Showing posts from June 19, 2005


I'm adding Joel Rosenthal's Blog to my blog links, hopefully he'll do some more posting in the near future.

Also adding Gutzon Borglum Online. It's quirky, but sometimes in the political blogosphere, a breath of fresh air is nice to bring one back to planet earth. I've been assimilated by BORGlum.

Finally, there's permanent information on the right shilling for shirts. Don't worry. I'm only going to hawk them for a short time, and then I'll need to reclaim the screens.

Silver Bullets can kill more than one werewolf at a time.

I wish I could remember the source of this quote. It was told to me many years ago, and it's a political truism that's all too accurate:
"In politics, you have what we call silver bullets. Politicians can only take so many hits with them before they're dead. The problem is, you don't know how many hits you can take. You also can't tell what a silver bullet is until after it hits you."In a comment to one of my last posts, Erin so accurately made a point, which made me think of my days as a younger GOP political operative. She observed from her side of the aisle:
Have you noticed how heavy the role "interns" or people in that generational group play in campaigns and politics? For campaigns they are hired, largely from out-of-state, and given much responsibility and authority. They are exceptionally energetic, and they work cheap. Mostly because they see the campaigns as pathways to larger things. But they are young and given to the ravages of youthf…

Fear your opponents, but don't fear the reaper (6/25-6/26)

I'm going to throw some things like this in from time to time - Hopefully, they won't be too lame. I've only started collecting data, so if you know of something newsworthy I'm missing, let me know- pp

This weekend in South Dakota Political history
June 25th & 26th

It's a weekend of recognizing disappointment
in several Republican's congressional aspirations:

6/25/57 - Larry Diedrich, Republican congressional contender from 2004 was born. As we all know, Larry lost the special election in June, and the general election in November.

6/25/56 - Scott Heidepreim, former 1986 Republican congressional primary contender, and, well... Former Republican, period was born.

6/26/08 - William Henry Parker, Republican congressman from Deadwood lost his election with the grim reaper and died in office on June 26th, 1908.

The Official SD War College T-Shirt

The Official SD War College T-Shirt is here!

You know, I've shamelessly promoted candidates for years. By God, I'm going to shamelessly promote my weblog now, and do it in class, and in style.. Forget it. I'm just going to do a t-shirt.

They are printed on top quality 100% Cotton Pre-shrunk Gildan Ultra Cotton t-shirts, and are the "First ever official South Dakota weblog" t-shirts

Available for purchase at $10 and that includes tax and shipping. These are hand crafted by me - not the people who did the STD shirts or the F*** John Thune Shirts.

I was going to set up a pay-pal link, but it's way too complicated. So send your payments to:

Hiorbit Screenprinting (Attn: PP)
235 West Broadway
Pierre, SD 57501

Please specify number of shirts and sizes of each when (if) you order. If you order 100 or more, you'll have to give me a couple days to get more blank shirts in.

(If you want your own shirts, let me know, and you can have the "Second ever official South Dak…

New Weblog from Joel Rosenthal

SDP noted a new weblog today - appears to be the new creation of Joel Rosenthal.

If you don't know who Joel is, you have been living under a rock ignoring South Dakota politics. Joel was the State Republican Party Chairman for many, many years.

Red, Green and Gold.

My Dad, a native New Yorker of Irish descent, is a Villanova graduate who attempted law school but left after a time. DadP has a pretty interesting past. On one occasion, much like the legend of St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland, he helped drive the prostitutes from Deadwood. (And that will be a good post someday.)

As to his law school experience, DadP said he would attend classes and was dumbfounded that the professors would give lectures and put forth truths that in his mind he knew were incorrect. Now, despite what my siblings and I might have thought as we grew up, my dad's not stupid. As far as a broad classical knowledge of history, extensive and archane Catholic Dogma, and useless cinema trivia dating from the 30's forward, he has a mind like a trap, and phenomenal recall ability.

As far as his law school lectures, from his professors he would hear something to the effect that "red is green." And this law student, my future father, would say "no…

Night of the Living Helpers II

Before I even had opportunity to put up my first post on helpers, I was talking to one of my friends who mentioned that he had heard a nice comment from one of the Democratic Constitutional Officers who had read War College and found it interesting. (ok, that's a short list so it's pretty easy to figure out). Bryce had figured out who it was writing this, as if I hide it much at all, and said he enjoyed what I had to say. And that he was looking at sponsoring a stock car, too.

I'm pretty open with my identity on this, as it's not intended to attack, or be snarky, but to legitimately raise the bar on the quality of campaigns in South Dakota. Hopefully, I can provide some anecdotal history and stories, and make political hacks like me seem *sniff* almost human.

If I did want to conceal my identity, it's pretty easy. A Hotmail account and not directly answering e-mail would take care of 90% of it, and it's "Scorched Earth" time, baby!

But I don't want i…

My Favorite Things

As someone obsessed with South Dakota politics, I've got all the political weblogs bookmarked, and I visit some more than others.

As far as regular websites go, there's a few websites that I can't live without for the information that they provide at my fingertips. I can't recommend these highly enough.

Follow the Money - Sure, you can find information from FEC reports at the drop of a hat, but where do you go to find state donations indexed? Right here. Easy to use, filterable on any level, if you're doing research on a person, here's where you want to be.

Politics1 - South Dakota - more for a chuckle than anything serious and newsbreaking, you can shill for your favorite candidate or non-candidate and get their name on the list. (and I used to have that McGovern Pin. Got good money for it on eBay too.)

Political Money Line - FEC information at your fingertips. The one, the only.

Environmental Working Groups Farm Database - OK, they're not on my mailing list, a…

A fun read/WARNING Harsh, but drop dead funny language here

I was checking the blogs, and noticed SDBWM & SD Watch fostering praise on Borglum Online. I have to concur, it's a good read. Actually, it's kind of a breath of fresh air hearing the opinions of a 137 year old on how his work is viewed today.

Do you think he's using Depends?

In response to my chastisement of KDLT for being several degrees of stupid for reporting on uses for plastic bags (how about suffocating the assignment editor who thought that one up), I got this comment.

*WARNING* Harsh language & news department abuse ahead for those sensitive viewers. And another warning if you're slightly incontinent. It's pretty much pee your pants funny.

KDLT hits a new journalistic low.

Okay, I don't want to be yet another blogger who bashes the mainstream media (MSM), but this really takes the cake.

I was watching "Hit me baby 1 more time" on KDLT, and the show went to commercial. And on comes this promo for KDLT's early morning show. AND, what magical little bone did they throw the viewer to entice us to view their little place on the television tomorrow AM?

Tomorrow morning on KDLT - "Other uses for plastic bags."

You know, you can't make this shit up.

It almost makes me want to surf the channels and pick the news show with the hottest chicks. Because, apparently that's how they've pegged the intelligence of the viewer.

Is this a cure, or a symptom?

OK, now that Sibby is beating me to the punch as well, I'm posting this, so as to remain topical and current.

Did anyone read the article in the Mitchell Daily Republic from Saturday? (sorry, registration required) The one noting that Ed Olson was going to be the new part time executive director for the "South Dakota Mainstream Coalition."

I'm not sure what it's all intended to be about. Ed says the group would not be a new political party, initiate legislation, or become a political action committee. Apparently it's modeled after a group seeking a moderate voice in Kansas Politics. So in effect, it's a sort of caucus/discussion group.

Wasn't this already tried on the conservative end of the spectrum? There had been a previous effort in the middle of 2004, a Conservative Political Action Committee & caucus to go along with it because they thought they were being ignored.

I don't have enough information to make a judgement on all of this, so I…

Dang it! CCK beat me to the punch!

Coming from my side of the aisle, I have a post I prepared a day or so ago on the moderate cabal forming within the GOP, and what do I see this AM? But CCK beating me to the punch.

I'll either post it later today or tomorrow. I was trying to slow down on my wife's advice to not to do to much, and then find myself jumping the shark.

The problem is, everything brings me back to the study of politics. I was searching for images on my computer, and I found my wife's first campaign photo, done professionally, and I found her second one, which I took myself. It brought up a thought for a good part II (part II? part deaux?) on campaign photography.

Thanks to Todd Epp at SD watch for the kind words.

Can you get partied out? The Class of 1986

I was working on the official SD War College T-Shirt tonight, but I screwed up the screen for the front. So, because I had to wash it out and let it dry before I could try again, I did some Blog reading...

I see Don Frankenfeld's name mentioned in the Blogosphere quite a bit. From the recent post by SDBWM, to his extensive writing on Mt. Blogmore, Don's been pretty active lately.

Although, I'm not sure how many GOP Lincoln Day Dinners he's going to be welcome at nowadays. Appearing in a Daschle Commercial as probably the biggest Republican supporting the Tom Daschle during the hottest senate race in the nation is not going to necessarily endear Don to the GOP loyalists. It also got me thinking about Don's first statewide race in 1986, the election where Abdnor beat Janklow by 10,000 votes for victory in the Senate seat primary.

Don, Ron Volesky, and Scott Heidepreim all came out on the downside of the contentious 1986 Congressional Primary with Dale Bell. In the inte…

Only you can stop bad campaign photos.

When the picture was taken of General Eisenhower as he addressed his troops with resolve, notice where his hands were. They sure as hell weren’t in front of, “Little General.”

So, why in the heck do politicians insist on posing as if they were buck naked and had something to hide.

It’s commonly termed the “fig leaf” photo. Hands clasped, resting in front of you. It feels natural for you to rest your arms in this position. Except for people of normal arm length, the hands just happen to end up in an embarrassing place. Plenty of politicians get in trouble for having that thing uncovered, so quit drawing attention to it.

It’s so bad and so prevalent, Campaigns and Elections magazine included the problem in an article on campaign photography several years ago. On occasion, when I’ve done campaign photography for people, I’ve actually had to yell at them “GET YOUR HANDS OUT FROM IN FRONT OF YOUR ___!” I usually only have to tell them once.

What appears to be a more natural looking pos…

Burger Kings and Political Things, that's what little campaigns are made of.

I think I had mentioned I went to Brookings on Tuesday to find a house. I worked in the AM, Drove to Brookings for a viewing in the PM, and drove home. 6 hours driving, 2 Burger King Meals on the road, and our Realtor tells us at 11PM that we are going to be competing with up to 3 other bids. What a day.

Speaking of 2 Burger King Meals, Yuck. I feel like the guy on Super Size Me. It's a day later, and I just feel nauseous. But as my life solely swirls around politics, My quisine for the day had reminded me of the guy who suggested that the Ron Schmidt Senate Campaign use Whopper feeds for fundraising.

It was in the pre-primary days of the Schmidt Campaign, and the staff had asked a few people who had been helping with the campaign to come in for a volunteer meeting. I was still firmly in my I'm-burnt-out-from-politics phase, but Ron & his family have been friends for years, so I told them I'd help with computers as I could. This meeting was a brainstorming session just t…

The Next Big thing II

What's the next big technological development in South Dakota Campaigns? A weblog for each of them? Nope. It's GIS - Graphical Information Systems.

If you're not familiar with it, it's a type of software technology that can turn a large database of names and addresses into a map of an area with points that represent your voters. Even better, it allows you to offload all this information into PDA's, which are a handy and convenient size for canvassers who are out walking the neighborhoods.

Taking a door to door poll? Pull up your voter. Tap..Tap..Tap on the PDA, and you're done. No clipboards, no mess. Back to the office for a recharge? Upload your information into the master database at literally the same time.

This technology is being implemented at the national level for campaigns, and if it hasn't already, it's going to be soon filtering down to a campaign near you. Want to create a graphical map of where your areas of support are? No problem. Want to s…

The New Blue Books are Here/Party Platforms

I suppose I could be like everyone else and talk about the BRAC meeting in Rapid City, but I need to sit down and talk about it's relation to upcoming campaigns. I traveled to Brookings today to try to find a house, so I haven't had time to digest it all yet.

I just got home, and opened up this draft of a post that I started a day or so ago, so I'll finish it and go to bed..

Secretary of State Chris Nelson announced a couple days ago that the new Blue Books are out, and are available on-line for the first time. The Blue Books are actually pretty good, as they provide historical information for ancient general election races that you aren't going to find in print anywhere else. They also provide background information on your elected officials. Read up on this stuff, as it will come in handy sometime.

It also provides the state party platforms... (downloadable in PDF from the S.O.S.)

Constitutional Party, Libertarian Party, Democratic Party, and my favorite, the Republican…

A challenge, and maybe an answer

I was reading the South Dakota Blog Watch's post entitled Piling on Thune and saw that the SDBWM might be interested in hearing my opinion on the power of blogs in a campaign.

But my opinion is; don't think of them as a totally new medium. Don't think these as a new idea in campaigns. Consider for a moment that it's just a new twist on an old medium. Weblogs are really just a new twist on the good, old fashioned letter to the editor.

Instead of a newspaper, we have a webpage medium with, but usually without the guidelines of an editor reigning them in (or checking for accuracy or truthfulness). Otherwise, there's not much difference that I can see. Go back 10 or 15 years, and you can find letters to the editor, or "different voices" columns with every bit of quoting and outtakes to support one's own viewpoint as you'd find in any Sibby column.

And it works now, just like it did back then. Get enough people to start piling on letters to the edito…

Another race car

Chad at CCK just pointed out to me that Tim Johnson did this in 2002 as well.

Hey, it was cool then too!

My head must be swelling.

No, my three year old son is not playing his Bob the Builder tape for the 4th time tonight (with Scoop, Muck, and Dizzy…. and Rolly, too.) But I did have a nice compliment today from Tony Mangan, who said he enjoyed reading my weblog. He saw it noted on SD Watch, and started reading. (My wife says there are 11 people reading my blog now).

Tony Mangan, KCCR Radio news director has been kicking around the political scene in Pierre for a lot of years, starting at the local newspaper, the Capitol Journal, going up to the Capitol in the Governor’s office working on Press, and then back to the private sector as news director for KCCR.

Tony does a very good job of covering state government, and I think his time working for the state gave him good insight on the internal politics of government. I don’t think time in the system is a bad thing for news people. I think it helps you write a more balanced piece if you spend some time on the DARK SIDE (insert Darth Vader-ish breathing noise here…

The next big thing.

I was having a conversation with Senator Brock Greenfield several few weeks back and he brought up an idea for a new type of campaign advertising - something that would grab attention because it was unusual. It was based on an existing item, which had not yet been prostituted... er, adopted for political purposes.

It's actually a novel idea, and if he or I can figure out how to make it work, you may see it in yards in South Dakota. I'm not sharing what it is, because it's his idea, and if he can make it work, more power (and maybe a little cash to him) to him.

Underlying all of this, is that something new and different in campaigns can gain attention, and maybe a headline for candidates seeking office.

Paper yard signs? Seen it, done it; they fall apart after a couple weeks in the elements. Coroplast? Randy Austad used the first coroplast signs I'd ever seen in the state, and they were REALLY expensive at the time (at least $6-10 each for a yard sign). Randy said he could…

Incumbency Part II

On occasion, I’ve had an elected official or two ask me “Have you heard if so-and-so is running against me?” or “Are they looking for a candidate to take me on?” Meaning they were concerned about a challenge from within the party.

My answer to that? “If they’re smart, they won’t.” Why? History is not on their side.

Okay, so my history in the process only goes back a little less than 20 years. But look at intra-party challenges in that time period. What have we seen at the state level?:

In 1986, for School and Lands, Tim Amdahl took on incumbent Sheldon Cotton and won, going on to win the general.

In 1990, Jim Schade took on his embattled boss Tim Amdahl for the same office, Jim lost at convention, and Tim went on to lose at the general.

In 1994, Micky Wenck took on incumbent Homer Harding for State Treasurer at the state GOP convention. Homer had been under siege by the Argus Leader for literally months, but he still pulled out a win at convention, only to lose at the general election.


Thanks for the Props!

Hey! More props for me. Holabird Advocate was kind enough to make a mention of the War College. And just for the record "P.P." are my initials. Do you think I could make that up?

And yes, as a third grader I took a little sh*t for it.

Who all has made mention on their websites? SD Blog Watch was first, quickly followed by Todd Epp over at SD Watch, and South Dakota Politics also made a nice mention.

I also had a note from Charley House who had read one of my posts.

My only question remaining would be "what does it take to get listed on 123?" I've set up my RSS feed at and put the little bug on the bottom of my page. We'll see if I get anywhere.

** Update ** Leave it to the wife to bring me back to earth. I commented to her that I was pleased with the attention that my weblog was starting to get. She turns to me and says "What, so there's ten people talking amongst themselves now?"

Ouch. And on Father&…

Coolest SD Campaign item ever?

Harrison and Morton Club, Deadwood, Dakota

Great! I figured out pictures. This is the picture of the ribbon I had mentioned in my "Collateral Damage" post below. Just click on it for a larger image.

Does the power of incumbency trump the power of cheese?


I was watching the election returns this last November, and found myself in a little shock that my friend Rich Engels got beat out in the election. Even though he’s on the other side of the aisle from me, and we know we don’t agree on several issues, we’ve had good discussions on politics in the past, and I give him credit for knowing his stuff. Rich is now counted in that rare fraternity of incumbents who were kicked out of office.

Here was an incumbent state legislator getting beat out – an unusual occurrence in South Dakota. Ignoring Congress, where the incumbent has a crushing financial advantage, In the state legislature where people can open their own pocketbooks to compete, there’s still not a lot of incumbent turnover in the state legislature.

Defining “kick out” as who was running for the seat they already held, but didn’t win; Who did we kick out in 2004?

Rich Engels (D, House, Dist 9) - GeneralDaryl Christiansen (R, House 9) - GeneralPatty DeHueck (R, Senate, 24) - Pr…