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Party Hack Powers Attacks SDDP Chair Candidate Tornberg for Defending Contracts

Here, have another turkey sandwich...

Pat Powers commits more blogospheric malfeasance with a gratuitous attack on Ann Tornberg worthy of the Stranahan School of "Journalism." If you're able to read past the paralyzing funny headline, in which the man who defines party hackery calls Tornberg and Jeff Barth "Democrat party hacks," you'll find Powers reaching for an excuse to mention "Ann Tornberg" and "sexual assault" in the same paragraph.

Powers drags up a 2005 incident in which some Sioux Falls Roosevelt student-athletes engaged in sexual activity on a school bus on the way home from a football game in Spearfish. The incident led to one player pleading guilty to misdemeanor sexual contact with someone under 16. Students and coaches were disciplined, although, per contract and policy, the district did not publicize that discipline.

Powers then makes out Tornberg to be evil for doing her job as teachers' union leader at the time and defending the privacy rights of employees. He cites this passage from an offline December 2005 article from Dan Lederman's opposition research folder:

Ann Tornberg, president of the Sioux Falls Education Association, said contract provisions to protect an employee’s privacy are crucial. ‘The policy protects the rights of the employee,’ Tornberg said. She said Homan and the school district had followed the letter of the contract. ‘I compliment her for that. They have a high degree of professionalism,’ she said “District: Contract prevents report,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2005.12.10, cited in Pat Powers, "Democrat Party Hacks Trying to Out-Hack Each Other to Be the New SDDP Chair," Dakota War College, 2014.11.28].

If Tornberg's answer bears any fault, it lies in not ripping Superintendent Homan for her incautious damage-control e-mail that alerted the media to the discipline of the coaches. Otherwise, Tornberg spoke simple truth: employee privacy matters. Contract provisions matter. There's no hackery there, and certainly no embrace of sexual misconduct, as Powers so Stranahannily insinuates.

South Dakota Democrats will spend the next couple of weeks debating the relative qualifications of Ann Tornberg and Jeff Barth (and maybe others!) to lead their party to recovery and victory in 2016. Pat Powers will have nothing of intelligence or integrity to add to that debate.


  1. Tim 2014.11.30

    Sad thing is, the republican majority in SD believe this crap, they have been listening to it for so long they refuse to see truth. This is why or fight is going to be so difficult, we try to talk facts, they spew anything and everything they think will stick. Facts tend to be boring, fiction is a much more fun read.

  2. Owen 2014.11.30

    You have to have intelligence or integrity to add to that debate.

  3. Jim 2014.11.30

    PP is frustrated over his blog's decline. To make himself feel better, he gives lederman's ass a big smooch.

  4. jerry 2014.11.30

    Powers is endorsing Tornberg for the job. The last person that Powers wants to deal with is Jeff Barth. Barth scares the yell out of this bunch so by the fluff smearing of Tornberg, we get the same kind of thing we got when Joe Lowe was in the running for governor. Don't fall for Powers stunt.

  5. Tim 2014.11.30

    "We have made great progress in the last four years." That statement made by Tornberg did it for me, no way I could support her after a comment like that.

  6. Tim 2014.11.30

    I just went to DWC for the first time, does anybody find it annoying that the page won't hold still? They really need an R&D dept there, research to double check his facts before he posts them, development to fix the website, a person could get seasick if they spent too much time there.

  7. larry kurtz 2014.11.30

    Exactly, Jerry: enabling earth haters and unaffiliated voters monkey wrenching Democratic primaries must be eliminated.

  8. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.11.30

    Lederman is Power's political patron and helped establish PP as a political prostitute who adheres to $$ over GOP principle.

    Powers screamed about Tornberg's "hypocrisy" when she attracted Republican support in her district from voters who caught whiff of the Lederman odor. Lederman is another SD political opportunist who left the Democratic Party when he moved from Iowa to a majority GOP registered area and wanted to get elected. That is okay with Powers because Lederman greases the SD political machine with contributions from his PAC.

    Why are Democratic activists always silent about their turncoat?

  9. grudznick 2014.11.30

    Mr. PPs blog mostly went down the hill when he changed to that horrible format old eyes couldn't read. Now he is at least trying to make it better.

    I agree with Lar, you fellows should just nominate all your candidates at a convention of the body instead of having primaries. Keeps those damn Indy's out of your business that way, too.

  10. tara volesky 2014.11.30

    Yes Grudz, they need to keep those damn fastest growing 100,000 plus Indies out of their way. What the hell do Independents know anyway. Power to the party instead of the people.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.30

    Tim: yes, I find that shifting page as annoying as the paucity if intelligent, original content. Blog designers, there is no good reason that all of your content should move up and down while readers are looking at it and trying to click on it.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.30

    Jerry, help me out: why would Powers rather have Tornberg as chair than Barth? Both strike me as intelligent and aggressive spokespeople for the Democratic cause. And remember, Tornberg was a debate coach. Powers has a hard time with debate coaches.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.30

    DD, Lederman is not our guy.

  14. Tim 2014.11.30

    Cory, based on my very limited experience with PP, I don't think he would win a debate with his dog.

  15. jerry 2014.11.30

    Cory, in my view, he would have a harder time with a bulldog like Barth who would not give quarter to Powers. By bringing up some stink of Tornberg, even as trivial as this may be, Powers knows how the old school democratic party works in the state. They will be pushing for more Tornberg as they think this is the way that will be the burr under the saddle. It generally works as well. We do not need a debate coach, we need a leader. Barth fits the bill but will establishment Democrats fall for this fake outrage yet again? With folks like Powers, up is down, so always figure what the angle is on why such a remark was given in the first place. In my view, Joe Lowe would have been a much broader candidate for the governor, but the establishment did not want that and look what happened. I think the same is happening here. That is my take on this.

  16. jerry 2014.11.30

    Tim and I both reference dogs when discussing Pat Powers. Go figure that.

  17. grudznick 2014.11.30

    I don't think Mr. Powers is elected by the SDGOP to run the show or anything. He seems to be a volunteer. I think Mr. Barth would have a bellyful of arguing with Mr. Powers if he were to be elected as the SDDP chair. And I have decided after rewatching the video of Mr. Barth marching downhill I am for him winning this thing and taking Mr. kurtz's ideas all the way to the bank.

  18. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.11.30

    CAH, I would never insult any Democrat or Republican by alleging Lederman was their guy. Lederman and his political opportunist ilk are for themselves and are one of the real problems in politics today.

  19. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.30

    If Powers wants to talk about "sexual assault", he should first address the Mette rape case followed by Mike Rounds protection of pedophile priests on Indian reservations.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.30

    "We don't need a debate coach, we need a leader." I resemble that remark. ;-)

    Seriously, I think one of the best things that could happen to South Dakota would be to elect all the debate coaches in South Dakota to state government. You'd be amazed at how quickly and effectively things would get done.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.30

    Roger's point further illustrates the hypocrisy and hackery of Powers's claim. Powers only posts on topics if they fit his political agenda or that of his sponsors. Nothing could be hackier.

  22. jerry 2014.11.30

    I meant no foul. Let me clarify please. In order to have a legitimate debate, it takes a team to be able to convey the direction of the debate. You make the assumption that the direction of the debate is to those who can find common ground to move the subject ahead. I do not see that in today's South Dakota Republican brand. I see the Pat Powers and I see the Troy Jones of politics that only mean one thing, their way or the highway. How do you debate a wall without going through it? I know very little about Ms Tornberg and mean her no disrespect whatsoever. I do know that Jeff Barth is a legitimate campaigner and has proven his willingness to mix it up. I also read Mr. Barth's words here and think that he is a pragmatic thinker to go along with his approach. The dust up to Ms Tornberg to me only means that the PP's and the Tory's want her to be their adversary in a debate or to just ignore completely, but that is their choice, in my view.

  23. Les 2014.11.30

    Who is protecting all the pedophile uncles, on the Rez, Roger?
    To all who find problems in Pierre with everyone but themselves or their party, etc, remember, both parties were scattered and nonexistent at the polls in November.
    It appears that very few in Pierre actually represent the people per DD's remarks.

  24. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.30


    Good one Cory. At first glance I read "Stranahannity."

    Get it? Oh well.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.30

    Got it, Deb! Nice! (That same hybrid beast echoed in my head this morning while I wrote!)

  26. bearcreekbat 2014.12.01

    This thread is troubling for a couple of reasons.

    First, who cares what Pat Powers or any other Republican thinks or says about candidates for Democratic leadrship? Neither Powers nor his followers are likely to have the slightest impact on the Democratic party's choice for leadership. His comments cannot even qualify as trolling since he made them on his own blog. If you don't like what he says, don't read his blog - I don't.

    Second, it seems that this has now turned into a cyberbullying attack on an individual - Pat Powers - that has nothing to do with the issue of who should lead the Democrats. There is so much name calling and pejorative personal comments by so many otherwise bright and caring commentators that Madville's intelligent approach is slipping. How does calling Powers a hack with nothing of "intelligence or integrity" to say in his blog, an ass kisser, a dog, a hypocrite, advance the discussion? How do such comments reflect on the quality of the progressives and liberals who post here?

    If it matters, my suggestion is to stop calling people names and stop giving them nasty labels. Such comments distract from the what is incorrect in their arguments.

Comments are closed.