Funny how using a question mark, coincidence, and an anonymous “friend” make crazy talk acceptable. Gordon Howie reads Luke 21: 25–26—
25 There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken [Luke 21:25–26, NIV via Bible Gateway].
It would be hard to make an argument that this scripture doesn’t describe our word today. A friend pointed out an interesting bit of information. On the 21st of September, we saw the eclipse. On the 25th, the Hurricane hit the Texas coast. On the 26th, flooding began in Houston.
Luke 21: 25-26, coincidence? You be the judge, but it certainly should make us think [Gordon Howie, “Jesus… Coming Soon???” The Right Side, 2017.09.10].
This kind of shameless flim-flammery makes Christians, conservatives, and bloggers look bad. Along with typing the wrong month, Howie posts nutty words, then hides from ownership of them with weasel words—”you be the judge… should make us think”—and the well-known bloggers’ question marks in the title, saying, I want to make people think Jesus is coming, but when he doesn’t, don’t blame me, because I only asked a question. Other people must have jumped to conclusions.
I won’t hide behind coy phrasing or question marks. I’ll say it clearly:
The August eclipse, this year’s hurricanes, last week’s earthquake in Mexico, and the sunny weather here in Aberdeen today are all natural phenomena, entirely explanable by science and not foretold by any word or playtime recoding of words in the Bible. The dates on which they occurred on the modern Gregorian calendar have nothing to do with the Roman calendar in use when Luke and friends wrote his gospel or with the chapter and verse numbers added centuries later by various human scribes not inspired by God. Several fellows named Jesús may be coming to America looking for work this week, but no carpenter-turned-teacher from Nazareth who was executed twenty centuries ago by the Roman governor of Judea in Jerusalem will return to clean up after Hurricane Irma, pass a federal budget, or declare a better kingdom any time “soon.”
I’m no expert on Christianity, but I know Christianity is about speaking the truth, not playing number games. Quit making the faith look nutty, Gordon.
You may not have noticed, because, despite all the attention Ellis says his website got him (links by Limbaugh, USA Today, BBC; interviews with NPR, Newsweek, NBC, BBC… really?), Ellis appears never to have entered into South Dakota’s mainstream consciousness. I chose not to include his American Clarion RSS feed or the Dakota Voice feed that preceded it in my South Dakota Blogosphere ticker in my blog sidebar because Ellis usually strayed from actual South Dakota news to focus on recycled rants from the national arch-right third-tier media. Ellis’s most recent content reflects that bias toward far-flung rhetoric with no connection to South Dakota. Prior to his farewell, Ellis’s six most recent posts pop up in his National feed…and tellingly, five of those articles drew zero comments, while the sixth drew one. His South Dakota feed shows only five posts between March 24 and May 10, and one deals with a presentation on “How to Speak Communist” and another is about World War II history. Ellis put up a lot of videos of legislative crackerbarrels but not much analysis. Ellis offers nothing about nonmeandered waters, nothing about our gubernatorial candidates, and nothing that doesn’t fit his paradigm of guns, patriotism, and the evils of liberalism. If you wanted to keep up with South Dakota politics, you didn’t read American Clarion.
Ellis uses the word whore four times in his article to blast the fellow conservatives whom he feels have sold out their professed values. Yet right next to that blistering critique is Ellis’s sidebar filled with clickbait ads with busty women promising better results than Viagra in stiffening one’s willie, plus a Biblical cure for body fat.
Whoring? Takes one to know one, Bob.
Ellis been offering the same tired recitations of extremist right-wing fantasies for over a decade. The critique I offered of his exertions in 2007 remains valid—he and fellow conservative warriors against the evil Left (like Steve Sibson, long lost in anti-Heidelberger obsession) are missing the real corporate fascist threat to their professed religious values:
Bob and Sibby aren’t completely wrong. There is a vast secular, globalist threat to Christianity and family values, perpetrated by amoral agents devoted only to increasing their own power. it’s called global corporate capitalism. Corporations have no God, no morality. Corporations care by design and duty for nothing but increased profits. They don’t care what god you worship or what country you live in: they just want your money, your labor, and your loyalty/slavery [CA Heidelberger, “Bob Ellis and Steve Sibson: Deluded Tools of the Plutocracy,” Madville Times, 2007.12.28].
Ellis makes no mention of his conservative competitor Pat Powers (we should say ally, but Ellis would surely lump Powers in with the whoring RINOs he sees corrupting his party and country). Powers says less about Ellis than I do, dismissing him as “bitter,” sarcastically calling Ellis’s swansong as a “gracious exit,” but chickening out of a complete analysis, response, or fare-the-well.
I’d encourage you–one of that remnant of people who is still dedicated to what is right–to stay informed (as I will be) by patronizing good sources of information that won’t whore out their values, that won’t water down the truth to curry favor with feckless betrayers of what we believe in, that will tell the truth even when it costs them. Here in South Dakota, a continuing source is the Right Side; I wish there were more, but the Right has become so corrupted here that most of the good people have beaten into silence or seduced into joining the dark side. Nationally, you can find the straight stuff at places like RedState and Resurgent. Don’t waste your time on “Right” wing propaganda sites (that use to be reliable) like Breitbart, Drudge and Fox News. And now that Rush Limbaugh can no longer be relied on to stand for conservatism, Steve Deace is my go-to guy on a daily basis (and in addition to hard-hitting conservatism, Deace brings to the table what Rush Limbaugh never did: the life-transforming Truth of a Biblical worldview) [Bob Ellis, “The Final American Clarion Article,” American Clarion, 2017.06.01].
The only South Dakota blog Ellis finds worth mentioning is Gordon Howie’s Right Side. I like Gordon. I’ve sat down and done blogvideos with Gordon. I’ve had fun interacting with Gordon, whose legislative experience seems to help him keep at least one toe in the world of practical South Dakota politics. But for the most part, Gordon’s blogging is a fluffier-puffierrevival tent version of Bob’s, dwelling on generic anti-Left hollerings that reinforce prejudices rather than informing readers about what’s happening in South Dakota. (That, and he fell for Annette Bosworth. Gordon, Gordon, Gordon….) That lack of South Dakota-specific information is why Right Side won’t be popping into my sidebar feeds… and why, like most of the soon-to-be deleted content on the now-defunct American Clarion, most posts on Right Side go without comment. If you want a blog to last, you have to write something worth talking about. That’s why Bob Ellis is gone and why almost no South Dakotans will notice.
…Perhaps you have also noticed the several hundred Million dollars in annual tax increases during the tenure of these two Governors. Be sure to thank them (or yourself) for that too… if you think it’s a good thing [Gordon Howie, “Food Stamp Recipients in South Dakota,” The Right Side, 2017.04.06].
Alas, Howie envisions no way to change the problems for which he seems to blame his party:
You will soon have the opportunity to elect someone new to this office. My guess is that it will be another Republican. I would also guess not much will change [Howie, 2017.04.06].
Alas, the fatalism of fundagelicals! Turn that frown upside down, Gordon, and do something more about your woes than praying to be raptured away from them:
If Republicans are causing your problems, stop voting Republicans.
If people can’t afford food, vote for Democrats who support better wages and a repeal of the food tax.
If tax increases are getting your goat, vote for Democrats who support steady, ongoing investments in schools and roads instead waiting until there’s a crisis that requires massive tax increases to address.
See, Gordon? Problems aren’t hard to solve, if you put down your culture-war prejudices and look for real solutions.
Like Trump, Gordon Howie believes that if everyone would just wait to vote until we scream a bit more about Clinton’s e-mails, Trump would win. And like Trump, since the election appears not to be favoring Trump, Howie claims the election system is rigged to favor his opponents. Howie thus wants to ban early voting:
This late breaking surprise and new information creates even more serious doubt on the credibility of the Clinton campaign. Even an active criminal investigation may not deter hard core Clinton supporters, but there is little doubt that it could swing large numbers of votes away from her. That could change the outcome of this Presidential race and the fundamental direction of the country. The Clinton campaign has routinely stalled, covered up and destroyed information to keep voters in the dark. The bottom just fell out of that bucket.
This turn of events makes the case against early voting. It is better for some candidates and campaigns when voters do not know everything when they vote [Gordon Howie, “Early Voting Should Be Eliminated,” The Right Side, 2016.10.29].
Wow—what ever happened to conservatives trusting citizens to make up their own minds? Citizens who choose to vote early understand that they are giving up access to late-breaking information (and exaggeration). Why not let citizens make that choice, especially when early voting allows more people to participate in the process?
Interestingly and counterintuitively, early voting does not appear to reliably increase voter turnout. So even if Howie could return to the Legislature and outlaw early voting, he might not be disenfranchising many if any South Dakotans. However, can Howie point to a compelling state interest, independent of the current “news” cycle that he thinks favors his current political interests? Voters don’t have to vote early; they can choose what works for them. If they want to stand in line for an extra hour on Election Day, they can do so. If they want to study the candidates and the issues early and cast their vote early, they can do so.
And really, how much information do voters need? Don’t we cut them off from information by setting an Election Day deadline? Given that we don’t know what FBI Director Comey has found or whether he has found anything new, shouldn’t we postpone the election until he can complete his inquiry? And even if he finds nothing new, doesn’t this new outburst just reinforce our suspicions and justify waiting another week, or month, or year so that Fox and Friends can find another “smoking gun,” and another, and another?
Clinton haters made their decision 25 years ago to never vote for the Clintons, no matter what information came out. They are allowed their decades of ignorance, decades of false charges and Goebbelsian repetition. Why would Howie not allow voters to choose a couple-three weeks of “ignorance” for the convenience of casting their vote when they see fit?
We should accept no argument about election reform based on partisan anxiety (my guy’s not winning? the system must be rigged!). We should look at early voting and other election reforms strictly in terms of voter opportunity. Does an election rule give more citizens more opportunity to vote? Does an election rule respect the wisdom, autonomy, and authority of voters? If so, do it. If not, don’t do it.
Early voting gives citizens choices and trusts they’ll use those choices wisely. By advocating a ban on early voting, Howie shows he doesn’t trust the voters.
While working the Democratic booth at the Brown County Fair, I had a Trump supporter come up to me unbidden and, without preface, call me an “f—ing idiot.” When I offered a question, he repeated the insult. I responded simply that I wasn’t interested in discourse with an individual who would speak in such an offensive, bullying way and turned away from him.
Arch-conservative Gordon Howie is finding at the Central States Fair what I found at the Brown County Fair: Democrats seem to be better at staying mild and civil amidst honest policy disagreement, while Trumpist Republicans get hot and ugly fast. Interestingly, Howie connects this uncivil behavior to pre-Trump Republicans:
My personal experience may not be typical, but as a conservative Christian who is not and has not been part of the “establishment” in the Republican Party, I have been treated better overall by the Democrats than the Republicans. When I ran against Daugaard for Governor and Rounds for US Senate, it was people from my own party who were the most unkind. It was Republicans who belittled me and maligned me. When I served in the State Legislature, it was the Republican leadership that tried to crucify me for bringing pro-life legislation. Let me be clear, it wasn’t ALL Republicans. My point is, that overall, I have been more warmly received by Democrats than by Republicans, even though it is Democrats with whom I have the most disagreement.
Now, I see a repeat of the intolerance from Republicans who are Trump supporters. I am not a fan of Donald Trump. I might end up voting for him, but it won’t be without an internal struggle. In the meantime, when the subject comes up in Republican circles, I tread lightly. Why? Because many of the Trump supporters I know (not all) go ballistic if they smell resistance to Trump. With some I have had reasonable discussions. They seem to be in the minority. I am just not interested in fighting about it. You are entitled to your opinion and welcome to embrace the principles you hold dear. I can respect that. For Heaven’s Sake, can’t you do the same? [Gordon Howie, “Name Calling Doesn’t Change Minds,” The Right Side, 2016.08.23]
Howie says he will follow Senator Ted Cruz’s advice and vote his conscience in November. We should all vote our conscience… and speak with conscience as well. If I have reason to fight hard with anyone over policy, it’s Gordon Howie. But at least I can talk with the guy without having him resort to f-bombs.
Bloomberg BNA reports on more frequent instances of political donors backing both liberal and conservative super PACs. The article provides this table showing organizations that have given money to super PACs on both sides of the aisle during the last three election cycles:
Bloomberg BNA then turns to South Dakota expertise for analysis of the impact of that bipartisan spending:
Cory Allen Heidelberger, editor and publisher of the Dakota Free Press—a liberal news site that closely followed the 2014 campaign—told Bloomberg BNA he saw no evidence that funding an opposing candidate had an impact on the vote.
“Their effort appears to be a quixotic footnote rather than sensible investment of campaign dollars producing return on investment,” he said [Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones, “Super PAC Spending Becoming More Bipartisan,” Bloomberg BNA, 2016.07.11].
I appreciate that Every Voice Action’s had enough resources to invest in covering all possible bases. But given that Gordon Howie never organized a strong statewide network to capitalize on any positive press, Every Voice Action could have gotten more bang for its buck by giving the Weiland organization more direct support to get out the Democratic vote.
I’m all for help from the right in pointing out corruption in state government. But when is Gordon Howie going to rally his readers to do something about that corruption? Howie has mounted two statewide campaigns that amounted to hill-o’-beans voter response. A handful of like-minded right-wing radicals have won Legislative seats, but they never seem to wage a concerted effort to investigate corruption and challenge the self-serving agenda they impute to the Governor.
May I suggest, Gordon, that in this time of trouble, your best route to fighting corruption is to help elect the opposition party that would gladly help you fight that corruption?
Gordon, you express concern about $50 million in no-bid contracts. Why not tell your conservative readers to set aside their family-values absolutism—the very guns/God/abortion propaganda that South Dakota’s mainstream GOP uses to distract us while they pick our pockets—and vote for a whole slate of Democrats who could take over the Legislature and the budgeting process and order audits of all the departments you and LPLP say are handing out no-bid contracts to their pals? Why not back Democrats who would eagerly sponsor legislation to tighten scrutiny of state contracts?
Gordon, why not really kick the GOP establishment in the pants by helping elect Democrats to Congress? If the mainstream GOP is as corrupt as you say it is, one of the surest guarantees that they will continue their grip on power is the enormous campaign war chests of John Thune and Kristi Noem. If Democrats Paula Hawks and Jay Williams knock Noem and Thune out of Congress, Noem and Thune lose a big chunk of their ability to prop up corrupt Republicans in Pierre in the 2018 election. Plus, victories for Hawks and Williams this year would energize Democrats to run for more officesand wage harder campaigns in 2018, which would scare the remaining Republicans in Pierre into cleaning up their act.
Gordon, your logical course of action is clear: if the party in Pierre is corrupt, you should vote for the other party. And since the Libertarians and Constitution Partiers don’t have anyone on the ballot, your only viable option is to vote for Democrats this fall.
Amendment V, the open non-partisan primary proposal that we get to vote on in November, has already brought together 2014 Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland and registered independent Rick Knobe. Now the election-reform measure has recruited a Weiland nemesis from the 2014 campaign to Weiland and Knobe’s side. As chair of South Dakotans for Non-Partisan Elections, Rick Knobe announces that Nick Reid, campaign manager for 2014 right-wing independent Senate candidate Gordon Howie, is joining the Amendment V campaign as statewide field organizer.
“As a conservative-leaning Independent, I have been concerned about the partisan divide and control from both parties, in the state and across the country. Added to that is the fact that over 100,000 South Dakota Independent voters have a limited voice in our elections. Amendment V is a way for the voters to gain back some of the power that has been lost”, Reid said. “It’s time to put the debate back into the realm of ideas and away from simply a wrestling match between political parties that are too often not responsive to the needs and wishes of the people they are supposed to represent” [South Dakotans for Non-Partisan Elections, press release, 2016.03.22].
Rick, Rick, and Nick will be working to convince South Dakotans that taking party labels off the ballot, putting all candidates (for every office except President) on the same primary ballot, letting all voters vote on the same primary ballot, and making the general election a run-off between the top finishers of that open non-partisan primary is a good idea. They don’t have to convince me; I’m already there!
Reid didn’t move Gordon Howie past his right-wing default 3% in 2014. Reid should find more fertile ground among a broader base of independents and party members for the inclusive opportunity offered by Amendment V.
If somebody has a property in the middle of a 7,000 job factory, as an example, that’s going to move into the town – but they need this one corner of this property, and it’s going to provide 7,000 jobs in a community that’s dying, of which we have many in this country, OK? I am for that. That’s a big economic development. But remember this: all of these people that we’re talking about, they’re friends of mine. They all love the Keystone Pipeline, right? The Keystone Pipeline is all eminent domain. They’re building that pipeline, without eminent domain, you wouldn’t be able to build [Donald Trump, interview with Chris Wallace, FOX News, quoted in “Trump: I’m Only For Eminent Domain When It’s Used To Create Jobs,” Real Clear Politics, 2015.10.18].
Gordon Howie bemoans the liberal voting records of South Dakota’s Congressional delegation. Senator John Thune, Senator Mike Rounds, and Representative Kristi Noem are all Republicans, but they fail on the scorecard posted by Conservative Review®, led by conservative radio-talker Mark Levin. Thune scores 50%, Noem 43%, and Rounds a dismal 17%.
Rounds tanks for funding the government, supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, confirming the Attorney General, and paying for Medicare. Rounds must be a socialist—he’s right next to Senator Bernie Sanders, who scores 16%.
But Rounds won’t get any Dakota Free Press awards for liberalism. I reserve those awards for the zero-percenters on Conservative Review®’s Liberty Score®: Senators Coons, Feinstein, Kaine, and Murray (what? No Al Franken? Heck, he was all the way up at 4%) and Reps. Rice, Beyer, Norton, and Pierluisi (Norton represents D.C.; Pierluisi represents Puerto Rico—fellow liberals, it’s time to push for D.C. and P.R. statehood!).
Howie’s unhappy, but what’s he going to do about it? Efforts to mobilize his fellow fundamentalists to effectively oppose the mainstream Republican Party have fizzled in South Dakota. Howie fielded only 3% versus Rounds’s 50% in last year’s Senate election. The only announced principled conservative challenger to Thune, Kurt Evans, called off his campaign this week, and none of Howie’s would-be party crashers have stepped up to fill that gap or to announce a primary challenge to Rep. Noem. The vast majority of Republican voters in this state seem content with the slogan-only Republicanism of their Congressional delegation, and the Howie minority can’t find the magic words or campaign finance to knock down that complacency.