Sunday tips, countdown to 500th post and 1 year of the South Dakota War College

This is post #491 as I count down to the 1 year anniversary of the founding of the South Dakota War College - the non-accredited South Dakota institute of higher learning for political hacks and activists. And we're not founding a campus any time soon.

Coincidentally, I'm also counting down to post #500. In the almost year since the SDWC was founded, I'm shocked that I had 500 instances of reasonably intelligent things to say.

I was having dinner with Mrs. PP (MP) at the Ram Pub in Brookings last night and we must have been starved for conversation, because she started commenting commenting on the fact I've been doing this for about a year and a lot of people seem to be reading it.

(I think she's finally let go of the notion that there's only 16 people who read blogs in South Dakota.)

MP was noting to me that she's always enjoyed reading what I have to say. But initially, she was irritated that I hadn't told her about the blog until a few months after I started it.

Honestly, I didn't really tell anyone. I didn't advertise it that much because I'd always had this hypercritical view of my own writing style. Back 15-16 years ago, one of my MPA professors commented that he didn't think that my writing was up to a collegiate level. In another case, a South Dakota politician whom I worked for expressed that didn't care for my writing.

Until I started this blog, I tended to focus on that negative reinforcement, as opposed to the praise I've had over time. On the darn MPA paper I did get a B+ so it couldn't have been that bad. I've written dozens upon dozens of press releases for political candidates over my 18 years that have been well received.

And I have a few friends involved in politics who don't send anything out without at least my commentary, if not asking me to do a complete re-write. They might not always approach things at the same angle as I do, but they appreciate my insight. More often than not my writing makes the final draft.

Nearly 1 year and 500 posts later, I'm no longer reluctant to respond when people ask me about political blogging in South Dakota. I think blogging adds to the process of the political education of South Dakota's citizens. And maybe my writing isn't so bad after all.

I think I did promise a couple of tips in the title of this post. The Rapid City Journal's Mt. Blogmore notes that Stacy Wollman has petitions out for the Legislative seat that Representative Alice McCoy is termed out of. The post's author, Denise Ross, also indicates that South Dakota Republican Party Vice-Chair Elli Schwiesow was also at the Saturday Crackerbarrel in Rapid City. Here's what Denise had to report on Elli:

Ellie Schwiesow, who challenged state Sen. Stan Adelstein in a Republican primary in 2004, was circulating a re-election petition for Gov. Rounds during the crackerbarrel. (I'm reasonably sure the man standing next to Ellie is Pennington County Commissioner Gale Holbrook, but we've never been formally introduced.) I asked Ellie if she would take another run for the Legislature, and in so doing, set up another raucous primary. Her answer: "Probably," as she nodded yes.
(And I'm pretty sure it's spelled Elli, not Ellie - despite the fact I make the same mistake too). So it looks more likely that Elli Schwiesow is going to give Stan Adelstein another go in the primary.

All I have to say is the Republican Party is fortunate to have Elli working on our side. She is truly a gem, and there probably no one who cares more for the Republican party and for people in general than she does.

Last election, I had made picks on about a dozen primaries. And I picked 11 of the twelve correctly. The only one I picked incorrectly? Elli versus Stan. I made all my picks on the basis of how I judged who the best campaigner was.

In that race I picked Elli because it was the perception of matching volunteer effort against cash to spend on the election. And despite my personal judgement, Elli lost that close race.

Here we are two years later preparing the very same match-up where it will be volunteer effort versus money. I think she'll be able to muster the better volunteer force in the race. Stan will also have volunteers, but he'll make up the gap by spending money. I expect it will be a lot of money.

Whether it's wise or not, I'll make the same pick and give it to Elli.

Why? Because if we stop believing people are more important than money in politics then we've lost too much of innocence to care.


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