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Hope Springs a Leak — South Dakota Strikes Out

So it's Friday night, it's spring, the season of hope. And I meet this woman. She's a South Dakota gal, sharp, smart, serious. She looks at me with eyes that say if we're going into a meeting, I'd better have my poop in a group, because she'll see right through any bullshit.

She tells me about traveling the world, from D.C. to Africa. She talks about doing economic development in the Third World and learning lessons she could port to making banks and other businesses work on the reservations and throughout rural South Dakota. She has one degree from out East; she's going back for an Ivy League graduate degree this fall.

Because these are the kinds of things we talk about in casual conversation, I say, "You should bring that degree back here and run for office. With your résumé [and she would use those accent marks], you'd be great!"

And she fixes those no-bullshit eyes on me and says, "With my résumé [see?], I could never win in South Dakota."

I pluck those accents aigus from my heart.

All you other strike-out artists at Ray's Corner, Z-Bar, and every other South Dakota watering hole, you know how I feel. A little bit.


  1. larry kurtz 2014.04.26

    Reservations trapped in South Dakota don't want outside help: she is wise to move on.

  2. Jerry 2014.04.26

    The scales on the eyes of South Dakota voters are deep. It would take a two by something whack across the melon to shake them loose. Even with the knowledge of racketeering as the fundamental element of the republican party, it will take more than that to beat these crooks. Jesus Christ himself would not poll very well here as a Democrat or Indy as we can already see.

  3. Flipper 2014.04.26

    Remember what the Noem campaign did to Matt Varilek? Made fun of him for actually traveling out of the country to get an education. We don't want no book-learnin', globe-trottin', eggheads representin' us in Warshinton!

  4. Kal Lis 2014.04.26

    Repeat after me. If Noem's election proves nothing else, it proves H.L. Mencken was right.

    "No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."

  5. Joan Brown 2014.04.26

    Oh yes, and when I posted a comment about that on facebook one of my sisters got really upset with me because she knew Kristi's mother when they were in beauty school together and responded to my comment by telling me the whole story about why Ms. Noem dropped out of college, which had been in the news for way too long. I told my sister I knew the whole story and that I didn't believe a word of it, that I thought it was an excuse because Kristi couldn't handle being pregnant and in college at the same time. Anyway my sister unfriended me, but we do still talk.

  6. mike from iowa 2014.04.26

    Afterall,there is only so much tax revenues to go around that the embedded powers are already spreading it thin. They don't want or need any more mouths to feed at their trough.
    Education is wonderful-as a talking point to get elected. The devil is in the details of how much to cut and when.

  7. Richard Schriever 2014.04.26

    Let's sum up the whole attitude (I've become quite familiar with it).

    SD is a "special place" that's not like anywhere else in the world. Things just don't work the same here as anywhere else.

    Nobody who lives in SD could possibly be an expert at anything other to that which happens in SD - nor need to be.

    Likewise, anyone who has gained any expertise at anything outside of SD - well, that's simply not translatable to anything that happens inside SD. Therefore - "outside ideas" just won't work here - they are doomed to fail. So - it would just be a waste of the state's time and energy to support or empower anyone with any outside experience.

    It's a kind of simplistically perverse form of "statism".

  8. joelie hicks 2014.04.26

    Sometimes sophisticated people are the most provincial. I feel sad about the contempt for the people of SD.

  9. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.26

    Oh Richard, that was a perfect summation. So well said. Bravo! Bravo!

    Too bad it has been proving fatal to SD for many, many decades.

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