Elitist RC Republicans Organize Invitation-Only Forum

Republican elitism at its best: tired of catching earfuls from regular citizens at public crackerbarrels, Rapid City-area legislators organized an invitation-only “Legislative Roundtable” to hear from “community leaders”:

One of the event organizers is state Rep. David Johnson, R-Rapid City. In an interview with the Journal, he said the “reverse cracker-barrel” concept arose from a desire for calm and nonpartisan discussions of issues, rather than heated political arguments.

“Our purpose is to get ideas from community leaders and business leaders in the Rapid City area,” Johnson said. “It’s not to debate social issues or hot-button issues or firecracker issues. We want to talk about things like economic and community development.”

…The other six legislators who are participating in the event are also Republicans from Rapid City: Reps. Sean McPherson, Craig Tieszen and Kristin Conzet, and Sens. Alan Solano, Terri Haverly and Jeff Partridge.

Johnson said 107 invites were distributed, and 40 RSVPs had been received by Thursday morning [Seth Tupper, “Legislators Pledge to Shute Mouths and Open Ears at New Event,” Rapid City Journal, 2017.09.08].

Legislators have the right to host private events. But in casting this invitation-only event as a form of legislator-constituent interaction superior to the free and open crackerbarrels we get during Session, Rep. Johnson is showing the South Dakota establishment Republican aversion to being held accountable by the people who elect and pay them.

19 Responses to Elitist RC Republicans Organize Invitation-Only Forum

  1. Donald Pay

    This sort of corruption is “business as usual” for Republicans. Usually they just go in and get their orders one at a time for various elitist organizations. Or they all go into a meeting held by each elitist organization. The only thing new about this is the crooked legislators are taking the lead to line up the crooked, elitist organizations so that all the crooked organizations and all the crooked legislators can be on the same page starting out. You think they will invite real people or even leaders of real grassroots organizations? Not a chance. This is a meeting only for the capo.

  2. Business as usual, with an emphasis on business.

    This event is Rep. Johnson saying, “Hey guys, let’s have a listening session, but let’s only invite the people we want to listen to.”

  3. Roger Elgersma

    If they thought their ideas were good enough for the citizens to agree to, they would publish a statement and put it in the newspaper, or have a press conference. But they probably are starting to see that they are not representing the people since their own people nominated Trump rather than a party insider. So now they are keeping their real goals and policies out of reach of anyone that might disagree. Probably did not even invite all Republicans. That is showing a sign of weakness in a very conservative town.

  4. M. Cammack

    Are economic & community development social issues ??

  5. Good question, M. Cammack. Economic and community development push all sorts of my hot buttons. Just what are the legislators after? And aren’t these the same Republican legislators who rely heavily on the crutch of “hot-button” “social” issues to pad their winning margins in November? Is David Johnson signaling to the Family Heritage Alliance and the SD Gun Owners that he’s sick of their distracting culture-war hysteria and just wants to talk Chamber of Commerce issues from now on?

  6. My husband and I have attended many cracker barrel sessions held at SDSMT over the years. They have been orderly, well organized and cordial so I’m confused by Johnson’s statement about heated political arguments.
    Last year when a written question format was utilized at the RC Crackerbarrel it made it much easier for an introvert like me to participate; however, some of the legislators found this method unsatisfactory so they held their forum across the hall. I couldn’t be two places at one time so I feel as tho I missed out. My husband and I did not receive an invitation to the Johnson forum even tho we live in the Rapid City area and own our own business. I feel left out. We pay taxes and vote.

  7. In earlier days the Klan met in secret, but now with Trump in office they are emboldened enough to announce their meetings.
    Probably trying on new robes and pointy hats.

  8. JK, thanks for that observation. I’m puzzled, too, as to what specific crackerbarrel instances Rep. Johnson may be thinking of when he proposes his exclusive invite-only/elites-only meetings as a superior use of his time.

  9. Porter Lansing

    “FAVORS FOR SALE!!” (activists won’t be present to witness the auction or your bids) – RCGOP

  10. Darin Larson

    These invitation only meetings with legislators are the logical progression to the Republican establishment’s strategy of limiting public input. The cracker barrels that I witnessed in Sioux Falls last session were as controlled and scripted as any public forum I have ever witnessed. All questions were to be submitted in writing from which a “moderator” chose the questions to be asked and the panel of legislators chose among themselves who wanted to respond. They refused to ask more than one question on a subject and there was no follow-up of course. Most of everyone’s time there was wasted as they asked questions that few people in the room were interested in and they were usually not controversial or important issues. The room was packed to hear about IM 22 repeal and replace and what we heard was akin to talking about the weather. There was not even the appearance of taking input from citizens. It was merely the legislators telling the people their own views on nondescript issues. What a joke!

    Soon, the only public meetings these folks will attend are ones where they are making money fundraising. If you have the money, they will talk to you.

  11. I must say I like this new idea. Those are some of the saner in the legislatures. I bet it goes well.

  12. I can’t say I’m surprised Mr. Pay is upset about not being invited, but…oh wait, he doesn’t even vote here. I can’t say I’m surprised about my friend Mr. C not being invited, as far as I know. But maybe he is invited. If I was in the legislatures I would not have a meeting and invite rabble that would just wreck the meeting and shout and yell and argue about things the meeting wasn’t about and have to be kicked out. I would have a meeting with people who know about and want to talk about the issues I want to know about.

    I don’t hear any of you yammering about being excluded from tomorrow’s breakfasting by the Conservatives with Common Sense. I think it just scars your little minds to know there are people who don’t want to talk to some of you.

  13. Let me be clear, if I was in the legislatures I would invite Mr. C. He would not wreck the meeting but would provide great insight. If they haven’t invited Mr. C, they should.

  14. Donald Pay

    Grudz, The rabble are the people these folks are supposed to represent. You know we have a democratic republic. They aren’t supposed to go to Pierre to represent the goddam Chamber of Commerce and ignore the broad public.

  15. Good point about the scripted, increasingly moderated nature of the crackerbarrels, Darin. Those efforts and the things Johnson is saying to justify this invite-only event seem to fit an overarching narrative that Republicans are trying to sell. Consider the comments we hear from chosen Republican moderators like Ried Holien and Larry Rhoden at Kristi Noem’s town halls: they warn the audience about uncivil behavior and recite rules as if they are talking to unruly children. They promulgate the notion that the general public is not to be trusted and that more control must be given to those in power. Such statements and events undermine public faith in democracy and cast the Republican elites as the forces of order.

  16. It is fair to note that Mr. Pay’s concern about the chamber of commerce is merited as it is a shadow cabal with private meetings where they set out the agendas they will cram down the maws of the legislatures. Dark private meetings in the basements of some of your towns best restaurants.

  17. Donald Pay

    Grudz, I have no problem with the Chamber or anyone else holding “private meetings.” I don’t have a problem with the Chamber advocating for its positions. I do have a problem when the people’s representatives act as if they are an extension of the Chamber.

  18. mike from iowa

    Wingnut party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the C of C, and has been since at least Raygun’s reign of terror.

  19. Roger Elgersma

    This is a process that might make everyone give up on the democratic process and just vote in bullies like Trump. When I would meet at the Federal court house on Sunday afternoons to protest the war, the older people would protest. The youth would stop a few minutes and agree with us and then walk on. They found no point in protesting since they had been programmed to believe that their opinion would never matter anyways. They had grown up with their first experience with government was divorce court and as my daughter says, the judge totally ignored her opinions. The younger people that do not vote simply do not believe that they can ever make a difference.
    The system of one party wants us all to just trust them. Daugaard, Peters and the majority leader in the Senate were all disgusted that anyone would not have enough trust in them so as to want an ethics committee. If you make sure no one gets riled up by not letting them know the truth, then the perception is that they can rule with no opposition. In reality, the opposition will just get more riled when they fully realize how much they have been lied to. This also teachers the next generation that cover ups work well. This is seriously not good.