Last updated on 2014.08.19
Lefty blogger Michael Larson and righty blogger Ken Santema agree: neither Rep. Kristi Noem nor Corinna Robinson said much worthwhile at Tuesday's Dakotafest "debate" (a term to which Santema explicitly and Larson implicitly object, given the absence of real clash).
Of course, equal failure means the incumbent won.
Just Friday, the liberal Larson posted a glowing review of Robinson's performance on friendly turf at the Sioux Falls Democratic Forum. But Robinson's driftiness in Mitchell draws this coachly advice:
Noem left a lot of issues unanswered and avoided them in the debate. There were a lot of strong moments for Robinson in this debate; however, she must get more aggressive and must be near flawless if she hopes to defeat Noem [Michael Larson, "Corinna Robinson and Missed Opportunities," Taking a Left Turn in South Dakota, 2014.08.19].
The conservative Santema is equally hard on both candidates, noting Robinson's inability to focus and tailor her talking points to the Dakotafest audience but also taking issue with Noem's continues ideological inconsistency (an issue that still has me wondering how Noem manages to get her highest approval ratings among the Tea Party conservatives who ought to be most riled by ideological wishy-washiness).
Noem can ignore these unfavorable reviews. She has money, name recognition, and the seat. She need only, as Santema points out, say what she needs to get by.
Robinson cannot ignore these reviews from both sides of the aisle. The burden to shift the balance and rock every debate is entirely hers. As Larson and Santema see it, Robinson must retool and practice her messaging and her on-the-spot responses to Noem's lazy rhetoric.