Pat Powers is talking out of the same tired and uninformed orifice again. He continues to assert that the South Dakota Democratic Party has “purged moderates” and been “taken over” by “the hard-left liberal wing.”
This assertion, of course, is wordplay, not accurate political observation and analysis. The GOP spin blog’s mission is to fabricate a narrative that marginalizes and excludes anyone associated with the Democratic Party. The GOP can’t have South Dakotans recognizing that Democrats are regular people just like them, who share an interest in South Dakota’s progress and offer better, more coherent, more fact-based plans therefor. Democrats must be fringe-riding outsiders, hard-left liberals, words used by Powers not to represent any reality but to smear without swearing.
In his latest repetition of this snide smear attempt (and as with the GOP cries that President Obama is a Muslim, we should remind ourselves that there’s nothing wrong with being a hard-left liberal), Powers offers no evidence of hard-left liberal policies that would lay bare the hard-left liberalism of the hordes of hard-left liberals who have allegedly seized the reins of the South Dakota Democratic Party. Instead, he pins his thesis entirely on personalities, specifically the wily Weilands, who apparently personify the otherwise unnamed Herseth-haters:
They moved hard against Herseth in 2010 with a Kevin Weiland as a protest candidate who almost jumped in (and it helped to set up Herseth Sandlin’s) fall from grace.
Most recently is the end run the Daschle/Weiland people made around Herseth Sandlin. They had a very competitive challenger who could have gotten into the US Senate race against Mike Rounds. And they sunk her. They absolutely sabotaged her by getting into the race. And she walked away [Pat Powers, “Will the Modern SDDP Accept Stephanie Herseth Sandlin as a Candidate? Maybe. But I Doubt It,” Dakota War College, 2015.10.03].
That’s funny: Kevin Weiland didn’t actually run. Steve Hildebrand orchestrated Weiland’s one-week petition push, but Kevin Weiland called it off to preserve party unity. Three years later, Kevin’s brother Rick announced his Senate candidacy in May 2013, before we’d heard Herseth Sandlin’s announcement that she did not want to run, but Powers eagerly mistakes sequence for “absolute!” causality. He cites no evidence (and he won’t find any) that Stephanie Herseth Sandlin intended to step away from a pleasant and profitable private life to leap back into politics in 2014.
And if the Weilands and Hildebrand are hard-left liberals, Powers ignores the fact that none of them have run for party chair or executive committee seats. He shows no evidence that the Weilands and/or Hildebrand have grabbed party chair Ann Tornberg, vice-chair Joe Lowe, or new party exec Suzie Jones Pranger and said, “Erect a statue of Lenin or else!”
Powers is talking far outside his realm of personal knowledge. He hasn’t spoken with Democratic leaders. I have. I know we are not controlled by hard-left liberals. Frankly, I wish we had more hard-left liberals.
Kevin Woster has also spoken with Democratic leaders, and Powers is trying to smokescreen Woster’s better-informed conclusion: Democrats are willing to put aside past differences (which could be as much personal as political) and rally behind Stephanie Herseth Sandlin as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2018, if she wants that job (and that remains an if). I will attest to that: if SHS says she wants in in 2018, I will run to the door to help hold it open for her and flog any Dems who try to create a ruckus about her nomination (especially if those Dems say we’d be better off Mike Huether).
Even more disturbing to Powers (and thus further explaining his desperate, baseless smoke about “liberals!”) is Woster’s conclusion that Herseth Sandlin’s stock may be rising among her party while Kristi Noem’s 2018 futures could be falling:
They think SHS would beat Noem handily in that race, if it occurred. I’m not going to “handily,” or even predicting a win by Herseth Sandlin. But I think she would be formidable to the point of a toss-up prediction going in — especially in this race, as opposed to another congressional run.
And guess who’d be the Washington “insider” in this race?
Noem has already lost and angered some hard-line Republicans for votes on things like the budget that most South Dakotans found reasonable. And some moderates in the GOP still haven’t fully embraced her.
Nonetheless, I’d expect Noem to be formidable, too, presuming she could get by what could be a string of Republicans candidates — some of them pretty salty — in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary. And that’s not a given [Kevin Woster, “Disaffected Democrats Ready to Return to Herseth Sandlin — in the Governor’s Race,” KELO-TV, 2015.10.03].
Powers is talking about what he wishes, not what is. The South Dakota Democratic Party is not dominated by hard-left liberals. South Dakota Democrats will rally around Stephanie Herseth Sandlin if she seeks the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2018. And so will a whole lot of other people if given a choice again between stateswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and spokesmodel Kristi Noem. That’s why Powers is rocking in the corner, muttering to himself that his fantasy Democrats will spare his gal the competition he fears.