Last night I had a political outing (the first in a while) attending the Lincoln County Lincoln Reagan Day Dinner in Tea. It’s always great seeing old friends (shout out to Ken and Louise Albers) and as they say in the political games seeing old opponents and making new ones.
The dinner was a great success. By my horseback guess about 250 in attendance. A great roast beef dinner was served and there remarkable political speeches. The success was reflective of the growing political muscle and rapidly increasing population of Lincoln County. Consider Lincoln County is represented by 5 South Dakota Legislative Districts. Former Public Utilities Commissioner and Governor’s Chief of Staff Dusty Johnson flawlessly and entertainingly emceed the dinner.
The Dinner Speaker was Sioux Falls City Councilor Greg Jamison who is a candidate for Sioux Falls’ Mayor in the upcoming April 2014 election. Greg gave a solid presentation laying out why he is the best candidate to be Sioux Falls’ Mayor. Greg’s speech that was thoughtful and succinct though was a little overshadowed by few others.
Cowgirls Rule! – The two best speeches were by State Senator Shantel Krebs who announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State and U S Senator wants to be Dr. Annette Bosworth. Shantel’s 3-minute announcement while not a surprise was an A+ performance. At the conclusion of her well argued reasoning for election brought a standing ovation. Dr. Boz gave a solid intro of herself and engaged fully with the GOP faithful. The audience paid attention to her.
Senator Krebs was politically more polished that the Doc, but both showed what South Dakota voters are increasingly showing interest in – political farm girls made good professionally. Both fit in the mold of former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth S. and Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Smart, Politically Aware, Attractive.
Other Presenters – Former Governor Mike Rounds was on his game but perhaps last night’s speech seemed lackluster because it was just another one of hundreds he has given. Worth mentioning was his thoughts on the excesses of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (like that’s a surprise to the GOP faithful) and his articulation that having successfully managed State government for 8 years, he is uniquely qualified to represent South Dakota in the U S Senate and thus help straighten out our National Mess.
State Senator Larry Rhoden was pretty much just GOP pabulum given over the years to the faithful by State Legislators who want to go to Washington. In terms of wardrobe though I give Rounds and Rhoden (along with the well groomed Krebs and Jamison) the Oscar for wardrobe. Elected officials should remember their physical appearance is important. They must project an image reflective that they represent others. Citizens will not support someone as their representative who doesn’t present well. I scribe this because of the disheveled appearance of Rep. Stace Nelson who looked like he just got out of bed with his wrinkled shirt and sleeves rolled up above the elbow. Representative Nelson who is a Big Boy and had a commanding appearance and did show an ability to make a joke presented straightforwardly on the stump (more on content below). On point Governor George Mickelson who also was a BIG man understood the importance that a Big man doesn’t look good in a cheap suit.
On the U S Senate nomination front, I understand that former State Representative Mark Venner spoke (though not as a candidate) after I left. I had to duck out early (after nearly 3 hours) due to a prior commitment. Consequently I can’t comment on Mr. Venner, whom I do not know; other than to say he was the buzz at the social half hour before the dinner. The rumor was flying he was there and might have an announcement of his own. Interestingly in his speech Rep. Nelson clearly stated that had Mark Venner been a candidate for the Senate race he (Nelson) would not have entered the race for the nomination. I question what will Nelson do if indeed Venner does enter the contest?
Also speaking were Representative Jim Bolin and recently appointed Deputy School and Lands Commissioner Ryan Brunner who are seeking the nomination for School and Lands Commish. Both were brief and made their case. Bolin stressed his electability and commitment to education, Brunner his farm and ranch background and his experience on the job.
Other than what follows – a fun and exciting evening to see an energized GOP and a great group of candidates.
Unenlightened candidate – I believe our rights are extended from a higher power though think organized religion has little place in politics. I subscribe as articulated by Dennis Prager I have 2 Fathers, George Washington and Abraham.
Stace Nelson whom I have never met and only know through his reputation at the highlight of his speech unequivocally said,
“ I am a Christian, Conservative, and a Republican. You can’t be the third unless you are the first two.”
Such xenophobic logic has no place in our political debate. Taken on its face, since Christ was a Jew, would he not meet the Nelson Republican Litmus Test? – And be denied to be a Republican?
Further I do believe there are elements of Judeo Christian thought that are shared by Republican philosophy. I.e., the Republican Party was founded in part on wanting to eliminate Slavery. Clearly the GOP and true Christians share values. Christians (if I understand correctly) like Jews believe in clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, comforting the afflicted. Many Democrats share these values as well. The difference lie between the parties and yes factions within our political parties as to whether churches, charities, or the government should be responsible.
Addendum on the race for the Senate nomination – I have not made a decision. Maybe Bosworth, maybe Rounds, maybe Rhoden or maybe someone else, but not Nelson.
Above all we must have elected officials with Character. Nelson wants to define what a Republican is and if you don’t fit his definition and agree with his policy positions, TOO BAD - You are not a Republican! He has demonstrated through the being severed from the GOP House Caucus a couple sessions ago, he doesn’t play well with others. That is hardly someone who would represent South Dakota’s best interest when being one of our 3 representatives to the Federal Government. It has been widely rumored he has been associated with various political efforts without identifying himself; litmus test websites and robo calls in particular. Is this the kind of person you want representing you?
David Montgomery at Political Smokeout at the Argus Leader calls me out on my listening skills.
Rather than what I “thought” I heard candidate Nelson say. Following is what Montgomery says his recording of the event shows what Nelson actually said,
“I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order, and I’ll be the latter as long as it supports the first two.”
It is an important distinction if Nelson is exclusively referring to himself.
My reaction, as Montgomery suggests is different when I read the words, but that does not alter my reaction to what my mind heard.