Corinna Robinson, Democratic candidate for U.S. House and friend of the blog, starts off another week of campaigning with an appearance on Monday's edition of South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Dakota Midday.
While the Rapid City native and U.S. Army veteran offered no big surprises in her 18-minute conversation with host Karl Gehrke, Robinson made good use of the program to deliver to a state-wide audience the same messages that she's brought to coffee shop and living room stops around the state in the last few months.
At the heart of that message is the theme that South Dakotans aren't getting anywhere near their full two terms worth of work out of U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), who currently fills South Dakota's lone House seat (and has filled it with a little more frequency since people pointed out her poor attendance).
Robinson laid out for her radio audience the impressive array of work experience—Sergeant First Class in the Army, Military Police Corps, command over Pentagon security, Anti-Terrorism Force Protection Directorate, and more!—that serves as both biography and as line-by-line contrast to Noem's flimsy record of meaningless votes, Farm Bill fecklessness, and government shutdown. Robinson sees the record of the current Congress as one of inefficiency, indecision, and insularity:
They're just spending too much time not getting a lot done. It's kind of shameful that's the reputation that Congress has right now [Corinna Robinson, Interview with Karl Gehrke, Dakota Midday, 2014.04.28, timestamp 12:10].
Robinson said she would bring her reputation for getting things done within the complex domain of worldwide military operations—she admitted to earning the nickname "Gunslinger" for her action-oriented approach to various command assignments—to her service as a U.S. Representative. How would this metaphorical gunslinger (as opposed to this literal one) behave in the halls of Congress?
- She would avoid getting hung up on dogged single-issue thinking like what the Republican caucus has exhibited around the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
It's time now to just get on to a lot of other things. We need to take care of immigration, employment, better pay for our teachers, and we just can't spend the rest of this election cycle ... as if [the ACA is] the only issue our nation is facing. I really hope to just get past it, let it work, and get on to all those other things we need to care for [Corinna Robinson, Dakota Midday, 2014.04.28, timestamp 7:24].
- She would get down to business, not just in ways that make it onto Fox News, but in the daily grind and the behind-the-scenes interactions that can help move things along:
I think that's my strength, is somehow realizing that even on any given business day in the halls of the Capitol or in the committee meeting hearings, you have to find time, perhaps, elsewhere to sit down over a cup of coffee or a beer at the bar or whatever and just come together and find how can we work through this. But not to drag it on, to make a decision and move forward [Corinna Robinson, Dakota Midday, 2014.04.28, timestamp 10:25].
- She would work together across the lines that often serve as roadblocks to compromise:
I spent 30-plus years serving our nation, and it didn't matter what party, what religion, what ethnicity, what your sexual orientation was; we just had to come together and get a job done. And I think that's what we're lacking in Congress right now, is just having the people that will do it because it's for the betterment of the nation [Corinna Robinson, Dakota Midday, 2014.04.28, timestamp 11:45].
Touting her impressive résumé and positioning herself as an action-oriented alternative to No No Noem's voting record are what recent polling indicates Robinson needs to do if she hopes to end up winning this November. Her time on the public airwaves this midday was a good start, and she should keep pushing that message to South Dakota voters every single day. When the two women eventually share a straw-bale-strewn and bunting-draped dais for a late-summer debate, the challenger's best hope is if voters know at least as much about Robinson, the take-charge Army veteran, as they do about Noem, the AWOL Congresswoman.