Monday, August 19, 2013

I Offer Stace Nelson Unsolicited Advice

Apparently, I missed the South Dakota Blogosphere memo that each and every South Dakota blog absolutely must say something about Stace Nelson's formal announcement that he is running for the United States Senate. Cory has two takes. Powers has a few takes. Howie and Ellis gush a manner that indicates a man crush. Mike offers a view about Nelson and ID cards.

I feel left out, so I'll offer some unsolicited advice.

First, I may be scarred because one of my debaters received a rather fierce critique because he chose to wear a red sports coat when he competed in a tournament' but I'm going to be that guy that trots out the cliche: dress for the job you want, not the job you have. The chambray shirt and khakis are fine for an announcement for the South Dakota legislature, but not the United States Senate. Nelson and his cadre of advisers clearly want to play up Nelson's outsider image. If they want to shun the tie, Nelson could wear black jeans and a sports jacket. If they want to play up the worker image, he could wear a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up a bit and a tie. Rebels, with or without a cause, want to project an ethos that shows that they're one of the people. I get that, but rebels running for the U.S Senate need to show voters they can beat the establishment pros at their own game. One must wear some parts of the political uniform to send the latter image.

Second, Nelson's base loves pledges and political contracts. In the 1990s, Gingrich's contract helped Republicans win the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. Grover Norquist has created a no-new-taxes-pledge-signing cult. The pledge/contract gambit is old hat. More importantly, it indicates that the candidates who sign them don't trust themselves to keep their word. If one's word is one's bond, no signed document should be necessary. Finally, it seems counter-productive to run as an Republican outsider if one signs the same pledge that many Republican insiders sign.

Now that the criticisms have been offered, I'll follow with the best advice I can offer Nelson or any other outsider candidate, an edited version of Raymond Chandler's description of his ideal protagonist. The best outsider candidates can develop the ethos Chandler wants his fictional characters to have:
But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. . ..He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. . . .if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, . . . . He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence . . . . He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with . . . wit, . . . a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The [campaign] is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in.
If there were enough like him, I think the world would be a very safe place to live in, and yet not too dull to be worth living in.
Contracts and khakis don't project this image.


M Larson said...

"Apparently, I missed the South Dakota Blogosphere memo that each and every South Dakota blog absolutely must say something about Stace Nelson's formal announcement that he is running for the United States Senate."

I am sure that you were busy prepping for school.

caheidelberger said...

Interesting comparison to literary creation. Campaigns, too, are an effort to create a story people will believe, complete with a heroic main character.

"Dress for the job you want"—Weiland is touring the state tieless and in blue jeans and well-worn boots. Curious: if I run someday and tour the state by bike, will you put up with knocking on doors in my bike shoes and bright t-shirt?

Kal Lis said...


Once again, let me offer my wishes for a safe journey and pleasant sojurn.

I probably should have taken the time to be a bit more nuanced. This was the campaign roll out, a formal event. Nelson should have boken out the formal attire. In your case, the trademark vest will suffice

If one is going to door to door on a bike, one can probably stretch the rules a lot unless one wants to give off the English country gentleman vibe.

Wieland right now is running unopposed. He gets a bit of freedom that he won't have for the general election. I'd offer the same advice to him for the general election.

By the way, what did he wear for his announcement?

Kal Lis said...

Thanks for giving me easy cover, Mike

Troy said...

Showing up at your own formal announcement and a funeral is a sign of the times- a lack for respect for "the more" or "the greater."

Give no respect, expect none.