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Due to finishing work on a book and a major project at work this blog will be on temporary hiatus until after New Years Day 2015. At that time I will be focusing upon the South Dakota 2015 legislative session, including traveling to Pierre to cover the session.
Last week the candidates for South Dakota Governor participated in the SDPB debate. I was going to do a post about the debate, but honestly nothing new came out of the debate that I hadn’t already blogged about (that, plus a medical emergency in the family prevented me from blogging). The Dakotafest gubernatorial debate was by far the best between the three and left Democrat challenger Wismer a chance to go after the incumbent Governor Daugaard. Alas that did not happen. Wismer’s performance at the State Fair debate was simply too lackluster. After watching the SDPB debate and speaking with others I think Wismer pretty much sealed Daugaard’s victory. She spent plenty of time attacking the things Republicans currently in office have done; but I’ve spoken with many who agree with me that she didn’t’ really offer any solutions beyond normal talking points as to how she would actually lead the state in a better manner. I really wonder how this race would have gone if Lowe had won the Democrat primary…
Ok, since I basically just said that Daugaard is going to win, does that mean I will vote for him? Nope. I will vote for Independent Gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers. Even though I disagree with him on a few issues, I feel he is the candidate that will actually push for some key political reforms. First, he is the only candidate that actually opposes Common Core. Daugaard’s administration has been working quite dutifully to implement Common Core. Daugaard himself has supported Common Core and believes such standards are necessary. Wismer has been more quiet on the subject, but she has yet to say she even has concerns about Common Core. For that reason I believe any of the anti-Common Core vote should go to Myers.
Another area Myers is ahead of the other two candidates is transparency. Myers is actually pushing for true transparency in Pierre. Daugaard gives lip-service to fighting for transparency, yet it hasn’t been a very big priority over his first term. I don’t think it would be wise to believe Daugaard would suddenly make transparency a true priority in his second term (kinda reminds me of Obama, he campaigned twice on transparency and ended up being the least transparent Presidential administration in recent history). When talking about transparency I don’t get the impression from Wismer that she has that as a high priority. Instead she has a high priority of Republicans being more transparent. Yes, making Republicans in Pierre more transparent may end up creating more transparency in South Dakota overall, yet that is the not the same as actually advocating for a more transparent government. For that reason I believe anyone that cares about government transparency should vote for Myers.
Finally Myers has been an advocate for agricultural and industrial hemp production in South Dakota. He promotes this as an economic development plan in South Dakota. I agree completely. In fact I’ve spoken with a number of farmers in NE South Dakota that would love to have hemp available as an option. Plus, it would work well on reservations, where economic development of some type is needed the most. Daugaard and Wismer both appear to be avoiding the topic of agricultural hemp. Too bad. The production of industrial hemp and manufacturing of products from hemp could allow a boom of economic development in South Dakota.
There is one more debate between the three candidates. On Wednesday October 22nd KELO TV will televise a gubernatorial debate at 8pm CT. Unless KELO comes up with some interesting questions, I simply don’t see that debate adding anything new about the candidates.
Since this race has nothing more to offer, I will close this post by predicting an easy win for Daugaard. Yet at the same time I will say that my vote is going to Myers. It is the only vote I can see casting in the SD gubernatorial race with a clear conscience.
The final guest speaker at the South Dakota Libertarian Party (SDLP) state convention was Eric Leggett. Leggett is running for state house as an Independent in District 15. His opponents in this race are both incumbent Democrats: Representative Karen Soli and Representative Patrick Kirschman. It is good see the race in District 15 isn’t going completely unopposed, as happens in way too many districts in South Dakota.
This race is interesting because I’ve had many people tell me Leggett is one to watch out for as being a true independent. But I’ve also had people in the area say they are wary of him because in 2010 Representative Jenna Haggar ran as an Independent in the old District 15. Then after redistricting she ran as a Republican in the newly redistricted District 10. I’ve heard some fear that Leggett is nothing but another Jenna trying to win as a Republican in a blue district. After seeing Leggett speak and speaking with him after the event I believe Leggett truly is an Independent and will not switch registration after winning.
Leggett stating his first priority is to get rid of the grocery tax. He would submit legislation to that end. He says the poorest citizens in the state shouldn’t have to shoulder a higher burden to support the government of South Dakota. I think this might be a winning issue for him. It’s actually surprising the Democrat Party hasn’t tried to make this their ballot initiate, instead of the minimal wage increase.
From there Legget said he would support legislation repealing the death penalty. He said “I don’t think we can kill ourself to a better society”. Leggett acknowledged he paraphrased that line from Democrat Representative Bernie Hunhoff. Leggett also focused on the many people who have been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. I agree with Leggett that the thought of anyone being wrongly put to death by the state should give anyone pause about supporting the death penalty.
Education was Leggett’s next talking point. He believes the vital component of any free society is education. Education empowers people and helps to fight against corruption by having an informed society. Along those lines he believes it is not right South Dakota has the lowest paid teachers in the nation.
Leggett said competition of ideas in politics is important. He noted the Libertarian Party flag including the words “Party of Principles”. He believes independents, Libertarians, or any other third-party must set a high moral standard and be principled. He noted that good philosophy is not enough. The candidates chosen must actually live by the principles they are promoting. Those candidates must run on their own merits.
Leggett mentioned he does have some disagreements with the Libertarian Party. But he went on to say that is OK. He says it is OK for there to be discussions about differences. And such discussions can happen without attacking each other. I agree with what Leggett is saying completely. That is why on this blog I try to discuss differences I have with opposing views, instead of personally attacking the people expressing those views.
Actually when speaking to Leggett after the event I would say he is a true liberty-oriented candidate, and not in the way that Tea Party and Occupy movements have been. It seemed any conversation I had with Leggett went back to how he felt any particular legislation would impact individuals. He might not be libertarian, but he is definitely worth it for libertarian-leaning individuals to check out. He woudl also be worth checking out for anyone that is tired of the same old partisan talking points from both parties.
I plan to meet with Leggett again soon. At that time I will ask some questions from a more conservative viewpoint. It will be interesting to hear his answers.
PS. The best part of Leggett being attendance was actually his son. Leggett’s young boy spent the day answering rhetorical questions of politicians when they spoke. It made for a fun day!
This post is just to let everyone know my blogging may become more off than on in the next couple of months. I work in the tax industry and am about to enter the busy season with farmer deadline coming up in February and corporate deadline coming in the middle of March. I will also be watching and listening to the South Dakota legislative session during the next couple of months. That means my posts will likely become less regular, but highly focused on legislation in Pierre I find important.
Tomorrow I will have a post with some thoughts about Governor Daugaard’s state of the State Address.
Today and tomorrow I will be taking some time away from blogging to focus on family. But I thought it would be good to include a serious Christmas post. I have been asked more than a few times if Christianity and libertarianism can co-exist; to which I answer “I believe Jesus is one of the oldest recorded libertarians in history”. There is much to learn from the teachings of Jesus for everyone. This is true even for those who are not religious and do not believe Jesus is the son of God.
Below I have embedded a video containing one of the truly best Christmas songs of all time: The Rebel Jesus. I have also included the lyrics to The Rebel Jesus as written by Jackson Browne. I think the lyrics tell a better story than I ever could…
The Rebel Jesus by Jackson Browne
All the streets are filled with laughter and ligh
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus
Well they call him by ‘the Prince of Peace’
And they call him by ‘the Savior’
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus
Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus
RLC endorses a Colorado candidate in 2014 US Senate race, will there be a South Dakota endorsement coming
Earlier today the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) released its endorsement for Colorado state senator Owen Hill as their candidate of choice in the 2014 Senate Race. This is the second person the RLC has endorsed for the 2014 US Senate race. The first was for Lee Bright in the South Carolina race to take out Lindsey Graham. Now that the endorsements are (slowly) starting to come out it will likely bring speculation as to whether any South Dakota candidates will gain attention from the RLC. Here are the four Republican candidates in the race and my thoughts for each of their chances (full disclosure, I support Stace Nelson in this race, but I don’t believe my opinions below would change if I wasn’t officially supporting him). This list is ordered from least to most likely to receive an endorsement.
- Mike Rounds – It is unlikely Rounds could ever get an RLC endorsement for this race after being called “too liberal” by the Senate Conservatives Fund. Plus the RLC is strongly opposed to government subsidies to businesses, which is exactly what the Aberdeen Beef Plant was. I think everyone can agree Rounds will never get the RLC endorsement.
- Annette Bosworth – Bosworth is saying all of the right conservative things to try getting an endorsement from a group like this. And part of me hopes she can still come up with a good perspective as a doctor as to why Obamacare must go away. Yet at the same time there are potential scandals that may or may not be true. I really can’t see a group such as the RLC support a candidate that has an unproven public service record mixed with potential scandals.
- Larry Rhoden – Early in the campaign Rounds released a scorecard showing Rhoden was not conservative (the same scorecard was later updated by Nelson, and ironically Rounds supporters say it is unfair to use such a scorecard?). That scorecard may hurt Rhoden’s ability to prove himself as the type of conservative liberty activist the RLC would support. Plus Rhoden is a very low-key speaker. That is something I can relate to, but isn’t necessarily the type of candidate the RLC could get excited about.
- Stace Nelson – Stace is the most likely recipient of the RLC endorsement. He definitely has been able to garner a lot of grass-roots support from liberty groups in South Dakota. But at the same time he is somewhat less polished than the typical candidate the RLC would support in an US Senate race. Personally I believe Nelson exemplifies the stances and principles supported by the RLC and Nelson has the best chance of that important endorsement.
- Nobody – There is always a chance the RLC will support nobody in the South Dakota primary race. Since South Dakota is likely to go R anyhow they may choose to focus on liberty candidates around the country that can take out current Republican Senators who are known to be bad in regards to liberty. The races for Senator Graham’s seat and Senator McConnell’s seat are perfect examples. These races will likely take a lot of resources (money) from the RLC and leave little for races in states like South Dakota.
Right now I believe the RLC will wait until near the end of the primary season to see if they support a candidate in South Dakota. A couple of the national conservative groups have done that recently in special elections. Hopefully the RLC doesn’t wait so long to make an endorsement that it becomes beyond the point of helping a candidate. Even if they don’t give monetary support (through the RLC-USA PAC), an endorsement from the RLC could amplify the chances of a candidate actually winning the Republican nomination. It will be interesting to see what the RLC does.