Should I Take Exception to Tim Goodwin?

Tim Goodwin is one of the Black Hills Republicans cloaking himself in cross and flag to get elected to the Legislature (specifically, one of five apparent right-wingers competing for two House slots in the five-way District 30 House primary). But one line of his soldier-salesman bio gets me scratching my head:

Tim has spent his life living the ideal of exceptionalism. With his wife Marcia at his side, Tim has instilled that value to his children and grandchildren [Tim Goodwin, campaign website, downloaded 2016.04.14].

Tim Goodwin, Exceptionalist
Tim Goodwin, Exceptionalist

Now I can guess that a guy who talks about putting on the armor of God and fighting the devil in District 30 is the kind of arch conservative who subscribes to American exceptionalism, the notion that America’s awesomeness is not just descriptive but normative; that America not only is a uniquely moral and powerful nation but should be, is called to be, was ordained by the Christian God to be. That notion is rife with fallacies and Christian contradiction, but hey, if the notion persuades policymakers to do the right thing, it may be useful.

I’m struggling to figure out how exceptionalism figures into a state legislative campaign and specifically what it means to spend one’s life living that ideal. Goodwin doesn’t specify American exceptionalism; he speaks of it in more personal terms, as if exceptionalism is something he can actualize every day, at work and at home with his family.

I e-mailed the Goodwin campaign seeking clarification but received no response. I am thus left to speculate…

  1. Is exceptionalism just one more anti-Obama dog whistle for fact-free Fox voters?
  2. Does it mean he thinks he should receive favors that no one else does? See, for example, his campaign lit, as depicted on Gordon Howie’s conservative blog:
    Tim Goodwin campaign literature, from Gordon Howie, "Tim Goodwin: Conservative South Dakota Candidate," The Right Side, 2016.04.14.
    Tim Goodwin campaign literature, from Gordon Howie, “Tim Goodwin: Conservative South Dakota Candidate,” The Right Side, 2016.04.14.

    “Stop Obama Care” and “Save VA”—right next to each other! Down with government involvement in health care, except for veterans like Goodwin—sounds exceptionalist to me.

  3. Does it mean he’ll support Gordon Howie’s long-running position that highways for everyone except for bicyclists?
  4. Does it mean he’ll take the position of some of his less-informed Republican colleagues that America is the most powerful and moral nation in world except when Syrian refugees knock on our door, at which point America becomes a powerless victim that must cower behind locked doors?
  5. Does it mean he’ll legislate like his state party as an exceptionalist, looking ways to except women, LGBT South Dakotans, American Indian voters, and other folks from their full Constitutional rights?

Goodwin’s use of exceptionalism could mean nothing—lots of Republicans use words with fire-and-forget casualness. Guys like Goodwin absorb language from the national propaganda mills and karaoke it back in their little campaigns, fantasizing that they are running for President or asking Tomi Lahren out on a date. They don’t even get to the point of wondering how a foreign policy abstraction relates to the practical business of passing practical laws for South Dakota.

But I’m not an exceptionalist. I expect everyone to use language meaningfully, even Christian warriors like Tim Goodwin.

46 Responses to Should I Take Exception to Tim Goodwin?

  1. mike from iowa

    Wingnuts and their morality. That’s moral with an IM.

  2. Some words, phrases, concepts have no discernible meaning because the word, phrase or concept means what the author thinks it means to him/her without regard to what the listener might think it means* or it is relative in comparison to oneself vs. the whole.** For effective communication, one should be able to go to the dictionary and get a good idea what is meant by the word, phrase and concept.

    * Example: Fascist, pro-education, pro-family

    ** Example: Liberal and conservative. Instead of a conservative being to the right of the whole body politic, for a conservative, a conservative is anyone who is not to the left of them. Similarly, instead of a liberal being to the left of the whole body politic, for a liberal, a liberal is anyone who is not to the right of them.

    In short, in order to communicate, the listener has to have intimate knowledge of the perspective of the speaker and one can not read the words and take them as said or written.

  3. By the way, one could look up the definition of exceptionalism and form an opinion based on the context of what he writes:

    My opinion of what his phrase means: He has pursued forming both himself and where he worked into something exceptional (above the norm). By using the phrase, it is reasonable to also discern his pursuit was a priority and intentional. Finally, by using the term “ideal”, he acknowledges a humility he hasn’t been always successful.

    But, like you, because it uses words, articulates a concept which isn’t generally said that way (more often I hear the concept said most broadly “trying to live a virtuous life” or in a religious context “pursuit of holiness”) and should be universal of all of us, it likely causes confusion and the possibility of misunderstanding, proven for no other reason than it stimulated a thread by you.

    I think you rightly asked yourself he has to mean more than intentionally trying to live a virtuous life when in reality it is all he really meant. When I first read it, my first reaction was “what the heck is he trying to say?” I had to reflect on it because intuitively I recognized an attempt to communicate something in particular. In a political piece, I wouldn’t count on people to reflect making it likely very ineffective.

    I also think you rightly perceived a “dog whistle” but not the one you heard. Most often when people try to summarize their life’s mantra, it is a dog whistle but their own internal compass for which they measure themselves. It is internal and personal and doesn’t translate well for broad consumption.

  4. Mr. H, District 30 is full of overgodders who are insaner than most. Mr. Goodwin has a lot of billboard signs up and big money behind his exceptionalism. Unfortunately he has 5 or 6 competitors who are not much better, but they are probably slightly less dangerous. I would urge you to vote with me for anyone other than Ms. Oakes or Mr. Goodwin. grudznick wants to have people in that side of the legislatures who are more effective than Mr. Russell ever was.

  5. Mr. Troy, you are using words in an attempt to communicate something in particular, but I read it twice and I still ask what to what sort of dog whistle mantra do you refer?

  6. Another so called “Christian Warrior” . It seems his chest salad is without the Combat Infantry Badge, am I being judgmental about a fellow veteran? Just a simple veteran would suffice to tell your potential voters that you were in the military, which is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. But to call that attention to yourself with time in service as the armor of God, is simply bullpuckey. This fellow needs to see what Obama has done for the VA that his predecessor screwed the pooch on. Bush made the VA overflow with veterans that the department was ill prepared to accept. Bush gave us the shame of Walter Reed along with veterans not getting any kind of service for ptsd when they got home, so much so that it clogged the system and caused long unnecessary waits that finally congress helped right. It cost the head of the general who was not on the same music sheet as Rumsfeld though, the long knives got the payback on General Eric Shinseki as the fall guy. What would Goodwin do in district 30 to save the VA that NOem, Thune and Short Rounds have not done on a federal level? If this fellow had the balls to do so, he would come out and say that the VA needs to be fully funded. Until then, it is more tall tale telling from a gent that wraps himself around a flag and a bible.

  7. If I needed a slogan for a bumper sticker, I would seek out a Republican. But, if I were seeking a policy or program statement, I believe I would have look elsewhere!

  8. Should you take exception to Tim Goodwin? I hope so. Regulations in the Uniform Code of Military Justice bar using or wearing the uniform in conjunction with any political activity. This overgodder places himself over long established rules and laws that apply to the rest of us. Your exceptionalism to Tim Goodwin should result in “passing him over” for potential promotion to the state house.

  9. Grudz,

    See, when people try to be esoteric, the message gets lost. I blame Goodwin and then Cory for starting this. :)

    Let’s imagine my personal “dog whistle” is to be humble (nobody here were think I was very successful if that were the case). Thus, when I measure actions I ask myself “was I humble.” I think Goodwin is trying to communicate his personal internal “dog whistle” but because it is personal, it doesn’t come across with the clarity one desires in political communication.

  10. mike from iowa

    Whatever happened to keeping religion out of politics? I remember less than 10 years ago wingnuts pitching a fit over a Muslim in the WH.

  11. mike from iowa

    As to John’s comments, didn’t Jason Ravnsborg do the same a few years back? Pict himself in uniform standing by a jet. Apparently IOKIYAR.

  12. Bill Dithmer

    A lot of dog whistles cant be heard by us humans. Thats just one of our inferior traits.

    The Blindman

  13. Donald Pay

    I’m not sure why candidates bother this. I guess they are appealing to the dumb crowd. I hope this is just part of a bigger lit piece, or it was a waste of ink.

    The first two points are skimpy resume. It’s not really a reason to vote for him, but I suppose you could say he has some experience in life.

    The next four points are labels. Why do candidates label themselves? Labels mean nothing. Hell, I’m “pro-gun,” but probably not in the way the NRA would approve. I’m “pro-life,” but I would never expect Right to Life to endorse me. My positions on these issues would also frustrate pro gun control and pro choice groups.

    Life and positions on issues can’t ever be boiled down to a label, so why bother? Check that. The whole idea of being a Christian Conservative means nothing, really, when it comes down to Christian theology or conservative ideology. It’s just a label to attract someone who is too dumb to go deeper. Supposedly in this country we have a Constitution that bans religious tests for political office. I’m not sure how labeling oneself a Christian, as if that’s a qualification for office, squares with any conservative interpretation of the Constitution.

    The one label that has always bugged me is “avid hunter.” It’s like being a hunter is not quite good enough for politicians, but they have to hunt avids, whatever they are. Let’s just stipulate that all hunters hunt avids. Then we can save ink on “avid.” In general, I would expect outdoors enthusiasts to have pro-environment leanings. I found, as a lobbyist on environmental issues, that was not often the case. For too many “avid hunters,” it really is just a label to use on their election literature.

    The next two points are federal issues. I suppose there are some state decisions that have to be made under Obamacare, but why not state your position on those, such as accepting federal dollars for Medicaid. Again, these bullet points are for the dumb crowd.

    The penultimate bullet point is a position on an issue. Hurray!!! Unfortunately, it’s not accompanied by any real plan. I think Godless humanist liberal feminists would run on this bullet point, but accompany it with a real plan, such as an income tax the leads to real tax reform.

    Last we have “limited government,” a vacuous phrase. I guess he wants limited government, except for government reaching into the womb, and saving VA.

  14. excellent, Donald Pay. Excellent!

  15. On his website he says, “For over 19 years, Tim has made his living as a businessman selling quality, American made products[.]”

    So if he sells quality American made products, why won’t he say what they are? There’s a red flag. Sounds like a used car salesman to me, but who knows? If he is, that’s ok, but why won’t he tell us about the quality products he’s spent 19 years hocking?

    Website has a button to click on for issues, but it doesn’t work. He’s deep into a primary and doesn’t want to give his position on issues on his website. There’s another red flag.

  16. This guy’s website is pretty thin gruel. If he’s just a prepper living in a shack in the woods and selling MREs to other preppers on the internet it would explain why he won’t tell anybody anything about himself except that 20 years ago he hit a promotion wall in the military retired with a nice pension.

  17. mike from iowa

    Donald Pay wins the internet today. Let’s make it required reading for the truly dumb and blind.

  18. mike from iowa

    Here is another in-uniform wingnut running for the same seat, I think. Must be violate military protocol party.

  19. No Mike, just normal west river politics, the west river republican sheeple are even more gullible than most, will fall for anything military or religious.

  20. Mr. Pay, it sometimes disconcerts me with a sick belly feeling when you and I agree on things but today you and I are in a three-legged gunnysack race together and my belly feels fine. Except when I see those Goodwin signs like I just did.

  21. I note the humor in Mr. H’s link to a bicycle article that mocks the libbie poster-boy who was the second least effective in the legislatures ever, Mr. Kloucek, who was on board with the Kinpin Mr. Howie on that one.

  22. Roger Cornelius

    Tim Goodwin’s association with Gordon Howie should disqualify him from public office.

  23. Indeed, Mr. C. Indeed.

  24. Western SD is rife with these characters wanting to “serve” the public outwardly with their “Conservative christian values etc etc etc, while simply appeasing and self-stroking their egos and mebbe fattening their wallets. Sickening, as is their party “apparent” leader, Trump.

  25. Any body care to research what we hard-workin’ taxpayers pay out to keep these retired military people banking their pensions? A whoppin’ bunch it is or sure!

  26. Wingnut save the va.How about care for all our vets republicans vote against this.

  27. What is it that Mr. Goodwin was selling for all these years?

  28. Donald Pay

    mike from iowa and grudz:

    Thanks. I tend to write these things too fast on the blogs, so there are a number of syntax problems, words left out, etc., but I think the thoughts come through those errors

    And I want to say this. I always enjoy each of your thoughts on various issues. Unfortunately, I’m the kind of guy that nods silently in my head when I agree with something that people write. But I agree with Mike from Iowa a lot. With grudz, I sometimes don’t how much is genuine and how much is genuine satire. That’s why I like Grudz. I can’t figure Grudz out.

  29. Bob Newland

    There is not one thing that is genuine about grudznick.

  30. Mike, I think you misunderstood: it was not an aim to keep religion out of politics, it was an aim to keep OTHERs’ religions out of politics. The rightest of the right have always sought to legislate through “God’s word.”

  31. Bob, if you can get to Talley’s tomorrow it would be good to have your input. Pick me up at the usual time.

    Despite your support I am going to advocate against Mr. Goodwin. And Bob, please do not vote for him or Mr. Russell or Ms. Oakes. They are insaner than most but on the other end of the scale from you, and none of them wear hats.

  32. Jake Cummings

    Troy, it becomes difficult to argue one is humble if s/he is touting his/her exceptionalism, and Goodwin’s use of the term “ideal” does not seem suggestive of failings; he does not mention “striving for the ideal of exceptionalism;” he mentions “living the ideal of exceptionalism.”

    John and mfi, does Section (pg. 6) of DoD Directive 1344.10 permit candidates some discretion in use of photos in uniform provided they are not campaign media’s “primary graphic representation”?

    Even if it does, I think Goodwin could be in violation, as his photo appears on multiple campaign webpages and is not accompanied by the disclaimer stipulated in Section of the aforementioned DoD directive. My guess is he replaces the uniform photo on his campaign website with the one of him in civvies shortly.

  33. barry freed

    Speaking of the black Hills, and sorry to go off topic, but an article that was in the RC Journal and on line, disappeared from the online edition in just a few hours and I feel cheated out of the comment section and people’s responses.

  34. speaking of Christian soldiers speaking, disgraced , like bill Clinton though not a military soldier, frmr. gen. patraeus, who replaced gen. mccrystal (below), is speaking to law enfocement mucky mucks at our expense in sx. falls.

    at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., after handing in his resignation, David H. Petraeus passed a bas-relief sculpture of Allen Dulles, who led the agency in the 1950s and early ’60s. Below it is the motto, “His Monument Is Around Us.”

    Both men ran the C.I.A. during some of its most active years, Dulles during the early cold war and Mr. Petraeus during the era of drone strikes and counterinsurgency operations. And both, it turns out, had high-profile extramarital affairs.

    But private life for a C.I.A. director today is apparently quite different from what it was in the Dulles era. Mr. Petraeus resigned after admitting to a single affair; Allen Dulles had, as his sister, Eleanor, wrote later, “at least a hundred.”

    Despite the misgivings of most Democratic and a few Republican senators over the proposed implementation of the “Petraeus Doctrine” in Iraq, specifically regarding the troop surge….Petraeus stated in an interview that there were “astonishing signs of normalcy” in Baghdad, and this comment drew criticism from Senate majority leader Harry Reid. wiki

    “Retired 4-Star General and former CIA Director David Petraeus will be the keynote speaker at the next South Dakota Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner and Children’s Charity Fundraiser. The 35th annual event is planned for November 9 [after an earth shaking election for some reason that SDGOP’s law enforcement thinks is necessary] at the Ramkota Exhibit Hall in Sioux Falls. While the first dinner in 1982 had 53 attendees, more than 2,000 people now take part and organizers expect this year’s speaker to be a big draw. It will follow a question-answer format with audience members being given an opportunity to speak directly to General Petraeus.

    In addition to the appreciation dinner, there will also be a private reception for the retired general at the law firm of Johnson, Janklow, Abdallah. Petraeus is one of the highest ranking military officials ever to visit the city. again, in November 2012, Petraeus resigned as CIA director, citing an extramarital affair.” sdle publication

    NBC News and news services

    updated 6/23/2010 7:58:33 PM ET

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama sacked his loose-lipped Afghanistan commander Wednesday, a seismic shift for the U.S. military order in wartime, and chose the familiar, admired — and tightly disciplined — Gen. David Petraeus to replace him. Petraeus, brother of a military chaplin, was architect of the Iraq war turnaround, once again to take hands-on leadership of a troubled war effort.

    Obama said bluntly that Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s scornful remarks about administration officials represent conduct that “undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.”

  35. sorry, mccrystal is the chaplin’s brother.

  36. mike from iowa

    Didn’t Betrayus allow his mistress access to classified docs?

  37. yeah, he pled to a misdemeanor perhaps from initial felony charges. some say Hillary likely will not get an indictment. “facts, facts, facts” trey gowdey must be saying, slimely, “must find (Gollum) facts…” :)

  38. “bill Clinton of course let monica use the red phone. we are still impeaching the bastard” karl rove said this to me at borders…:)

  39. Troy, can you cite an example of any other author online using “exceptionalism” in the sense of personal striving that you give in your comment at the top of this thread?

  40. Grudz, Kloucek was ultimately persuaded to vote for the bill.

  41. Ror, Goodwin says on LinkedIn that he sells building materials for Collins Companies. Maybe he’s being more careful of creating an unwelcome association between his political activities and his current employer than he is about exploiting his uniform for political gain.

    Yes, Lasseter is exploiting his uniform and military résumé. Stace Nelson continues to do so. So did Jason Ravnsborg.

    Inspired by your comments above, I review DOD Directive 1344.10 on political activity by members of the military: Retired members may “Use or mention, or permit the use or mention of, their military rank or grade and military service affiliation; BUT they must clearly indicate their retired or reserve status.” Goodwin fails to do that on his home page. “As a career military man, I have fought hard for justice and democracy around the world,” writes Goodwin, making no mention of his retirement and using the present perfect tense, which leaves open the interpretation that he remains in the service. We must click on “Meet Tim” to see the word “retired.” Members not on active duty may not “Use or allow the use of photographs, drawings, and other similar media formats of themselves in uniform as the primary graphic representation in any campaign media, such as a billboard, brochure, flyer, Web site, or television commercial. For the purposes of this policy, ‘photographs’ include video images, drawings, and all other similar formats of representational media.” The low-res image of Goodwin in uniform is the primary and only graphic representation of the candidate.

    Jake’s reading appears to be accurate. Goodwin is in violation of the DOD directive and needs to change his website content… unless he thinks he deserves an exception.

  42. bearcreekbat

    leslie, this way off topic, but maybe you need a smile today and I know that this is a topic near and dear to your heart:

    Thanks for indulging my humor links Cory.

  43. John Wrede

    Had plenty of exposure to this guy during the out of control Mountain Lion management debates in the Black Hills. He demanded that GFP officials be fired for incompetence, he was the most coarse, rude, and verbally vitriolic of anyone I’ve ever heard testify in front of a public body (which includes the Rapid City Common Council) If there is anyone more off the wall and incoherent, than Goodwin, I haven’t met them. This guy doesn’t have a civil bone in his body and his ability to manufacture facts and invent reality is patented……. LOOSE CANON!!!!

  44. CH,

    I can’t think of anyone who has used the term. I think there is a good reason too:

    1) It doesn’t simply communicate what he might be trying to say.
    2) It is open to misunderstanding what he might be trying to say.

  45. John Wrede

    I would also dispute Goodwin’s claim to be an avid hunter and fisherman….. He may be an avid shooter and keeper of everything the law allows but he is no hunter in the true sense of outdoors conservation mindedness. His machismo far exceeds his cerebral capabilities.

  46. Machismo and poor communication skills—oh yeah, like we need more of that in Pierre.