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Kristi Chameleon: Russell Says Noem Shifts Views for Popularity

Stu Whitney submits a rich political biography of South Dakota’s next Presidential candidate, Kristi Noem. Whitney’s tour de force includes a great summary of Noem’s political modus operandi from former Republican legislator Lance Russell:

So what does Noem really stand for? It might depend on whom, and when, you ask.

“She’s like a political chameleon,” said Lance Russell, a former state legislator from Hot Springs who also served as executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party. “I don’t think she’s ever really shed her establishment mentality, but she’ll shift her views or positions if she sees that someone or an idea is popular. She can very easily transition” [Stu Whitney, “How Kristi Noem Rode Shifting Political Winds to Pierre—and Possibly Back to D.C.,” South Dakota News Watch, 2022.10.12].

As an example, Russell cites Noem’s vote in the Legislature to accept $1.3 billion in federal stimulus dollars, only to turn around in 2010 and attack Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for voting for that stimulus in Congress. Whitney also mentions Noem’s exploitation of the Tea Party wave to win the 2010 House race, her flip-flop on Trump when he became her party’s standard-bearer, and her apparent conversion to resisting coronavirus restrictions and science when it became apparent she could get some political mileage out of opposing public health measures. Whitney doesn’t mention the food tax, but Noem’s election-season change of heart on that popular Democratic proposal is the most recent example of her chameleonicity.


  1. sx123 2022-10-14 07:16

    Lance not on Team Noem?
    I know a few Republicans that certainly are not.
    My biggest (but not only) gripe with her is how she handled covid (at least in public). Lots of people liked her apparent hands-off approach, but I’d like to see a sports team consistently win if the coach allowed the players to do what they think is best for themselves. Leaders lead, they don’t just tell people to do what they want. It’s a fine balance between personal freedom and keeping society from complete chaos.

  2. larry kurtz 2022-10-14 07:37

    Mr. Whitney must be writing this stuff for the people who were born after 2010 because the older of us knew this stuff long before then.

  3. John 2022-10-14 08:08

    Whitney should have highlighted that Noem’s anti-public health posturing contributed to higher rates of death among her republican “true beleivers” when contrast to the democrats and independents. Yep, Noem’s a deadly chameleon. Like most modern republicans, Noem will stand for nothing and fall for anything.

  4. Spike 2022-10-14 08:33

    Chameleonicity…. to practice chameleonness… to be a chamelonoid… to take every federal dollar we can, keep it for ourselves, disparage those that provide it and then say we are independent people in SD

  5. Loren 2022-10-14 08:44

    Same could be said of Thune. He was FOR a balanced budget before Trump… and then. He was FOR waiting to “let the people speak” before appointing judges until he WASN’T. He was against crotch grabbing until his golden boy became popular, and then it was no big deal. He was a law & order guy until Mueller/Impeachment 1/Impeachment 2, when obstruction, blackmail, and insurrection became no big deal. On and on… It must be a MAGAt thing.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-10-14 10:56

    The Noem campaign knows it’s in serious trouble and the sheer difference in the war chests of both leading candidates is staggering. Rep. Smith is operating on vapors in comparison to the millions the Earth hater has amassed.

  7. bearcreekbat 2022-10-14 10:59

    Apparently this trait has worked so far for Noem’s political ambitions. I suppose experience teaches that it is not necessarily unusual for some people to behave unethically or hypocritically or as a duplicitous chameleon. The important question is why has this worked so well for Noem’s grift to date? Why are SD voters so easily manipulated?

  8. Guy 2022-10-14 14:05

    I just heard the 1980’s pop song hit, Karma Chameleon on the radio this morning while driving to the coffee house. The lyrics fit jet setting Kristi perfectly! “You come and go…you come and go…” 🎶🦎

  9. Guy 2022-10-14 14:17

    Bearcreekbat, to answer your question why it works so well for Kristi…. I think the more unsettling observation I take is that KRISTI REFLECTS many of the people that live in this state, especially those tied to agriculture. We’re used to getting federal subsidies for our state, and we ourselves love to sit in Judgment of those people in the “Blue States”.
    We in South Dakota unfairly judge outsiders while we duplicitously take our federal hand-outs. We’ve done it so long and for so many years we don’t see the hypocrites we’ve become. So we see Kristi is the cheerleader of “our tribe” regardless of her and our duplicity. I don’t know why we cannot just drop the charade of false judgment and admit our society needs social programs. Social programs are an integral part of a just, sustainable, functioning, and community-oriented society.

  10. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-14 14:19

    Governor Noem is very flexible when on the campaign trail. “Winning isn’t everything, Winning is the only thing.”All of her politics are negotiable.

  11. grudznick 2022-10-14 14:22

    Young Mr. Russell is but a shorter, balder version of the most ineffective fellow in the legislatures since Mr. Kloucek…Mr. Nelson, the ex-marine. Mr. Russell was sanctioned by the Supreme Court and fired as the Edgemont City attorney.

    Lest all you libbies forget his Shame. Shame.

  12. Dicta 2022-10-14 14:57

    The real lizard people are the chameleons we met along the way.

  13. P. Aitch 2022-10-14 14:59

    Covid taught us some valuable lessons, didn’t it? A big one is that during a crisis about 40% of Americans are fully worthless and your Governor is among that 40%.
    – For the record: When Covid swept America your Governor didn’t know what to do so she did nothing and labeled it “Supporting Small Government”.
    – Necessary things did get shut down in SD and local leadership stepped up and did a pretty good job.
    – As SX123 noted above there was no leadership coming from your Governor.

  14. grudznick 2022-10-14 16:17

    Less government is a good thing, Ms. P.h, as even in the Sad State of Colorado they suffer from government interference while toking.

  15. RST Tribal Member 2022-10-14 18:53

    Leaders led, sounds good, as the voters in South Dakota have learned since 2018 the present governor follows. She follows 45 to a fault. She follows extreme inept inbred out-of-state republicans (who by the way are almost as bad as our homegrown inept inbreeds governing SD). She follows her handlers, maybe more than voters know, but gossipers seem to have a line on her behavior.

    The flip-flopping is common within the inept, inbred republican party. RINO Thune is enjoying a comfortable lead in the polls; it will be interesting to see what the voting booths decide. Dusty has proven to be a good follower of his party leadership in Washington. Not so much in SD. It is known and proven every couple of years, or four or six years, that enough money in the coffers will get a person elected, especially in SD.

    Time for better in November? RINO Thune could be in for another 6 years. Dusty is so powerful; the Democratic Party could not shake a candidate out of their ranks to challenge him. Not one. Wow. The financial war chest is being put to good use in the governor race, all those out-of-state donors are going to want their piece of meat from the bag of bones if she wins.

    The SD Governor changes her stances, positions, and thinking as the winds blow. What we learned during the past four years is she is on meth, got balls, and now wants her groceries without being bothered with the tax she loved a few months ago, and now hates.

    As the SD Governor wants to behave like Sara Palin or Michelle Bachmann, she will learn that 45 or Vice 45 or even hurricane Ron needs more meat on the bone co-candidate than what our bag of bones governor is offering. At least the SD Governor gets to see a lot of cities and hear a lot of cheers that could disappear on November 8 if 5% more people show up to vote than what polls showed… the Native population is guesstimated to be around 11%; if half are pissed at her attempts to toss them in jail for exercising the first amendments rights enjoyed by the white privilege domestic terrorist, she doled out CARES funds to in 2020, there could be a change (Navajo Nation did it in AZ, one of her favor states).

    Vote. I did already, as the decision was made to join the movement to rid inept inbred republicans from Federal and State governments on Jan 6, 2020, after their kind followed 45 in an attempt to end democracy.

  16. bearcreekbat 2022-10-14 19:07

    As P points out: “When Covid swept America your Governor didn’t know what to do so she did nothing and labeled it “Supporting Small Government”. Overall it seems that is exactly what Noem is best at – doing nothing for the people of SD.

    If I recall correctly, during her debate with Sutton and Kurt Evans, Noem promised all sorts of positive government activity. Meanwhile I recall that when asked by the moderator who Kurt would address certain state problem Kurt typically responded the SD government should do nothing and that as Governor he would typically try to avoid getting the government involved in solving problems as that was best left to the free market. It seems that Noem is channeling Kurt’s laissez faire philosophy these days.

    (Caveat, I do not speak for Kurt and he may disagree vehemently with anything I have said about him and the debate. I am relying on my own feeble memory and Kurt may have much diufferent memories.)

  17. John 2022-10-14 19:40

    RE: grudznick, “less government is is a good thing”. Try saying that with a straight face and implementing it.
    South Dakota has 26 county jails in 66 counties. So 40 counties ought be consolidated, incorporated into those 26 counties.

    There ought be 26 public school districts, instead of the 148. Make it happen, small government repubs.
    Nebraska’s legislature works with 49 senators in a unicameral instead of wasteful 105 legislators in two bodies in the South Dakota legislature.

    Make it happen “small government” repubs or STFU.

  18. P. Aitch 2022-10-14 19:46

    Whatever you think grudznichts is great for you. I wholeheartedly support your right to your own opinion.

    @BCB – What Kurt was saying is the S.O.P. of libertarian s. They want to live without government but would be the first group to backtrack in a crisis. To describe libertarianism in one word I’d choose selfish.

  19. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-14 21:31

    Does small government mean the elderly get to die, lying in their feces, in an understaffed, under financed, nursing home? Is small government having no nursing home available while the state banks millions? Is small government allowing the elderly to die of Covid while state government wallows in cash?

  20. All Mammal 2022-10-14 21:49

    When I heard Thune saying we should get government regulations out of the way of business and see what happens, I thought, “Ahh, he enjoys wallering in toxic mining sludge and raw feedlot dookie.” Makes me want to hand him some rank H2O with high ppm of microbial cysts and other suspended solids to wash down his terrible choices he has made in his many years in government leadership.

    When corporate greedy slobs aren’t kept in check, Mr. Thune, more children will be born with their entire digestive system forming outside their little bodies. I have heard of five pregnancies in Pine Ridge where this has occurred thanks to your deregulating. Tf you think in-situ uranium mining means? Try the water your decisions create, sir. Drink up, Mr. Thune! I mean it mofo.

    He is more stupid and dangerous than sticking his tongue out at a snapping turtle inside the mouth of a big snapping turtle inside the mouth of a bigger snapping turtle. Wish he would.

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-15 07:31

    Spike: yes, Noem continues a long tradition of South Dakota Republican duplicity, criticizing dependence on federal handouts while taking billions of dollars to subsidize many vital aspects of South Dakota life. Whitney does well to remind us of Noem’s vote back in her SD Legislature days to support the big federal stimulus that Rounds relied on to kept South Dakota out of serious financial trouble. Whitney also reminds us that Noem’s family has kept the family farm alive by taking over $4 million in federal farm subsidies since 1995. Sure, as Larry notes, those points are well-known to longtime observers, but Whitney provides a useful service by putting all those details on one neat, substantive article for new voters and voters whose attention may not be as enduring as Larry’s.

  22. M 2022-10-15 07:33

    If we just go with small government then I want some of my tax money back. I have no choice where it goes but it certainly doesn’t come back to me. I live in a small town of 3200 people that pays $1 million on a police force annually. Is that small enough for you Grudz? All that money to put users of drugs in jail. It’s shameful and wasteful and keeps some of our youth from ever having a life.

    Our streets look like hail the size of bowling balls fell from the sky, curbs and gutter falling apart, crumbling sidewalks, and a lack of any greenery or trees, and people wonder why no one wants to move here. I want that million spent on us, our city, our environment, and not on putting people in jail for using.

    We have no small government in S.D. where there’s less than 1 million people. Everything is run inefficiently with an extremely large budget and there are 1 per 5 people working for the feds, state, county or city government within our borders, perhaps more. Is that small enough for you Grudz?

    Oh, and don’t get me started on military and private contractors. Small government yeah!

  23. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-15 07:39

    BCB, Kurt at least is honest about his laissez-faire approach to government. When he says he’d let the market decide, I think he means it. I think Kurt would shut down GOED handouts to favored businesses/campaign donors. He’d turn back federal stimulus dollars. But I think he’d still at least show up in the office and handle basic functions of government instead of traveling all over the country boosting his image and raising money for his next campaign.

    South Dakota hasn’t been governed over the last four years so much as hoodwinked and exploited as one big campaign stage for Kristi to ride her horse on.

  24. grudznick 2022-10-15 07:46

    Mr. M, your town’s youth should not do drugs, then there would be no worries. Do not toke the Demon Weed and do not snort the Devil’s foot powder and do not inject the Jaldabaoth’s juice of the poppy, and those youth would be fine.

    Cut the sales tax on food and then the money comes back to you. Seems like you and Ms. Noem are on the same pages.

  25. larry kurtz 2022-10-15 08:16

    Recall the mother of former legislator, now Republican Fall River County State’s Attorney Lance Russell sold property to the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) where minor girls were trafficked and raped. Many readers remember that in 2011 Russell was censured by the state’s judiciary for leaking grand jury testimony.

    But, a red moocher state like South Dakota is powered by sin: video lootery, a loan shark industry that preyed on the least fortunate and a too-big-to-jail banking racket fill in the gaps created by lobbyists who enjoy the protection of single-party tyranny. Desperate to pay off those who benefit the entrenched Republican establishment criminals always have a champion sitting as attorney general. Now, the red moocher state has elected a governor who not only slept her way to the top she has never supported the Violence Against Women Act.

  26. Donald Pay 2022-10-15 08:58

    We’re all for “less government,” it’s just we can’t agree on what we need less government in.

  27. ds 2022-10-16 09:21

    Kristi Noem rants that SDPB is guilty of a “radical extreme leftward swing”. In truth, SDPB spends countless broadcast hours interviewing each and every South Dakota State Representative and Senate candidate. SDPB brings us both sides of current political issues no matter how decisive. SDPB brings us honest discussions of the candidate’s views and voting record. SDPB allows us to see and hear the BEST and WORST of South Dakota and American history. SDPB brings us close and personal talks with all segments of our fellow Dakota neighbors.
    Yet Kristi glues herself to Fox News as her ‘go to’ news source and adheres to the Fox political view requirements. She disparages SDPB because they do not shower her with adornment and praise. SDPB points out her nepotism help to her daughters job training. They covered her abuse-use of the SD state aircraft and her commitment to support her hero, Donald Trump the insurrection instigator.

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