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Thune Advisor to Discuss Weakness of SD Dems on SDPB Today at Noon

South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Dakota Midday is hosting a discussion of the decline of the South Dakota Democratic Party since the Kneip/McGovern years. Host Lori Walsh will interview Jon Lauck, who writes and edits Midwestern history books but earns his keep as counsel and senior advisor to Senator John Thune, who is running for re-election against Democrat Jay Williams.

Even if I accede to Lauck’s credentials as a historian (and my neighbor Dr. Newquist may object to that accession), isn’t asking Thune’s senior advisor, in the middle of a campaign, to comment on the weakness of the Democrats akin to inviting Huma Abedin to discuss the Republican Party’s failure to gain traction with immigrants and young voters? More locally, wouldn’t it be more historically valid and informative for SDPB to invite a participant in the political events of the period under discussion, like former Democratic Governor Harvey Wollmann?


  1. Eve Fisher 2016-07-06

    Well, that’s one show I won’t be listening to. I remember Mr. Lauck very well from SDSU; I remember when he got busted by the administration for running a blog FOR WHICH HE GOT PAID BY THE THUNE CAMPAIGN.

    “But what kind of citizen journalist takes thousands of dollars from a political campaign he is writing about without telling his readers? In December, a report by CBS news writer David Paul Kuhn brought attention to reporting done earlier in the Argus, and later in the National Journal, that the Thune campaign paid Lauck $27,000 and Van Beek $8,000 in 2004.”

  2. 12 2016-07-06

    So is he incorrect in his assessment? As Democrats in South Dakota, we have a habit of voting against our own best interests election after election. We don’t give to our candidates to help them win and we don’t volunteer for their campaigns unless it’s an election year and they’re a Federal level candidate, and even in that case the help is anemic at best. Hell, we have a hard time even getting candidates to run in the first place. I’m sorry (not sorry) but it’s time that we pull our collective heads out of our collective a$$es and realize that we have a problem – a serious problem.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-06

    12, we’ll have to tune in to find out what factors Lauck says contributed to the party’s decline and judge their validity and independence from GOP campaign spin for ourselves.

  4. Rorschach 2016-07-06

    South Dakota voters want corruption, mismanagement and secrecy at the state level. It’s as simple as that. Only one party offers voters those things in SD.

  5. Mark Winegar 2016-07-07

    Sometimes I wonder just how much influence the Republican machine has on South Dakota Public Broadcasting?

  6. Mary Perpich 2016-07-07

    Lauck is a lightweight. I knew him as a student and he never had an original idea. Still doesn’t so he works for Thune. Need I say more?

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-07

    Uff da, Mary! Pretty stern… but having no original ideas appears to be a pre-req for the people the SDGOP sends to Washington.

  8. Troy Jones 2016-07-07

    Sometimes the most pertinent analysis of the GOP comes from those outside the GOP (forest for the trees analogy) and sometimes it is best from an insider who was there.

    The combination of Lauck and Wollman would give a complete picture. And, rather than them appearing together, I see the merits of two separate shows so each can give their perspective without interruption/debate from the other.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-07

    Troy, a follow-up with Wollman would make a great companion to the Lauck interview (which did not verge too much into anything I would interpret as Thune spin on the current political landscape). I also agree that separate one-on-one interviews make for better radio: the interviewer can focus on the conversation and not worry about balancing equal time with simultaneous guests.

    Then again, if we get two participants in history who are both good conversationalists, A good interviewer can ask one question, get them talking, and sit back and let magic happen.

  10. David Newquist 2016-07-08

    The salient fact is the kind of “credentials as a historian” Lauck established. Eve Fisher cites some important aspects of those credentials.

    Professors have the right to engage in political activity, but they also are representatives of their institution and their profession, and there are laws and policies governing the use of their professional office and its resources in activities outside the scope of their academic duties. Lauck flouted the rules and professional conventions intended to sustain the integrity of the profession.

    In a state such as South Dakota with a strong tradition of anti-intellectualism, professors battle the dismissive attitude about education and its workers. When Lauck became the highest paid member of the team of character assassins hired to take out Tom Daschle, he dismayed the state’s professors by portraying their professional status as that of low-life lackeys who serve the debased interests of the would-be master class.

    Add to his credentials the substance of the work in which he and his cohorts engaged. They did not define opposition to Daschle’s work and raise valid criticisms, but focused on defaming him, his wife, and even his friends from college. Twelve years before Donald Trump brought degradation to political campaigning, John Thune’s merry little band of malice-makers brought it to South Dakota and proved that political success can be had by appealing to the malignancies in human society.

    Such are the historian credentials of Jon Lauck, which he obtained the old-fashioned way. He earned them.

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