Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Forget The Who Would You Want To Have A Beer With? As A Test For Supporting A Candidate.. . .

. . . Or yet another reason not to vote for Mike Rounds.

During every election cycle some talking head will claim that voters wind up voting for the candidate that they want to have a beer with. If the pundit it correct, I shouldn't vote. I don't recall any politician for statewide or federal office that I would want to have a beer with.

I propose, therefore,a new criterion to apply to the 2014 South Dakota Senate race: which candidate do you trust to help you if your child runs into trouble in a foreign country?

I believe Rick Weiland would do everything in his power to help me in that situation. I believe Larry Pressler would do everything in his power to help me in that situation. I believe Mike Rounds would not lift a finger to help me. He'd take time to take a phone call from Joop Bollen, but my problem would never appear on his radar.

Because one of the young'uns actually resides in a foreign county, this is not an academic question for me. It strikes at the core, and convinces me that there is no policy reason or personal reason to consider voting for Mike Rounds.

A Modest Proposal For South Dakota Democratic Voters: Leave The Attorney General Line Empty

One need not be named Cassandra, Sybil, Tiresias, or Edgar Cayce to have visions of South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley rummaging through Lowe's or Menards in search of a measuring tape to size the windows in the governor's office for new drapes in January 2019. He is going to be re-elected as attorney general. The only open question is whether setting the over/under at 87.49% is too low.

Democrats have turned incredibly average politicians like John Thune and Kristi Noem into juggernauts by not opposing them or running weak candidates against them.  They run the same risk with Jackley. They fielded no candidate to oppose him in this election, and his pseudo-Libertarian opponent Chad Haber may be the least qualified candidate in South Dakota history to seek the attorney general's office.

I, therefore, offer Democrats the following modest proposal: leave the attorney general line blank. Jackley will use his 75% or 85% or 93% of the vote number as a reason to support him in 2018. If, however, he earns tens of thousands fewer votes than other Republican, Democrats will have a small wedge to counter the fact they didn't oppose him for attorney general during this election cycle.

The emphasis should be on the word "small" or perhaps "minuscule." If, however, one has no wedge, obtaining even a tiny wedge is good first step.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quotation And Chart Of The Day: You Shall Always Have The Poor With You Because It's Easy To Keep Them Poor Edition

From this Matt O'Brien post in the Washington Post:

Even poor kids who do everything right don't do much better than rich kids who do everything wrong. Advantages and disadvantages, in other words, tend to perpetuate themselves. You can see that in the above chart, based on a new paper from Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill, presented at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's annual conference, which is underway.
Specifically, rich high school dropouts remain in the top about as much as poor college grads stay stuck in the bottom — 14 versus 16 percent, respectively. Not only that, but these low-income strivers are just as likely to end up in the bottom as these wealthy ne'er-do-wells. Some meritocracy.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mike Rounds And The Big Lie: Ending Waste, Fraud, And Abuse

If I understand Republicans correctly, they view government as being filled with "waste, fraud, and abuse." They contend that if government has any legitimate reason to exist, these irregularities must be eliminated. Further, they claim that because Republicans fulminate the two prior contentions, they deserve to be elected to whatever board, commission, legislature, or executive office they seek.

EB-5 may be a complicated mess, but it's a prime example of wasting millions and abusing any system of adequate checks and balances. Whether the legal definition of fraud occurred may be an open question, but the whole affair has the stench of corruption.

EB-5 occurred under Mike Rounds watch. Republicans allege ending "waste, fraud, and abuse" is their raison d'ĂȘtre. If a Republican enabled such practices rather than ended them,,one would hope voters would end that Republican's, in this case Mike Rounds, career.

A Midlife Crisis??

Blogging has been really slow since school started. I seem to be running out of time and feeling more tired than I've ever felt. Those feelings have prompted me to wonder whether I am going through a late mid-life crisis.

The stereotype of someone suffering a midlife crisis is the person overcoming ennui by buying a motorcycle or going off to Tibet to meet the Dali Lama. (The stereotype neatly skirts the fact that the Dali Lama now resides in India.)

I, on the other hand, am experiencing nostalgia for things I can only vaguely remember, using a double-edged razor along with a shaving brush and writing with fountain pens. The brush feels good and the pens write well, but neither is a Harley. I must have spent a lot time living wrong.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Minor Musing About The Wismer Candidacy

Last Monday, Cory posted a provocative question: "Wismer Not Winning Women’s Vote, Losing Third of Dems to Daugaard—Why?"

At my most cynical, the answer is people lie to themselves frequently. A sizable minority of South Dakotans who call themselves Democrats can more accurately be described as "anti-Republican." They may tell a pollster that education is one of their priorities; it may be a priority but there are 17 priorities above it.

And yet, there is a little fact that the cynic in me can't ignore That fact was driven home by a conservation I had during the weekend. An acquaintance who has recently attended a Susan Wismer event asked me my opinion. I hedged. My hedging led to the acquaintance's simple assessment: "She is . . . ahm . . underwhelming."

In South Dakota, an "underwhelming" candidate with an "R" behind the name can win local contests. An underwhelming candidate with a "D" behind the name is going to lose, badly.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Minor Musing About Protest Votes

PNR recently put up a thoughtful post about voting for a candidate as opposed to voting against a candidate. If I am reading him correctly, the following sentences express his thesis.
Regardless, when you go into the voting booth, you don't get to vote against a candidate.  You can vote against ballot initiatives, amendments, etc., but not a candidate.  You have to either vote for or abstain.
PNR is writing about the Howie/Pressler/Rounds/Wieland Senate race. In that particular race, if reliable polls continue to show Rounds at 35% or lower, he is correct. Placing a check in the oval next to Weiland's or Pressler's name may indeed be a vote for them because they have a chance to be elected.

The rest of South Dakota's statewide races, however, are not competitive. In those races, marking the oval for someone other than Daugaard, Noem, Jackley. Krebs et al. can indeed be a protest vote. I fully intend to darken the oval by Emmett Reistroffer's name for no other reason than South Dakota third parties need support. Krebs is going to win that race easily, and all votes for someone other than Krebs are protest votes of one sort or another. Nearly every South Dakotan voting for someone other than a Republican is fully cognizant of that fact.

The ovals I will darken for someone other than Daugaard or Noem are just that, a vote indicating I don't believe those people will adequately provide South Dakota the service it needs. The vast majority of South Dakotans have made it clear that an "R" next to a name is all that is necessary to earn a vote.

If one is in a purple state or a competitive district in South Dakota, dissatisfied voters need to vote for the lesser of the the two evils. If one's electoral geography ensures that the winner is determined long before election day, one can vote against the evil of two lessers without indicating and indicate only opposition not support.