SDDP Blog Caves

Is this all it takes? To steal a line from the SDDP website Badlands Blue whose primary author recently asked this question of the Argus Leader when they changed a headline. They evidently caved because the right leaning blog SDWC called them out for not mentioning Tim Johnson’s horrible power ranking in the sensationalized headline when reporting on the power ranking of GOP Senator John Thune.

That same Argus Leader today called out the blog for a post this morning that gloated over their successful stalking campaign and all but took credit for these tactics forcing Steve Kirby to stay out of the race. But unlike the Argus which relented and changed the headline, Badlands Blue pulled the post completely.

Who said a Virginian with only one visit to the state was out of touch with South Dakotans?

Hat tip to PP over at the SDWC whom has the sorted details including the text of the now MIA blog post.

UPDATE: How hard can it be? Todd Epp asks that question in regards to blogging about politics in a state that you don’t reside. He has started his latest blog project, Tidewater Blue, a blog all about Virginia politics written by someone that should know, A South Dakotan with 3 or 4 visits to the state.

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Feel Silly Now?

For all the mudslingers that spent a large amount of time and resources smearing Steve Kirby in anticipation of his running against Tim Johnson, it’s a good thing mud washes off easily.

“My family and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement from many of our South Dakota friends in recent weeks as I have considered a bid for the United States Senate”.

“Suzie and I want to thank all of our friends who have done so much to support us during this time of decision. I have decided, however, not to seek the 2008 GOP nomination for the United States Senate at this time.”

I’d ask if they felt silly but of course they wouldn’t, this is politics afterall and patience (how hard would it have been to wait for an official announcment?) isn’t one of the more popular virtues of those that participate in the process…

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Another Week, Another Trip

As another week dawns, so does another trip for me which again means light posting for a bit. So while I enjoy the sights and sounds of the cities of the I94 corridor in North Dakota (after a side trip to the Hub City) I would recommend you browse some of the fine blogs from my blogroll.

Especially interesting this week will be what Steve Kirby decides to do. Will he or won’t he be running for the U.S. Senate, an email announcement is supposedly forthcoming tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Bush Appeal

Try as he might, President Bush apparently couldn’t get Governor Rounds to run for the Senate.

Governor Mike Rounds says President Bush tried again but couldn’t persuade him to run for the U.S. Senate this year.

Rounds and first lady Jean Rounds spent two nights at the White House when they were in Washington for the National Governors Association meeting last month.

Last year when Rounds stayed at the White House, Bush also tried to persuade him to run for the Senate – but Rounds declined. Rounds says Bush, in a joking way, tried again this year. The governor says when Bush couldn’t get him to run, he turned to Jean Rounds and asked if she would be interested.

Rounds says Bush understands that neither he nor his wife will run for the Senate – even if he persisted one more time.

So can we finally put this rumor that never seems to die to rest?

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Why The Fear?

As the onslaught towards Steve Kirby by the SDDP funded website Badlands Blue continues despite the fact he hasn’t announced his candidacy, maybe the real question behind the smear campaign should be why are they dedicating so much time and energy towards him in the first place?

– Why is Virginia based blogger Lowell Feld one minute heralding Johnson’s seemingly insurmountable lead in the polls then ripping someone that can only be labeled a possible challenger the next?

– Why is this SDDP funded blog spending, from my count, 9 posts as of this writing on their front page alone dedicated strictly to ripping one non-challenger while completely ignoring the 3 announced challengers Joel Dykstra, Sam Kephart, and Bert Tollefson?

– Why is there so much venom directed towards Kirby that they have even resorted to ripping local Johnson supporters who question their tactics?

– Why worry about any Republican challenger until after the primary vote determines who the GOP opponent actually will be? I am sure they could find another Tim Johnson or Stephanie Herseth Sandlin press release to post in the interim.

I have no idea why the writers over at Badlands Blue and by extension the SDDP are so afraid of Steve Kirby’s possible run against Tim Johnson but all the attention aimed at Kirby makes one wonder what is going on. Are they starting to see flashbacks to 2004 and Tom Daschle? Maybe so but from what I’ve seen, Steve Kirby has no where near the political resume that John Thune did so again, why are they so afraid?

Maybe we’ll find out Monday after Kirby’s email announcement (does that sound like a serious challenger?) or maybe not…

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The Check Will Be In The Mail

Not only is the centerpiece of President Bush’s “stimulus” plan going to put our government (and hence you and I) billions of dollars further into debt, it will cost us another 42 million just to tell us so.

WASHINGTON – At a cost of nearly $42 million, the IRS wants you to know: Your check is almost in the mail.

The Internal Revenue Service is spending the money on letters to alert taxpayers to expect rebate checks as part of the economic stimulus plan.

The notices are going out this month to an estimated 130 million households who filed returns for the 2006 tax year, at a cost $41.8 million, IRS spokesman John Lipold confirmed.

What’s a few million more between friends?

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Speaking Of Out Of Touch

“Super Tuesday” part III? Continuing with today’s out of touch theme, Governor Mike Rounds tries in vain to prop up the importance of South Dakota’s minuscule number of delegates that are to be awarded during our last in the nation primary.

Rounds told that if either of the two parties’ presidential contests are still undecided by June, South Dakotans could come off looking pretty smart.

“If it comes down to the fact that there are actually still competitive races, Republican or Democrat, then for that party they may very well say, ‘See, we were smart in doing so (on June 3),’ ” Rounds said.

Somehow I doubt the travel agents for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton are rushing to make travel plans for either candidate to come to South Dakota even considering the fact that the nomination will likely not be locked up before (or after for that matter) our June 3rd contest.

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Out Of Touch?

Has the South Dakota Democratic party made a mistake by hiring a Virginian to write the official party blog? I always wondered why it was farmed out to someone out of state and now my blogging buddy Cory is also questioning the decision after the latest flap involving Steve Kirby and the ripping of local Democrats, specifically Todd Epp, that don’t agree with the tactics being used.

What nonsense. South Dakota Democratic Party money is being used to host a website that criticizes a loyal South Dakota Democrat who has worked for the party for years, who has taken all sorts of public heat for the party, and who has staunchly defended Senator Johnson since before Lowell Feld knew how to say “Pierre” (and who doesn’t get paid for it).

These comments — and Lowell’s tacit approval of them — prove that the state Dems need to reclaim their own blog. Paying someone from Virginia to host a discussion that publicly criticizes a loyal South Dakota Democrat is insulting and counterproductive. Lowell Feld, NotPP, and Barely40Dem can wage all the personal attacks they want on Todd Epp, but not on the Dems’ dime.

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Smear Campaigns

Are smear campaigns becoming an accepted tactic in South Dakota? If you go by the results of an unscientific poll run over at SD Watch you might think so. According to Epps’ poll, 59% of those responding think that the smear campaign being run by the Tim Johnson spin machine is fair while only 38% believe that it isn’t.

But, if you listen to just about everyone else, the opposite might just be the case. Not only is full on Johnson supporter Epp criticizing the tactic, just about every South Dakota blog on both sides of the isle is following suit and condemning the campaign for ripping Steve Kirby despite the fact he has yet to even declare he is running.

Ok, so you might think that it’s no big deal, who reads the blogs anyhow? Most people don’t even know that the Johnson attack dogs have latched onto Kirby and before today I might have agreed. A funny thing happened this morning that might give this story just a bit more pub as the infamous South Dakota liberal rag, aka the Argus Leader, has also penned an editorial criticizing Johnson for going negative.

As much as we might have hoped that the days of negative campaigning were behind us, that clearly is not the case. Every election cycle, it seems, is earlier and dirtier than the last.

And while we would have hoped Sen. Tim Johnson would swim against that rising tide of negativity, his campaign for re-election already has been part of problem.

While the Argus does go out of their way to show that their liberal leaning hasn’t been totally forgotten when they commend Johnson for asking that the site responsible for the smears be taken down, it is noteworthy that they at least mentioned this story. The Argus editorial now takes it out of the blogosphere and puts it squarely into the homes of many South Dakotans that might have never known that this was happening.

It is also noteworthy that while much of the controversy over the Kirby smear centers around the fact that he has yet to even announce his intentions to run against Johnson, it is being reported that his intentions should finally become known when he plans on making an announcement of some sort on Monday. If the claws have been brought out and sharpened before Kirby is even officially in the race, just imagine how ugly this might get if as is expected, he does decide to run.

Johnson has built up quite a bit of political capitol over the past year with most South Dakotans after his illness and has been allowed to campaign without much criticism from those that have announced their candidacy (Joel Dykstra who? ), but with this latest tactic has he made it ok for his challengers to finally take off the gloves? If so, hold onto your hats as what was once thought to be a somewhat boring and successful re-election campaign for Johnson could now be much more interesting.

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Welcome To The Neighborhood

Continuing on my catchup mode, I received an email while I was gone announcing a new blog that is now up and running in the South Dakota blogosphere. School Of Thought is an education themed blog written by Watertown School Board member Fred Deutsch. Fred’s description of his blogging endeavor.

There are so many pundits, politicians, and experts in the field of education – each with their own focus or philosophy. In this new blog, my focus will be to share my ideas, dreams, concerns, musings, goals, love and passion about issues relating to education in our great community and school district in Watertown, South Dakota, as well as discuss the ramifications of state and federal educational issues on us at the local level. This will all be provided from my perspective as a Watertown School Board Member. Input from parents, community members, educators, legislators, other policy makers, or “anyone” is welcome.

Good luck with your blog Fred and welcome to the blogosphere!

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