Ken and I absolutely did not coordinate this message, but he said exactly what I was thinking about the illegitimate candidate on stage Saturday: "Due to the inconsistencies in her nominating petition (which is likely to be fraudulent) and other questionable activities from her campaign, I have previously said I wouldn’t give her campaign much attention. That remains to be true. I think she did horrible and had no substance in this debate anyhow…"

  22. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.14

    These clowns have so much hate for the EPA, that it is sickening. Rounds made the point that the EPA shut down Big Stone II. I think he better go back and check. It was the Minnesota PUC that did the trick and in the process also ended Basin Electric's plans to build a coal burner at Selby, which by the way probably speeded up their wind farm plans.

    Rhoden alluded to the fact that Cap and Trade is/will be a failure and of course he is right. The solution to polluters is Cap and Tax. If I can trade my pollution to somebody who has pollution credits, there is not incentive for me to fix my polluting. But being I hate paying taxes so much, if you tax me for polluting, I will darn sure find a way to fix that problem of my polluting.

    If all that has been done to the air, the rivers, lakes and streams as well as the oceans and gulfs of this country by polluters, isn't enough to convince folks on the right or left that we need and EPA and one with teeth, they don't love this country or have any concern for future generations. How can one claim to be a conservative and not be in favor of protecting the environment? Teddy must be rolling over in his grave.

    Got a phone call and have to leave, so will have to finish this later.

  23. Francie 2014.04.14

    I wasn't going to read this, thinking I was too busy to wade through it. I'm so glad I did. My first real laugh of the week - that will last me all week, I'm sure. These responses are hilarious .... if it weren't so sad that this is the best South Dakota can come up with.

  24. ronald fuchs 2014.04.14

    Not surprised at the party of "NO"- since I am one of the 48,000 uninsureds. I challenge anyone of the candidates to help me get to the Sioux Falls clinic for medical help- yes ,you have a politico war chest- use it for humanitarian efforts- help us poor folk in SD- if you really care????

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.14

    Francie, I appreciate your taking the time... and I'm glad you found it worthwhile. Laughter is the best we get from some of the candidates. I think you'll get more substance when Rick Weiland takes the stage.

  26. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.14

    ronald fuchs, I don't know if you are a property owner or not, but Mike Rounds bragged about the fact that as Senate Majority leader he got a 30% reduction in property taxes passed. What he and those who support that type of tax decrease don't understand, and what voters who rent don't understand, is all that does is shift the tax burden to sales tax including groceries which all taxpayers have to pay. So if you are a renter, you didn't get a tax break, but a tax increase, and your funding of education suffered because that is where education gets the majority of its funding from property taxes.

  27. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.14

    Mike Rounds in criticizing the Affordable Care Act, which all five of these candidates repeatedly called Obamacare, (being I am retired, I must be drawing FDRsecurity, and get my health covered by Johnsoncare), anyway, he stated that the new law will take 730 billion out of medicaid, which I think he meant Medicare. That is a scare tactic being used by the right to get us old geezers to oppose the Affordable Care Act. With the article done by the Sioux falls Argus Leader yesterday, releasing the stats on how much the doctors of South Dakota are getting from Medicare, I wonder if they will be changing their tune about Medicare before the next debate?

  28. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.14

    While Mike Rounds made the point that he would make sure that our troops have the best weaponry available to go to war, it sounds like he will be joining the John McCain wing of the Republican party, which has never seen a war that he or they didn't like. But it amazes that when a member of his own party, Clarence Koistra, a Viet Nam veteran who had seen the ravages of Agent Orange, had a bill before the legislature to make sure that veterans returning from a theatre of operations where depleted uranium had been used, be tested to see if they had been exposed to DU, Mike Rounds as Governor sent members of his staff to the legislature to testify against the bill, and Rhoden as majority whip in the House made sure that it did not pass. So how can it be important to make sure that our troops have the best weapons, (which they already do) but not to make sure that they get the best healthcare available when they come home?

  29. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.14

    Bosworth made the point and others kind of chimed in, that Obamacare was the cruelest and biggest tax increase that we face in this country. I think that she and others are kind of mixed up on that. The other US Senator, from our own party, John Thune made the point last fall that our healthcare is eating up 20% of our GDP and that it is unsustainable, and he is right. But what they are forgetting, is that is before the AHCA went into effect and that is the cruelest and biggest tax on the American people. That is the reason that the AHCA was proposed and passed, to try to get everyone covered and to bring down the exploding cost of healthcare in this country. The only thing that would have done a better job of bringing down those costs would have been the supposed socialistic Universal Single Payer Healthcare which would have taken the insurance industry and its exorbitant profits out of the equation for all but the paperwork. There would be no more companies, with 15 to 20 executives apiece, with million dollar salaries.

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.14

    Lanny, excellent article. Ellis finds that Medicare, government-run health insurance, paid out $97 million to 267 providers in one year. And if I'm reading the report correctly, that includes only payments to doctors who received over $150K each, suggesting Medicare's boost to SD doctors is more like $100 million. Any GOPers want to cut that government-run health coverage?

  31. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.14

    Jonathan Ellis in his editorial yesterday, Ellis: Finally, a real debate,
    toward the very end of his article, writes, "Rounds focused his attacks on Washington Democrats who hold the Senate. Those are the bad guys and gals, he said. But he did rise to the challenge presented by Nelson. At one point, he turned to Nelson and called him a troublemaker who recently had appeared at a joint news conference with Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland. Why, Rounds asked, would a so-called conservative be hanging out with one of them Obama Democrats?"

    But he doesn't give Nelson's response, which he made in his closing statement, that he, (Stace) will stand with anyone who will stand against big out of state money coming into South Dakota to influence the election. And of course both Stace and Weiland are right. If a candidate gets most of his or her money from out of state they will be beholden to those out of state special interests not to the voters of South Dakota.

    Additionally Stace made the point of the foreign military aid that we give to Egypt instead of reining in our spending to support other militaries. He could have also added that we give our single largest support of foreign aid most of it military to Israel, which in turn has had us fighting wars on their behalf in the Middle East. He might have also pointed out that we are covertly aiding and arming the jihadists in the overthrow of governments in the Middle East, to our own peril, that the weapons we give them may in fact be used against us just as Osama bin Laden used the weapons against us that we gave him to help bring down the Soviet Union.

    And finally Stace might also have mentioned the fact that Mike Rounds first confab was not publicly with South Dakotans for support, but with the government of Israel, in the persons of Netanyahu, Shimon Peres and the Knesset, which then assured him of contributions from the Israeli Pacs in this country. Israel already has enough US Senators, it does not need anymore.

  32. Jana 2014.04.14

    Lanny, it's examples like Koistra that make you think tha our service members and veterans are seen as convenient political props.

  33. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.14

    Jana, I was never able to watch State of the State until Janklow's second term of his second go round as Governor. I was seldom aware of what the national pols were saying about veterans, but I can assure you that since Janklow, I nearly get ill when I have listened to the Governor's pander to both the veterans and the National Guard. At the national level the only President since Kennedy, that I felt was sincere when speaking of our veterans and military was George H W Bush. I think you are absolutely right. Pols see the military as props and pawns. I thought that Stace Nelson was the one who showed the most concern for our military and vets and to a lesser degree Ravensburg.

    I was absolutely disgusted listening to the discussion about the Ukraine and Crimea, like these folks have direct access to the National Security Council and the CIA and Pentagon, before they have even run much less been elected.

  34. Jana 2014.04.14

    Thanks Lanny. As the hawks in DC and Governor Rounds always fail to talk about is what it will cost in blood and treasure and what we can expect.

    Of course, we might hear that we will be treated as liberators.

    It scares me to death that someone like Rounds could go to Washington and vote on something as important as war and see it for nothing less than a populist choice that will make for good politicking as they strut and pose as tough people.

  35. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.14

    Rounds is the man who built his house a few inches above the Missouri River next to a canal and he is now saying he will bring "common sense" to Washington. His kind of sense may be altogether too common, but it is not good sense.

  36. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.14

    Smack that guy's glass jaw again, Douglas. Great comment. In Washington, he would probably propose a bill to make the folks who live in the Badlands, Death Valley, and the Mojave Desert buy flood insurance to help cover the government's cost for subsidizing folks like him that built and then rebuilt in a known floodplain. But of course that would not be government interference where it did not belong.

  37. lesliengland 2014.04.17

    excellent discussion. don't see any repubs knockin down our points. lanny, great list, maybe add profit schools and higher ed, though I am no expert there. wiken, I appreciate your riverside comment that I similarly made here months ago, although you have no credibility on this blog because of your blatant racism which you try to after-the-fact attempt to remold as some form of pragmatism in the face of wasteful Indian mythology (e.g. "culture"-ANTHRO 101).

  38. lesliengland 2014.04.17

    meant to add thanks for loren's list

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