Abrahamson: Republicans Too Ideological
(So Join the Democratic Party where we have no ideology)

In today's Mitchell Daily Republic, Democratic Lt. Governor candidate Eric Abrahamson says he's on a mission to recruit Republicans:
Eric Abrahamson, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, thinks some Republicans have “lost their party” and are ready to change the political landscape of South Dakota.

The 49-year-old Rapid City man said Friday during an interview with The Daily Republic that he plans to focus on bringing frustrated Republicans into the Democratic fold. He thinks some Republicans feel “strong-armed” by their party leadership’s unyielding stance on issues such as abortion.

“Moderate Republicans are at a loss at this moment as to where to go,” Abrahamson said. “They feel like they’ve been pushed out of the inner circle of the Republican Party.”

Abrahamson thinks Republicans are becoming too ideological, and he said ideologues make unsuccessful leaders. He stopped short, though, of calling Republican Gov. Mike Rounds an ideologue.


Abrahamson’s addition to the Billion ticket last month came as a surprise to some, given Abrahamson’s low statewide profile. Abrahamson said he accepted Billion’s invitation to the ticket because of their mutual views on three issues — the first of which, Abrahamson said, is the “political climate change” that he believes is happening in the state.

The second issue is education. The only elected office Abrahamson has ever held is his current seat on the Rapid City school board, but he said the position has made him “very aware” of how the hands of school officials are tied by leaders at the Capitol in Pierre.

Abrahamson said state funding levels are forcing schools to make budget cuts that are negatively affecting the quality of education. He supports Billion’s proposal to use more of the interest from various state trust funds to provide money for schools, and he advocates trying new methods of technology-based education to help small school districts operate more efficiently.

Read it all here. Abrahamson had a low statewide profile? I think they meant no statewide profile.

I have a bit of a problem with the statement "Moderate Republicans are at a loss at this moment as to where to go." Why would they need to go anywhere? The party is no more or no less the sum of it's parts. It is what the members choose to make of it.

I sat in a local GOP meeting a month or two ago where I listened to a long-time Republican and convention delegate complain that the party was "being taken over by evangelical types." (I thought I was Catholic, myself).

The best part? Neither the hide nor hair of that person made an appearance anywhere near the Watertown convention, despite saying they would. Somehow, it makes their somewhat prejudicial words ring very hollow. They're complaining about WHO is carrying water for the elephant, while they sit on their rear-end and watch others work.

Don't like the direction the party is going? Quit whining and grab a bucket. The Republican party is what you make it.


Todd Epp said…

The S.D. Democratic Party has ideas. Check out the 2006 platform. South Dakotans are looking for solutions to problems and making our state better, not rigid ideology. See http://www.sddp.org/vertical/Sites/{46DCB7CA-470E-4991-8122-F0D6D3C18BD9}/uploads/{609BAF8C-3BAB-4886-8603-0435F26E248B}.PDF

Todd Epp
Billion for Governor
Anonymous said…
"The party is no more or no less the sum of it's parts. It is what the members choose to make of it."

Exactly. And those that are active, have made it unattractive. Really, its the true colors of these people shining through.

My Dad, who made sure my third word was Reagan, said that in the past, if he didn't like a Republican candidate, he'd just stay home. The other day, he told me, "This year, I'm going to vote for the other guy."

You've said many times on this blog that abortion is only one issue. Actually, its part of a moral agenda. And people notice.

And, at the same time, state government has grown at record levels.

You break down campaign finance reports, PP, but how about looking at government spending.
scimitar said…
"The Republican Party is what you make it." I don't think so, PP.

Stan Adelstein was not one of those sideline folks you complain about. He gave generously of his time and money. But like the other moderates, he was gang tackled by the right-wingnuts who wouldn't let Stan and the mainstream coalition "make the Republican party" what they want.

Where does this leave the moederates? Trying to decide whether to vote for the right wingnuts yet again, or to vote for Democrats. It is a tough decision for many Republicans, but if the Schoenbecks, Greenfields, Schwiesows of the party keep poking at moderates and pushing big brother on everyone, many Republicans will vote Democrat this year.

Just keep shoving moderates around and see what happens.
sdmoderate said…

You can rag on the democratic ideology as much as you want and in many cases the democrats have problems getting that ideology out. But whether you wish to admit it or not, the exodus that Abrahamson is looking to take advantage of it isn't about the democratic message, it's about the republican message.

Moderates are a very small minority in the Republican Party at the moment and the South Dakota Republican Party has moved so far to the right that many moderates have been left behind and have chosen to flee the party because they feel that their voices are not being heard.

You can say the party is a big tent made up more or less by the sum of it's parts but those parts are mostly staunchly conservative and moderates feel that the only option they have is to join the democratic party in the hopes that they will have more of a say in the direction of the state.

They tried to have a say during the Republican Convention when asking the party to soften their stance on abortion and everyone knows how that went.

The few loses the party will surely experience due to their platform will not hurt the Republican Party as it stands now but you should at least admit it is because of the total lack of influence that moderates have when determining the direction of the party and not because they necessarily believe in the every part of the agenda of the Democratic party. We just feel we have a better chance as moderates of having our voices heard.
PP said…
When I was first involved over 15 yearrs ago, it was the conservatives who were being shut out. Now the Moderates are supposedly complaining?

Again - the party's destiny is determine by those who show up. There are still many precinct positions open and opportunities to contribute.

How the party swings can change on a dime. Moderates should show up and do the work if they want to have an influence.
sdmoderate said…
How the party swings can change on a dime. Moderates should show up and do the work if they want to have an influence.

We are showing up, only now many of us are showing up on the other side of the aisle.
Anonymous said…
Let me explain.

First a “moderate” is someone who believes in abortion and gay marriage.

An “extremist” is someone who believes that babies are a gift from God and have a right not to be disassembled in the womb. An extremist also believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Pretty extreme.

The “moderates” believe(see example: Stan Adelstein) that when the opponent show us with more votes then the election or convention is "unfair and dishonest".

There is a party that represents the view of the pro-abortion advocates and the pro-gay marriage advocates, that party is the Democrat party.

On the other side of the coin, I wonder how many pro-life and pro-marriage Democrats are going to vote for pro-life and pro-marriage Republicans this fall?

By the way, half of the Democrats are pro-life and more than half of the Democrats believe marriage is best between a man and a woman.

One difference between the Democrat party is that the Democrat party has been taken over by the minority (Chad, Newquist, Nesselhuf, Hundstad) while the Republican party has been taken over by the majority (Rhoden, Schoenbeck, Michaels, Rounds, Bogue).

A South Dakota Extremist
Todd Epp said…
The SD Extremist:

I don't think the Democrats have been "taken over" by the people you note. They all have a say, just like Dale Hargens, Julie Bartling, Mary Glenski, and others have a say. Unlike the GOP, we have not kicked out any group for their views on abortion or gay rights.

What is very interesting is that as I have traveled much of the state the past several months with Jack Billion and Eric Abrahamson, most people are NOT asking questions about abortion and gay rights. Sure, it comes up, usually reluctantly and at the end of our coffees and appearances.

What Jack and Eric are usually asked, right out of the gate, by nearly every group, no matter the make up, is about EDUCATION. Like, funding it, improving it, making it better.

Then, folks usually ask about ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Like, better paying jobs, more opportunities, keeping our young people here.

Then, we get to things like open government, the environment, agriculture, an so on. While HB 1215 is definitely a catalyst to action this year, the voters I see and hear from while in tow with Eric and Jack want solutions to problems and a vision for making our state better.

And I'll say something else. I literally felt the earth move under my feet yesterday at the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting for our Billion HQ yesterday. The office was packed with business people, Chamber members. The Chamber members who spoke were exceedingly cordial and warm. Jack and Eric were viewed not as outsiders but as people who they could and wanted to do business with.

The GOP has forgotten its roots as representing mainstreet South Dakota. Jack, Eric and the S.D. Democratic Party are and will welcome these people with open arms.

As Eric points out, the GOP is changing in SD, but so are the Donks. The parties are reformulating in South Dakota, a reformulation, I believe, that the Dems are going to win.

This will be a VERY interesting fall.

PP, thanks for the vine.

Todd Epp
Billion for Governor
sdmoderate said…
A South Dakota Extremist,

Thanks for telling me what I believe, I never would have known that if you hadn't told me. That's the problem with the GOP, they tell people what they should believe and if they don't then they are automatically a left-wing liberal or worse. Compromise? Hell no, in the GOP's eyes it is my way or the highway.

It isn't about pro-life or pro-choice or for gay marriage or against it, everything isn't always as black or white as the conservative's make it.

You want to ban abortions but to bad for those victims of rape or incest. You have already banned gay marriage in South Dakota so now you are going after civil unions as well, but heck who cares that it will affect heterosexual domestic partners and single mothers, at least them darn gays can't get any benefits from the government that those that fit your definition of marriage get.

But thanks again for telling me, now I can go on with the rest of my life knowing who I am.
Anonymous said…
Well, I left the GOP last year, after a lifetime of voting Republican because I felt I was being told what to think and believe. The old Republican Party of fiscal conservatism and small government is a thing of the past. Now if you don't toe the party line in toto, you are a RINO. My dollars, my volunteer time, and my efforts will go towards those canidates that show respect to all citizens, thier thoughts and ideas. Not those who espouse a "big tent" belief, while demonizing anyone who doesn't believe exactly what they think is moral.
Anonymous said…

You mention that the Republican party has kicked out members of the party for their views on abortion and gay marriage. Give me some examples, please. Thanks in advance.

SD Extremist
Anonymous said…
SD extremist – Your logic is asinine. You claim the democrats are being taken over by people who are either unelected or not in leadership. That would be like saying that the republican party is being run by Sibby, Ellis, Kraus and Novstrup. Wait a minute……those people really do run the party. Never mind.
Anonymous said…
"Big Tent" "Family Values"
"Less Government"...drink the kool aid kids. The ideology of simple minds will probably always prevail in this state. Sorry Todd Epp. If you vote Dem in this state you will be in a minority until the end of time. Are we just stupid as a lot, no. But we are country, paranoid and often times uneducated to that which is outside of our view-damn, and we like it.
Repub 1 said…
Billion's chances of being elected Governor are hopeless. The sad part is he had at least a chance to make some kind of progress this year, until the announcement of the Californian.

South Dakotans are not going to buy a so-called "moderate" from CA. Every election for Governor our Democratic friends take the wrong exit.

I was excited to see what the "Donks" had put together behind Billion.

The best thing Rounds had promised West River tourism was a bicycle ride. I'm pretty sure still hasn't taken place.

I was extremely enthusiastic about the 2010 plan! South Dakota businesses need help in marketing, not just competing nationaly, but locally as well. Real universities do research we have a long way to go.

We are creating a more sophisticated population. One that consumes products and services critically.
Todd Epp said…

Ok, "kick out" is not quite the right term; "pushed out" or "made to feel unwelcome" might be more accurate.


Last I checked, Eric Abrahamson is a South Dakotan. He is not your father's Californian, to borrow a phrase. Everything we've heard from the business community so far is that Eric was a great pick. Please listen to him talk when he comes to your community. I think you'll be impressed.

Todd Epp
Billion Campaign
Notla said…
If you recall, the Mainstream Coalition formed their own seperate little group, with much fanfare, and started attacking the rest of the Republican Party. "They weren't being treated right,etc", although some like McCracken, Olson and Knudsen were committee chairs. Those committee chairs were appointed by the Republican leadership in the senate.

None of these guys and gal had been defeated before, none had been kicked out or pushed out. They started the battle and were subsequently defeated in the primaries.
Anonymous said…

Please give me some examples of Republicans who were " "pushed out" or "made to feel unwelcome"?

SD Extremist -
Labeled as such by moderates (pro-choice and pro-gay marriage) due to my pro-life and pro-marriage positions. Todd, this labeling or name calling made me feel unwelcome and pushed out.
Anonymous said…
You can debate whether or not Abrahamson is a Californian, but one thing is certain. He is an elitist opportunist whose oversized ego is well-known among people who have watched him on the School Board.
Anonymous said…
If the last anon is correct, he will get along well w/Billion. Birds of a feather.
Todd Epp said…

Gee, I love engaging people who won't come out of the shadows. You want names? Heidpriem, Cradduck, Kooistra, Sutton, and possibly Adelstein and Sam Kephart. Plus, I talk to other Rs who aren't as prominent who are uncomfortable.

My advice? Read all of PP's posts or read the Argus or the RCJ and you'd know this stuff too.

Todd Epp
Anonymous said…
todd epp:
What you called kicked out we in the real world call it our legal right to vote.
Anonymous said…

I believe all but Cradduck lost a primary election or convention vote. That is what happens in elections, one side wins and one side loses. This is giving the voters a choice.

Please let me know if the loser of a Democrat primary feels "pushed out" or "made to feel unwelcome"?

Have the Democrats found a way to be welcoming to the people who lose primary battles or convention battles in the days immediately after the loss?

Your argument that the losers in elections should feel welcome by the defeat is hard to follow.

Are you opposed to having primary elections as most of the time the loser feels “pushed out" or "made to feel unwelcome"?

SD Extremist

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