News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Monday, February 15, 2016

South Dakots robots and Marco Rubio

The campaigns in the GOP for president are occasion for shame.  They have devolved into exchanges of name-calling, false accusations, and stupid-mean bluster that make elementary school playground brawls look like intellectual  summits.  Marco Rubio has stepped up as a leading force in juvenile dementia.  The shame is that the preponderance of American people take the demented squabbling as political discourse.  

Rubio's  obsessive hatred of Obama underlies his performance.  It appears to be in line with the intense racism harbored by some segments of Latino communities.  He expresses it with the false accusations and exaggerated distortions of fact characteristic of race-based hatred.  An example is his response to Obama's visit to a mosque and the speech of conciliation the President gave there.  Rubio's response:  

“I’m tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president’s done. Always pitting people against each other. Always. 
“Look at today: he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims. Of course there’s discrimination in America, of every kind. But the bigger issue is: radical Islam. And by the way, radical Islam poses a threat to Muslims themselves.They argue that. They'll tell you that. But again, it's this constant pitting people against each other. I can't stand that. It's hurting our country badly.”

Obama was addressing the matter of anti-Muslim statements made by Trump, and others.  Rubio's claim that Obama is being divisive, aside from being stated in an illogical, ungrammatical sentence,  ignores that Obama was advocating tolerance and conciliation, trying to counter the divisive invectives uttered against Muslims in  the GOP campaigns.

During the GOP debate preceding the New Hampshire primary,  Chris Christie made some observations about Rubio's political substance that defined Rubio as a candidate   He first addressed Rubio's actual accomplishments:

"You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable. You just simply haven't."
Then he focused on the substance of Rubio's campaign:

"The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information. And then the memorized, 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him."
 The irony of Christie's attack is that he could just as well be talking about a lot of GOP politicians, particularly South Dakota's current Congressional delegation.  As legislators,  they have been involved in no  consequential decisions.  In a state with more voters with a little more brain power, that might be noticed and they would be held accountable for doing nothing.  

To dispense with Sen.Mike Rounds first, he is following the precedent set by Sadam Hussein.  He has tucked himself into a political hole in the ground to avoid any encounters with people who might have questions about his administration as governor,  especially the EB-5 fraud.  Although it happened through a cabinet member he appointed and a proposed beef packing plant with which he as known to be personally involved,  he claims ignorance of any of the  shenanigans.  Even though it all happened  own his watch as governor,  Rounds'' political party has rigged the system to prevent him from facing any accountability. Politicians such as Rounds  speak for and define the dominant political attitudes of South Dakota.  The people of the GOP in the state condone subterfuge and nefarious dealings as long as their kind are the beneficiaries, not the prey.  

Christie's description of a feckless, script reciting robot fits John Thune precisely.  When John Thune was in the House of Representatives,  members of his own party in the Aberdeen area had to force him to address matters of representation and understanding issues important to them.  They castigated him for not having a field office in the region and scolded him for assuming that just saying to no any proposals because they would required tax money or add to the responsibilities of governing was not competent job performance.  During one campaign, Democratic candidate Curt Hohn pointed out that Thune, although representing a rural state, did not belong to any agricultural or water development caucuses.

During his campaign for the Senate, he recited the scripts prepared for him by Dick Wadhams, although his recitations were irrelevant to the issues brought up.  During one debate he accused Air Force veteran Tom Daschle of giving comfort and aid to the enemy for his stance against the Iraq War.  Since then, his most notable moments in the social media have been wildly incompetent bumbling, such as in a Tweet that showed he had no understanding of how the Affordable Care Act worked.  

Thune is often mentioned in the press as a smart politician, but one would be hard pressed to come up with an example of anything intelligent that Thune ever did.

Kristi Noem follows that tradition.  She reads  scripts that are written to appeal to the mean and stupid.  She follows Thune's legislative example.  Whereas Thune's primary  legislative initiative was to sponsor legislation that would prevent the government from putting a tax on the methane emitted in cow farts, Noem sponsored legislation that would keep the government from regulating farm dust.  No one in the government ha ever proposed taxing cow farts.  Tune's legislation was an absurd accusation at the danger of big government.  And Noem's anti-dust legislation was an exercise in ignorance.  She chose to ignore that medical researchers in major universities were examining the dangers to humans of pesticide and herbicide residues carried in the air.  

One of Thune's stellar moments in his election campaign against Tom Daschle came when Thune, who has no military service, said in a debate next to Air Force veteran Daschle and accused Daschle of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.  He was referring to Daschle's opposition to going to war in Iraq.

Noel's campaigns have contained such equally brilliant stratagems.  Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin was notoriously a Blue Dog Democrat which opposed much of the legislative agenda of Nancy Pelosi and the House leadership.  But Noem claimed that Herseth Sandlin was a Pelosi puppet.  The stupid caucus in South Dakota ate that accusation up like hogs at the slop trough.  

She also castigated candidate Matt Verily because he was educated in prestigious schools outside the state..

The current federal legislative delegation in South Dakota stands strong and proud for their recitations of false and stupid scripts.  And they do not endanger the esteem in which they are held by doing anything.  Except for Mike Rounds.  Who has a whole bunch of scandals he hides from.  

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States