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Rounds Campaign Based on Deceit and Disrespect

Mike Rounds dishes deceit and disrespect this week. First off, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate sends out this fundraising letter criticizing a "liberal Obama Democrat" for criticizing him:

My mom used to tell us if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all. I wish our opponents in the U.S. Senate race believed in that same sound advice. Unfortunately, last week’s debate at the South Dakota State Fair, like Dakota Fest before it, was filled with attacks and misleading statements [Rob Skjonsberg, Rounds for Senate campaign manager, fundraising e-mail, 2014.09.02].

My mom still tells me we should call a spade a spade. The fact the Mike Rounds left us with nothing good to say about his failed, legacyless governorship should drive us to speak up, not sit silently while he smiles his way to an election win.

If a candidate’s policies are bad for South Dakota – I guess the obvious game-plan from the opponents is to avoid talking about their liberal, out of touch positions. But, even they know that’s a losing proposition. So instead, they divert and attack [Skjonsberg, 2014.09.02].

Kind of like how when Rounds started getting the stuffing knocked out of him for his bad policies at the Dakotafest debate, Rounds turned and attacked Gordon Howie.

We’ll keep working to tell South Dakota voters the truth, while staying above the fray. We could use your help in spreading Mike’s positive message [Skjonsberg, 2014.09.02].

Kind of like how when Rick Weiland proposes a smart, sensible plan to offer Medicare as a public option for health insurance that would be good for South Dakota but bad for Rounds's insurance-salesman profits, Rounds attacks and flat-out lies.

"Staying above the fray" is code for avoiding public debates. Team Rounds knows that every appearance on a stage with Weiland, Howie, and Larry Pressler is a chance for them to shatter his glass jaw. That's why he declined to participate in the candidate forum at the East River Electric annual meeting yesterday in Sioux Falls.

But like the moocher who brings nothing to the potluck but his own fork and plate, Rounds still came to the East River meeting:

Today was the East River Electric candidate forum. Rick was there. So were Larry and Gordon.

But Mike Rounds refused to participate. For 54 days, Mike Rounds is refusing to participate in any public debate or forum. He has "scheduling conflicts."

Except that he didn't have a scheduling conflict today. In fact, after the candidate forum was over today, Mike Rounds decided to show up. He wouldn't participate but still showed up at the event!

That is simply disrespectful to the East River Electric Cooperative. It is disrespectful to South Dakota voters.Rounds wasn't too busy. He didn't have a scheduling conflict. He just doesn't respect South Dakota voters enough to answer their questions.

What is Mike Rounds hiding from? [Kris Swedin, People for Weiland campaign manager, fundraising e-mail, 2014.09.03].

Rounds comes for the handshaking and photo ops, but he won't earn his keep by facing the crowd on stage like the other candidates.

Sure, I'm a liberal Obama Democrat. But the labels you can slap on me or Rick Weiland or anyone else dont change the fact that, absent a governing legacy or philosophical core, Rounds has nothing to run on but deceit and disrespect.


  1. SDTeacher 2014.09.04

    Rounds knows all he has to do is not make any mistakes and he's got this thing in the bag. From a purely strategic if not moral standpoint, he's smart to keep himself out of harm's way. All the better for him if he can paint Weiland as a negative campaigner. Isn't that how Rounds won the governorship?

  2. BigDaddy 2014.09.04

    As a true blue (red?) conservative, I must say that Mike Rounds is a picture of everything and everyone that is wrong with American politics.

  3. lesliengland 2014.09.04

    is the governors race in pat duffy's hands?

  4. Bill Dithmer 2014.09.04

    I do miss Cardboard Mike.

    Just think, the Rounds campaign could save money by setting Cardboard Mike up with audio and clips of him talking.

    Then they could have Rob Skjonsberg there to explain Cardboard Mikes position on different things. Some canned applause, a little canned laughter at just the right time, and WAM just like that Mike doesnt have to deal with the bad old, question asking, so far beneath him public.

    Or am I thinking about what the Weiland campaign should do.

    I'm so confused.

    The Blindman

  5. Nick Nemec 2014.09.04

    Good God, Rounds declines to take part in the East River Electric debate because of "schedule conflicts" but shows up for photos and handshakes after the debate is over?

    Arrogant, arrogant, arrogant.

    I served in the South Dakota Legislature with Mike Rounds, including on a Constitutional Revision summer study in 1996. He was arrogant then and subsequent events have only reinforced his arrogance. He always knew the "approved solution" to any problem and was particularly adept at repeating talking points. I never felt he was willing to look for or debate innovative solutions to problems. While talking to him I always knew he was looking for someone more important to talk to, he had, and still has, a special talent for making you feel like a piss ant, not worth his time. Who will have his ear? The same people who have always had his ear, whoever writes the biggest check.

    Mike Rounds will be a rubber stamp for whatever his bosses tell him to rubber stamp. Don't expect innovative solutions, or attempts to bridge the partisan divide from him.

  6. Bill Fleming 2014.09.04

    Dithmer, great idea! Every time Mike decides not to show up for a debate, just put a smilin' cardboard placeholder of him up there, and make sure everybody asks "him" some tough questions. Then pause so we can all just watch the silence for a few seconds. Genius, man, genius.

  7. lesliengland 2014.09.04

    what does rounds mean-"in essence", as a qualifier stating we havent lost money on eb5? which grant contained the benda $550,000?

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.04

    Someone should break into Annette Bosworth's locked desk and kidnap Cardboard Mike.

    SDTeacher, I understand the strategic wisdom of the frontrunner avoiding all the gaffe opportunities of debates. Hiding, sitting on the ball, and running out the clock makes perfect practical sense. But doesn't the frontrunner negate that advantage by showing up at the event he said he didn't have time for and (as Nick notes) arrogantly gladhanding after the forum?

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.04

    Leslie, "in essence" is Rounds's code for hogwash. Drink!

  10. lesliengland 2014.09.04

    but his, or daugaard's admin. knows something we dont.

  11. Jenny 2014.09.04

    All you have to have is the republican behind your name, a little money, say the right things to people, and you have the honor of being a lifer in SD politics. The SD press will love you forever, and that EB5 is all just a conspiracy theory, really. So how dare you ask questions about it. Sen Mike Rounds - South Dakota's Golden Boy.

  12. O 2014.09.04

    SDTeacher's point about Rounds taking the tactic of the front runner is valid and really no surprise to any political observer (no matter how much I wish it were not the case).

    But to Cory's question, don't some of Round's actions recently negate that "front-runner" status, I think there is a deeper question: WHY is Rounds the front-runner? If it is because of name recognition and political experience, I get that. But I fear it is because of his party affiliation. Is the Republican nominee for office in SD the AUTOMATIC front-runner? If that is the case, then Cory's question of actions negating the status are answered; no they do not negate the front-runner status because the party affiliation is still in tact. In fact, the language of "liberal" in Round's press release answer to Weiland, serves to reinforce the party label over issue content rhetoric of the election choice. Even the "We could use your help in spreading Mike's positive message." doesn't really address what the positive message is.

  13. tara volesky 2014.09.04

    I am sure Dr. Bosworth would be more than willing to give cardboard Mike to the Democrat Party.

  14. Lynn 2014.09.04

    Just watching Round's facial expressions and body language during the debates and it was fake smiles and expressing arrogance

  15. bearcreekbat 2014.09.04

    O makes a good point - Rounds has the power of the Republican brand. But why is that brand so powerful in SD when Republicans across the nation seem to be alienating everyone but Fox fans? What is going on here that apparently encourages our voters to consistently vote against their own interests?

  16. 96 Tears 2014.09.04

    I'm with O and bat on their point. Rounds is now walking around with a false sense of entitlement. Ninety percent of what had been working for Rounds so far was psychological. But something really, really wrong happened on Rounds' way to the Inevitable Coronation.

    So why doesn't somebody grab a pin and pop that balloon of the Inevitable Coronation? It has less and less validity as each day passes and Rounds thumbs his nose at voters by cowardly ducking candidate forums.

    By the way, is anybody keeping a list of all the investigations that were said to be conducted about Rounds, Benda and the EB-5 program abuses?

  17. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.04

    Mike Rounds avoiding debates is clear signal how he will represent South Dakota if he is elected in November.
    The Senate is all about debates, debates in caucuses, committees, across the aisle, and with your party and their leadership.
    Where will Mike be when he is challenged, most likely he'll be having a scheduled meeting with the Koch's.
    Cory, you make some excellent points with this post. At some point Weiland needs to reframe part of his campaign to this is not about Liberal vs Conservative, Republican vs Democrat, it is about integrity, honesty, transparency, and availability. If you think back to Obama's first primary campaign, he effectively used this message to win.

  18. SDTeacher 2014.09.04

    "But doesn't the frontrunner negate that advantage by showing up at the event he said he didn't have time for and (as Nick notes) arrogantly gladhanding after the forum?"

    Oh Cory, I wish that were true, but this is South Dakota and that arrogant gladhander is Mike Rounds. For many of the people who plan on voting for him, he would have to poop on their front lawn while they watched to get them to vote for someone else. And even then, if he told them that pooping on lawns is the republican way, they would probably still vote for him. They have no idea what he did in office and don't much care. They know his name and when he's on the TeeVee, there is an (r) behind his name. That's all they need to know. The rest is just background noise to them.

  19. Bill Dithmer 2014.09.04

    They have a dream

    " What is going on here that apparently encourages our voters to consistently vote against their own interests?"

    Bat, I dont think its that. Somewhere along the line most of the populous of SD have heard the saying, "take it back." For most of these people that means not having to deal with anything national, politics, world events, or even entertainment. For most it means going back to what their parents and grandparents told them it was like in the fifties.

    You know the time. WWII was over, the economy was gaining strength every year, farming was moving closer to the big machinery age, and race, sex, and religion, were all done in the missionary position. You know, people knew their places, and did what they were told unless you were the "RIGHT" people, then there were no rules, only the ones you made.

    Its all about a dream, and trying to relive that dream. Even though that will never happen, they continue, just like in religion, to have hope for their own little piece of heaven as they would like it to be.

    Isolation breeds isolation, and South Dakota has spent generations trying to keep itself isolated from the rest of the US. Its hard to break that cycle, and it wont happen until people get mad and educate themselves as to why SD never catches up to the rest of the country.

    The Blindman

  20. bearcreekbat 2014.09.04

    Blindman, you make some excellent points. It is interesting to recall how very long SD has been that way, and why it does not seem to change in the 21st Century.

    I recall traveling from Minneapolis to the Black Hills regularly as a young person in the 1950's and 60's. The going joke was that whenever we crossed the border into SD we "time traveled" backwards about 20 or 30 years. When the rest of the country was excited about the Beach Boys, surf music, and the Beatles, young folks in SD liked country music and 50's rock and roll. SD teens in western SD, despised that new music and if they saw a teenager or young man with long hair from somewhere else a fight typically followed. Bullying was the SD teen standard.

    But then came the Kneip/McGovern years in the 1970's. With the exception of the 1972 Presidential election, SD seemed to move forward politically during those times. Both politicians were elected over and over and the people in SD apparently loved them, until even though neither was a Republican. Indeed, after rejecting McGovern in his 1972 Presidential run, SD still returned him to the Senate until 1980.

    So why the reversal in values? Today, everyone has full and instant access to information about the world, which necessarily must interrupt our isolation. Even Fox news viewers aren't insulated from the world and its problems, although Fox presents such news through quite a filter. And for what it is worth, most South Dakotans I have met, including conservatives and Tea Party types, seem to be good, caring people when it comes to interacting with friends and neighbors. I still have trouble understanding how the Republican brand has become so powerful here, especially when on a local level most people do not seem to actually share the values of most Republicans.

  21. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.04

    South Dakota Republicanism is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. It is difficult to understand why they reject many government programs and than participate in programs like Medicare or Social Security, and some even food stamps.
    Even with the internet, 24 hour cable news, radio, newspaper, etc. South Dakotan Republicans choose to isolate themselves. We are at a point in our history where bumper sticker slogans serve as public policy positions. It is a shallow representation of thinking and their inability to understand how their government functions.
    What I think is happening with South Dakota Republicanism is that the crony capitalist keep themselves in power by appealing to the less educated with the political memes on abortion, gay marriage, and other social issues.
    I had a conversation with a Republican friend of mine that earns $9.50 per hour at his job and is satisfied. He is opposed to an increase in minimum wage because he was told to and that the party fights against legal abortion.
    How can anyone change that kind of thinking, it is locked and the Republican hierarchy has trained such people well.

  22. bearcreekbat 2014.09.04

    Roger, I appreciate your analysis, yet it doesn't quite resonate with my experiences with younger people. Young people I have had contact with, who purport to support Libertarians and/or Republicans seem to also support the more liberal or at least libertarian positions on abortion, gay marriage, and other social issues.

    I think many fear gun control and have bought into the NRA type arguments that Democrats will take away their guns. Also many have bought into the angst about taxes, Obamacare and welfare, even though they tend to be part of the groups that actually benefit from liberal taxation, Obamacare and welfare policies. This seems a huge disconnect.

    Some share the tribal mentality and fear people from other countries, but most young folks seem to be very open minded about minorities, or folks they meet from other countries or ethnic groups.

    But for your friend to argue against a $10.10 minimum wage when he or she only earns $9.50 and hour might be premised on the unstated fear of losing that $9.50 an hour job. To connect minimum wage to abortion seems incredibly naive.

    The bottom line seems to be an irrational acceptance of false talking points. I would like to figure out a way to get beyond such irrationality and encourage our young people to think for themselves and vote according to the values that they actually believe in and live by.

  23. Bill Dithmer 2014.09.04

    Bat, do you think its because the Republican brand has become so powerful here, or is it something not even related to politics?

    For years the people that live in South Dakota have lived life as what I would call "majestic independence." It didn't matter who you were, when someone said Mt. Rushmore, and then, that's in North Dakota right, you would answer in one of two ways. If you didnt like that person you might say yes just to add to their confusion. If it was someone you might like you would tell them the truth.

    Like it or not there is a little bit of all the bad things we bitch about in everyone of us. We might not want to admit it, or it might be so far down in our subconscious that we dont even recignize it for what it is.

    It happens at bridge clubs, coffee shops, brandings and bars. It happens in classrooms, at football games, and yes even in church. The more people talk around the edges, the closer it comes to the surface. Suddenly, people you have known all your life say something completely opposite to what you thought they believed. Its contagious, when a group starts talking and they are with like minded people they will say just about anything.

    Its not a feeling of superiority, or self righteous indignation that makes them talk, its those things they dont recignize comming to the surface and spilling out. It doesnt matter if your a Dem, Republican, or whats that other one again, they all have these little demons deep down that, every once in a while, try to get out.

    These people aren't bad people but they have lived the same way, talking about the same topics, and in the process programming the next generation to keep believing the same.

    Believe it or not women used to run the state. Oh sure the men thought they did but they didnt. From the tar paper homesteaders shacks to the buffalo hide teepees the women were in charge. When the womens movement hit the rest of the country, we went the other way in SD. I have never figured out how we got to this point where men were being allowed by the women to make laws that only applied to women.

    When the people settled this part of the country, there was every major religion, every race, and both men and women that "proved up." They were about as independent as people could be, and who knows what they were doing in those sod huts?

    Let's hope that our heritage can become our future. Life is like a radio. There is more then one station to pick from. When you get tired of KGFX you can tune to KWYR or KOTA. My point is first you have to get tired of the same old crap and then you reach out and change the damn channel.

    The Blindman

  24. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.04

    Sorry that I didn't base my observations on young voters, but concentrated on the Republican Party in general.
    The friend earning $9.50 and I were actually discussing Initiated Measure 18, the South Dakota minimum wage increase. The problem with him associating wages with abortion is perplexing and all I can contribute it to is his religious upbringing and some fading South Dakota values.
    When any age group thinks about politics in this manner it demonstrates just how uninformed voters are, that's scary.

    In one respect it is good that young people seem to be all over the map in establishing their political identity and shows they are thinking

    I was a youngster growing up on the Oglala Sioux Reservation during the 1950's 1960's, John Crow was still in force in many respects and young people were more engaged with issues of racism and prejudice, often times in our neighborhood. Social justice was just being revealed as something we could do something about and many of us identified with the Democratic Party.
    I don't recall any generational problems with the entertainment of the day, my sisters were bobby soxers, and there was much of the Happy Days mentality.
    Young people in South Dakota have some real challenges ahead of them, how can they move from the stubborn right that has indoctrinated them for generations?
    With youngsters like Josie Weiland, I see a start.

  25. bearcreekbat 2014.09.04

    Wow, great comments and analysis from two of Madville's most intelligent and accurate contributors, Blindman and Roger! Both of you really stimulate my mind.

    Blindman, I admit that I don't have a clue whether "its because the Republican brand has become so powerful here, or is it something not even related to politics?" Perhaps Bill Fleming can provide a more accurate analysis since he actually works in the field. To me the Republican brand has become something that any normal human being would have nothing to do with. This is especially frustrating because I have to admit thinking that I was a Republican for all of my life. As for whether "our heritage can become our future," I do confess high hopes for the younger generation so that the positive elements of our heritage do become our future and the junk is trashed.

    And Roger, I focused on young people because of the present meme that the Republican base is older white Americans, a group to which I probably belong although certain doubts about my heritage might question. To me it is the youngsters that will decide our future, not the old men and women.

    I am so impressed by Josie Weiland! I so hope that she is much more representative of South Dakota's future than the antagonist Republican dividers I read and hear about so much in the media. Movement away from the stubborn past depends entirely on thinking and compassion, which I optimistically hope our youngsters can experience and assert.

  26. jerry 2014.09.04

    Bill Dithmer, here is a twist in those changing of the channels. With September 11 coming up here soon, I thought that I would mention something that nobody likes to talk about. The highjackers themselves. They, except for one dude, all came from Saudi Arabia as did Osama . Guess who has the second most stock in their favorite tee vee channel Fox, yep. The guys who brought down the towers.

    Kind of makes you all patriotic about their bullshit doesn't it. No wonder they preach such hate of Obama and especially after Obama took out Osama, Fox news and all associated with it, are actually a radical Muslim outfit that wants you to think otherwise and that is what all of these haters have in common. The place where they get their indoctrination, dare we call it the Sharia Law entertainment center? Is that rich or what?

  27. mike from iowa 2014.09.04

    The Bush clan and the Saudi royal family are this close-X and Bush has done business with Bin-Ladin family for years. Might have something to do with the majority of the 9-11 reports Saudi pages being redacted.

  28. jerry 2014.09.04

    The republican agenda has been set by Fox and its henchmen, Murdock and the prince. All republicans fight one another to gain access to be shown on the screen that lights up to many homes in South Dakota. The candidates that are running now have had some face time there. My point is this, the common denominator of the big changes in how our citizens now view their fellow citizens here mostly comes from the hate preached on this network. If they do not change the channel, then we will continue to see this for some time. At least they should know who is behind the curtain, who really is OZ?

  29. O 2014.09.05

    Jerry, that is exactly the sports team mentality that politics has now. People who are Republicans (and to an extent Democrats as well), hold true to that party affiliation BECAUSE it is "their party." Never mind who is the candidate or how that party has been changed by outside forces, the brand is what carries the allegiance. It is as if politics has become a sport. A fan mentality exists where you cheer for your team and relish the demise of the opponent. Packers fans don't really care who the players are - and they do not choose new favorite teams when their favorite players leave - they remain loyal to the team through thick and thin. Packers fans hate the Vikings - even if/when the Vikings have the greatest Packer of all time in their organization.

    Teams/brands/parties command loyalty and affection and allow (encourage) shutting off thought and supportive following.

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