The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The All Cute Race for House?

The War College is busying itself with rumors that Shantel Krebs may be entering the race for the Republican nomination for South Dakota's lone House seat currently occupied by Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. You can read it here.

Powers asserts that Krebs' entrance "could set the race on its ear."

On the contrary, Krebs entrance would only muddy the Republican waters and likely split the party among four candidates, which will include Thad Wasson and may include Dr. Blake Curd and Secretary of State Chris Nelson.

War College posters seem more interested in which woman was more "hot" than in where they stand on the issues. Whoopee! Let's vote for the cute one!

Krebs is a graduate of the Dakota State University and was the 1997 Miss South Dakota. She's in her second term in the House representing the 10th District. She owns a retail designer shoe business in Sioux Falls.

Herseth Sandlin received her undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University. She's been in private practice as an attorney and was Executive Director of the South Dakota Farm Bureau Foundation.

Krebs fits neatly into the religious right's conservative cubicle. Blue Dog Democrat Herseth Sandlin does not.

Republicans are foolish if they encourage a primary where a bunch of people who generally agree beat each other up as Herseth Sandlin sits back and watches without ever having to tell voters what she thinks or how she votes.

Chris Nelson is a solid candidate with excellent name recognition and the party should get behind him and, if they hope to have a prayer against a formidable Herseth Sandlin, others in the race should get behind Nelson also because he's the only candidate with a prayer of beating her.

I've no doubt Herseth Sandlin will come out of hiding soon and start being vocal about her positions on health care reform. She'll make herself available to voters across the state. She has to. And she must know she has to.

But if she doesn't, trotting out a cutie to run against her is a mistake and misses the mark. Herseth Sandlin is not a representative in the House because she's cute. She's there because she's smart.

I don't know Krebs from a hole in the ground. She might be very bright. She might be an excellent candidate. But outside her district, few know who she is and she has little chance against a seasoned campaigner.

On a personal note, my grandfather was a shoemaker and my father owned and operated shoe stores in Rapid City, Denver and Salina, Kansas. I worked in all of them. And I am suspect of anyone who thinks its a good idea to start a business where you spend your day with your nose less than 24 inches from rich women's stinking feet.


PP said...

Mike, I'm awfully confused over what you're trying to say in this post.

In one instance, you're complaining that "Krebs entrance would only muddy the Republican waters and likely split the party among four candidates."

And you further caution "Republicans are foolish if they encourage a primary where a bunch of people who generally agree beat each other up as Herseth Sandlin sits back and watches without ever having to tell voters what she thinks or how she votes."

But isn't that what the primary process is for? Personally, I love primaries. It shows a healthy and vibrant party.

You also note in one breath "Krebs fits neatly into the religious right's conservative cubicle" while later saying "I don't know Krebs from a hole in the ground."

If you don't know her from a hole in the ground, why do you believe you have sufficient information to label her?

Obviously you prefer Chris Nelson in the contest, and that's ok. I like Chris too. He's a good guy, and I alluded to his strength in the contest in a post which preceded my comments on Krebs possibly entering the race.

But I think you do Representative Krebs a great disservice by writing her off as merely "the GOP trotting out a cutie." She's a successful businesswoman who offers Republican voters a different choice in the marketplace of ideas that we call the primary.

Michael Sanborn said...

The Democrats have a candidate and she's a strong one. As more and more Republicans enter the primary race, voters will become overwhelmed with information from each of them.

Also, there's the matter of money and it's going to take a lot to beat Herseth Sandlin, if it can be done at all. Spending a bunch of dough in a primary that could be spent in the general doesn't make much sense when it's going to take a big hairy wad to be competitive.

I like a primary as much as the next guy, when it makes sense. I don't think it makes sense here.

I concluded Krebs fits into the religious right's cubbyhole from remarks I've read on the Internet, which may not have been fair. I don't know her.

I think portraying her as a successful businesswoman may be risky. Her business isn't old enough to be established as a success. She's quoted in Who's Who as saying her four year old business has been successful for two years. That indicates she's on the right track, but it isn't a testimony that holds much weight.

I have nothing against Krebs. But, I want someone who's fiscally responsible in the House. Strategically I think a large field in the primary makes it difficult for the Republicans to win in the end when the Democrats already have a strong candidate, who has all the advantages of incumbency and a big fat war chest.

PP said...

Mike -

I'd disagree, as I believe primaries make a candidate stronger, not weaker. It gives people the opportunity to shine, and show the stuff they're made from. AND they can give the victor considerable momentum.

Michael Sanborn said...

I didn't write Krebs off as a GOP cutie. That was the focus from some of the posters on your blog.

What I'm saying is that if Krebs or Republicans in general believe that Krebs' attractiveness will win a race for the United States House of Representatives, they're sadly mistaken.

If Republicans should happen to award her a primary win, it will LOOK like they're matching their CUTIE to the Democrats' CUTIE. I LOOKS cheap. And, while it may be unfair to Krebs, she likely won't be taken seriously in a campaign for national office.

Unless she is outrageously good on the issues and is amazingly articulate and charismatic, she'll lose.

Michael Sanborn said...

On primaries: In general, I agree. This is a different race and requires different strategies. The eventual primary victor will likely gain no steam from being criticized by members of his own party just prior to taking on a formidable opponent in the general.

Watch and see.

Bob Newland said...

According to Thad Wasson "the Republicans" seem anything but excited over the prospect of a contested primary in the House race.

I'll let Thad elaborate if he'd like to.

Thad Wasson said...

Democracy works best the more voices the voters can choose from. I hope the field is crowded, the voters in the primary will have a choice this election cycle.

The Republicans have not had a primary in the U.S. House race for at least the past 3 races plus the special election to fill Janklows slot. The candidates have ranged from the son of a businessman, to a Native American, to a member of the S.D. Legislature. The results have been straight losses.

My opinion is, get out your message, prove you belong in such a powerful position, and back it up with the votes. The citizens of this great state are smart enough not to get muddy upped.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with a premise that we don't know anything about Krebs. She's actively trying to raise taxes to pay for transportation department over-building and fiscal irresponsibility. She cannot point to one project she cut, scaled back, refused to fund. She has no record of trying to solve the $71 million state budget shortfall. She's just another tax-and-spender.

senor citizen said...

Mike says Herseth will soon come out and make her positions known on health care. Why hasn't she taken advantage of the recess and then been willing to meeting with her constituents on the same matter? She refuses to do so, and it smacks of arrogance.

And BTW one of the reasons she won in the first place was that she was cute and perky. No one can deny that. There are a lot of people who voted for her before who will not vote for her again for various reasons, she's not liberal enough, she's not conservative enough, she won't meet with us, she sides with Pelosi 95% of the time or so, and on and on. And she knows that she dares not misspeak, which is probably why she won't hold public meetings and make a mistake that can be held against her in a campaign. This is not how a statesman who really cares for his/her constituents behaves.

Les said...

I think one of the bigger surprises you will see Thad, will be the lackadaisical support from your own party, not that you can't influence the support from both parties. Our party needs to come back to the center, differentiate themselves from the run of the mill spenders out there and define a system that will self sustain.

"""The citizens of this great state are smart enough not to get muddy upped."""
This is a good talking point, but do not take it to the bank Thad. Between the opposition twisting and the peoples willingness to believe, a great statement can become your downfall.

Bob Newland said...

"The citizens of this great state are smart enough not to get muddy upped."

Hmmm. I'm pretty sure I disagree with that assertion.

Bill Janklow? Four times?? Six if you count A-G. Woh!!

Mike Rounds? Twice??

Thad Wasson said...

I am going to D.C. to represent South Dakota, not the state GOP. One of the problems our party has is the inability to critize fellow Republicans, even when we need it. You cannot win be trying to portray Congresswoman Sandlin as the devil. Some of her votes have been beneficial but most have not. The campaign will point those out, no matter who represents the Republicans.

Nick Nemec said...

Just a point of correction. Herseth was Executive Director of the South Dakota FARMERS UNION Foundation not the Farm Bureau Foundation as cited in the story.

Bill Fleming said...

Thanks Nick. Good to see you on the Forum.