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Johnson and Phillips Promote Problem Solvers Caucus; Press Doesn’t List Problems Solved

Dean! Dusty! How about fully funding the IRS?

KELO-TV offers a hopeful report about Democratic Minnesota Third District Congressman Dean Phillips coming to visit South Dakota with Republican South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson. Johnson evidently visited Phillips in Minnesota last summer, so Phillips returned the favor by coming over to pal around with Johnson and visit the Hutterites up by Flandreau, Prairie Aquatech and 3M in Brookings and a factory feedlot nearby, and then Mayor Paul TenHaken, the National Guard (because they don’t have that in Minnesota?), Raven Industries, and the usual business suspects in Sioux Falls.

KELO-TV’s Tom Hanson talks about the duo’s “exploring ways to cooperate” as members of the “Problem Solvers Caucus” and hands Mayor TenHaken the mic to let him platitudinalize about their exemplary common grounding:

Mayor Paul Ten Haken spent some time showing Phillips around Sioux Falls and says these two members of congress are setting an example.

“DC is not necessarily what you see on Twitter,” said Tenhaken. “So it’s nice to see this level of collegiality and collaboration does happen and honestly that’s what we want more of in our country. That’s what people are longing for, so to see it happen today on the local level is really fun” [Tom Hanson, “A Republican and a Democrat Find Common Ground,” KELO-TV, 2022.07.01].

But Hanson doesn’t report a single example of any problem Johnson, Phillips, and their caucus have solved. Johnson talks about all the industrial know-how he shows Phillips along I-29—

For me to be able to grab a member from the suburbs, show him what production agriculture looks like and all the kinds of high tech applications,” said Johnson. “I may be able to show Dean, SAB Biotheraputics, showing him Prairie Aqua Tech some of these solutions that are in birthed in rural America but that will transform the country, we need more people in DC who understand that” [Hanson, 2022.07.01].

—but those are free-market businesses, not government solutions that Congress has cooked up. (Well, actually, SAB Biotherapeutics is funded by the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, receiving by SD GOED’s count over $45 million in government grants, contracts, and in-kind assistance since 2014, so maybe government is the problem solver.) Phillips and Johnson may have had a nice time together for a couple days, but KELO-TV’s report doesn’t tell us what practical cooperation has sprung or will spring from their collegiality.


  1. Guy 2022-07-03 08:35

    Too bad Dusty Johnson could not have been a team player and supported the bipartisan Congressional bills that passed to fund our critical infrastructure and the VA system to help Veterans exposed to toxins on the battlefield. Dusty voted against both bipartisan supported bills. Actions speak louder than Dusty’s empty words.

  2. Loren 2022-07-03 09:10

    Actually, there were a couple of times at the beginning of the Dusty J. era that I thought he might be a “moderate,” like voting not to oust Ms Cheney from leadership, but then he turned around and fell in line as the Repubs went down the Big Lie rabbit hole. Lately, in this campaign season, he has succumbed to the GOP tactic of criticizing anything Democrats do while not having actual solutions himself. (Obama-care repeal/replace, huge tax cuts/no plan for ensuing deficit, infrastructure week, impeachment 1, impeachment 2…) If you are looking for a TRUSTED bipartisan partner, I’m not sure Duster is the one I would hitch my wagon to.

  3. Ron Jon 2022-07-03 10:29

    The recipe for a “do nothing” congress is the hyper-partisans on the left and right spewing their bile and the other side responding in kind, each becoming more entrenched, convinced the other tribe is the epitome of evil. The far left and far right are mirror images of each other and the reflection isn’t pretty. Neither side represents the vast majority of Americans who are tired of the noise and unfortunately are withdrawing which is sad and dangerous because the partisans never shut up. So, maybe, Dusty and a colleague try to push back on that sad commentary, and then get whacked for trying. Good job partisans – may your perfect always be the enemy of the good!

  4. cibvet 2022-07-03 13:18

    Infrastructure not needed, veteran care, screw them, insurrection on Jan. 6, OK with that. Name something he has accomplished
    besides collect a paycheck and pontificate less than half truths.

  5. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-03 13:31

    Phillips is very popular with his constituents in the north suburbs. He’s a scion of the Phillips Liquor family, which is known in philanthropic circles. Dusty would like to be bipartisan, but doesn’t have the guts.

  6. mike from iowa 2022-07-03 18:22

    Off topic, but a bit of good news for all Dakotuhs….iowa is ranked last in business environment.

  7. Mark Anderson 2022-07-03 20:19

    There’s always the corn mike from Iowa. Its tall and that’s where it grows.

  8. Richard Schriever 2022-07-04 08:27

    Ron Jon – sitting on the fence in the middle is the classic example of the lack of ability to accomplish things or even to engage in issues. And there you sit.

  9. Ron Jon 2022-07-04 18:12

    Richard Schriever – I am still naive enough to believe that principled people on the right and left can work together on issues without compromising their principles. Not every issue, or even most, need to be partisan knife fights. Unfortunately, demonizing the other side poisons working together. In terms of accomplishing things, my observation is the most partisan people accomplish the least – it is take no prisoners with anyone who disagrees with them in the other party and even more so in their own party.

  10. leslie 2022-07-05 17:58

    i would say most knowledgeable liberals are fairly offended by your cop-out of bothsidesism. There is really no question that this malicious division resulting in the right’s coup has been building since Lewis Powell’s white paper in the early seventies.

    It is the conservative side at fault. It is a holdover from slavery, the civil war and the “lost cause” that allows the right to hold on to its racism, literal constitutionalism, SCOTUS packing, white supremacy, corporate corrupt capitalism and economic inequality. Mitch McConnell might as well give his KKK hood to Thune to pass on for another couple decades.

    I am not a radical libbie, but I will certainly hold you to account for your conservative elected leaders’ coup. Democracy is worth it to the rest of us.

  11. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-05 18:16

    Leslie–I tend to agree with RonJon in a perfect world there would be plenty of room for debate, discussion, compromise and gradualism. We need to strive to get back to that perfect world, if it ever existed. The Trump Treason has raised the ante to a strictly zero sum game. One winner, one loser. Everyone needs to fight it out on those grounds until the Treason is defeated, thoroughly defeated, never to rise again. Only then, can we return to a more civilized, and democratic, government of debate, consideration, and compromise. Liz Cheney, a true doctrinaire Conservative, is advocating just such an approach to our unique position in history. Fight Trump to the death as we cannot proceed with his Treason still active in our political body.

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