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Thune Climate Comment Hints Presidential; Weiland Vows Left-Tea Fight?

John Thune is running for President. How else can we explain our soon-to-be-senior Senator's seemingly sensible statement on climate change on Fox News Sunday?

Asked about the overwhelming agreement among experts on the cause and trajectory of global warming, Thune began with a familiar GOP climate-change dodge: “Climate change is occurring, it’s always occurring.” But then he said this: “There are a number of factors that contribute to that, including human activity. The question is, what are we going to do about it and at what cost?” [Stephen Stromberg, "Top Republican Bows to Scientists on Climate Change," Washington Post, 2014.11.17]

Amidst a science- and fact-averse Republican Party, Stromberg takes Thune's seemingly innocuous and wide-wiggly phrase as a "glimmer of hope." We should take it as a sign that he's thinking about how he sounds to people outside South Dakota. Democrats should take it as a sign that there's going to be another open Senate seat for which to contend in 2016.

And who better to contend for it than Rick Weiland? Weiland's latest public statement shows him swinging at the powers that be, including the Senate Democrats he wanted to join this year:

The only crock bigger than the Keystone Pipeline is Senate Democrats dumping on our environment to try to save one of their own.

Talk about business as usual, talk about midterm lessons unlearned, talk about just plain stupid!

You've already lost the Senate. Polls show that Mary Landrieu, whose runoff election you hope to influence, has absolutely no chance of winning. So what do you do, backstab your president, our Native Nations and the entire environmental community on behalf of a pipeline that will not only not create jobs or any energy security, but will pour additional billions in profits into the hands of the big money special interests who just spent a fortune to crush your party at the polls.

That's genius, DC Democrat style. And it is the reason my campaign is not over. In fact, it has just begun [Rick Weiland, campaign e-mail, 2014.11.17].

What what? Campaign not over?

For 18 months we ran for Senate with little more than my videographer son Nick, myself, a lot of shoe leather, and the help of a handful of friends with more passion and skill than common sense.

I want to keep that team together, retire our small debt, and get back into the fight, right now. If the DC Democrats selling us out on Keystone XL doesn't show why we can't wait, what will?

Please, send just a few bucks and stay tuned. We may have gotten washed over by the same wave that drowned so many Democrats. But unlike them, we're not rolling over, belly up and bloated, we're fighting on.

We are going to make South Dakota a demonstration project, and a nationwide beacon for the fight against big money.

And if you don't think that matters to you, think about this. Does Elizabeth Warren's voice matter beyond the boundaries of Massachusetts, or Bernie Sanders beyond Vermont, or did Paul Wellstone make any difference outside of Minnesota? [Weiland, 2014.11.17]

Demonstration project? Warren, Sanders, Wellstone? I said Sunday South Dakota Democrats should elect a liberal leader like Warren to chair the party back to victory, and here's my fellow Bulldog Debate alum Rick sounding very much as if he's answering that call.

Or does Weiland just sound like the Tea Party? WaPo's Dana Milbank finds a herd of liberal protestors on Senator Landrieu's front step talking a lot like Weiland and sees a no-compromise parallel:

One of the speakers, a young woman named Maria Langholz, argued that liberals must stop Democrats from “compromising on the promises they have made.” I pointed out that her message sounded like the tea party.

“I know,” Langholz said with a laugh. But she had just returned from working on the Senate race in Iowa, where Democrat Bruce Braley, “kind of middle-of-the-road,” lost to conservative Republican Joni Ernst.

“Ernst was sticking to her guns, saying, ‘This is what I stand for,’ ” Langholz concluded, “and that really inspires people” [Dana Milbank, "Purity Politics, Democrat-Style," Washington Post, 2014.11.17].

Senator Thune says today's Senate vote on Keystone XL is just a "cynical" political ploy to throw Senator Landrieu a lifeline in her December run-off election. It won't rescue Landrieu or build the pipeline. Senator Thune will still vote for the pipeline, on false pretenses, and in contradiction to his hint of concern about climate change.

And Rick Weiland says he will keep fighting Keystone XL, Big Money, and even Senate Democrats. But Milbank's column makes me wonder: are Rick and I looking for the South Dakota Democratic Party's Elizabeth Warren, or are we really looking for an SDDP Joni Ernst... or Sarah Palin?


  1. Taunia 2014.11.18

    Are you working to advance humanity or money?

    If your priorities are to work for the betterment of all people - we only do as well as the least of us - you know where you stand.

    If you believe that capitalism is the only real way to get ahead, you know where you stand.

  2. 96Tears 2014.11.18

    If Thune is tacking his position on climate change, it is most likely the uber capitalist position of so what? Do you want to give up all those oil and coal jobs because third world nations filled with heathens are sinking under the oceans? (Tip of the hat to David Newquist's realism on how damned stupid people have chosen to become.)

    The Republicans want us to buy into labeling Weiland and his heroes as 'Tea Party Left,' so let's not help them marginalize an effort to create leadership on issues which really matter. What Weiland did best in his campaign is talk directly to regular folks and finding common ground and authentic South Dakota common sense on health care, women's rights, big money control of government, standing up for a first class education system, inclusiveness for Native populations and economic growth for the middle class. For the most part, those who saw him in person were impressed. Rick was up against a better funded, better staffed and better organized campaign machine.

    Taking over as state Dem chair would distract from the messaging and communication that needs a lot of focus. Weiland's on the right path. He's apparently looking for a sustainable method to keep that communication moving forward. It took many years of neglect to put the Democratic Party in the shape it's in here in South Dakota, and it won't bounce back overnight. He appears to be on a mission and I think that campaign enlightened him in the closing weeks. I'm interested in hearing what he has to say.

    The mechanics of building a machine that elects Democrats should be in someone else's hands.

  3. Rorschach 2014.11.18

    "John Thune is running for President." If he runs it will most likely be to position himself to be somebody's VP choice.

    "Democrats should take it as a sign that there's going to be another open Senate seat for which to contend in 2016." Just as Republicans changed the law so that Daschle couldn't run for two offices at one time (President and Senate) they can change it back to allow Thune to run for two offices at one time (Senate and ?).

    "And who better to contend for [a 2016 senate seat] than Rick Weiland?" Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, Brendan Johnson. Rick exceeded expectations as a candidate, but in his 3rd unsuccessful run he didn't set himself up for a 4th.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.18

    Taunia reminds me of Al Franken's common line: "We all do better when we all do better."

    The principles of the Left, revolving around that desire to see everyone do better, are nothing like the principles of the Tea Party, which revolve around fear and exclusion.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.18

    R, if Rick isn't set up for a 4th ballot campaign, can we use him for something else?

    96, are you saying Rick should just focus on being a statewide message master for the next two years and not get bogged down in trying to run any specific organization? Are you saying I should talk him into blogging for the Madville Times?

  6. Steve Sibson 2014.11.18

    "will pour additional billions in profits into the hands of the big money special interests who just spent a fortune to crush your party at the polls."

    Without TransCanada billions will be going to Warren Buffett's railroad. That is why this is phony:

    "Rick Weiland says he will keep fighting Keystone XL, Big Money"

    Warren Buffett is also big money. And he stands to gain if the pipeline does not happen. And so will CO2 emissions as it will take more energy to move the oil via Buffett's railroad.

  7. Dan Pangburn 2014.11.18

    Everyone paying attention is aware that the planet average global temperature trend has been flat since before 2001 in spite of a CO2 increase since 2001 of 31% of the total increase 1800-2001. Search “agwunveiled” to discover the two drivers that do explain the uptrends and down trends of climate change. (95% correlation since before 1900)

  8. larry kurtz 2014.11.18

    The Anthropocene doesn't care what earth haters think.

    "While the country focuses on the pending Senate vote to approve or reject the Keystone XL pipeline, another Canadian company is quietly pressing ahead on a pipeline project that will significantly raise the volume of tar sands oil transported through the U.S. The company is pressing ahead without a permit, and environmental groups say it is flouting the law."

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.18

    Uh oh—here we go.

    Mr. Pangburn, while I gently overlook your effort to claim that everyone smart agrees with you and that only inattentive lunkheads agree with me, help me understand your comment in the context of this information from NASA (which ought to be spending more time building ships and hauling our keesters to Mars!) that "With the exception of 1998, the 10 warmest years in the 134-year record have all occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the warmest years on record."

  10. Bill Dithmer 2014.11.18

    Dan, a "Mechanical Engineer," thats what your creds are?

    Its fascinating that a man with such knowledge of climate change cant get his papers published. Oh ya, there was that op-ed thing back in March of 2008, but since then?

    This is what you have to say in that op-ed. " You write: "I have been researching the global warming issue for months. I am a licensed Mechanical Engineer with an MSc in Mechanical Engineering. The following is a brief verbal description of some of my sources and findings with graphics that show these findings..."

    What the hell Dan, an expert within months of starting the research. Man have the rest of us been wasting time and lots and lots of money.

    The Blindman

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.18

    Bill Dithmer helps me find where we can skip a few steps in determining the scientificity ( :-) ) of Engineer Pangburn's apparent skepticism on climate change:

    Read, then continue... and remember, this post leads off with a Republican Senator inching (millimetering?) toward the scientific consensus in what smells like a nod toward an electorate beyond South Dakota's borders whom Pangburn would deem inattentive.

  12. Dan Pangburn 2014.11.18

    Cahei – The planet warmed 1700-2001. Saying that it is warmest at the end of a warming period is not very profound.

    If you had looked at the comments at the whats . . . link you might have noticed that, after a few postings it became obvious to me that the blog owner had no science skill so further posting was pointless.

  13. larry kurtz 2014.11.18

    Humans deploying weaponized fire began the Anthropocene.

    The offal left by charcoal use during the Bronze Age, the destruction of Eurasia's and the Americas' hardwoods for the 'industrial revolution' now helps the Kochs wipe the smudge from their holdings and sell it for the blinding of the GOP.

  14. Dan Pangburn 2014.11.18

    Bill D - It didn't take very long to discover that ". . . carbon dioxide change does NOT cause significant climate change." It took another year to discover what does cause the uptrends and down trends of climate change (another op-ed in Nov. 2010). The analysis has been somewhat refined since then (accuracy increased to 90% from 88%). That assessment is in a paper that is through peer review and will be published this year.

    More recently demonstrated WHY CO2 change has no significant effect on climate and added that to the agwunveiled paper.

    Humanity has wasted more than a trillion dollars in failed attempts using super computers to demonstrate that added atmospheric CO2 is a primary cause of global warming and in misguided activities to try to do something about it

  15. larry kurtz 2014.11.18

    25% of warming now is from methane.

  16. larry kurtz 2014.11.18

    Half of all heavy metals released into the biosphere have been the result of human activity: why would that also not be true of carbon emissions?

  17. Bill Dithmer 2014.11.18

    Kxl would create 35 permanent jobs. Solar has already created 120,000.

    Isnt it time to learn the difference between renewable energy, and fossil fuel?

  18. Bill Dithmer 2014.11.18


    The Blindman

  19. mike from iowa 2014.11.18

    Inhumaity has wasted more than a trillion bucks in failed attempts to democratize the Middle East and I expect we will soon be wasting more bucks and lives to prove the last attempt didn't go far enough.

  20. jerry 2014.11.18

    So what does John Thune's sudden love for the planet have to do with tonight's vote on the Keystone XL I ask myself? I mean, if he is serious about climate change, as he now has acknowledged, I guess we can be assured that he will be voting with the Democrats to kill the bill, put the stomp on the black snakes head, bravo for him.

    Now, if we can get him to keep the EPA involved with the wetlands to continue the process of percolation of water to the underground rivers that supply the Madison and other water formations, life will be good. Go ahead with your bad self John Thune! Show your brethren in the senate how to help yourself and your fellow citizens out.

  21. Bill Dithmer 2014.11.18

    Yes but what does JT think about a womens reproductive system? Does he respect that her body is her own, or does he want some control?

    According to "A Mind of its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis,"

    In the 1600s, researchers believed that humans came preformed, curled in miniature inside either the egg or the sperm. “Spermists,” as the believers in the latter theory were called, even claimed to be able to see tiny humanoids inside the head of sperm cells. These Spermist argued that women simply provided an incubator for the male seed.

    I guess we can see where the fundamental Christians and the "right to life," came up with their every fertilized egg is a human. From now on I will be calling those that still believe that way "Spermist."

    John Thune, Spermist with superiority complex, intellectually challenged
    George W, Spermist
    The Bush women, not so much
    Little Bobby Ellis, Spermist
    Steve Hickey, Spermist
    The Unruh's, flamming Spermist
    Bill, rape is only bad if the girl was Christian Napoli, Spermist
    Bill Clinton, Spermer
    Mitt Romney, sometimes a Spermist, and sometimes a Mormon
    Old Pope, Spermist
    New Pope, caught between science of spermoligy and fiction
    Newt Gingrich, Spermer
    Jesse Jackson, Spermer
    MLK, Spermer
    Bill Cosby, disappointing
    Roger Hunt, Spermist with women hating tendencies
    Jimmy Swaggart, Spermist, spermer, intellectual perv, and preacher

    The Blindman, realizes that even a slow swimming sperm can fertilize an egg if it doesnt have to swim to far. Its not like the eggs are playing defense. Its just that sperm dont use road maps and only about a third of em are fit to fertilize.

    I'm gitting off point here. My question to the women of this country is. When you are getting advice about reproduction, do you want a Spermist telling you about conception, or an OBGWN?

    Like it or not the women of the US are in for another abortion fight. If they dont stand colectivly and kick those Spermist men right in the nads, forty years of reproductive freedom will be lost.

    The Blindman

  22. Taunia 2014.11.18

    Major kudos to you, Bill. I feel like we get closer every day to Roe v Wade being overturned by the current SC.

    Currently drumming my fingers, waiting to see if Mary Landrieu found her 60th vote for Keystone; she is currently "holding the presses" on the Senate bill.

  23. Taunia 2014.11.18

    Per MSNBC: I am also surprised and pleased to see SD Tribal members taking the national stage for SD against the pipeline.

    The original environmentalists.

  24. Taunia 2014.11.18

    Senate Keystone bill failed.

    How many ways can Mary Landrieu lose.

  25. jerry 2014.11.18

    Mary Mary, we loved you when you voted for the ACA, we loved you when you voted support for the Dreamers, we loved you when you spoke the truth about our black president and how women are not really treated much better, but what you just pulled, is really a very crappy thing. You put us all in peril just so you could win, that is not very democratic, that is so Nixonian and you lost today. Good luck in the next few weeks getting votes together to go after the guy who sponsored this bill, what were you thinking?

  26. Taunia 2014.11.18

    Fun Fact: Senator Jon Tester (Montana) just became Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair and just voted FOR the pipeline.

    Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

  27. jerry 2014.11.18

    Tester is from Montana, where it is supported like the Grizzlies. That certainly should not give him cover with the Democrats as they may have had constituents that wanted it as well. I think Tester may be a fair weather Democrat that once again shows why the DSCC is a farce. Go Weiland 2016

  28. larry kurtz 2014.11.18

    T, you know the drill: next term expect Sen. Tester to lead the death of KXL by adding amendments that will make Looney Thune and his brethren to wish they hadn't brought it up at all.

  29. larry kurtz 2014.11.18

    politics is like quantum mechanics and variable interval reinforcement on crack: you never know which chocolate is going into Forrest Gump's mom.

  30. leslie 2014.11.18

    thune gives me pangburn

  31. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.18

    The senate just rejected Keystone XL!!!

  32. grudznick 2014.11.18

    Smuggle a bucket or two back for us, lar.

  33. Loren 2014.11.18

    Thune for President, so he can do for the nation what he has done for SD???? What, exactly, has he done that is so great besides the numerous photo ops standing behind the big boys?

  34. mike from iowa 2014.11.19

    Mayhaps Thune is whitey wingnut's equivalent of a porn fluffer.

  35. leslie 2014.11.19

    96-right on in you 2d para.

    sib-cite for more pollution via rail pls?

  36. Liberal Stuck in SD 2014.11.19

    Sen. Thune will never run for the highest office in the country. He has too much baggage. He has more than a few skeletons in his closet, which the dems could prove. The dems haven't shared this information because Thune hasn't had an opponent.

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