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Newquist: Wadhams-Style Attacks Work; Problem-Solvers Flee Poisoned SD Culture

Last updated on 2014.07.13

David Newquist knows how to bum me out. His pessimism about South Dakota's political landscape makes it hard to keep up hope for liberal democracy in our fair state.

Hearing my complaint about the difficulty of finding good candidates to challenge the Republican status quo, Dr. Newquist explains the paucity of Democratic standard-bearers as the logical result of sensible people steering clear of the character assassination the SDGOP adopted as standard operating procedure in 2004 to defeat the successful and well-accomplished Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle with the pretty but feckless John Thune.

When Thune challenged Tom Daschle in 2004, he hired Dick Wadhams as the campaign manager and dutifully recited the scripts Wadham supplied him with. Wadhams returned to the state as a campaign advisor to Mike Rounds and is now employed by the state Republican Party. Thune had acquired a record as a House of Representatives that was feckless and lacking in accomplishment. To challenged Tom Daschle, who is a highly accomplished legislator, he could not afford a comparison of records or stances on the issues.

The strategy was to avoid issues, policies, and legislative record and accomplishment and attack Daschle personally. A most successful ploy was to play to the resentment among South Dakotans of anyone who has accrued success and recognition outside the boundaries of the state. The Thune campaign played up Tom Daschle’s attaining the majority leader of the Senate as an abandonment of the people of the state for the culture of Washington, D.C., and declared it as his major residence. He still owned and returned to his house Aberdeen, where his mother lived when he returned to the state. The campaign also attacked the press for the coverage it gave to the Senator and Senate majority and played up the assumption the press had liberal leanings and gave Tom Daschle partial treatment. Then it attacked Daschle because his who was a successful lobbiest for the airline industry had once been a beauty queen for whom he abandoned his first wife. The Thune campaign also knew that Daschle is of a principled character that would not engage these personal assaults in kind [David Newquist, "A State That Gave Up Politics for Character Assassination and Petty Hatred," Northern Valley Beacon, 2014.07.10].

But it takes two to tango, and those two aren't just the SDGOP and mudslinging mercenrary Dick Wadhams. Newquist says those scurrilous attacks work only in a defective political culture where a majority of voters accept them:

In South Dakota, character assassination is embraced or dismissed as acceptable among a majority of the voters. The designated voice of the state GOP, South Dakota War College, when it is not posting hackwork tributes to its candidates, is totally devoted to the discrediting and malicious besmirching of Democratic candidates. Its posts have a disregard for accuracy and factual truth. It is simply an exercise in mindless scurrility. If this is, as it claims, the most read blog on state politics, that defines a state with a cultural climate that people of good and good purpose wish to avoid [Newquist, 2014.07.11].

Newquist says the South Dakota Republican Party "defines the essential character of the state":

The dominant attitude in the state is that of ignorant, malevolent rubes who love to hate and dwell on personal resentments they harbor against those who achieve and have successes in other parts of the world [Newquist, 2014.07.11].

Newquist says that as long as power-seekers outnumber problem-solvers and as long as South Dakotans don't mind the destructive games those power-seekers play, we're hosed. People of good conscience will emigrate, and South Dakota will breed supermajority conservative Legislatures and wild-eyed red-state moochers for the foreseeable future.

If Newquist is right, changing South Dakota's political course isn't just a matter of finding more liberal candidates and dedicated statehouse reporters; it's a matter of changing a culture fueled on conservatism and ugly spite.


  1. Jerry 2014.07.12

    Yup, the game is rigged and they are all in on the fix. We watch them steal and loot but not all can recognize the labels on this republican brand. Most voters seem to think that if the republicans don't steal openly, the democrats will come for your guns. That kind of logic wins here in South Dakota. Our pool has silted in with low information voters and it does not look much better.

  2. Donald Pay 2014.07.12

    This political/economic culture of South Dakota is too deep to change. It's essentially the culture of folks on the periphery of society who don't feel valued and who devalue others to make themselves feel big. It's a sort of white ghetto culture that sees mild victimization of others, semi-sleazy to illegal business behavior and petty corruption as the way to get ahead. When you swim in this cesspool all your life, you see it as normal, and you may even benefit by it. When you move away, you see how corrupt it is.

  3. Tim 2014.07.12

    It will be at least another generation before any major changes happen, and then only if people finally see what the state republican establishment is really all about.

  4. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.12

    Mr. Newquist, thank you for the excellent analysis, there is nothing you have said to disagree with.
    On one hand, as Cory discussed recently, we don't have any media in this state, and on the other we probably have too much. The conservative am talk radio shows are a staple of conservatives and GOP minions absorb every word as fact. An of course there is FOX and their 24 hour bashing of President Obama and the Democrats.
    We have one reporter covering the affairs of state and television stations that cover healthcare remedies and garden shows while the public is clueless about politics and government, save the GOP daily talking points.
    The Wadham's style of attacks keep too many talented politicians from public office. Granted, you do open your life to public scrutiny, but how do battle the "alleged" and "manufactured" charges.
    Dakota War College for supposedly being the #1 political blog is so shallow you couldn't drown yourself in it if you wanted to. Commenters stroke and feed others delusions and it is nearly impossible to have a discussion of substance without being labelled a liberal, socialist or whatever. DWC's popularity is primarily due to the influx of people that think they know government and politics, but don't.

  5. bearcreekbat 2014.07.12

    Danno and I were having a related discussion on another thread. Newquist has a powerful point about sensible people steering clear of the character assassination by the SDGOP.

    When Democrats were having trouble finding a candidate for one of the West River legislative districts, someone called me and asked if I would consider switching parties and run for the seat as an Independent or Democrat. I seriously considered the request because these days Independents and Democrats seem to articulate much more humane values than the current Republican crowd, but I still declined, in part because of the belief that my family and I would be attacked and lied about. I needed that like a hole in the head. Had I been single and younger I probably would have accepted the offer. unfortunately in today's political arena even moderate Republicans are attacked as RINOs by the more extremist Republicans. And extremist Republicans are attacked more extremist Tea Party types.

  6. larry kurtz 2014.07.12

    South Dakota is a Nazi enclave: it's just that simple.

  7. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.07.12

    Do not confuse the establishment corrupt politics that Powers and his crew represent, as conservatism. Just as I am sure Democrats do not claim the corrupt Tammany Hall and the Daley political machines, good conservative Republicans do not claim the corrupt crony-capitalism of Rounds & Daugaard.

  8. Union Co 2014.07.12

    Don’t forget that Bishop Robert Carlson who is now plagued with scandal, was also very influential in getting the Catholic Democrat voters to turn against Daschle when he lost the election to Thune.

  9. Tim 2014.07.12

    DD, majorities in this state keep voting for them, does that mean true conservatives are as much of a minority in SD as liberals? Do you think true conservatives and liberals could band together to vote the cronies out or are we just too outnumbered?

  10. After many years of reading news stories portraying the negative in detail, I no longer like to present a problem without putting forward a solution. Or at least aiming to find a solution.

    How do you battle "ugly spite"? Seems like the same strategies for dealing with school bullies would apply.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.12

    Disgusted Dakotan,

    I agree with Tim, if the same candidates are elected over and over who is voting for them if it isn't the true conservatives?

    It is hardly unlikely that the true conservatives are voting for Democrats.

    The responsibility of the crony capitalism corruption of the South Dakota GOP can not be shifted because someone is RINO, tea bag, or true conservative. The entire GOP owns it.

  12. Tara Volesky 2014.07.13

    The establishment Republicans are the small minority in the state of SD, but the reason they win is because the Democrats refuse to team up with any Independent or third party ticket. It is not healthy to be on an island of your own. You cannot beat them alone. Lora Hubbel could not beat them alone. Susan Wismer and Rick Weiland can't beat them alone. Mike Myers can't beat them alone. So maybe, we should quit beating up Independents and third party candidates and work together. I look at it this way, a half a loaf is better than no loaf at all. You will never hear me trash a Democrat. There may be a time or two I disagree on a policy issue, but I like Democrats. SDWC is infamous for character assignation. I don't think it's a good to go down the same road as PP, John Thune and the Republicans. Let's take a lesson from Professor Newquist and focus on issues instead of character flaws. We are all flawed.

  13. Tim 2014.07.13

    Tara, there is nothing I would like more than a discussion of the issues and how to fix them, but as Newquist has pointed out correctly, republicans are in to character assassination as their preferred method because it works here. Republicans know, if they talk issues, they lose. What kind of team up do you think would work? Personally, I would be willing to listen to anything to try to get SD back on the right track.

  14. Tara Volesky 2014.07.13

    Thanks Tim, first of all I think we need to be a little more open-minded regarding Mr. Stranahan. If he can help expose the all-around corruption that is happening in SD, I don't think we should be throwing him under the bus. The focus needs to be on corruption not personal stuff. I am going to be open to his investigative reporting. Stick to the facts.

  15. mike from iowa 2014.07.13

    Wingnuts want you to jump in the slime with them. They hope you do because then they can play the old Libs going negative card and of course their side swallows that garbage. otoh you can't fight them w/o getting into the mud because that is where they start and finish their campaigns. Maybe tossing some soap into their mudholes to clean them up would get them to come out.

  16. Rod hall 2014.07.13

    Right after Thune defeated Daschle we went to Christmas at The Cathedral in Sioux Falls. Right in the very front row was Sen. elect Thune being "smother loved" by then Bishop and now Arch Bishop Carlson. I saw a few real Catholic democrats that were furious. Now Thune has opposed everything the democrats propose but is "shocked" that flooded and storm damaged SD residents did not get all the federal aid they asked for. SD has only retiring Sen. Johnson to represent us. $9 million Rounds will only support the top 5% of the people. Weiland had better win or SD looses big!

  17. Tara Volesky 2014.07.13

    Mike, I have no clue what Lee Stanahan's political affiliation is and I don't care. This isn't about labels and name calling. If he can help educate people about the atrocities of SD politics, so be it. I want to help get rid of the slime that is happening in Pierre. Getting these stories out in the public only help the Libs. I don't see him going after the Libs. It seems to me, he is going after the Republican establishment. So Mike, if this Stranahan guy breaks a story on EB-5, are you still going to try and discredit him? Give the guy a chance.

  18. Tara Volesky 2014.07.13

    The Bishops are mostly Republican, whereas the Nuns are Democrats. Sister Simone Campbell should run for President. She is a threat to the Catholic hierarchy.

  19. mike from iowa 2014.07.13

    T V-how did you tie Stranahan into my comment about getting in the slime with wingnuts? I never mentioned him.

  20. Jerry 2014.07.13

    mike from iowa, that is what is called subliminal messaging. You were speaking of something and T V was thinking of an ass and jotted it down. It happens all the time. Think of an ass and there you go, you tie in Stranahan, see, that is how it works.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.13

    [Stranahan = Sibby. Off topic, beating his own dead horse when he could do so on his own blog... and saying that everyone who disagrees with him is blind, insane, and trapped in a cult. "Cory cultists" = "New Age Theocracy". Equally meaningless insults.]

  22. Tim 2014.07.13

    Lee, what the hell are you rambling about now? We discuss all of that stuff and much more here on a daily basis, and when Cory posts something I have never once seen him say "there is more coming", he posts links and, when possible, his sources. Facts Lee, try posting facts, instead of innuendos and "I'll have more later", you will find you will have a much more responsive audience here.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.13

    "too deep to change", Donald? Is there really no hope? Should this blog fold and move to Wisconsin? (The state capital there might allow me to keep and build on my branding....)

  24. Jerry 2014.07.13

    As long as we subliminally drifted back to religion, here is an observance that I have made. Bishops are wealthy and live pretty high on the hog, so they are republican for the most part. They all protect one another from the dirty poor who may want to live. They, along with so called republican Christians, do not pay attention to what a historical feller by the name of Jesus did. You see the Good Book says that Jesus took care of the poor and hung around with the outcasts (folks like those that need Medicaid and long for the expansion). They write that Jesus did not like the loud, agressive lying rich folks and preferred those that just paid attention to their own lives and followed very simple teachings. Above all, the Good Book claims that Jesus respected women and asked them for guidance and allowed them a presence with Him. These Bishops seem to me like they are frauds and really have no place to even speak like they are anything but that. But hey, they are republicans and they deliver the vote so what more can be said. I wonder how they manage to sleep at night though. When I hear them speak to there flocks, I always think that they are good just actors, entertainers if you will, look at the costumes they wear, see them hide behind them.

  25. Thad Wasson 2014.07.13

    I don't know whose more clinically depressed - Eeyore or Dr. Newquist.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.13

    Tim, I'd be happy to try to forge a coalition of the liberal and "true conservative" minorities to change the political landscape in South Dakota, free it from the Machiavellian tactics of personal destruction adopted by the GOP machine, and set the stage for real policy debates between the liberals and conservatives (and anyone else who cares for an honest seat at the table). But how do we find that common ground? Can we get Disgusted's true conservatives over the hump of falling in line with the Wadhams RINOs long enough to open the political field?

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.13

    Thad, you considered a run for office on the conservative side. Were you in long enough to experience any of those personal attacks? Newquist may be depressed, but is that depression justified?

  28. larry kurtz 2014.07.13

    southdakota is a christofascist enclave: it's just that simple.

  29. Tim 2014.07.13

    Cory, I wish I had that answer, it would make me a political wiz, but the discussion has to start someplace, might as well be here.

    Lee, when you start posting facts I'll listen, not until then.

  30. owen reitzel 2014.07.13

    Tara it's kind of hard to believe any Stranahan says when he makes personal attacks.
    Looks to me like he's pretty irrelevant.
    We all want the story of EB-5 to come out.

  31. mike from iowa 2014.07.13

    Council Stranahan-you are out of order and the court is holding you in contempt. You have failed to show any relevance to the subject at hand or any respect for the officer of this court. Now go stand in the corner until you can stay on topic.

  32. larry kurtz 2014.07.13

    Mr. Stranahan: are you registered in the earth hater party like Boz is?

  33. owen reitzel 2014.07.13

    What I'm saying Lee is that he makes accusations with what are called "facts."
    In my opinion he doesn't make personal attacks.

    Of course I take Cory seriously. Don't know where you're coming from on that one.

    So where has Cory made personal attacks? Bosworth or Haber? He backed up what he said again with what we call "facts."

  34. larry kurtz 2014.07.13

    Lee: trolling on the Sabbath suggests you're not a real christian.

  35. larry kurtz 2014.07.13

    South Dakota's earth hater party is the Israel to the working poors' Gaza.

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.13

    (Mike, that would be Counsel... if anyone here had a law license.)

    Perhaps supporting Newquist's depressing thesis is the attraction South Dakota has for hucksters who think they can make a quick buck off South Dakota's openness to personal attacks. Of course, even Annette Bosworth only got 5.75% of the vote.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.13

    Jerry, does South Dakota have a Pope Francis type who would preach social justice to the powers that be? Is there any denomination in South Dakota that is noted for not cozying up to the powers that be (aside from the Jehovites)?

    Consider Rep. Rev. Steve Hickey. He runs the conservative line on abortion and homosexuality, but he rattles the crony-capitalist cages with his talk about usury and the conservative cages with his new opposition to the death penalty. Does he run the risk of the GOP attack machine turning on him?

  38. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.13

    Come on, Bearcreekbat! If I can take the fire, so can you! Take out a petition next time! :-)

    Readers, if you'll indulge me, do you think that my family and I have been subjected to the same sort of character assassination that non-GOP-mainline candidates have faced? The SDGOP has not directly maligned me, but Dakota War College seems to take great pains to ridicule and marginalize this blog. Steve Sibson has taken personal shots at my wife that have gotten him occasionally banned from this blog. Annette Bosworth used Senate campaign funds to attack my professional reputation. Are the attacks I face more proof of Newquist's depressing thesis? If so, harkening to Donald's statement above, why don't I close up shop?

    Let me rephrase the question this way: could the GOP machine have done any worse to Bearcreekbat than folks in the blogosphere have done to me? (The answer may well be yes; I pose the question conversationally, not argumentatively.)

  39. bearcreekbat 2014.07.13

    I think your experiences show just how far the echos of the Waddams-style reach. Not only does the GOP engage in this character assassination, but it engenders copycats, such as bloggers or columnists, etc, who follow their lead. And in the worst cases, we have seen thugs and bullies exercising their 2nd amendment rights get into the act in other states, such as Texas and Nevada.

    Nonetheless, I think your efforts are commendable and I hope you don't close up shop.

  40. Jerry 2014.07.13

    You are correct Cory, there is no one who will stand for the working poor and the neglected. Rev. Hickey has his own agenda to follow and his brethren in the republican party allow that because his voice is limited. Sure he can make noise about abortion so that is useful to the republican machine. They will not attack him meaningfully as he sends more sniffers to the tent of hate and corruption.

    The populism message should be preached each Sunday at their meetings instead of dog whistles, but republican haters cannot allow that and for that matter, neither will their congregations. It must be very hard for true Christians to have to sit and listen to the blather that comes from those false pulpits.

    As long as there is that void, then leaders must take up the charge to knock the scales from their eyes so they can see their surroundings and change them. Be brave as there is such a corruption in our state that you may be attacked and brutalized to get that message out.

  41. Tim 2014.07.13

    Cory, speaking only for myself, I'm not sure I would want the GOP war machine pointed at my family. They could say what they want about me in a political fight but they have shown they are not afraid to drag wives and kids into it if they think it serves a purpose. I have often thought about what it would be like to serve the people in Pierre once I retire from work (can't afford to take 3 months off every year), but I would have to have my families approval first as I'm sure they would get dragged into it if it started to look like the people were interested in what I had to say and the ultra-conservatives in west river felt threatened.
    Please don't close up shop!

  42. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.13

    Heidi (as you can tell, my responses to comments come in no particular order!), I agree that critiques of problems are better when they are followed by solutions. That said, I don't mind hearing from someone who finds a problem and alerts us to it. For instance, I won't hold anything against NPR's Laura Sullivan for reporting on abuse in South Dakota's foster care system without thinking up a five-point plan for reform on her own.

    I hope we are just one part of the conversation, a successful problem-solving response to Newquist's problem-identifying... assuming, of course, that the problem is solvable. (Are all problems solvable?)

    So Heidi, let's try porting some schoolyard bully responses to the political culture problem. How do we respond to bullies?

    The standard, safest response, ignoring them and avoiding them, works when the bullies are a mean minority and can be isolated. But what if the bullies dominate the culture? What if the bullies can use their tactics to get a majority of the kids in class to elect them to the student council and join in marginalizing those of us who oppose the bullies? Are we then reduced to adopting the bullies' tactics ourselves and winning their respect (or fear) by giving them a black eye? Or is our only option to run away?

    There are arguments for and against both fighting back and running away. Which is more moral, fighting or fleeing? And which is more utilitarian—i.e., which would work better? (Those are very separate questions.)

    Newquist says Daschle didn't want to adopt the bullies' tactics, and that the Thune people banked on Daschle's unwillingness to do so. Newquist says that's the case for most possible challengers, who choose their own isolation and leave the bullies to rule the political sphere.

    I agree with Heidi that the bully analogy may be useful in plotting a solution. But what effective anti-bully tactics are available to us in the South Dakota Newquist describes?

  43. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.13

    Quite obviously Stranahan attended the Wadham's personal attack school.
    Lee has repeatedly asked Cory leading personal questions about his family such as:
    Did your estranged sister work for Dr. Bosworth?
    Are you in South Dakota?
    When was the last time you were in South Dakota?
    Does your brother in-law work in politics?
    And probably a few others I have missed. Continue to ignore those questions Cory, they are none of Lee's business. They are attempts to distract and get us all talking about Lee's agenda to make Chad the next attorney general.
    Cory is not a political candidate Lee, what part of that don't you understand? Chad Haber and Annette Bosworth have put themselves at the forefront of ridiculous in South Dakota politics.
    No other political blog in this state has done more to investigate and report scandals in this state, in fact if it were not for Cory most of us wouldn't know the depths of EB-5.
    You'll likely use Cory's work on EB-5 as a part of your "more to come" reporting. In fact, I'll wager that your "teaser" will include all or most of what Cory has already revealed.
    If you google the Folken death at Star academy you'll find that this isn't today's news, it was widely reported and followed up.
    If you consider calling me a Cory cultist as a slam, I'll have to consider it a compliment. There was a time when the first thing I did in morning was read the paper, now I logon to Madville to read the real news in our state.
    I somewhat understand your frustration Lee, the big announcement of Chad running for attorney general fizzled before the candidate could make a personal public announcement. The Libertarian Party called a last minute convention to make sure that Haber doesn't get on the ballot. Did anyone besides me hear Bob Newland openly laugh at Chad and Lee?

  44. Tim 2014.07.13

    RC, so that's what that giggling in the background was I heard. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that goes to Madville for my important news every morning. Getting harder and harder to take that right leaning Rapid City paper seriously anymore.

  45. Tim 2014.07.13

    Cory, I hate to think liberals would have to resort to right wing tactics to win an election. However, starting out that way, long enough to get voters attention before moving on to the issues might be a way to get things going?

  46. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.13

    Bob Newland has a blog. Roger, if you see Bob at the grocery store, tell him to get in gear and post on this topic!

  47. Donald Pay 2014.07.13

    Cory, I don't think people in South Dakota should give up. I think you should put in as much effort and time as you can justify to yourself. I know I spent twenty years at it, and felt bitter toward the end (and still am), but I did make a difference. I came to appreciate is that folks that are beaten down need people like you around to give them hope. Also, I learned that some of the time you can work with folks who you don't agree with most of the time on issues of common interest. And I found times some of the folks in power really do agree with us on some issues, but can't seem to find the courage to state it publicly. They really need folks on the outside to stand up so they can work on the inside.

    Cory, you've made a huge difference already. Just having your blog around has been great, but I know the feeling you get when you feel you are beating your head against a brick wall, and not getting any money to do it. You're not going to change the ingrained cultural sickness there, but you can have positive impact on issues, and at least make the crooks a bit more careful about their activities.

    Don't think moving to Wisconsin, for example, is going to make much difference. The crooks are running this state now, and, unless we can oust Walker, we're headed toward a South Dakota-style oligarchy. Sure, Madison is a bit different, but don't fool yourself that progressives don't have any less of the ego and cultural problems that afflict the conservatives.

  48. bearcreekbat 2014.07.13

    What Donald said! Nice post!

  49. Heidi M-L 2014.07.13

    Re: Donald's thoughts on running away from the problem:

    Scott Meyer of 9 Clouds sent out a really thought-provoking e-mail newsletter today. It springboard's off LeBron James' decision to move home to Cleveland. James said he'd be happy if he inspired some others to follow suit.

    Meyers follows with this:

    "It’s easy to find the perfect place. You can quickly search the top cities in the world and shop for homes like you would shop produce in the grocery store, choosing the one that is just the right size, color and flavor for who you want to be.
    "It’s hard to create the perfect place. Looking around your community and raising your hand to create change takes time and work.
    "It is also incredibly rewarding. ...
    "The challenge of returning home and building your community is that it never ends. You never quite get things the way you want them, but that’s the fun part. When you take ownership in your city, you join an organic creature that is continually moving and changing. You are one of the leaders driving that change."

    There's more good stuff. Looks like it's not on his blog yet, but likely will be soon:

    I think this also speaks to Cory's question - whether all problems are solvable. Some probably aren't. But who can predict which are solvable and which aren't ahead of time? And even if we leave some (even most) problems unsolved--well, there's job security for the next generation of humans.

    Working to solve problems, to create a better world--even if it's really hard and succeeds far less often than we'd like--is an integral part of what it means to be a human on this planet. Why else are we here?

  50. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.13

    Cory, I haven't read Bob Newland yet today, but I'll let him know to come on over when I do see him.

    This morning on Kevin Woster's Facebook page he was lamenting the fact that the Rapid City Journal's subscribers are down from 30,000 to 15,000, with a share down to $4 from a usual $16-$20 range. In essence, West River is being left without adequate news coverage. Lee Enterprises can give all kinds of reasons for this implosion, but I think thar most likely is that they don't cover hard political news that offer no real substance.
    I bring this up now because of Cory's recent thread on Pierre having only one political reporter, the Journal is in the ditch and that Sioux Falls paper is likely in the same position as the Journal.
    We have all sorts of options to attack corruption in this state, such as the many stated here. Forming workable alliances with other political parties is a great idea, finding strong candidates that don't fear the GOP is another.
    I'm an old political hack and have a tendency to always go back to basics when backed into the corner.
    For the corruption scandals and our Democratic message, we need to find a successful way to get that message out to the voters. How do we do that when the one paper that serves us is weak in the first place and soon maybe reduced to a pile of rubble?
    The lack of a competitive media is killing any political agenda Democrats have in West River and effectively statewide.

  51. Tim 2014.07.13

    The only other way to get the message out to large groups of people would be radio and TeeVee, but that takes money and we don't seem to have a lot of that either. Wonder if Rounds would share some of his 9 mill? Or would that be considered a form of blood money, don't want any part of that.

  52. mike from iowa 2014.07.13

    It may take a complete Federal takeover of Pierre before South Dakota ever gets rid of the stench of corruption and you know how rethuglicans feel about Federal gubmint butting into state's rights to corrupt. Mary Chapin Carpenter recorded a song about how swell everything is when you have years of practice and by design.

  53. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.13

    Mike, I'm familiar with that song. MCC is a marvelous songwriter and singer.

  54. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.13

    What's the matter Lee, not willing to spring for a hotel meeting like other political conventions? Sioux Falls Library, really?
    Emmett Reistroffer state pretty clearly that the convention was called as a direct result of Haber's intent to run for AG as a Libertarian, Emmett was very specific about not wanting Chad to just use the party and give it a bad name.
    Additionally, Emmett will be offering a slate of candidates in the near future, including QUALIFIED candidates for AG that are actually lawyers that can practice law.
    Lee, read Cory's thread, Emmett Reistroffer "99% Certain" He'll Seek the Libertarian Nomination for SOS".

  55. lesliengland 2014.07.13

    careful deb...dont wanna give u kno who any more ideas... :)

  56. mike from iowa 2014.07.14

    Basic confirmable fact-Haber is not running for anything unless/until he can get his name on a ballot. Until then it is pure speculative bullshit.

  57. mike from iowa 2014.07.14

    Apologies to Cory and others for my limited French vocabulary.

  58. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    So quick with the word "liar". I don't hear Roger lying. He might be inaccurate, he might be speaking based on incomplete information, he may be expressing an interpretation that makes certain self-interested parties mad, he may be undermining the narrative that certain people want to sell us... or he might be right, and the person screaming "Liar!" at everyone else may be lying.

    Notice also that the person screaming "Liar!" is playing to the dysfunctional culture that Newquist describes to serve his own agenda while ignoring the main point of the blog post... not unlike Sibby.

  59. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    Mike, another basic confirmable fact is that anything Chad Haber says pure bull, no speculation about it. Our complaints about character assassination should not prevent us from making an honest assessment of a fake candidate's character and credibility.

  60. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    Roger, you make another good connection to Newquist's thesis. If Woster's numbers are correct, are people replacing their local newspaper-reading with other media? Is that media of the same quality as the news they read a generation or two ago? Or are people just spending less time with real news, meaning that they are less informed and more susceptible to the personal political attacks Newquist says win in the current political climate?

    (Let's not get too nostalgic: politics has involved dirty tricks and personal attacks for a long time.)

    Has the Rapid City Journal lost readers because readers are less interested in serous news, or have readers dropped the RCJ because it's not providing useful news?

  61. JeniW 2014.07.14

    Question I have about newspapers is the total subscriptions down, or is that a reflection of hard copies?

    I subscribe to the Argus e-news because it is less expensive, more convenient, and I do not have to dispose of (or re-cycle,) the hard copies.

    With much of the news being available via internet, and accessible through different tech devices, it is not surprising that hard copies of newspapers have declined.

  62. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    Heidi, I find it fascinating that Scott Meyer and LeBron James could have a philosophical connection.

    Coming home instead of hunting for the perfect place—my wife and I had a conversation on that topic while we were on our first big roadtrip. One of our stops was in Taos, which we found mostly wonderful (aside from the sharp economic divide between visitor-Taos and local-Taos). Exploring new places naturally leads to conversations about, "Gee, what would it be like to live here?" In this road context, we made a very conscious decision to invest in South Dakota. We both concluded we had more to offer South Dakota in our different vocations. We knew we'd be moving around, occasionally going to other places for various purposes, but we decided that establishing South Dakota as our home made sense. Whenever we're elsewhere, we take in our experiences with an eye toward applying them to South Dakota. (Of course, that travel and experience itself will become fodder for conservative political enemies and exploiters, who portray spending time outside of South Dakota as high-falutin'ness, as betrayal of South Dakota values, as thoughtless pretext to dismiss anything we say.)

    We will not be able to single-handedly change the oppressive political culture Dr. Newquist describes. On that front, we may have to take the self-preserving route that Newquist has seen others take: disengage from partisan politics, invest our energies in other community-building activities. Even in the midst of a political culture that doesn't work, we can still carve out a niche that we can call home. If the political dysfunction is unsolvable, if South Dakota is to be mired in this political sin for our lifetimes, perhaps there is still a way for liberals of good conscience to live somewhat as Paul recommended, to resist conformity to the culture around us and continue to transform ourselves by seeking a higher good. (Sorry: I have to stretch just a bit to keep from committing atheist heresy.) Perhaps it's kind of like being in the world but not of the world.

    Of course, teaching French and coaching debate is its own form of subversion.

  63. Steve Sibson 2014.07.14

    Cory, you have attacked conservatives numerous times with the theocracy line. And then when the table is turned you cry like a baby. This post is completely out of touch with reality. The SDGOP is not dominating politics because they are nasty. They are winning because they are crony capitalists who support those with the money to fund their campaigns.

    Tara has an excellent point. Who does Democrats support? The poor. How much money do they have for campaigns? Who does true conservatives support? Limited government traditionalists. Do you really think those making money hand over fist thanks to public/private partnerships are going to support reducing the size of government? If Democrats, Indies, and true conservatives want to have an impact on the SDGOP Establishment, we must work together and we must work hard. Blaming conservatives for crony capitalism and issuing personal attacks is not the way we come together and fight, because instead you are starting a fight with those who are just as deceived as you are.

  64. Craig 2014.07.14

    For a man who claims to be so interested in the Mette case or EB-5, Stranahan sure seems to spend a lot more time talking about Cory and this blog than he does anything else.

    So which story deserves more attention Stranahan? EB-5, the Mette case, where Cory's sister worked, or the last time Cory was in South Dakota? Seems to me you are engaging in the exact pattern of personal attacks as most of the GOP, and to make matters worse you are hypocritical by calling others out for not focusing on the story you feel is most important while making the personal attacks... and NOT focusing on a real story.

    If you really felt EB-5 was such a vital story, then you would be writing about it daily. You would be posting what you know and you would be investigating (which Cory has done months ago). You wouldn't be spending your days trolling Madville calling others liars, or asking questions about Cory's family day after day. You wouldn't be spending your days consulting with Haber when you know that candidacy won't go anywhere. You wouldn't continue to defend Bosworth publicly when privately you have reached the same conclusions as everyone else who has ever bothered to look at the issues objectively. You wouldn't be ignoring Bosworth's past troubles (such as her land auction) as you brush them off because you are incapable of defending them.

    But apparently, that isn't how you operate. You are more concerned with attacking others than you are with reporting facts. You are more concerned with protecting your clients and collecting a paycheck than you are with honesty and integrity. You're more interested in trolling the comments sections of blogs than you are in producing fresh content for a blog of your own. You're more interested in calling others names than you are in reporting anything that could be considered as "breaking news". In fact I can predict rather than doing or saying anything meaningful, you'll spend 20 minutes thinking about what the best way is for you to respond to me or anyone else who calls you out before posting a comment using your same pattern of "deny, evade, excuse, insult".

    Do something that will impress others Lee - make a name for yourself and perhaps someone will notice and offer you a contract that pays more than a third year teacher in South Dakota. Until then, you are just a sad example of how far we can fall when we put our own egos ahead of the real story.

  65. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    Donald, I'm dismayed to hear that Wisconsin—O wooded beacon of hope!—could collapse into South Dakota-style oligarchy. Is Walker more than a one-term wonder? (And I have to remember that, just as in South Dakota, the people elected him.)

    The rationale Donald expresses, staying and fighting, taking pride in the fight, recognizing the value of changing one person at a time and giving hope to others, figures into my thinking and my commitment to South Dakota. Recall my 2012 post-election commentary on our calling to radical witness: even in defeat, we hold our values high the face of a disbelieving majority and say, "You guys are still wrong, and we're still going to fight you."

    (That doesn't mean that every lone wolf who brands everyone else an oppressive deceiver is an admirable freedom fighter. Some, like Sibby and Lee, are just distractors... or destructors.)

    Committing oneself to radical witness is not the same as committing oneself to finding a solution. And heck, if someone solves all the problems that I've made a business model of radically witnessing, I'm out of work! (If I moved to progressive Madison, Wisconsin, and found myself surrounded by the corruptible liberals Donald mentions, I'd feel a strong temptation to write a Republican blog. I am always the loyal opposition.)

    Radical witness is what Newquist is doing. Heidi finds it unsatisfying, because Newquist's radical witness doesn't provide a solution. There may not be enough resources available to the loyal opposition right now to provide a solution. But Newquist tells the story. He records what has gone wrong. He maintains (and, we hope, expands) the understanding that current and future fighters will need to solve the problem.

  66. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    Cry like a baby? Steve! Good morning!

    You, Steve, have attacked my wife in ways that I have never attacked yours (and we've all met, shaken hands, and supped together). I'm not crying: I'm pointing out the simple fact that I am subject to the character assassination Newquist describes.

    I will agree with your point, Steve, and Tara's, that money is big part of the problem. The character assassination is a tool the moneyed powers have chosen to use to maintain their hegemony. Dems, Indies, and even South Dakota's Tea Partiers are at a disadvantage because they are not plugged into the big money machine. It's one thing for Steve to come onto my comment section and call me crazy names. It would be another for Steve to spend a quarter million dollars on KELO ads calling me crazy names in front of a couple hundred thousand South Dakotans every night at six and ten.

    So Steve, if money is part of the problem (or perhaps the real problem), will you join me in cross-partisan coalition to support restrictions on campaign donations, tighter reporting requirements, and the end of corporate personhood? Will you join me and vote for Rick Weiland instead of corporate-crony Mike Rounds?

  67. barry freed 2014.07.14

    The RC Journal has earned its poor numbers. I dropped my subscription for the same reason I cringe and think about alternatives when MidCon advertises their job openings on my subscription dime. I don't want to pay for their advertising, political or otherwise.
    If the Journal wants to publish PR for only Republican candidates and ignore issues such as EB-5, they can do it on their own dime and the dimes of those who reap the financial benefits.
    If, however, the Journal wishes to do things such as present two (or more) opposing views on topics that affect the State, they will find people wanting to read their paper, even if the readers aren't happy that opposing views are published, and subscriptions will be coming back, including mine. The same as Howard Stern's listeners; love him or hate him, they all listen.
    The RCJ is banking on too few subscribers:
    "You'll PAY to know what you REALLY think."-J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, 1961

  68. Tara Volesky 2014.07.14

    Steve is 100% correct. The Democrats have had great Gubernatorial candidates in the past, Bernie Hunhoff, Jim Abbott, Scott Heidepriem, in fact they didn't even run anybody against Thune to pool their money for Scott, and how did it work for them? You can live in a fantasy world and believe you are going to win, but money always wins out. That's why I left the Democrat party, great people but wrong strategies. They stay within their only little group. And like the establishment Republicans, we have the establishment Democrats. That hurts the rest of SD who are Independents, third party voters, people who no longer vote, and people who are not registered to vote. The only chance to beat the machine is by numbers, and message. I really do believe the majority, who are the disenfranchised, and our message can beat the crony capitalists who buy their elections. But we need to come together. It's up to the Democrat Party. Like I have said along, a half of loaf is better than no loaf at all. The Democrats are playing right into the establishments hands.

  69. Tara Volesky 2014.07.14

    I do believe the best possible AG candidate for the Libertarian ticket would be Steven Sandven. He has been investigating the EB-5 for over 3 years. He has all the information and is also an attorney. I hope some of you Democrats that know Steve will make some calls and try and encourage him to run. Remember, this isn't about labels, it's about message. We are not just running against the establishment, we are running against the corporate media also. I emailed Joe O'Sullivan who was an investigative reporter for the Rapid City Journal who was trying to break the EB-5 story, and got an email back saying he no longer works for the Journal. Hmm.

  70. Jerry 2014.07.14

    Cory, you just hit on one helluva campaign idea. "So Voters, along with Steve, if money is part of the problem (or perhaps the real problem), will you join me in cross-partisan coalition to support restrictions on campaign donations, tighter reporting requirements, and the end of corporate personhood? Will you join me and vote for Rick Weiland instead of corporate-crony Mike Rounds?"

    That is pitch perfect and to the point. That should be on every billboard in the state. That is the only way we will ever get this corruption out is with the pitchforks and our feet.

  71. Steve Sibson 2014.07.14

    "So Steve, if money is part of the problem (or perhaps the real problem), will you join me in cross-partisan coalition to support restrictions on campaign donations, tighter reporting requirements, and the end of corporate personhood? Will you join me and vote for Rick Weiland instead of corporate-crony Mike Rounds?"

    Cory, I agree with ending corporate personhood and the last person I would vote for in November is Mike Rounds. Like Tara says, I find the people of the Democrat Party, including yourself, to be well intended. The problem is in your strategy. Instead of limiting campaign contributions, which is a violation of the Constitution, I suggest we restore the limited principles of the Constitution that would eliminate the public/private partnerships of the crony capitalists. With their money train eliminated, there would be no need to limit campaign contributions.

    And instead of Weiland, whose principles is to expand government thereby giving even more power to the crony capitalists, I will be supporting Gordon Howie who understand that the only man-made solution to crony capitalism is to limit the government to the enumerated powers stated in the Constitution.

    And Cory, my intention was not to attack your wife, but to warn her [bonk! deleted! See below, Sibby! —CAH]

  72. Bill Dithmer 2014.07.14

    He blew into South Dakota
    like swamp gas from a sewer lagoon.
    He was was pimple on the GOPs butt
    but he made some people swoon.

    He hooked his car to the Bozworth train
    Then he started life anew.
    He missed his wife who stayed in a state down south
    But there was important stuff, you know, shit he had to do.

    It didnt help that he'd been let go
    From a real right leaning mag.
    They said he didn't back his stuff with facts
    He in turn called them a rag.

    He told Chad and he told Annette
    There's things that I can do.
    I have some great connections
    And you can pay me to.

    He worked in vein on the failed campaign
    They lost, now that was just plain dumb
    He blamed everyone but him
    And he wondered why he'd come.

    Things have a way of working out
    At times they might seem odd
    I guess it isn't enough, even for the GOP
    To say "you do know I just found God."

    Now Madville is a real pretty town
    And we like our streets kept clean
    But when someone dumps a load of crap
    We tend to lean towards mean.

    I have to say it was fun to play
    But this guy just brings me down.
    We want the facts, hey, just the facts
    Or he can get the hell out of town.

    It's easy to say we'll be ok
    Madville's a really nice place to live.
    The kids will still get a good education,
    Just not the kind Lee wants to give.

    The Blindman
    Ps What is the truth?
    Is it a thing of the past?
    Is it a shade of grey representing neither black or white?
    Is it a figment of someones deranged imagination?
    Or is the truth still the truth?

  73. charlie5150 2014.07.14

    When I first began following this blog, I enjoyed several months of Sibson free content. As he came storming back from his banishment, I did a little checking on him. Cory, if you recall my advice at the time was a restraining order. Every headline on his blog had Cory's name in it, and it was not very nice stuff. Cory assured me he did personally know Sibby and felt safe.

    Hopefully Sibby is harmless, but it can be extremely difficult to discern from his writings. I'll kick in for a protective order if you ever change your mind Cory!

  74. larry kurtz 2014.07.14

    Sibby doesn't believe a word he writes: he's suffering from depression, is dyslexic, and craves attention from the very people he hates.

  75. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.14

    Mr. Dithmer,
    You have truly written some outstanding poetry for Madvillians over time, this recent piece is absolutely award winning.
    Thank you for telling the "truth" about Lee Stranahan, of course you know that he will call you a liar.

  76. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.14

    Good work Blindman.

  77. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.14

    Cory, I think there are a number of factors leading to the Journal's eventual demise. One of those is that once they went digital and installed a pay wall to view full stories and to make comments, that had a huge affect, comments have dropped to a handful wingnuts and impacts readership.
    Another reason is this, on June 17 John Tristan over at Constant Commoner posted an email from R.C. Mayor Kookier, several alderwomen posted responses and you did a follow thread. Almost a full month later, Sunday July 13, the Journal posted the story and did not give Mr Tristan the credit due him.
    I don't like day old news and I particularly don't like month old news. This has been a recent pattern with them, most of the time I have already about 50% or more of what they print.
    Since David Montgomery and Kevin Woster left the Journal their political content is pitiful, I didn't always agree with either, but they were writing political interest stories. Now, the Journal doesn't know what an investigative or political reporter is.
    West River readers that rely on the Journal simply don't giet the news, particularly if they don't have the internet.
    This is an important news story by itself, if the Journal does not report on the affairs of state, report on scandals, or challenge the state on issues, low information voters remain just that.
    If the Journal continues their soft approach to Republicans running the state, those voters will continue to vote for conservatives that the Journal to endorses.

  78. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.14

    Can Chad Haber buy the Libertarian nomination for attorney general.
    A post on Bob Newland's Facebook page says he might. "You can probably guarantee a lock on Chad if you bring three friends who also pay their dues and vote for him"
    Bob also adds this, "You can pretend to be a Libertarian for a day by registering and, of course paying dues".
    If Emmett produces qualified candidates for attorney general can we expect a real floor fight at their convention?

  79. Douglas Wiken 2014.07.14

    I like the comics in the RCJ. Not those on the editorial page however. Most of their editorial comment is so far out that it reads more like satire.

    South Dakota needs a state-wide real NEWSpaper.

  80. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    End public-private partnerships? Good grief, Sibby, talk about a non sequitur. The rich guys will still make tons of money without whatever hobbyhorse you're talking about. We need to solve this problem. I'm talking about limiting how they use that money, which we should be able to do with Constitutional restrictions on corporate personhood. You're talking about limiting the amount of money rich people get, which isn't going to happen with your whack-a-mole plan.

    Help me and Jerry out. Vote for Rick Weiland. Vote for SUsan Wismer and Corinna Robinson. Vote for Craig Kelly and Jim Schorzmann in District 20. Help us re-establish faith the Democratic Party as an effective opposition party and a check on that crony capitalism. Elect us on the condition that we fight that big money, and we will fight it, and I will kick ass on any Democrat who doesn't!

    Jerry, you're right about that pitch. I want to make that pitch to everyone, from Tea Party to Green: No matter what your political agenda, if you share with us Dems a recognition that big money is bad for politics, then help us vote out the Republicans who are big money in South Dakota. Vote for Rick, Sue, and Corinna on Election Day, then show up at SDDP headquarters en masse the next day and say, "Hi, remember me? I jumped out of my political comfort zone to vote you in to get rid of big money and crony capitalism, and now, by God, I'm going to hold you to it." Form that voting coalition now; we'll work out the details of an ongoing governing coalition later, once we've knocked the legs out from under the big problem at hand.

    Maybe this approach is also part of reinvigorating the Democratic Party. We need to feel less isolated. We need to get Indies and Tea Partiers on our side... or we need to find ways to show them we are on their side already.

  81. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    (And Steve, until you have your M.Div. and get ordained, don't presume to lecture my wife on theology, and don't presume to justify your attack on my wife with your Bible reading. I don't care which God sends you; talking that smack will get the door shut in your face.)

  82. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.15

    Blindman, thank you. And yes, truth is still truth. Settle for nothing less.

    Roger, how much are the dues one has to pay to attend the Libertarian convention as a voting delegate? I'd hate to ask any already depressed Dems to spend too much money on attending.

  83. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.15

    Don't know the amount of dues it takes to be a Libertarian. Will try to find out.

    My favorite of Newland's comment "Libertarian For A Day"!
    Now that is revealing, isn't it Lee?

  84. Bill Dithmer 2014.07.15

    "Chad hasn't even begun to make his case why he's running for AG yet,"

    Well get after it then. Stop trying to use the Mette case for an example. Your candidate is quickly becoming a one trick pony. The AG handles a thousand cases a year and you are pushing two, the Mette case, and your untried former senate candidate that has admited to wrongdoing but doesn't want to except the responsibility for lieing and cheating the voters of SD.

    Go home Lee, your a bottom feeder looking for a big break, and South Dakota doesn't need anymore like you.we already had a full dose of that with EB5.

    And what's with all the "more to come, I'm investigating and there's lots more to come."

    Get on with the facts, if you have them, or shut the hell up. Better yet get that piece od dog excrement Chad to say exactly what he stands for. The poor me, the AG in trying ti screw me for no reason campaign aint gonna get it done.

    Oh ya before I stop here there's one more thing. That religion you found a year ago, well it must have been a virus.

    In closing, you and your miserable lowlife candidates, both Chad and Annette are about as funny as an ED placebo. High expectations but little action.

    By the way your neighbors are interesting people and they like to talk, need I say more?

    The Blindman

  85. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.15

    Every time Chad Haber uses the Mettes as political props to distract from his awkward silence and absence of résumé, he violates them all over again. Chad isn't addressing the character assassination and cynicism that Newquist raises as issues for us to discuss; Chad is contributing to it with his tactics.

  86. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.15

    I left a message for you on the Jeff Nelson thread announcing his candidacy for the legislature.

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