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Rep. Clark’s Racist Comment Makes National Column

Google, Twitter, and my blog stats tell me that the most national notice South Dakota got on primary day came from two cranky Republicans: the Bon Homme County sheriff who fired the deputy who beat him in the Republican primary one minute after the polls closed, and Rep. Michael Clark (R-9/Hartford), who didn’t have have a primary but who got on the news by saying that businesses ought to be able to turn away people of color.

Clark’s advocacy of racism is bad enough to win national columnist Leonard Pitts’s attention:

…This was not a poor choice of words or an ill-considered thought. You do not “oops” segregation, as Clark himself tacitly acknowledged in describing his remarks as “very racist.” Well, yes, they were. And?

But there was no “and.” One was left with a sense of a mask slipping loose. Or maybe a hood being removed.

You are allowed to be surprised by Clark’s ignorance and lack of anything resembling a clue. But you are not allowed to be surprised by his party affiliation. Indeed, it would have been more shocking were he not a member of the GOP. While it cannot be said that every Republican is an overt racist, surely it is beyond debate that every overt racist runs as a Republican [Leonard Pitts, Jr., “South Dakota Lawmaker Starts Down Slippery Slope to Segregation,” Miami Herald, 2018.06.07].

Good grief—one Republican legislator’s racist comment gets press that negates millions of dollars paid to Lawrence & Schiller to make our state look more appealing than Mars.

Even the South Dakota GOP spin blog couldn’t turn that racist frown upside down:

Representative Clark was quickly penitent for his error. But they were pretty horrible words.  That kind of statement is a gaffe that’s hard to move beyond [Pat Powers, “Legislator Makes One of Those Statements You Can’t Walk Back,” Dakota War College, 2018.06.05].

“Quickly penitent” overstates Clark’s damage control. Clark used the word “apologizing” and said, “I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their color or race,” but he did so advocate. He never said, “I was wrong: strongly held beliefs are not sufficient justification to deny Americans their constitutional right to equal access to public accommodations.” He never retracted his dismissal of “minority status” as something people “use… to bully a business.”

Rep. Clark, do your party and your state a favor: follow your colleague Rep. Heinemann into Legislative retirement. Withdraw your candidacy, and give your District 9 constituents a chance to pick a candidate who respects the Constitution to represent them in Pierre.


  1. Straight Outta Ridge 2018-06-08 10:44

    Tapio’s comments also garnered national attention too!! so there were three instances in 7 days!!

  2. mike from iowa 2018-06-08 10:49

    Representative Clark was quickly penitent for his error.

    Error my butt! He just blurted out what ever so many wingnuts deeply believe and no, it wasn’t the Ambien spouting.

  3. Debbo 2018-06-08 20:57

    GOP doesn’t have a problem with their racists being overtly racist. They just hate when it presents a political problem for them.

  4. Lora Hubbel 2018-06-08 21:14

    interesting…Rep Michael Clark WRITES for Pat Powers. At a Siouxland Republican Women’s meeting a while back he told us he worked for Pat’s blog….and that IS his only job.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-09 07:58

    I haven’t seen a Clark piece on DWC for some time. Clark doesn’t really have a customer service job/tech support for a telecommunications company?

  6. Lora Hubbel 2018-06-09 09:14

    His pen name is “Anonymous” for the “telecommunications company”.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-09 10:11

    “Anonymous” is the name of multiple commenters on DWC. That doesn’t help us identify Clark as a comment author. And let’s make a distinction here: I consider “writing for” the blog to mean one writes posts, not comments. Are you contending, Lora, that Powers pays Clark to write comments?

  8. Roger Elgersma 2018-06-09 11:43

    I have met Leonard Pitts Jr. at Rice University. He is an amazingly humble man. When he writes he can express himself without emotion and comes off much bolder that way. Not that he is to bold when writing, but he is extremely careful about not being to aggressive. He thinks things through well enough that it would be hard to argue with him.

  9. OldSarg 2018-06-09 14:19

    Hurry! He’s bleeding! Time to attack!!!


  10. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-09 14:27


    Kal Lis in today’s The Displayed Plainsman post has the most perfect post about you.

  11. mike from iowa 2018-06-09 14:37

    Good one, Roger. Venerable OldSourpuss.

  12. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-09 14:41

    Oh! Brother Where Art Thou mockery, Kal Lis out did himself on this one.

  13. OldSarg 2018-06-09 16:31

    Really? You think it was real good? The guy copies the statements from another blog, reposts them on his own, makes his spartan comments and you think he’s brilliant. . . Ok, I understand. Can’t stand behind your own words Roger so you stand behind someone else on another blog. . . So brave. . . I meant that metaphorically not racially.

  14. mike from iowa 2018-06-09 16:48

    Bet you wished you hadn’t ejaculated the “venerable women” baloney, don’t you OldSap?You need help. Mental help. Drop the keyboard and back slowly away, for your own good.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-09 16:49

    I always stand behind my own words, that isn’t even the point.
    There are times like this when someone’s else’s words are better than mine as in this situation.
    I can’t find anywhere where I said “brilliant”, but that is also true.

  16. Debbo 2018-06-09 18:59

    OMG that was perfect KL!
    It’s kind of cool to know that I am venerable however. 😊

  17. mike from iowa 2018-06-09 19:17

    Roger, there is no point with OldSombrero. He keeps moving it.
    Debbo- still no rain. Send some pretty pronto, kay?

  18. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-09 19:34

    Yeah, I know mike, he keeps moving it, but that is what makes his words so incredibly stupid.
    Like Trump, every time he opens his mouth a toad falls out.

  19. Debbo 2018-06-09 20:44

    Mike, I’d LOVE to, seriously! It’s been Raining All Day here and never reached 70°.

  20. Lora Hubbel 2018-06-10 00:52

    Cory, Michael has worked for pp for at least 10 years…that has been common knowledge. Why don’t you ask him? Very surprised you didn’t know this. The word out there is that pp gets $70k from Democrat/Republican Dan Lederman to make sure the RINO brand is favored and any independent thought is destroyed via his blog… if true I supppose pp give a pittance to MC

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-10 07:22

    Michael Clark’s statement was racist and unconstitutional.

    Displaced Plainsman’s response to commentary here was pointed and brilliant.

    Roger’s nod to Kal Lis’s work again exposed OldSarg’s main impulse: rather than dig deeply into the issues at hand, OldSarg much prefers to leap to personal insults. He prefers barroom bullying to actual discussion.

    Lora’s statement about the Lederman/Power/Clark income stream is provocative but without foundation. Show me evidence, not supposings.

  22. OldSarg 2018-06-10 07:52

    “Michael Clark’s statement was racist and unconstitutional” silly statement. How is the statement “unconsitutional”? He can say any damn thing he wants. The Constitution protects him from the government not protecting the government from him. The racist portion is just your “opinion”. You can do better than that Cory.

    Unconstituional “statement”. . . silly. I guess I overlooked that article in the Constitution. . .

    Article 8: “All Statement Powers herein granted shall be vested in Cory of the United States, which shall consist of a him and his lemmings.

  23. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-10 11:15

    Again, OS, you need to read the original posts and pay attention to the links. Click on the second link in the original post, which goes back to my original post on Clark’s racist, unconstitutional declaration. There I point out Clark’s own misunderstanding of SCOTUS’s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling, which reaffirmed the basic constitutional principle that businesses cannot “deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.”

    Rep. Clark, a legislator who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, advocates racist behavior that violates the Constitution. Rep. Clark has violated his oath and should resign.

  24. David Gates 2019-04-05 12:48

    So is this IDIOT still in office in your State? If he feels THAT WAY – than by ALL RIGHTS NO WHITE PERSON should be allowed to set foot in the BLACK HILLS to ever again steal or settle in NATIVE AMERICAN LANDS.

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-04-05 19:42

    Not to worry, David—for once, a group of South Dakota voters had the sense to kick a racist out of office.

    However, he beat one Democrat and lost to the other by only 67 votes.

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