Press "Enter" to skip to content

Republicans Shout “Liberal!” As South Dakota Relies on Feds for Roads

Mike Rounds's campaign manager Rob Skjønsberg has been burning up Twitter saying Rick Weiland is an extreme, far left liberal whose views are out of synch with South Dakotans... opposed to the liberal, red-state-moocher policies of Rounds, Daugaard, and Noem that are in synch with South Dakota.

Consider transportation funding. South Dakota Republicans have bleated about the need for Congress to prop up the federal Highway Trust Fund. Rounds and Daugaard have touted how great they made South Dakota roads thanks to federal stimulus dollars.

But they don't back that call for federal spending with an equal commitment to state-level responsibility. Nationwide, state spending on transportation, adjusted for inflation) dropped 20% from 2002 to 2011. Federal spending over the same period, including stimulus dollars, dropped just 4%.

Nationally, the federal share of transportation funding is 24%. In South Dakota, the feds pick up 37% of the highway tab, the ninth highest in the nation.

Federal share of transportation funging 2007–2011, Pew 2014For a red state, we look awfully blue on that map. In other words, if "liberal" means relying on the federal government, South Dakota is one of the top ten liberal states in the nation.

Governor Daugaard has acknowledged that South Dakota's state-level funding is dwindling. He has proposed that we "restore the purchasing power of the gas tax," which is the hilarious conservative euphemism for "Let's raise taxes!" If "liberal" means asking people to pay more taxes, well, there Dennis goes.

South Dakota Republicans like to shout "liberal!" They are projecting their self-loathing, because when they get down to the brass tacks of practical policy like highway funding, they realize that we South Dakotans are all liberals.


  1. Steve Sibson 2014.09.24

    "they realize that we South Dakotans are all liberals."

    Not "all" of us are liberals. I agree, the SDGOP Establishment is largely liberal. You can make a stronger argument by adding Common Core, the push for Pre-K, and the growth of the Department of Social Services. Then you could have top off the argument with the SGOP (and Democratic) premise that the government's roles include creating jobs, which the Rounds campaign in using to justify the EB-5 scandal. There is a report in today's Mitchell paper using Pat Costello as the source for the claim that over 5,000 jobs, direct and indirect, were created thanks to the EB-5 program.

  2. Jeff Barth 2014.09.24

    Then we have Senator Thune attempting to add regulations to the railroad industry. Rep. Noem asking for more money for Spearfish's fish factory, pine beetles, Missouri flooding etc. Our current Governor's plan for more pheasants includes asking the Feds for more money.

    Is it a lack of self awareness, hypocrisy by our elected officials or voter deception by Republicans?

  3. 96Tears 2014.09.24

    Rob Skjønsberg belongs in front of a grand jury to explain how he and his boss, then-Gov. Mike Rounds, did not notice how their cabinet member R. Benda and BOR high-ranking employee Joop Bollen were running a racket with all that EB-5 money. He can also explain how embezzlement is, in his mind, a South Dakota value and a virtue that was prized while he was Rounds' Chief of Staff.

  4. mike from iowa 2014.09.24

    It isn't so much the lies wingnuts spout,it is more how their constituents readily swallow the kool-aid they spout. Uneducated voters are the problem. Pols are paid to lie. It is expected of them anymore.

  5. Steve Sibson 2014.09.24

    Mike, I agree, and the same goes for the Democratic side of this fake fight that we call politics.

  6. Jenny 2014.09.24

    Boy, look at all those Federal dollars the "conservative state of SD grabs up compared to that "liberal" state of MN. South Dakotans are closet liberals - hypocrites!

  7. Jeff Barth 2014.09.24

    I like what Mike had to say.
    Perhaps that is why we reduce funding for education and encourage youth to use education to train for jobs and not to train for life.

  8. bearcreekbat 2014.09.24

    Why not help people learn what the term "liberal" means when applied to politics.

    For example, Liberals include people who:

    "support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property;"

    "rejected the notions . . . of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings;"

    believe people have "a natural right to life, liberty and property and according to the social contract, governments must not violate these rights;"

    "opposed traditional conservatism and sought to replace absolutism in government with representative democracy and the rule of law;"

    had American forefathers who "used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of what they saw as tyrannical rule" by King George; and

    "found themselves on the winning side in both world wars. . . . "

    Given these views and this history it is hard to understand how any thinking person can demonize the "liberal" social and political philosophy once they learn what it actually is.

  9. toclayco 2014.09.24

    My vote for the culprit in this hypocrisy/willful stupidity: The people of South Dakota who readily drink the GOP kool-aid because it is laden with a lot of elementary-school pep rally b.s. about the imaginary moral superiority possessed by a willfully ignorant audience.
    It really is about fostering an "us" (South Dakota) vs. "Them" (Everybody else) attitude while applying blinders and earplugs to block out anything that doesn't square with the Laura Ingalls Wilder-inspired self-image we cherish.
    It is very handy when your hand is perpetually extended for the federal check to deny you are, in fact, one of those welfare recipients you have been told, and religiously believe, are bringing the country down.
    And that , dear reader, is why the vast majority of South Dakotans are stunningly ignorant of this entire EB-5 criminal enterprise. And why they will readily believe anything told them by one of the central figures in it, and his hired guns.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.24

    Jeff, I think Republicans are just so far removed from having to say what they mean and do what they say that they don't even realize the hypocrisy of their positions.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.24

    ...and as toclayco suggests, such hypocrisy is only facilitated by Kool-Aid and earplugs.

  12. Jeff Barth 2014.09.24

    Socrates claimed that the unexamined life is not worth living although some have claimed that he actually posited that the unexamined life is not living. the following quote from Simon Longstaff sheds some light on our South Dakota "bliss". "The allure of those who offer to provide clear answers, simple directions, precise instructions (whatever) so that you may set aside examination and merely comply, or unthinkingly follow custom and practice – perhaps living a conventionally moral life rather than an examined ethical life. One can easily imagine how pleasant an unexamined life might be."

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.24

    Socrates would have a field day with our elites.

    The unexamined candidate is not worth voting for.

  14. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.09.24

    Especially this line Jeff:
    "One can easily imagine how pleasant an unexamined life might be."

    I imagine something Stepfordish, bland, beige, blank. It's a half life, existing solely for safety and comfort. I actually knew a man, middle-aged, who said he didn't want to learn anything new. He was satisfied just the way he was.

    My mind nearly imploded. His had long ago.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.24

    The greatest fear Mike Rounds has is that Democrats and republicans have examined his life and found him unfit for office.

  16. Jeff Barth 2014.09.24

    Think of a herd of cattle standing in a fenced field of alfalfa on a beautiful Indian Summer day. Ahhhhh.

  17. mike from iowa 2014.09.25

    Closet Liberals? Highly unlikely. They be S_O_C_I_A_L_I_S_T_S (and I don't think they're men)

    They smile in your face,all the time they want to take your place-the backstabbers.

  18. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.09.26

    I am a liberal with strong socialist tendencies. That is a good thing. Quite Jesus-ee.

  19. bearcreekbat 2014.09.28

    I also am a liberal (but republican) with strong socialist tendencies, but that is not based on Jesus, although from what I have read in the Bible, he would support these views unless I was a fig tree.

  20. mike from iowa 2014.09.28

    The farmer in me would be having a conniption to see a herd of cattle standing in a fenced field of my alfalfa before cold weather turned the alfalfa dormant for the season. Cropping alfalfa too short before winter results in low energy replenishment in roots causing freezeout. Yikes!!!

  21. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.09.29

    Hi BCB. I wasn't saying that Jesus was the original socialist. In fact, I'd venture to say that socialism was one of the very first ways that people organized themselves. Jesus was just following the best.

Comments are closed.