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Freedom Caucus Just Like Kristi and SDGOP: Focused on Vague National Agenda Instead of South Dakota Issues

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.

SD Freedom Caucus, one of four photos accompanying press release on DC field trip, 2022.09.29.
SD Freedom Caucus, one of four photos accompanying press release on DC field trip, 2022.09.29.

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.


  1. All Mammal 2022-10-02 09:45

    Amen. I am actually afraid of what those Hitler haircuts would regurgitate if they were to create anything. For the love of sea manatees, they are truly embarrassing. Freedom Patriot Ripple Liberty Front Caucus, care about your people and stop trying to destroy something because you fail to understand it.

  2. AmyB 2022-10-02 09:47

    Hmmm…changes to the legislature, changes to how the legislature works. Since Republicans in general seem to be moving further and further right, I think a viable assumption would be changes that make it easier to pass extreme agenda issues and tighten their stranglehold on the state legislature while making it harder to get anything else even heard. I’m guessing they have ideas and plans already but have to keep them “close to the vest” because they know they won’t be popular with SD voters.

  3. Bob Newland 2022-10-02 10:19

    Aylward is given to posting word casseroles of biblical quotations on Facebook. They appear, at first glance, to be full of sound and fury but, on second glance, are as empty of meaning as the press release.above.

    Twice, I have seen Aylward statements to the effect that the Roman Catholic SCOTUS would not create a Handmaid’s Tale existence for women, which then go on to applaud state actions taken directly out of Margaret Atwood’s books.

    “HItler Haircuts ” indeed.

  4. Donald Pay 2022-10-02 10:36

    I would guess the Hitler brigade will be introducing anti-democracy legislation, probably something designed to give the Legislature control over the electoral college, restrict voting, etc., etc.. They don’t want to fully explain it until after the election, for obvious reasons.

  5. larry kurtz 2022-10-02 11:11

    Mrs. Noem is just another name-caller who dodges the hard questions. After his debate in Texas Beto O’Rourke sat down with the panel to make sure he answered all their questions so Representative Smith probably missed an opportunity to clarify his points with media, too.

  6. leslie 2022-10-02 12:31

    Another Republican long-game to skirt liberal democracy and accumulate GOP power despite the popular vote. Essentially Koch and now especially, DeSantis, Abbot and Noem horsesheit.

    Investigative Reporter
    PUBLISHED OCTOBER 1, 2022 6:00AM (EDT)

    In combination with other recent laws restricting public schools from discussing LGBTQ issues or racism — including Florida’s 2022 “Don’t Say Gay” law (HB 1557) and “Stop WOKE Act” (HB7) and its 2021 ban on teaching “Critical Race Theory” — this has led some school districts to advise teachers to box up their classroom libraries until each book is vetted. Others have instructed teachers to stop buying or accepting donated books for their classrooms until at least January, to give the district time to hire mandatory new staff to serve as “media specialists” who review each title.

    This was rabid Custer’s Republican Janette MacIntyre’s horse she rode while her kids were young over the last couple decades, now apparently soured on the whole Hitlerian, i mean Republican debacle. One of the smart ones scraping off the barnacles of tthe Republican debacle! (c) 2022 me!!

  7. leslie 2022-10-02 12:50

    “End DoE”, privatize, charter schools, profit centers taking public education funding, religious schools; Hillsdale’s goal is cranking out little Eric Princes as “graduates” with a whole different idea of democracy.

    “This effort started in 2017. In 2018, two leaders from the Florida Citizens Alliance served on [Gov. Ron DeSantis’] education transition team, along with a superintendent who had pulled all the books from their list, and a school board member from Miami who had protested sex education books.

    And this whole narrative of not trusting the curriculum or what’s available in our libraries serves the purpose of creating distrust in our public education system. Florida Citizens Alliance’s ultimate goal is parents moving their kids — using taxpayer dollars — over to private, for-profit education where they’re not subjected to teaching about sex ed or evolution.” K. Joyce

    The Jan 6 Comission is prepared to take the stage again. Sen Jamie Raskin: “And in our report, we want America to understand there was a pre-meditated, deliberate hit on American democracy in attempt to override the will of the people. And the forces that supported that are still out there and would gladly do it again. And a lot of them are running for high offices, like Mastriano in Pennsylvania. These are people who are election-deniers who are committed basically to their party winning, regardless of who actually won the election.”

  8. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-02 15:44

    “Freedom Caucus”?? What do they want to be free from?? Civilization??

  9. mike from iowa 2022-10-02 16:14

    Here is a little something that is neither vague or ambiguous… former Potus and all around excellent example for community service and compassioin, James Earl Carter turns 98 and sets longevity record for ex-presidents.

  10. O 2022-10-02 16:28

    Before Carter became President, he sold his peanut farm. He did not want the appearance that he was ever using his power of the presidency to enrich his profits peanut farming. How quaint that level of decency looks now given the level of personal graft, profiteering, and personal enrichment the office of the presidency has suffered. I think Donald Trump may HAVE to run for President again to avoid bankruptcy and jail.

  11. Jake 2022-10-02 17:46

    President Jimmy Carter (Democrat, Georgia) gave more in service to this our country than any other: esp. AFTER his presidency by volunteering to aid in democratic elections around the world for years, not to mention the many hundreds-maybe thousands of hours helping build houses for less fortunate Americans. His lovely wife alongside. The epitome of giving back to this country !
    I can’t come up with one Republican name, (I wish that I could tho) that has done a fourth as much; any Republicans out there reading this I hope you can jog my memory-I’d love to know that it is not just the Democratic label produces such men as James Earl Carter. Also, I recall vividly how quickly (immediately) he “owned-up” to the disastrous rescue attempt of the Iranian hostages.
    A better principled president hasn’t been, and Reagan took him out with the help of undercover arms gifts to the Iranians not known about until much later.

  12. grudznick 2022-10-02 18:13

    The Freedom Caucus was formed when some of these fellows were rebuffed at attendance of the Conservatives with Common Sense. They are insaner than most, while most of our group are just plain swell fellows.

  13. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-10-02 18:54

    Jake and mike from iowa:
    I mudded, taped, sanded, primed, and painted two Habitat for Humanity houses in the Denver Metro area, CO, when I lived there. I wish I’d met Mr. and Mrs. Carter, but just doing the service was reward enough for me.
    I was recruited by a blond, willowy, rich co-worker who never broke a nail, whose hair was ALWAYS perfect, and her clothes were Just Divine. Her rich daddy was supporting her, and she’d lucratively dumped two hubbys that were still so besotted with her one of them lost his house.
    Barbara, of course, never set one dainty Louboutin-clad foot in a Habitat for Humanity house, promised herself to “sponsors”, and climbed her glorious government ladder to dizzying heights in D.C.
    Oddly enough, no mention of the little people. Shocking.

  14. grudznick 2022-10-02 19:52

    grudznick may be becoming besotted with you, Ms. Fairbank.

  15. All Mammal 2022-10-02 20:45

    Be still, my heart! I have imagined such a blessed match in moments where my bloody, beating orb in my chest was left to long, unguarded (I refer to it as Harvey, like the destructive hurricane). I imagined it sort of like this: when I take a day trip to return some clipboards to Mr. Newland and initiate our prearranged bender, I invite you along to act as your wingman for you to attempt to court your feisty muse. The best way to describe that encounter would be the sound of a tazmanian devil and wolverine stuffed in a wet wool sock together. Truly lovely.
    Mr. G.. you know he’s a’besotted when his eyes are a’dotted(:

  16. Robbinsdale Radical 2022-10-02 22:14

    Has any body asked them who paid for the trip?

  17. Kurt Evans 2022-10-02 22:20

    Bob Newland writes:

    Twice, I have seen Aylward statements … which … applaud state actions taken directly out of Margaret Atwood’s books.

    “HItler Haircuts ” indeed.

    Aaron Aylward is a great guy, and between the two, Bob Newland bears the stronger resemblance to Hitler.

  18. All Mammal 2022-10-02 23:03

    Mr. Evans- the style of cut atop Mr. Newland’s head bears no resemblance to Mr. Aylward’s Hitler hair imitation. The former bears bear hair. The latter hails heil Hitler hair.
    See the distinction? Ones a dapper man (Mr. N, of course) and the other is a poser (Mr. A).

  19. M 2022-10-03 06:34

    What are these right-wing antichrist fascists planning? Looks like they want to abolish the National Department of Education first, which they have a head start at…. along with revisions of scope, sequence, and content of curriculum standards in many states across the country in order to indoctrinate young minds. And they want that public school money in their schools such as charter, private, religious, and home.

    Ironically, by trying to eliminate CRT which was never in the K-12 standards, they certainly know how to exemplify the theory and how it works.

  20. M 2022-10-03 06:48

    Grudz, I taught geography for 6 years and I’ve come to the conclusion that you are well grounded with your ultra conservative views, but your prodigious head is in the clouds.

    Had you been my student, I would have sat you in the front center of the room, stood in close proximity, and encouraged you with phrases like “stay on task” and “use your time wisely”.

  21. Bob Newland 2022-10-03 08:00

    Aw, shucks, Kurt.

  22. larry kurtz 2022-10-03 19:24

    Prurient politics appealing to the Budweiser set is where America is today: red, white and coup.

  23. Ryan 2022-10-03 22:18

    larry, to be fair, I am personally a big fan of all things prurient and I am also a fan of the budweiser product line… however I am not a traitor nor a fan of TRE45ON in any fashion, so don’t confuse all deviant boozers with maga clowns.

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