Perhaps the surest way to make sure Kristi Noem doesn’t win another election is to keep putting her on the national news programs. Far from boosting her brand, every interview South Dakota’s biggest TV star does on CBS, ABC, and now CNN proves that, far from a thinking, caring human being, she is just a Republican election robot.
Noem beamed in to deflect questions from Dana Bash on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. The main attention-getter was Noem’s persistent refusal to directly respond to Bash’s question relating to the immediately infamous case of a ten-year-old Ohio girl who was raped and impregnated six weeks ago, who was denied an abortion in Ohio, and who had to travel to Indiana to terminate her life-threatening pregnancy. After asking the very straightforward question, “Will the state of South Dakota going forward force a 10-year-old in that very same situation to have a baby?” Bash had to try to break in and redirect Noem from her deflection points (“…nobody’s talking about the pervert… it’s a child…every dingle life is precious…”) five times before Noem finally said the actual answer: “But, in South Dakota, the law today is that the abortions are illegal, except to save the life of the mother.”
When Bash tried to clarify the moral point of whether, “you would be OK with that, a 10-year-old girl having to have a baby?” Noem said she isn’t. So given she is in a powerful position where she could change a law she finds immoral, Noem cried her crocodile tears:
BASH: So, will you try to change the law to have an exception in a situation like that
NOEM: It breaks my heart. I’m a mother. I’m a grandmother. Got a 1-year-old little granddaughter named Ms. Addie. I can’t even imagine. What I would say is, I don’t believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy. And so there’s more that we have got to do to make sure that we really are living a life that says every life is precious, especially innocent lives that have been shattered, like that 10-year-old girl [Gov. Kristi Noem, interviewed by Dana Bash, transcript, CNN: State of the Union, 2022.07.03].
Again, Bash tried to drag Noem back to answering the question about her ability as South Dakota’s Governor to change a law that she appears to agree would force an immoral outcome for a pregnant ten-year-old rape victim. Noem then slipped into a flatly pro-choice response:
BASH: Yes. And it’s incredibly complicated. And I get it. But I guess my question is, given how heartbroken you seem to be about the situation, maybe the question is this, because what I keep thinking about is, how is — a 10-year-old girl physically…
BASH: … probably can’t even carry a baby without being, never mind emotionally and mentally sort of tormented, but physically hurt. Would you consider that the life of a mother at risk?
NOEM: And I think that’s something that — yes, that situation, the doctor, the family, the individuals closest to that will make the decisions there for that family. [Noem/Bash, 2022.07.03]
Wait—what? The doctor, the family, the individuals closest to the girl “will make the decisions”? Noem just said South Dakota law forbids such decisions. What does she mean?
Perhaps sensing she had gotten off track, Noem wheeled around to lose us in federalism.
That’s what’s interesting about the time we live in right now, is every state will have different laws on the books. The decisions will be made by the legislators that are closest to the people. That’s appropriate. It’s the way our Constitution intended.
And I think that South Dakota’s laws may look very different than California’s, may look very different than New York’s, where that governor has said she wants to become a destination known for providing abortions.
NOEM: That’s not our story here in South Dakota.
And I think every governor, every state will make a very different decision on what their laws look like [Noem/Bash, 2022.07.03].
If logical consistency is to be had in Noem’s robot spew, she may be saying that, yes, South Dakota’s law is immoral, but we like immoral laws, and as long as some other states still allow the caretakers of a ten-year-old rape victim to arrange for the termination of her forced and risky pregnancy, it’s fine for South Dakota to maintain its immoral prohibition on helping that child.
But if that’s Kristi’s logic, then a national abortion ban denying such a humane choice in every state would be bad, right?
BASH: On that note, if Republicans take back Congress in Washington, would you support a national ban on abortion?
NOEM: You know, we will see what Congress does and what those discussions are.
I have never, Dana, operated in hypotheticals. I have told people what my values are, how I would lead. And then I follow through on that. That’s just something that I have always done. Running for elected office, you represent your people, but you also represent the person that — the values that you hold and how you see your job as governor.
We saw that during COVID. We saw that with all the decisions that were made in different states as far as impacting people’s families and their businesses. South Dakota made very different decisions than every other state.
I trust the people. I trust the Constitution. I hate the energy policy that this administration is bringing and harming our families. I hate the food insecurity that they’re creating and the national security crisis that we have going on.
Joe Biden has been devastating for this country. And I’m going to continue to fight to defend the people in South Dakota [Noem/Bash, 2022.07.03].
The logical response to Bash’s question, given everything Noem had just said about federalism, should have been, “No, I would not support a national ban on abortion.” But Noem instead saw an opportunity to launch into talking points absolutely unrelated to that question—coronavirus response, energy policy, food insecurity, Joe Biden.
And hilariously, after saying she has never dealt in hypotheticals, Noem responds to Bash’s restatement of the question by dealing in the hypothetical:
BASH: Just real quick, is it a state right, abortion? Or should it be a state right or not?
NOEM: It’s a decision that should be made at the state level, absolutely.
BASH: OK [Noem/Bash, 2022.07.03].
Talking with Kristi Noem is like talking with a drunk: she can’t stay on topic, and you can’t count on anything she says to connect with anything she said just a moment ago. If the goal of the national news programs is to inform citizens of the vital issues of the day, then interviewers like Bash should refuse to waste air time with Kristi Noem. Perhaps the only vital issue we learn every time Kristi Noem opens her mouth for the cameras is that she is an inhuman self-marketer, committed only to her own celebrity, not to moral policy or logically coherent speech.