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Moeller Campaigns for District 31 Senate on Thoughtless, Generic Trumpist Gasbaggery

Ron Moeller is a carpetbagging former CIA paramilitary operations officer now bunkered in Lead and running as a Republican for District 31 Senate.

Hmm… I guess the Trumpists are working to place coup collaborators in every state capitol.

Moller’s campaign looks like the usual Trumpist tripe, with a few notes on South Dakota thoughtlessly pasted onto the standard MAGA marketing materials. Thoughtless line #1 comes right at the top of Moeller’s Issues page, where Moeller shouts, “JOIN ME IN TAKING OUR STATE and COUNTRY BACK!” So South Dakota is also in the hands of enemy forces from whom it must taken back? Who are the controlling enemy forces whom we must oust, Ron? Kristi Noem? The current District 31 delegation of Representatives Odenbach and Fitzgerald and drunk Senator Johns? Do tell.

Thoughtless line #2 comes right after #1, as Moeller claims his first issue is “South Dakota and America First”—which makes no sense, because only one thing can come first. Moeller’s wording indicates that while he’s aping the national fascist slogan, he would default to secessionist state’s rights:

South Dakota, while a proud member of the United States, should never sacrifice its own well-being to please others, whether it’s a large multinational corporation, collegiate athletic organizations, or another state. We need to stand firm for our state and its citizens [Ron Moeller, “Issues Overview,” District 31 Legislative campaign website, retrieved 2021.11.29].

Moeller’s while phrase indicates that he really puts America second, behind South Dakota. Yet both of these thoughtless opening lines hint that he really puts both America and South Dakota behind the Dear Leader whom he’s parroting (and doing a darn good job thereof, since the Dear Leader doesn’t put much thought behind his words, either). America, South Dakota, cult of personality—I’ll be happy to debate Ron on whichever of those he wants to declare as his core value, but before we can have a debate, I need Ron to clearly state his core value.

Moeller then fills his issues page with a number of generic MAGA shouts that don’t really relate to the core issues the South Dakota Legislature needs to spend its time on. Moeller promotes a ban on coronavirus vaccine mandates, although his supporting statement—”Mandates, whether imposed by the government or corporations, are morally wrong and illegal”—appears to apply to all requirements and thus is illogical and anarchic. Government is not a suggestion committee; we form governments to set and enforce rules that circumscribe our freedom to maximize liberty. Government mandates written into law are by definition legal. When Moeller was a CIA spook, he surely had to do what he was told by someone back at Langley. Did Moeller follow the mandates imposed by his government superiors, or did he just organize his own raids and coups?

Corporations, too, operate on a hierarchical decision-making structure, with folks at the top telling workers below what to do. Corporations impose mandates on employees every day: start work at 8, wear a hardhat, produce 50 widgets a day, attend active shooter training, pee in this cup. Are bosses inherently immoral and illegal?

Moving from illogic to irrelevance, Moeller apes the Stop the Steal lie, boosting the idea that our elections are inaccurate and unclean and that we need election audits. No evidence has been presented anywhere that past American elections have been inaccurate or unclean; in South Dakota, voter fraud or miscounts have been complete non-issues. Again, Moeller isn’t talking about real South Dakota issues; he’s just playing dress-up in his Bannon brownshirt.

Moeller tries to talk South Dakota but either fails miserably or stumbles into liberal talk. He declares South Dakota’s economy is doing well but then dissolves into generics about Help Wanted signs everywhere and needing “unemployment benefits” to “be not greater than wages.” (Read the DLR Reemployment Assistance Benefits handbook: benefits aren’t greater than wages.) Moeller then says “We need to encourage clean light industries to establish themselves in South Dakota,” which sounds great and green but runs against his own parties intense focus on recruiting factory feedlots and big employers and their failure to keep wind turbine manufacturer Molded Fiber Glass in state. Under economy, Moeller also says “State government spending needs to remain flat,” another lazy generic slogan which, if it stood a chance in heck of enactment, would promise economic stagnation in a state keenly dependent on government jobs for economic survival (and again is a funny thing to hear coming from a guy who spent his career earning government checks).

Under “Taxes,” Moeller complains about outsiders like him pouring in and driving up property prices and property taxes. He promises not to raise taxes, but we already have the property tax caps built in to prevent skyrocketing assessments. He does propose to “reduce and eliminate” (again, which is it, Ron?) the “sales tax on groceries,” a great liberal idea that his Republican Party has staunchly opposed. He then tosses a vague vow to “shut down private businesses that view the South Dakota Treasury as their personal ‘piggy bank.'” I’m not sure what businesses he’s talking about (come on, Ron: get tough and name names!), but the only ones I can think of are his own Party’s cronies, and promising to shut those guys down is a sure route to primary destruction.

Moeller also mentions water use and the risk thereto posed by the “recent influx of newcomers” like himself. “We need to seriously consider where new housing is placed and ensure the water aquifer can support it,” says Moeller, in what sounds like a call for zoning restrictions that would run counter to his own Governor Kristi Noem’s (you are aware, Ron, that she’s actually your governor now, right?) agenda of tearing up local zoning restrictions… although maybe he’s going to advocate a statewide zoning board that would restrict where developers can put new houses…although, nah, that would be government mandates….

Stepping back from the confusion that results when tries to espouse original South Dakota-specific policy ideas, Moeller drags us through the predictable generic cries against the 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, and “teacher’s unions that have a stranglehold on” school boards (complete with links to generic national propaganda via the Heritage Foundation and Fox News), none of which are issues in any South Dakota school district. He also mouths the predictable generic absolutism about abortion and the Second Amendment (why don’t Republicans run on the sacrosanctity of the First Amendment, or the Fourth, or the Eighth, or the Fourteenth?).

In his one true delve into South Dakota specifics, Moeller rails against a proposed move of one of the South Dakota Wildland Fire Division’s four district offices from Lead to Spearfish. The state says that move, if executed, will be based on science and cost—and having a district office in Spearfish right near the new tanker base at Clyde Ice Field would seem to promise some cost efficiency—but forget science and efficiency, says Moeller. Calling the move “indefensible”, he expects the state to continue subsidizing the lifestyle choices of him and his carpetbagging compatriots who are building houses deep in the flammable woods and then are too lazy to volunteer to put out their own fires:

But Lead Fire Chief Tim Eggers asked the state officials to explain their justification for even considering a move. Unlike Spearfish, which has forest fire protection resources from the U.S. Forest Service, Lead does not have immediate resources beyond its volunteer fire department. Therefore, the Lead department relies on the state presence for immediate fire response in the forest.

…The difference in Spearfish’s urban growth and Lead’s vacation housing boom in the forest is another reason the Lead-Deadwood area needs to retain a full-time presence from wildland fire officials. In Lead, more and more houses are being built deep in the forest, a move that further warrants the need for wildland fire protection, said Al Williams.

“We’re here in the woods,” Williams said. “I would like you to explain to me how you can justify the growth as an excuse, when that growth is different.”

While Lead is experiencing major growth patterns with expensive homes built in the forest, its volunteer base in the fire department is shrinking, which is another factor Eggers asked the state to consider. “We’re seeing this growth, but we don’t have more people to draw from to add to our forces and train them up,” Eggers said [Wendy Pitlick, “State Officials, Lead Fire Volunteers Discuss Possible Wildland Fire Move to Spearfish,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2021.10.23].

Funny: the guys like Moeller who want to burn down government can’t put out their own fires without government help.

Moeller fails to offer any consistent, specific ideas on how to govern South Dakota. If any consistent idea can be divined from his lazy Trumpist tripe, it may be that newcomers like him create all sorts of problems for South Dakota: higher land prices, higher property taxes, tighter water supplies, more forest fire danger, more dependence on government services… and crappy campaign issues that speak more to the national fascist punditariat than to any practical South Dakota problems that need solving..

I don’t know if incumbent District 31 Senator Timothy Johns intends to run for reëlection—he certainly could, given he’s only in his first Senate term. But it’ll be a darn shame if District 31/Lawrence County’s only choices for Senator are a drunk driver or a sloppy fascist. It’s hard to tell who would do more damage to the Republic.


  1. larry kurtz 2021-11-29 08:32

    Kristi Noem and white meat supporters like Ron Moeller purport to be small-government conservatives but they’re really just helping themselves while bilking the public dole of more moral hazard money while pretending to be self-reliant.

    Today, Spearditch is the seat of whiteness in Lawrence County so in the winter Exit 14 looks like a monument to the clear-span building that has been air-dropped into Antarctica. But now, since most LawCo residents are Republican white retirees from somewhere else who fled cultural diversity in their own states and taking advantage of South Dakota’s regressive tax structure they’re currently fleeing south in their RVs before another seven month winter and their accompanying strings below-zero days.

  2. Donald Pay 2021-11-29 09:29

    Gawd, I get sick reading this. You can’t run for dog catcher as a Republican anymore and not have to lick the rectums of Donald Trump and the far right jihadis.

    The three issues that resonated with me were his emphasis on water issues, his opposition to welfare businesses and his statements against multi-national businesses, of which there have been oodles in Lead who have poisoned the water he says he cares about. Whether he is serious about water issues, or he is just aping some major concerns of residents, he should understand that when water issues are left totally up to South Dakota Republican elitists, you can kiss it goodbye. Republicans prefer South Dakotans drink pig feces, uranium, arsenic and PHAS.

  3. O 2021-11-29 09:37

    MAGAs don’t “do”; they campaign. Even after elected, they campaign. They pull everyone into a no-survivors culture war diatribe, and do nothing on any actual issues they initially campaigned on — just like dear leader did with infrastructure and returning jobs to the US.

  4. Porter Lansing 2021-11-29 09:56

    Thanks for the update on the decline and degradation of Spearfish, InterestedParty.

    It was a lot different when I was lumberjacking out of Central City, in the early 70’s.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-11-29 10:19

    “MAGAs don’t ‘do”; they campaign.” Correct, O (and exemplary semicolon usage!). See also Kristi Noem, whose fifteen years in elected office have produced no lasting projects to improve South Dakota.

  6. jerry 2021-11-29 11:02

    “Funny: the guys like Moeller who want to burn down government can’t put out their own fires without government help.” So true and so funny….the help from blue states. What would be even funnier, if those blue states would indicate with their middle finger what they think of South Dakota politics.

  7. Mark Anderson 2021-11-29 15:24

    You know, how would South Dakota survive without federal spending? That’s the only question to ask our boy Ron Moeller. It’s a simple question. The answer would be tongue twisting at the least.

  8. mike from iowa 2021-11-29 17:03

    I could write magat bios for a living and start every one with the line Pathetic liar and be accurate. That is all the reading public needs to know to make an informed decision to vote for the Democrats.

  9. mike from iowa 2021-11-29 17:46

    Magat mothers in Tennessee want to stop the teaching of civil rights because it inflicts emptional trauma on snowflake children’s heads.

    As flagged by Judd Legum on Twitter, Moms for Liberty filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Education asking it to remove several books from the elementary school curriculum, including Frances Ruffin’s book “Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington” and “Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story” by Ruby Bridges.

    In the filing, the group objected to the Ruffin book for showing “photographs of white firemen blasting Black children to the point of ‘bruising their bodies and ripping off their clothes'” and of showing segregated drinking fountains.

    These photographs, according to Moms for Liberty, imposed extreme emotional hardships on students despite being historically accurate.

    And there is more….

  10. Porter Lansing 2021-11-29 17:54

    No matter how much Kristi Noem tries to change South Dakota history;
    she’ll still be on the wrong side of it.

    PS … I remember segregated drinking fountains in my hometown of Sanford, Florida in the early 60’s.
    Also, segregated swimming pools, restaurants, and neighborhoods.
    It had a traumatic effect on my emotions, to this day.

  11. larry kurtz 2021-11-29 18:08

    Does Lead still have signs marking the historic ethic neighborhoods? Butte, Montana still does: not all European migrants and refugees but a Chinese district, too.

    Deadwood gambling was legalized with a promise to preserve all the history hence archaeologists still unearth Chinese opium pipes there yet Lawrence County is known to have been inhabited for at least 12,000 years before white Republicans besmirched it and turned it into the Nazi enclave and cultural wasteland it is today

  12. larry kurtz 2021-11-29 18:16

    To be clear, Lead hasn’t seen an ethnic neighborhood since before the Manuel Brothers found yet another reason to wipe out the Lakota but ramshackle non-native (read: invasive) neighborhoods arose nonetheless.

  13. grudznick 2021-11-29 18:21

    It still has some, Lar. It still has some. If our #4Science Friend of the Blog, Mr. Gibilisco, were still alive he’d probably give us all an update.

  14. Janet 2021-11-29 21:47

    My delusional request is for those who want the best for SD would be a larger audience (those who don’t rely on GOP “news”). for this publication/blog. I’ve learned a whole bunch of what shenanigans occur in Pierre since moving back to SD. My donation is in the mail. Thank you DakotaFreePress.

  15. Tom Kellar 2021-11-29 21:48

    It is interesting that in regard to new development, Moeller wants to ” ensure the water aquifer can support it.” He apparently did not read the opinion piece in the 11/27/21 Rapid City Journal by Helene Duhamel (District 32 State Senator) which called for a pipeline from the Missouri River to support West River development. Neither individual mentioned the need to protect the current water supply in the Black Hills from mining interests. Hopefully, all legislators will come to appreciate that water is much more necessary for economic growth than gold or uranium and take steps to protect the water in the Black Hills.

  16. ArloBlundt 2021-11-30 00:00

    my reply to janet: welcome aboard…if you got ’em, strap ’em on…..meaning you are in for a wild ride reading and participating in this blog site

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-11-30 05:49

    I am keenly interested, Tom, to hear Moeller flesh out just what he means by protecting the water supply. Duhamel takes the typical Republican position: pretend that resources can always be expanded to support infinite growth. Will Moeller really limit development in the Hills to what can be supported by local resources? Will he factor climate change into his proposals?

  18. Donald Pay 2021-11-30 09:05

    Tom Kellar points to the real problem. No one wants to address limiting water use. No one wants to discuss not destroying the quality of water. Let’s just take lawn watering as one example of waste. Why not ban lawn watering? If you are producing food from a garden, fine, you get to water your garden But if all you are doing is keeping bluegrass alive, sorry, no water for you. Switch to drought tolerant plantings.

    And, yes, zone out areas of water recharge from development. The Black Hills surface and groundwater is very connected in many places and needs to be managed carefully. Can people at least agree that water is more important than gold and uranium?

    There has to be a lot more regulation regarding how water is used and where wastes are disposed. State law is far too kind to water use, while surface and groundwater quantity and quality are badly mismanaged. Every new building project should have an environmental impact statement associated with it, and water issues should be a prominent part of that. In-stream flows need more protection, as do water recharge areas for groundwater.

    Looking to the Missouri River for relief is the cowards way out. Be a goddamn leader.

  19. larry kurtz 2021-11-30 09:18

    Donald Pay knows because he lived it.

    Homestake Mining Company dumped cyanide and other hazardous substances into Whitewood Creek for a hundred years so the waterway was named a Superfund site in 1981 but before selling to Canadian miner Barrick, Homestake restored some of it in 1994 and the stream was taken off the Superfund list in 1996. How Whitewood’s water supply is safe for human consumption remains a mystery.

  20. Donald Pay 2021-11-30 10:00

    larry kurtz, Your linked article is very informative. Whitlock and Mudder were doing groundbreaking work at Homestake, and they opened up a whole new field of environmental engineering. I watched that work closely, partly because Mudder was a year behind me at Lincoln High in Sioux Falls. I know a lot of people thought this was just an attempt to delay clean-up, and even I had my doubts, but their work paid off. What they couldn’t do is clean up all the tailings along the entire stretch of Whitewood Creek, and those remain in place, supposedly buried and not available to leaching or erosion into Whitewood Creek. I’m not so sure that a big flood wouldn’t disturb those buried tailings. The decision was made that trying to dig up and remove the tailings would do more damage than leaving them in place. That saved Homestake and the US government a lot of money, of course, and I fear that was more of a factor than it should have been. Supposedly those tailings are never supposed to be disturbed, and are under some sort of zoning or land use restrictions. Still, there have been repeated applications by gold mining companies to explore for gold in the tailings along Whitewood Creek.

  21. Jim Fitzgerald 2021-12-04 11:23

    Responding to “Will Moeller really limit development in the Hills to what can be supported by local resources? Will he factor climate change into his proposals?”

    No, he will not. He may tell you he will, if he thinks it can get him elected. But he will not take on a tough fight because he doesn’t want to work that hard. This is all an ego trip for him. As the article points out, Moeller is a carpetbagger, moving to South Dakota where he thinks he can dupe honest voters by spouting the same Trumpist tripe heard from every other far-right candidate. Take his stands on water and taxes. The commenters on this blog understand the issues far better than he does or ever will. He won’t do anything about them because he cannot…he’s not that capable. If you look carefully at other examples at a national level, Ron Moeller fits in with the do-nothings Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Greene. Loud, obnoxious, and able to get attention, but that’s as far as it goes with them. They got elected by saying whatever their constituents want to hear, and that’s the model Ron Moeller is following. If elected, he will continue to follow their example, and find himself labeled the dimbulb in the room.

    Let’s hope SD-31 voters do their due diligence and vote for someone who can represent them effectively and, moreover, honestly. SD-31 will be worse off, not better off, with Ron Moeller in the state senate.

  22. John Dale 2021-12-20 15:40

    “I am keenly interested, Tom, to hear Moeller flesh out just what he means by protecting the water supply. Duhamel takes the typical Republican position: pretend that resources can always be expanded to support infinite growth. Will Moeller really limit development in the Hills to what can be supported by local resources? Will he factor climate change into his proposals?”

    Good questions.

    I’ll ask him. It’s pretty clear, though, after reading through this thread, that nobody knows the real Ron Moeller. Interesting.

    I am friends with people who care about the rim, our water, and our health.

    If he wins election, Ron Moeller will care deeply about these things, too, or his service will be a living hell of constant phone calls and public confrontations. Our water is the most valuable commodity.

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