Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Is Kristi Noem Running Scared?

Let's begin with the caveat that I expect Noem to be elected governor in November. She has won two statewide Republican primaries and has been elected to Congress four times. That said, some recent events lead to the belief that she's not running a campaign based on confidence.

First, she selected Larry Rhoden to be her running mate. Rhoden's most obvious contribution to the ticket is the fact that he provides a West River geographic balance. This selection seemingly indicates she's worried that Democratic candidate Billie Sutton will cut deeply into her West River advantage, something Republicans in general and Noem, as she showed in her primary victory over Marty Jackley, in particular enjoys.

Second, the South Dakota Republican Party's predictably over-the-top response to a silly tweet mentions Billie Sutton twice as much as it mentions Samuel Parkinson, the tweet's author. It mentions no other Democratic state-wide candidate. The emphasis on Sutton alone seems curious.

Finally, there's a ridiculous press release posing as a fact sheet that claims Sutton is a "Pierre insider" who will be unable to "upset the status quo." Had Democrats been in charge of the legislature or the held the governor's office in recent memory, that charge might have merit. However, Republicans have been in charge. If Noem is truly an outsider to the Pierre political culture, she must be claiming that she has not actively been working with Republican governors and legislative leaders when she was representing South Dakota in Washington, a dubious claim at best. 

Further, if being in Pierre in the minority "for nearly a decade" makes Sutton an insider what does being in Pierre in the majority since 2001 make Rhoden? I doubt the correct answer is "outsider."

The farcical insider/outsider rhetoric pales in comparison to one of the chief proofs of Sutton's status as an insider: Sutton's "grandfather was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in 1978." If one is to judge a person's insider status by what a grandfather's did in 1978, I must be a medium or a mortician, a dead person insider if you will, because both of my grandfathers died prior to 1978.

As I said in the first paragraph, I expect Noem to win. I would also expect a confident candidate and party to act as such and campaign on issues not vague slogans juvenile insinuations with no logical backing.

No comments: