Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 Republican Primary Senate Race: Two Weeks Out View

I was never in the military, so I will not copy PNR's "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot." I deal with young'uns and blog, so I'll use social media and blogging platforms: What the Wordpress Twitter Facebook is going on?

Governor Mike Rounds, the front runner with the best name ID, smiles a lot. He has some folks wondering about some questionable practices dealing with the EB-5 program. When he left office, the state had a structural deficit that his successor, Dennis Daugaard, dealt with in a rather draconian manner. Daugaard, who wears red plaid shirts to remind everyone he's just a normal guy, has endorsed Rounds, an act that cemented Rounds front runner status. Did I mention Rounds smiles a lot?

In a normal political universe, the four candidates challenging Rounds would be exploiting Rounds's record. Given that there are four challengers, one might expect, in a rational political universe, that the airwaves and newspapers would be plastered with advertisements chronicling Rounds errant ways, but South Dakota is, apparently, an alternate political universe. (Trekkers should feel free to insert their own Mirror Mirror reference here.)

One candidate, Larry Rhoden, is a state legislator with leadership experience. One would think he has some political skills. Rhoden, however, seems content to copy Rounds. During the recent debate, he even used the phrase "South Dakota common sense"; Rounds has made that phrase one of the key catch phrases of his campaign. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but one would think that Rhoden would want to metaphorically bury Rounds not flatter him.

Two other challengers, Messrs. Nelson and Ravnsborg, have taken to arguing about which man had the greater military service and whose service created the person more fit to serve as senator. Instead of attacking Rounds, they are attacking each other. Rounds didn't even have to implement his own divide and conquer strategy. The performed the circular firing squad maneuver of their own volition.

The final candidate, Dr. Annette Bosworth, has not paid some of her former employees and conducted a raffle for which no prizes were awarded. She may have perjured herself to get her name on the ballot. She claims that she is undertaking a heroic quest. The comparison is not totally without merit; she has the hubris of an epic hero. She merely lacks any of redeeming qualities that epic heroes traditionally possess. Yet, Bosworth, the most flawed of all the candidates, is the only one who seems to understand that forcefully attacking Rounds is the only chance any of the challengers have. Of course, Bosworth's ethical lapses mean Cassandra had a better chance of being believed in Troy than Bosworth does in this campaign.

In The Picture of Dorain Gray, Oscar Wilde writes, "A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies." Rounds could not have hand picked a better set of opponents to create the opportunity for an easy victory. It will take the most monumental of gaffes to keep him from the Republican nomination on June 3.


Anonymous said...

Go back to Rhoden's announcement speech and about every speech or forum thereafter and you'll find he is the one who has been using "Common sense" all the time and Rounds then started using it. Just because Rhoden came after Rounds in the debate doesn't mean Rounds coined it (in this election). :-)

Kal Lis said...

Rounds has been screaming "South Dakota common sense" since last fall. The line has been a major part several of his ads and his reported stump speeches. DWC has posts from last November quoting him using the term.

I'll grant Rhoden may have used it in his announcement speech, Rounds was in the race first, had the first ads, and has greater purchase on the term in the general public's eye. If one is going to challenge the front runner, one needs to avoid appearing to be the "me too" candidate. Even if Rhoden used the term first, he looks like Rounds lite when he uses it now.