I would like to like the “South Dakota Freedom Caucus,” the group of right-wing Republican legislators who could serve as a helpful counterweight to Kristi Noem’s self-aggrandizement and neglect of affairs of state.
But I can’t view these right-wingers as viable movers and shakers on the political scene when they keep sending out nothing-burgers like this Thursday press release about their trip to Washington, D.C.:
Republican lawmakers with the South Dakota Freedom Caucus were seen in Washington D.C. speaking with their national counterparts in the U.S. House Freedom Caucus this last week.
Representative Aaron Aylward, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus’s Chairman, said the meetings were very productive and indicated that they will be bringing forward several key pieces of legislation and changes to the legislature after their discussions with Congressional Freedom Caucus members and national key staff members and advisors.
One state caucus member, Representative Tina Mulally, indicated in a public statement regarding the visit that the state caucus plans to make changes in the way the state legislature has been operating, saying “We won’t be sitting on the sidelines silently any longer.”
No specific details have been released about what the state caucus is working on, but members have indicated they will be speaking with their national counterparts moving forward to bring such changes.
The South Dakota legislative session starts on January 10, 2023 [South Dakota Freedom Caucus, press release, 2022.09.29].
The first half of the fourth sentence summarizes this release nicely: No specific details have been released…. This non-specificity seems to be a bad habit for the Aylward, Mulally, Tony Randolph, et al. They apparently have a media strategy of trying to grab headlines with press releases, but they keep forgetting to give us any newsworthy details.
Even the photos they include with their press release fail to give any useful details about where they went, whom they met, or what they discussed. The only detail that slips out is a note on the white board that “messaging” should include “End DoE”—a trite empty promise from Republicans to do away with the federal Department of Education that keeps South Dakota schools solvent by providing 33% of the states education funding.
The only specific detail we may glean from this press release is that the Freedom Caucus will continue to “message” an issue that their party’s own mainstreamers have fecklessly bleated for years—in other words, the Freedom Caucus isn’t any different from the GOP establishment against which they pretend to rebel.
And worse for their cause, instead of presenting real South Dakota solutions to real South Dakota problems, the Freedom Caucus shows it’s just another chunk of the GOP gone national, subordinating themselves and their South Dakota constituents to the national agenda of shadowy national lobbyists. They’re just like the rest of the SDGOP, bowing and scraping to ALEC, the NRA, and other national powers that be who care not one whit for the unique practical problems that South Dakota legislators need to solve.
Aaron, Tina, Tony, we know you want people to think you’re important because you travel a lot (gee, sounds like a Governor we know). But spare us your field trip photos. Call us when you have something new and something real to offer.