Why listen to this liberal blog complain about Governor Kristi Noem’s underexperienced, ineffective, and churning out-of-state staff? Listen to the critique from the staunchest of Republicans, Senate President Pro Tempore and fellow Watertown Hy-Vee shopper Lee Schoenbeck:
Last week on The Dakota Scout podcast, Schoenbeck laid into the Noem administration, going on to call her the most ineffective governor he had ever worked with.
”She can’t keep staff. She’s got these people from Ohio and Florida who have no clue about what they’re doing. So it’s the people you surround yourself with that will define your talent and ability. She has no talent to pull on,” Schoenbeck said [Austin Goss, “Threatening Vetoes, Noem Spars with Legislative Leadership,” KSFY, 2023.03.15].
Now if I’m a leader in the public sector and a fellow public servant rips my staff in public, when the press asks me to respond, I go to bat for my people: Look, great people have come to work for me and for this state. They’re here with me in Pierre with me all day, all year, busting their chops to do good for South Dakota. Their hard work and results speak for themselves.
But since Noem is all about herself and can’t point to any great results, she goes all cattily Trumpist on Schoenbeck:
Noem was asked to respond to those comments Wednesday.
“That’s the thing with this guy, he can be your biggest fan one day, then the next day he is 180 degrees the opposite, ripping your face off. If you guys could see some of the text messages that he has sent me over the years, I don’t think that he would ever get elected again” [Goss, 2023.03.15].
How many ways can Noem misfire?
- Lee didn’t rip anyone’s face off. Is that even a thing we say about criticism?
- We could see some of those text messages; just open that phone, Kristi, and start forwarding!
- If Noem paid attention, she wouldn’t have to invoke unspecified private (imaginary?) text messages to prove Schoenbeck’s a meanie; she could cite his record of calling opponents within his own party whackadoodles, clowns, pond scum, and chickens***.
- Lee’s Watertown neighbors have heard his blunt talk (not to mention found ripped faces washed ashore around Lake Kampeska?) for years and have elected him every time he runs.
- Unlike Noem, Schoenbeck isn’t worried about winning another election.
- Lee’s results speak for themselves: while Noem, with her enormous staff and power and statewide mandate, struggles to pass her top Legislative priorities, Schoenbeck, who has no chief of staff or communications chief or any other staff, has been able to use his District 5 Senate seat to do big things like save the historic 2016 sales tax hike for teacher pay. Results like that are why Schoenbeck came into the 2023 Session with this endorsement from the National Conference of State Legislatures as “The South Dakota Senate’s Top Problem-Solver.”
- And most importantly: not one word of Noem’s response rebuts what Schoenbeck actually said: Noem can’t keep staff, the people she brings from out of state are clueless, and that weak staff hamstrings her administration’s overall effectiveness.
Gee, if Noem had good staff, they’d have caught Schoenbeck’s comments and briefed out a response for the boss before she went to the mic. Her snarky, personal, and insubstantive response reflects the qualities of the Governor’s staff and the Governor herself.