Rich Mittelstedt: Meaningless Political Rhetoric 101

As announced in the Watertown Public Opinion on Saturday, Rich Mittelstedt of Watertown announced his candidacy for a District 5 State House. As part of his resume, he noted that he was formerly a debate coach for the high school before he started working for SDEA. Clearly he must have been good at it, because his announcement is well written without the clutter of providing details:
Former Watertown High School teacher and forensics coach Rich Mittelstedt has announced his candidacy for a District 5 State House of Representatives seat on the Democratic ticket.


In his announcement, Mittelstedt said the legislature needs to practice common sense governance.

“We need more local control on local issues and a practical approach to economic development and education,” he said. “We need innovative strategies to strengthen South Dakota's economy, not political antics to get headlines.”
Read it all here. "We need innovative strategies to strengthen South Dakota's economy" Good gosh, that sounds like something I'd write when I had a whole lot of nothing to go on.

It reminds me of the guy my wife ran against when she first ran for school board. He was relatively well known in the community, but he didn't do squat in his race except put out the worst press release I'd ever seen. It was so full of stupid meaningless rhetoric it was almost infuriating. Aside from noting that he'd been on a lot of boards, he spoke of "implementing win-win strategies." It was terrible.

As a former educator, my wife managed to have a pretty good hook on the race (in which we spent next to nothing) simply talking about her background in the classroom and her administrative experience in education. And the opposition came back with mumbo jumbo about paradigms - it was a bad strategy for him. We pulled out the win on election day.

My advice for Mr. Mittelstedt? If he were a Republican, I'd tell him to talk specifics. If he keeps saying "we need innovative strategies" somebody is going to put him on th spot and ask him "What strategies do we need? What would you do?" And he isn't going to have an answer.

But then again, he's the Democratic candidate. My bad. Go right ahead and keep doing what you are doing. And we'll see you at the debates this fall.

Just as a footnote, Not to pick on Rich exclusively. There's guys and gals on my side of the aisle who do it too. But this was a perfect example to show why goofy rhetoric is bad.

Otherwise, I would welcome Rich to the races, and congratulate him for trying to be part of the solution.


Anonymous said…
Wow - a former debate coach running for state house out of Watertown is kind of like Tom Osborne running for Congress in Nebraska. He's a big name up there. Might be some Democrats representing District 5 next session.
Anonymous said…
Wow - a former debate coach running for state house out of Watertown should have more to say than gobbledygook. Might continue to be Republicans representing district 5 this next session.
Anonymous said…
I think when he says "political antics to get headlines" he's talking about outlawing abotion, and outlawing giving away birth control in high schools, etc. Just another example of how the left doesn't get it. They can't comprehend how some people honestly and genuinely care about those issues out of deep moral convictions and would act that way whether they got any headlines or not. Actually, they would probably prefer no headlines.
Anonymous said…
Mittelstedt ran the unsuccesful campaign for Bruce FOrd two years ago - and did a good job of blowing a lot of money and a good name - look for him to be busy with his SDEA duties and not the legislature in January
Anonymous said…
mitty is a good man, as a former student and debater for him, he is the best option for watertown in the house

Anonymous said…
Have you met our state legislators? 75% of them don't have a plan for anything, they just do what their biggest contributor or lobbying group tells them to do when they arrive in Pierre. If you could provide an example of a candidate that actually lays out his plan during his announcement of what he is going to do in Pierre, then I would see this posts as more than just a way to slam a democrat.
PP said…
Anon #6, clearly you don't read this blog very much. I hold my party's feet to the fire on inanity too.

Besides, "they just do what their biggest contributor or lobbying group tells them to do when they arrive in Pierre" is as cliche'd as it gets. There's more influence from their party on how to vote than there is anything else.
Anonymous said…
As a fellow Watertown South Dakota Republican, I don’t appreciate the automatic assumption that political candidates of the Democratic Party spew “gobbeldegook” when our side does it as well. Furthermore, I think we should always look to the qualifications and merits of a candidate rather than political affiliation. Mr. Mittelstedt definitely has the qualification, I remember debaters in high school and I thought they had no life. However, I ended up marrying a debate who knew more about State, Local, Economic, National, and Foreign issues than I did. She also understands both sides of a situation (which I found out the hard way….arguing with her). Certainly a debate coach would know these issues and understand both sides of them. I ask everyone who reads this to keep an open mind when it comes to the next election, both State and National.

Anonymous said…
Mittelstedt did NOT run Bruce Ford's campaign. That statement is completely inaccurate.
Anonymous said…
Oh, that's right, most candidates outline all of the specifics of their campaign platforms in their little 2-3 paragraph announcements. Thanks for reminding all of us!
Anonymous said…
"See you at the debates" indeed. I hope the anouncement blurb continues to act as the scouting report on his positions - sit back on your incumbent laurels and see what happens when ALL candidates are asked the specific, tough questions.

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