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Noem: “We Can’t Afford to Go Back to Normal”

Governor Kristi Noem used the phrase “Back to Normal” a lot last week:

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Tuesday mapped out a plan for getting the state “back to normal,” amid the coronavirus outbreak, a plan that she said emphasizes personal responsibility instead of government orders.

…“In South Dakota we didn’t close any businesses,” Noem told host Sean Hannity. “We didn’t do any shelter-in-place.”

…“I trusted my people, they trusted me to make decisions that were best for us, and they’ve just done an absolute fantastic job,” Noem told Hannity. “That’s why my plan is not a reopening plan, it’s a back-to-normal plan.

“We’re working our way back towards getting the life in South Dakota that we love again — and I’m giving them guidance to do that” [Dom Calicchio, “South Dakota Gov. Noem Unveils ‘Back to Normal’ Plan, Says It Places Power in ‘Hands of the People’,” FOX News, 2020.04.29].

South Dakota Back to Normal Logo revised
Maybe Kristi should have considered different branding….

In her press briefing yesterday, she suggested maybe she had overtagged her “Back to Normal” plan:

Recalling the plan she released last week detailing guidance businesses can take into consideration if they reopen in the coming weeks, Noem clarified that she still hasn’t said that the entire state is “back to normal.”

“You never once heard me say we were back to normal. You didn’t hear me say that because we can’t afford to go back to normal,” Noem said. “If people think they can, then we will see a spike of infections that will happen two to three weeks from today, and it will be because people didn’t consider the guidance” [Morgan Matzen, “State Expects Budget Shortfall; Mass Testing Implemented for Smithfield,” Rapid City Journal, 2020.05.04].

Noem’s shifting tone suggests she did read that poll showing the vast majority of Americans in every state support continued rigorous anti-pandemic measures and are more worried about catching coronavirus than about losing their jobs or other economic impacts. But Governor Noem should have led her plan announcement with that emphasis on the fact that we are far from normal, far from safe, instead of with her Trump-fawning Fox News appearances to burble about liberty and least-restrictive environments.


  1. Ray Tysdal 2020-05-05 08:18

    There is another factor that must be considered. It is now May…the beginning of Tourist Season in the Black Hills…millions traditionally visit here in the summer. While I am sure numbers will be down, out of state cars are already starting to be noticed around here. They shop for groceries, gas, clothes, trinkets and stay in hotels and motels. They travel and shop in all parts of South Dakota on their way here. Rapid City’s move to open some business with restrictions has led to more local people out and about…a minority wear masks while shopping. The low number of infections in this part of the state makes us less cautious. I suspect it will make us more vulnerable. Major events are planned…fireworks at Mt. Rushmore and the Sturgis motorcycle rally will draw many thousands of people. On a normal year those events are problematic for law enforcement and health care staff. Will the state do more than “hope” those events and the tourist season turn out okay? Are we ready?

  2. Nick Nemec 2020-05-05 08:34

    The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally might be a slow motion train wreck. With half a million of your closest friends in close quarters for a week, all drunk and underdressed, what could go wrong? Possibly they could all get back to their own homes before showing symptoms and not overload Monument Health Systems.

  3. mike from iowa 2020-05-05 09:09

    Take all the time in the world to regress back into Northern Mississippi’s one party ruling cluster-cabal normal. It doesn’t work for everybody.

  4. Donald Pay 2020-05-05 10:16

    I’d say the extreme right’s idea to spread COVID-19 and ignore the advice of scientists met head on with the commonsense of the American people. There’s the poll, but I think what matters more than polls is what your peers are thinking and doing.

    I notice that journalist Kevin Woster did a sort of poll of his Facebook friends about whether he should go have a cup of coffee with a friend in a place that is open. It seems that nearly all of Kevin’s Facebook friends, whether Republican, Democrat or independent, believe that it is too early to consider such things as a cup of coffee with a friend at a restaurant. Yeah, you have to get groceries, but going out for a social outing in a restaurant seems a bit too much for the vast majority of Kevin’s responders.

    Most of Kevin’s responders, like Cory’s, pay attention to factual news reports, doctors and scientists, in addition to being politically literate. They also seem to be on the older side of life. Whatever their political persuasion, they are nearly unanimously against going out for a cup of coffee with friends.

    I suspect Noem has to know that people aren’t going to be persuaded to commit suicide in order to follow a political agenda of the extreme right. They will use their own good judgement, and for many that means more time with businesses closed, and better testing, contact tracing and isolation of positives when we do open.

  5. mike from iowa 2020-05-05 10:27

    Last updated: May 05, 2020, 15:15 GMT
    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  6. Loren 2020-05-05 11:00

    Kristi said, “We trusted her to make decisions that were best for us?” SHE DIDN’T MAKE ANY DECISIONS! That’s the Trumpian way, no decision, can’t blame me. Any chance we can get her that cabinet position a bit early? !@#%^&*

  7. jerry 2020-05-05 12:03

    Pull up our big girl pants NOem and accept the fact that you’re the Judas Goat leading us all to the slaughter. Don’t even say you haven’t been warned about the facts, but in case you might have forgotten, whilst you dream of Jared Kushner’s Botox smile, here ya go.

    “Some of the same largely rural states that have had serious outbreaks — like North Dakota and Georgia — are at the forefront of the effort to open up, casting social distancing restrictions aside.

    Cox noted an irony in that, saying that “some states are opening up despite the fact that the rural areas in those states have the highest rates of death and infection of coronavirus.”

    Michaud cautioned that the data suggested that rural America was likely on the upward bound of a potentially steep infection curve.”

    Now, head on down to your bunker and slap on some pancake flour, clear your throat, and babble to Hannity or whoever the flavor of the day is. One fraud to another, nice.

  8. Buckobear 2020-05-05 12:05

    We’ll have a chance to start “normalizing” things come November.
    Remember, voting is like driving: Choose D to go forward, choose R to go backwards.

  9. jerry 2020-05-05 12:06

    LOL, Buckobear and so true.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-05-05 12:39

    Nick, could we take a wild guesstimate that Sturgis attendance will be down by 50%? A quarter million drunken idiots can still do damage, as can half a million drunken idiots… but let’s consider that a lot of Sturgis tourists are typical middle-/Boomer-aged trailer-riders. Many of them will be cautious and decide not to take a chance on traveling this summer.

    Hmm… might coronavirus cull the casual riders and tourists from the event and create a greater concentration of hardcore hellraisers who don’t give a darn about public health?

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-05-05 12:40

    Buckobear, you make me think “Back to Normal” would be a great slogan for Democrats to use: “Back to Normal: Dump Trump!” “Back to Normal: Elect Sensible Democrats!”

  12. Bob Newland 2020-05-05 12:42

    Nick, I think you paint the Sturgis Motor Classic with too broad a brush. There are drunks and ill-dressed people around Sturgis every day.

  13. Kari 2020-05-05 13:21

    Ugh. Speaking of “overtagging”: She’s touting her image and patting herself on the back on all the platforms.

    Meanwhile testing is “optional” for Smithfield employees, it’s still open, independent contractors like my husband (can’t work – immunodeficiency) are waiting 4-6 weeks for applications to go through for help from the state, EVERYONE is at the local Lewis Drug without masks, the local bar is packed on Saturday nights, confusion ran rampant when it was announced that schools could reopen (the superintendent’s email to families’ tone was pretty clear that people were thinking kids were going back, he was very clear that school isn’t happening. Thankfully.).

    She is not reading the room, even if she read that poll. That or she just doesn’t care, which also would not be a shock.

    /End rant.

  14. Nick Nemec 2020-05-05 13:57

    Alas there are drunks and poorly dressed folks all over the state, even now. Yesterday SDPR reported the SD Dept of Health was warning patrons of three bars/casinos in Sioux Falls to be wary that they might have been exposed to infected employees. Today they issued the same warning to patrons of a bar/casino in both Mitchell and Hermosa.

    Stay home people you don’t need a drink or a slot machine that badly.

  15. Donald Pay 2020-05-05 14:12

    I know that I and many of the people I’m in contact with will NOT ever again patronize certain establishments or buy certain products because of the lack of concern for their customers and employees during this. We’ve already cut way down on meat consumption, thanks to the way Smithfield, Tyson and JBS are treating workers. Unless I know the meat didn’t come from them, I just won’t pick it up at the store. A problem I am having is it’s sort of hard to figure out where meat is coming from just by the label. I want to patronize responsible packers.

    There are stores where I live that won’t let you in without a mask. You can piss and moan all you want, but they’ll tell you that’s company policy to protect their workers from the customers, and the workers are all wearing masks to protect you. I’ll only patronize those stores from now on, because they are showing by actually doing what is best for workers and customers. I don’t go very many places now, except to buy groceries, but people are really bitching on Next Door about places that aren’t doing what is best for workers and customers. Word gets around. If I lived in Sioux Falls, I would boycott Lewis Drugs, Kari, and shame them on social media.

  16. DaveFromNowhere 2020-05-05 14:23

    …“In South Dakota we didn’t close any businesses,” Noem told host Sean Hannity. “We didn’t do any shelter-in-place.”

    Half-truth or deliberate lie? Who are “we”? Rapid City, for one, did shut down businesses.

    Noem gets an “F” for equivocation and misleading the nation as to the facts on national news.

  17. mike from iowa 2020-05-05 15:22

    Put Noem on CNN or ABC and you’d get polar opposite answers from her on the same questions Fake Noize softballs her way.

    It is more fun to listen when the wingnut is grilled by actual journalists on mainstream media before seeking solace and refuge at the Mother Ship Fake Noize.

  18. mike from iowa 2020-05-05 15:35

    iowa can’t go back, either….. DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) — Iowa health officials are reporting 408 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 10,111

    According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there have been 19 additional deaths due to the virus, bringing the state’s total to 207.

  19. John 2020-05-05 16:57

    The only thing new is the history you don’t know. Dr. Fauci had a predecessor. The morons also had predecessors.

    “Nearly 80 years after Dr. Tuttle’s death, his legacy in fighting pandemics lives on, which might have come as a surprise to him, given the pessimism he expressed in his lifetime. In 2009, a group of researchers wrote a paper comparing existing CDC guidelines on managing pandemics to those developed during the Spanish flu. The paper noted that of all the recommendations, measures Dr. Tuttle promoted—encouraging the closing of public spaces and social distancing—were still relevant in fighting epidemics today. The report even cited findings from the 1918 December meeting Dr. Tuttle attended before insisting on the draconian health measures that got him fired.

    One of the coauthors of that 2009 paper?

    Dr. Anthony Fauci.”

  20. jerry 2020-05-05 17:58

    3 more deaths in the Sioux Falls area. Gotta keep those bars and restaurants open boys, the world depends on you to follow NOem’s leadership.

  21. jerry 2020-05-05 18:11

    Governors Abbott and Reynolds of Texas and Iowa get a White House visit with the turdball in charge for being equal turdballs in their cruelty to workers. NOem is angling for the same thing so she can give eye kisses to Jared Kushner. Watch out NOem, Ivanka is gnarly and can scratch you up pretty good. Here is a video of their NOem and Ivanka’s epic battle, one is called Arnold, go figure how that could be, clearly they are all over the old turdball

  22. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr., 2020-05-05 18:25

    This is such a royal mess. Trump, through his de-centralized approach, has done to America what he once did to his casinos.

    The unwillingness of some political leaders, like Noem, to understand the importance of a shelter-in-place order since March will only mean a prolonged pandemic, which will then march into the fall and winter with even a greater vengeance.

    The lack of correct decisions on this matter by leaders like Noem will mean that we will never experience a moment to recoup or rebound before the second wave in the fall.

    Noem and Trump have created nothing but a hot mess, while better Republicans know better, but are failing to lead us at a time like this.

  23. Moses6 2020-05-05 19:53

    Sounds like the readings above that Noem has no conscience.pretty much agree with you if the rally is held and lots of deaths do you think it would bother her conscience, A like Trump does not matter the count only reelection to the potus.

  24. Debbo 2020-05-05 20:48

    The people know better. Blathering Bigot’s approval for COVID-19 handling is below 40%. Governors who are taking care of their states are rated extremely high. Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Walz handling of this is approved by 82% of the state. Who gets approvals like that? Governors who care about their people get approvals like that.

    It would be very interesting to see the numbers for Kruel Kristi. Any guesses?

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-05-06 06:33

    Nick, it seems some people in South Dakota do need a drink and a pull of the slots that badly. For too many workers, gambling seems the only chance of getting ahead, and drinking seems the only way to forget that you can’t in South Dakota.

  26. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-05-06 06:36

    Donald, I agree: in the absence of firm government action, it appears the vast majorities who believe in serious responses to coronavirus will have exercise their will in the marketplace, boycotting the businesses that put their workers and all of us in danger for mere profit and supporting alternatives to the corporate supply chain.

    We also all need to keep coronavirus in mind (not that we should need much help) when we vote. Noem’s weak response, her ideological oversimplifications, and her pandering to Trump instead of investing in real assistance to her people should disqualify her in every independent voter’s mind.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-05-06 06:36

    Equivocation, DaveFN? It makes perfect sense: localities did far more than Noem to protect their people. She will take credit for that protection and flattening the curve, even though she did not make it happen.

  28. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-05-06 06:37

    John KC, Trump is like little boys who mash up their toy trucks: he derives his greatest satisfaction from destruction… and since daddy’s money always buys him replacements, he doesn’t care about the consequences.

  29. mike from iowa 2020-05-06 09:34

    Normal for Northern Mississippi is selecting one more ingrained wingnut guv after the last ingrained wingnut guv and electing majorities of ingrained wingnut pols to keep the gravy train running off the rails. You know….repeating the same old same old because of insanity.

    How’s this for an oxymoron, South Dakota comes by their high corruption in gubmint rating honestly.

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