Press "Enter" to skip to content

Week of Words: Dems Lose Ryder for Mean Critiques of Republicans, Haugaard Catches Heck for Noting Acquaintance’s Descent into Prostitution

South Dakota’s Democratic and Republican parties both faced kerfuffles last week over mean words from statewide candidates. The Democrat committed his offense on social media months ago, before he inkled any statewide candidacy; the Republican spoke his offense days ago on the House floor. The Democrats immediately branded their mean speaker unfit for public office and drive him off the ballot; the Republicans are making a fuss but are unlikely to take philosophically consistent action.

Black Hawk lawyer Ryan Ryder and the South Dakota Democratic Party announced on Wednesday that Ryder planned to challenge Dusty Johnson for his seat in Congress. Ryder put up a campaign website. The SDGOP had been watching closely and immediately deployed its opposition research, certain biting posts on Ryder’s Twitter that the SDGOP spin machine was able to blow up into bad press about “disturbing” and “shocking” social media posts. Tom Lawrence describes Ryder’s online nastiness thus:

Almost immediately, his Twitter page was examined by reporters. Some of their discoveries were shocking and disturbing.

The posts included him fantasizing about creating a cartoon video of killing Johnson’s family, a satirical take on The posts included him fantasizing about creating a cartoon video of killing Johnson’s family, a satirical take on Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican who posted an anime video of him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The House, on an almost completely partisan vote, censured him for the appalling video. Johnson voted against that action, causing Ryder to respond.

He wrote another one wishing Jan. 6, 2021, rioters had gotten their hands on the Republican congressman, and one of Ryder masturbating to a photo of Gov. Kristi Noem.

On Nov. 17, 2021, Ryder tweeted a post suggesting he create a animated video of him murdering Johnson’s family.

Ryder also criticized Johnson, a Republican in his second term, for describing the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol as a “dark day” while also saying he would not vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

“You are a complete and utter fraud,” he tweeted. “It’s too bad that the Trump rioters that you continue to support didn’t get you that day.”

Ryder also commented on a post showing Gov. Kristi Noem in a typical post, carrying a flag while riding a horse. He criticized her spokesman, Ian Fury, for posting it, sarcastically saying it was something he could masturbate to while believing “any load of crap he throws my way” [Tom Lawrence, “One-Day Congressional Campaign Just the Latest Humiliation for Beleaguerd SD Democrats,” South Dakota Standard, 2022.03.04].

The South Dakota Democratic Party immediately rescinded its endorsement and pushed Ryder out of the race:

“The South Dakota Democratic Party has determined it is not appropriate for Mr. Ryder to continue in this race and requested that he end his candidacy, which he has agreed to,” said Executive Director Berk Ehrmantraut.

“These statements from Mr. Ryder do not live up to the values of the South Dakota Democratic Party, and we do not support this type of language,” said SDDP Chair Randy Seiler [SDDP, press release, 2022.03.03].

Ryder was dismissed by one political science prof as evidence of how “farcical” some South Dakota Democratic candidates are.

On the same day that Ryder’s candidacy ended, Representative Steven Haugaard (R-10/Sioux Falls) referred to an unnamed woman as a “wrung-out whore.” Haugaard was making a speech from the House floor in opposition to Senate Bill 26, which would allow physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to dispense medical marijuana. (Oh yeah, some policymaking did happen this week. But back to the show….) Concerned that this expansion of pot-dispensing authority would lead to reefer madness, Haugaard made this speech (see SDPB’s video of Legislative Day 33 in the House, timestamp 2:45:35):

Night before last we got a call from the Sioux Falls Police Department in the middle of the night, and it was a call to ask if we were available to come and pick up this little girl. This was the daughter of a young lady that we took into our home a few years ago. And there was a well-person check that prompted this contact with the police. Well, when they got there, they found that everybody was o.k., but what they also found was that this young mom had marijuana that was within reach of this little girl. So DSS is called in. This young lady, she’s a sweet girl, we care about her, she keeps in touch with my wife on a regular basis, so she’s kinda—my wife’s kind of a substitute mom. But this girl’s had such a crappy set of circumstances for so many years now that she’s decided that she’s depressed, and so she’s self-medicating. She thought based on the news that that’s the thing to do. I must be depressed, well, you’ve got bad circumstances, and so now you’re going to self-medicate. She doesn’t have clinical depression. She has bad circumstances, but she thought this was o.k. Now these drugs are within reach of this little girl. So thankfully, our son and his wife have provided some care for this little girl, so they were able to come and take care of her at about 2 in the morning, pick her up, 3 in the morning, whatever it ended up being.

Because of this idea that his is going to solve my problems, this is going to be a great solution to life—so we’re going to make it even easier now. You don’t have to be a physician to really diagnose this person and figure out if this person has clinical depression or anything else. We’re just going to relegate this to somebody that’s able to prescribe to drugs otherwise. And I know that PAs and nurse practitioners serve a great purpose. But there was a real controversy a few years ago in Sioux Falls where this individual was advertising as a nurse practitioner kind of a standalone practice—man, did the medical association come out of the woodwork over that! But now we’re going to expand this authority to these individuals who might not have quite as a discerning eye as a physician who understands the idea of malpractice. And I understand that these folks are subject to the same issues as malpractice but might not be as concerned about it and feel that there’s such latitude here, I’m not really gonna have a problem.

That was one example. I mentioned to some of the other folks here in the chamber another example. I’ve represented this one family for quite a few years, watched their little teenage girl, and they were pretty light on marijuana use, thinking that it wasn’t such a big deal. Got acquainted with their daughter when she was 12, 14 years old. Over the years, she used marijuana and thought it was o.k., and she continued to use that until she discovered that that wasn’t quite a big enough kick. Meth might be the answer. So then she started using meth. She’s now in her early 30s. She was a beautiful girl in her teens and a sweet kid. She is now kind of a wrung-out whore, because she is prostituting herself for drugs, over and over again, and this is an example of where this can lead if we don’t keep—

[Rep. Linda Duba (D-15/Sioux Falls) calls point of order; Speaker intervenes] Representative, please keep it to the bill of hand.

Haugaard: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I am keeping it to the bill at hand. If you don’t keep a high standard with a physician who’s going to oversee this and identify this as a real medical need, you’re going to degrade this to the point where anybody qualifies, and these are the results that you see. Our society needs to be responsible enough to be concerned about the unintended consequences, and I just gave you two examples. We need to vote this down [Rep. Steven Haugaard, speech from the House floor, transcribed by DFP from SDPB video, 2022.03.03, timestamp 2:45:35].

With three words, Haugaard, who has already rubbed his party’s fur the wrong way by challenging Fox media darling, frequent flyer, and occasional Governor Kristi Noem in the primary, give Noem and her loyal Republicans free shots at branding him misogynist scum.

Haugaard is misogynist and scum. He’s said much worse about good people and spewed a variety of more harmful nonsense for years, and the GOP has never booted him from the ballot. They let him preside over the House of Representatives, for Pete’s sake. The Republican Party never really speaks up against the bad behavior of its members unless speaking serves the political interest of its leaders. Kristi Noem has rolled out the misogyny card against Haugaard for political gain before, and she’s doing it again.

And here’s the thing: Haugaard’s statement was entirely factual. He was describing a woman he knows whose life has been ruined by drugs. Life has wrung her out, and she is selling her body for drugs. The phrase he chose describes exactly the situation in which the woman in question finds herself.

One can read Ryan Ryder’s comments in a similar way. However crude his words were, his statements captured the reality of the public positions he saw Republicans taking. Congressman Johnson and the rest of his party refused to censure a fellow Republican who made a demeaning and violent video; Ryder observed that Johnson’s position leads to the logical conclusion that it would be o.k. for us to make similarly demeaning and violent videos about Johnson and his family. Johnson refused to hold Donald Trump responsible for inciting the January 6 insurrection; Ryder reminded Johnson of the deadly intent of Trump’s insurrectionist. And when Ryder so crudely dismissed the Noem Administration’s propaganda, he was grossly by accurately critiquing the perpetual all-image, no-substance campaign of Kristi Noem, which relies on pumping out glamour shots that arouse angry and insecure men and taps their libido for donations and votes.

Even if we ignore the substance and wallow in the word critique, we can still ask why Democrats fry their offensive speaker on the spot and are willing to leave Dusty Johnson unchallenged again rather than stick with an easily tar-and-featherable candidate while the Republicans only speak up against a threat to their political order. Haugaard’s words may be read as the lament of a father figure about a woman whom he did not name but whose grim situation he described in arguably ill-chosen but still factual words. Donald Trump’s flings misogynist words far more vilely, as gratuitous insults, designed not at all to inform but to misinform, to distract us from discussing actual policies and their impact on life situations, and we get not one meaningful word of resistance to Donald Trump’s destructive rhetoric.

Are you serious, Republicans, when you say Haugaard’s words “do not reflect the values of the Republican Party“? Prove it: get off your pretend sidelines and kick Haugaard out. Out of the party, out of the caucus (you’ve done that before), out of any fundraisers or Lincoln Day dinners. And then issue your formal statements of rebuke and disavowal to Donald Trump and all the Republicans who have followed his lead in saying much worse things that do much more harm to South Dakota and our nation.


  1. grudznick 2022-03-06 09:59

    Let this be a cautionary tale to the out-of-state name-callers who unknowingly tank their favorite candidates’ campaigns. This is South Dakota where we act in a civil manner.

  2. Loren 2022-03-06 10:24

    Civil manner? Tolerating insurrections, crotch grabbing, blackmail… Ryyyyght, we S. Dakotans are “civil,” all right. Let’s be honest. How many ranchers have pin-ups of Kristi and her horse tacked up in the barn? Kristi isn’t getting those votes because of her competence or eloquence, right, boys? ;-)

  3. denature 2022-03-06 11:36

    Wrung-out is clearly referring to the whoring and her used dishrag status in the field. It is not referring to the pretext that life has emotionally wrung her out. To suggest otherwise rhetorically is tortured and cringey.

  4. grudznick 2022-03-06 11:45

    Let us not forget about Mr. Haugaard’s panty hose rule in the legislatures.

  5. All Mammal 2022-03-06 11:58

    Exactly, Mz. Loren. So Dak voters are shallow and have the mentality of 12 year old girls who put posters of pop stars from magazines on their bedroom walls. As adults still clinging to this immature mentality, we now idolize politicians for looking cool or hot on a poster. They even sound just as shallow and sophomoric as bawdy, lazy, full-of-themselves preteeny boppers. Is this proof republicanism stunts mental growth? Please let them be going through a phase and grow out of it with haste so we can all look back and tease them about all this.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-03-06 12:10

    South Dakota might have gone the way of Nevada and legalized prostitution had Governor Bill Janklow not closed the brothels in Deadwood to divert media attention from his role in the murders of Jancita and Delphine Eagle Deer.

  7. grudznick 2022-03-06 14:14

    Ms. Mammal, I had no idea you still had one of those calendars featuring grudznick in provocative lures. Those are old, and rare.

    Lar has it righter than right about the colored doors. A fellow I know owns one now. Invited me up just the other day.

  8. Ben Cerwinske 2022-03-06 16:06

    Are the Republicans hypocrites? Of course. But is it not sad that we have let Trump and his acoylytes influence our behavior? Is there really nobody in the state with the skills to run for office who hasn’t also wallowed in their filth?

  9. Mark Anderson 2022-03-06 16:26

    Randy Seiler, you need many more candidates like Ryder. Democrats need to be fired up, with all the niceness going on you might as well start a breakfast club. With lying candidates and their out of state hires like Mr. Fury, what else can you do but answer them. Isn’t there a comedian like the Ukrainian around, get the guy from Minnesota. Just get someone tough and stick with the facts and don’t be civil.

  10. larry kurtz 2022-03-06 17:32

    Emperor Schoenbeck and the deeply closeted Fred Deutsch nearly came to blows in the barrel full of crackers on Saturday because when there aren’t enough Democrats in my home state’s philistine legislature Republicans end up rounding on their own bedfellows.

  11. M 2022-03-06 18:07

    Schoenbeck hasn’t seen alcohol abuse destroy lives and tear families apart? gambling?

    Alcohol is the gateway drug because it’s everywhere, cheap, and easy to steal if need be…like from parents, friends, stores. The effects of alcohol lead to lots more risky behaviors than smoking a doobie. In areas of great poverty, huffing is a gateway activity, but certainly not smoking pot. It too may be easy to find but very very expensive.

    Sorry but pot does not lead to reefer madness. I hate this type of misinformation.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-03-06 18:49

    Denature, I’m not trying to torture any language; I’m honestly not familiar with the term. Is there more outrage about the use of “wrung-out” than “whore”?

  13. mike from iowa 2022-03-06 19:02

    Wrung out could apply to her looking well used, older than her years and whatever damage drug and alcohol abuse heave done to her mentally and physically. Basically as if all happiness is gone and every dfay is a drudge for her.

  14. grudznick 2022-03-06 19:55

    Mr. H, it is the combination and connotations to most fellows, less proper than you or I, of the combining of that “adjective” with that noun that offends most sensible women and most sensible fellows who understand Mr. Haugaard’s disdain for anything ‘his god’ has not blessed.

    You are probably treading in Haugaard waters here, I fear.

  15. DaveFN 2022-03-06 20:33

    In critical theory, no meaning is ever be taken as a “given.” The only idea that isn’t open to question is the idea that any and every received idea can and must be vigorously problematized (this is exemplified in critical race theory, of course). All presumed, received meanings as well as the conditions that gave rise to their possibility are ultimately defamiliarized by examination. No doubt the very reason certain groups and individuals feel “threatened” by critical theory of any kind.

    As notes Michael Bérubé, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at Pennsylvania State University, “It is very difficult to get a man to understand something when his tribal sense of his identity depends on his not understanding it…but there are few tasks so urgent.”

    Jonathan D. Culler, Emeritus Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell, notes that thinking about thinking “requires enquiry into the categories we use in making sense of things…in discursive practices.”

    The late French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy writes: “The given always gives itself as something other than simply given,” and that human experience is never “pure or simple.”

    As author Calvin Thomas notes, citing Derrida: “If I myself should take some piece of meaning as given, I will probably expect you to partake as well, to “repeat after me, ” to join me as I have joined others in a reified set of “common perceptions,” a coagulated sort of “common sense,” “a stagnant confirmation of inherited thinking, its presuppositions, and its dogma.”

    These observations by noted 20th century critical theorists are, of course, eminently pertinent to politics and politicians in South Dakota and elsewhere, Cory’s case above over who said what, who meant what, and who understood and failed to understand what was meant by what was said. The simple route is to take things as a concrete “given,” which fits our rigid, alienated, and preexisting categories as influenced by our agendas. Doing so is a nothing but a sign of ignorance and intellectual impoverishment whenever it occurs.

  16. O 2022-03-06 21:10

    Only one party holds its candidates accountable for the level of discourse used. The whole stinking cesspool of politics is the reason that so mane good public servants shy away from this avocation. More abhorrent are the actions taken that truly indicate the hatred and evil in their hearts that occasionally “slip out” as verbiage. No party should be represented by such ugly, bitter trolls. That is on the voters who support this abhorrent system.

  17. DaveFN 2022-03-06 22:05

    Critical thinking in the best sense of the term has yet to enlighten South Dakota. Thus far it merely collides with entrenched and archaic ways of thought that have yet to see the light of the best of 20th century ways of understanding the world into which we are thrown.

    We’re not even playing catch up, but actively exhausting ourselves in an effort to stay behind. Some think such effort is to their credit, as much as their desire is to be stuck and not enlightened, not transformed by unknown future possibilities they are afraid to conceive lest those possibilities loosen them from their insular security.

  18. All Mammal 2022-03-07 01:36

    My dad’s truck magnets and dash calendars would have sent some legislatures into spontaneous combustion. The bust in combustion probably ignites a little agitation.

    Now I know why. The bodacious bod; Grudznick! In my tender years, you and Pam veered me towards environmental conservatism before I knew what it meant thanks to sneaking peeks at my pappy’s advertisements stating, “Save water. Shower with a friend.”

    Very convincing ad, ‘Znicky. Those like Mr. Haugaard and whom ever else is feigning incredulity over the effectiveness of the human form are usually barely holding it together under the immense pressure to contain the perversely aroused freakazoid within. It is evident by their contempt towards anything sexy. If you find someone/thing to be hot, like Mr. G’s skin calendars, don’t blame the object eliciting your lust, get in touch with yourself. Its ok, that’s why it feels good; because God wants us to feel good. Ain’t she sweet?

    To the victim(s) of Mr. Haugaard’s diatribe, the sooner you are able to get ahold of a weed rx, the quicker you will find it easier to move on. Try laying off the sauce and get plenty of eat, sleep, water and you will be golden. Don’t let the man get you down.

    The respected, and often feared, world famous Masai people of Africa have a greeting which shows what matters most. They do not say, “how are you?” they greet one another with, “So how are the children?”
    That is the overall health and wellbeing of their entire society; the state of their tribe’s children.

    If our women and children are in peril, we all are.
    And when Mr. Grudznick looks good, haters will not admit they likee likee. They demand Pam’s door come off the hinges and declare Grudznick unsavory because the body his mom gave him is too much for most to handle. Don’t hate, congratulate.

    So will you sign my auction flier, Mr. G?

  19. RST Tribal Member 2022-03-07 05:51

    Yep, words matter. The usage, timing and understanding from the speaker to the audience makes or breaks a career. The English language is full of false pretensions, just like the inept inbred republicans in Pierre and our (or is it are, depends on the “who” usage) 3 stooges in Washington.

    The inept inbred Republican guy ( wants to move up the republican power ladder by campaigning to oust American’s Governor. The inept slipped or tripped or stumbled or got screwed on/by a word when referring to a person offering for trade or money a part of the human body or the whole body for drugs or something depending on speaker and/or the listener.

    Indian Country learned the application of terms in the English language in 2009. Most 3 graders would say the word “now” means today and/or at this point in time. However, the U.S. Supreme Court wanting to limit Tribal Governments from using a settled law to build their land base decided “now” means way back then. Not today. Not this instance. But many decades ago.

    In 2009 Justice Thomas determined that the authority of the BIA to take Indian land into a trust status hinged on the phrase “now under Federal jurisdiction” in 25 U.S.C. § 479. Using rules of statutory construction, he determined that this phrase limited the BIA to take Indian Land into trust only if the tribe was federally recognized in 1934 at the time of the law’s enactment. As if he and his buddies on the Supreme Court where there in 1934 making and voting laws into existence, knowing in 2009 what was meant in 1934.

    Words matter. Usage matters. And as a few political operators found out it’s not the speaker but the listener who matters. Don’t get all wrung-out on a word or do; to make a point.

  20. Ben Cerwinske 2022-03-07 08:25

    People like Lincoln showed us the way a long time ago. You can be tough and factual without debasing yourself and others.

  21. Richard Schriever 2022-03-07 08:29

    Dave FN – I often ask the people who assert the need for the use of “common sense” to define the meaning of that term for me. Almost never do they respond with anything that involves the mere act of holding a matching or agreed with opinion, rather deferring something more akin to it “making sense” or being logical. Being something “everybody “knows” (because it is a logical conclusion)” is as close as they can come.

    But, take that critical approach to this whole issue, and let us examine why it is that those persons who have been closely associated with Mr. Haugaard have tended to have the outcomes he’s related? Was his “sacred” personal influence insufficient to alter them from this course, or did it somehow assist in directing them on their path? Does he cats them in the light of “they didnlt do as I say” – blaming them, or does he cast himself in a relatively uninfluential position, being the one to blame?

  22. mike from iowa 2022-03-07 08:33

    Wrung out in cowboy parlance….rode hard and put up wet.

Comments are closed.