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Noem Lies, Says Smith Vote Against Thought-Control Bill “Actively Promoted” CRT

For over a year, we’ve been begging Governor Kristi Noem to give us examples of any teacher anywhere in South Dakota endangering students with her great bugaboo, critical race theory, and other radical leftist falsehoods in our schools. Governor Noem has never given any examples. Her entire Department of Education spent three months looking and didn’t find any examples.

Just in time for the fall campaign season, Noem has finally found a culprit—nay, the culprit, the one South Dakotan she can identify as actively promoting critical race theory in South Dakota. Coincidentally, that one culprit happens to be the one man running against her for Governor, Representative Jamie Smith:

Kristi Noem for Governor, screen cap from campaign video tweet, 2022.08.30.
Kristi Noem for Governor, screen cap from campaign video tweet, 2022.08.30.

“Fact:” says Noem, “Jamie Smith actively promoted the training of Critical Race Theory within our state.” Noem’s ad voicer says, “Jamie Smith even voted to bring CRT to our kids’ classrooms.”

Fact: Noem is lying.

If you squint below the one-liner, you’ll see Noem cites 2022 House Bill 1337 and Smith’s February 15 nay vote thereon to back this claim. HB 1337 was one of Noem’s two school thought-control bills this Session. Neither Noem’s original version of HB 1337 nor the watered-down House version mentions “critical race theory”. The words “critical race theory” do not appear in HB 1337. The Trump-begotten “divisive concepts” enumerated and forbidden by HB 1337 do not constitute tenets of critical race theory.

The 50 members of the House who voted for HB 1337 were thus not voting to keep critical race theory out of South Dakota. HB 1337 would still have allowed discussions of critical race theory in curricula, instruction, standards, and training in critical race theory, if anyone ever wanted to bring up a graduate-level law school concept in a kindergarten classroom. Even the “divisive concepts” HB 1337 purported to forbid could still discussed and debated in K-12 classrooms, as long as no one was forced to adopt those concepts.

More importantly, the 18 members of the House (Smith and the other seven Democrats plus ten Republicans) who voted against HB 1337 were not “actively promoting” the training of anything, be it the explicitly stated “divisive concepts” or the never-mentioned “critical race theory.” Those 18 Representatives and the four Senate Education Committee members who killed HB 1337—Democrat Troy Heinert and Republicans V.J. Smith, Kyle Schoenfish, and R. Blake Curd—were not voting to “bring CRT to South Dakota.” They were voting not to pass a problematic and poorly worded bill that sought to stifle debate and intellectual inquiry.

We can demonstrate the falsehood of Noem’s ad by considering this analogy: Suppose Noem proposes a bill to ban Romulans from South Dakota (or maybe not Romulans, but just “divisive aliens carrying batleths”, who would more likely be Klingons, but Noem doesn’t know her Trek any better than her critical race theory—but let’s not overcomplicate the analogy). Suppose Smith and 21 other legislators vote against that anti-Romulan bill. Smith and his fellow sensible legislators are not saying, “Romulans, come to South Dakota!” They aren’t spooling up their transporters and beaming Romulans into our classrooms. They are probably saying, “We don’t need to ban Romulans from South Dakota because the Romulans are a figment of Kristi’s imagination!” (Or maybe the Republicans voting against the bill are saying the Romulan ban is too soft and that we should declare war and wipe out the Romulans while we have the chance.)

Representative Jamie Smith’s vote against House Bill 1337 on February 15 (and Larry Tidemann’s, and Mike Derby’s, and Tamara St. John’s…) did not actively promote critical race theory. Representative Jamie Smith (and Jess Olson, and Roger Chase, and Doug Barthel…) did not vote to “bring CRT to our kids’ classrooms.” They just voted against a garbage bill designed to tee up lazy, lying campaign ads. Kristi Noem’s claim to the contrary is exactly that sort of lazy campaign lie.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-08-31 08:32

    Republicans call it critical race theory while the rest of us call it American history.

    In 1951 after uranium was discovered in Fall River County more than 150 uranium mines were gouged into the Earth where the Oglala Lakota once made their winter camp. Since then, radioactive tailings from those mines have been detected in Angostura Reservoir after a dam on the Cheyenne River broke in 1962. In 1967 the military sold the former Black Hills Army Depot to the City of Edgemont who then sold it to local cattle ranchers and some of the contaminated buildings were moved to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on the Oglala Lakota Nation.

    The extreme white wing of the Republican Party wants a not so civil war over CRT because oligarchs fear an admission of guilt implies liability and Mrs. Noem’a donors will be compelled to pay reparations to Indigenous and to the descendants of enslaved people.

  2. AmyB 2022-08-31 09:18

    Critical Race Theory has become an umbrella term for anything that mentions race and equality. Conservative/far right politicians have seized upon that and are using it to create/amplify the fear that white supremacists have been trying to spread for decades. CRT has been around for decades…funny how now it’s such a huge threat.

  3. mike from iowa 2022-08-31 09:29

    So Moem’s a liar. Who knew?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-31 09:44

    Good point, Amy. Noem and her allies invoke “critical race theory” mostly as a scarecrow term to demonize opponents without talking substance. If the term has any substance in their usage, it is as code for, “We don’t want to hear anyone being critical of our racism!” That means no talk about race or addressing racism to progress toward equality.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-31 09:45

    As Larry says, what Noem’s really saying is that she doesn’t want kids to know facts that might lead them to question her virtue.

  6. DaveFN 2022-08-31 10:55


    Question her virtue and her privilege.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-31 11:13

    Yes, DaveFN, good addition: it’s not just her virtue that’s threatened by honest history; it’s her privilege, the idea that an underqualified white pageant queen can rule unquestioned over an entire state and ignore the sovereignty and needs of entire tribal nations, and the ease with which she and her people can access power and wealth without question while other citizens of this land face constant discrimination and disadvantage.

  8. P. Aitch 2022-08-31 12:03

    QUOTE ~ “We don’t want to hear anyone being critical of our racism!” – Cory Allen H #bravo

  9. Jake 2022-08-31 16:05

    CAN-question OUR STATE’s ‘virtue and privilege’ ! Remember, it is the people of our state that put her where she is, we voters are responsible for her, even if we saw thru her “horsesh-t” while running for office, enough of us didn’t see fit to vote against her. Like the idiot-minded ex-pres in Mar-a- ogling “his House. classified and top-secret papers sneaked away illegally from the White House.

  10. DaveFN 2022-08-31 20:50

    Those who self-righteously claim they have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps are invariably oblivious to the fact that they have been the beneficiaries of a great deal of good they had nothing to do with.

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