Should we take him at his word?

Ever since reading a recent post over at SD Straight Talk, I've been pondering a post of my own regarding the lecture that USD Professor Bill Richardson gave on the election results.

According to the site's author, former state GOP chair Joel Rosenthal, a good part of the lecture was on what happened in South Dakota this past election and how it affected the political scene.

Now, I've been kicking around the South Dakota Political arena in one capacity or another since 1988. And as far as I'm aware, I've never noted Professor Richardson, chair of the USD Poly Sci Department, to have ever been involved in South Dakota politics.

I mean, Dr. Clem, Dr. Farber, and several others of that department in the past had been involved in state and local politics, and I certainly wouldn't question what younger people might term their "street cred." But being lectured on South Dakota politics by Dr. Richardson? Isn't that like receiving a lecture on sexual education from an avowed virgin?

I mean, if Joel himself would have lectured it might have held more credibility for me. Heck, they could have had Professor Jan Berkhout. At least he's been in a race.

Which bring up a good point for readers. If you're interested in South Dakota politics, get involved in it and it will be the best education you can get. Much better than sitting on the other side of the glass trying to draw conclusions.


Anonymous said…
why don't you do an analysis of that liberal political hack "professor" Bob Burns of the SDSU political science department. He's a former liberal candidate for office. And Dave Kranz's best buddy whenever he needs a quote from the liberal talking points.
Anonymous said…
There's this idiotic idea that to keep yourself 'pure' and 'unbiased,' you have to stay out of the fray and the USD PoliSci Dept. is the worse for it.
Anonymous said…
Bob has been in the fray, as well as serving as head of LRC.

Which at least gives him a modicum of credibility.

Not that being Kranz's go to guy helps it any.
Anonymous said…
Bob Burns hates Republicans... if you haven't learned that by now you're an idiot
Anonymous said…
I believe Dr. Richardson was/is the advisor for the USD College Republicans. He was at least when I was at USD.
Anonymous said…
Richardson is worthless. So is his department. I can testify to both from experience.
Anonymous said…
Dr. Bob Burns has a distinguished career as a participant in the political process.

He has both won and lost elections in Brookings. He's also participated in the grassroots as he was able.

But I find myself in agreement with PP's post. Which is rare.
Anonymous said…
Richardson is a great professor. And a great chair of the Political Science Department here at USD. I am currently a junior Political Science major and have had numerous classes with him. I am not aware of him saying anything in direct terms about this year's election results, but we have discussed some of the issues and results in comparence with what we are studying.
Anonymous said…
Does Richardson use words like "comparence?" That might be telling...
Anonymous said…
I think that, with all professors, you have to consider the source as you evaluate their input. Bill Richardson is a good professor who has not been involved with SD politics. That is good in that he is not likely to have strong biases, and bad in that he may lack certain insight into the process.

Bob Burns is the opposite - he is also a very good professor, but he has been very politically active. He is a McGovern Democrat, but also a close friend of Bill Janklow.

And Gary Aguiar is a ranting idiot.

So you just have to consider your source.
Silas said…
Many years back, farmers said the same about professors of agriculture that you are saying about Prof. Richardson. They called them armchair farmers, and what did they really know? Few of those farmers who resented the professors are on farms today. Those who paid attention and applied the knowledge are still in business.

Are you really saying that someone who studies politics as a profession, observes, researches, and talks to people does not know anything about politics? Are you saying that partisans know more than those who try to observe impartially and try to bring all the available information to bear on their analysis?

The same goes for journalists. They merely observe, so what can they really know?

But why do they get it right so much more often than blogs do?
Anonymous said…
Richardson should get involved in SD Politics - but if he did - he would not last long at USD. He's Republican. The USD Faculty is not exactly a haven for the GOP.

His analysis of the election is about what you'd expect from any analyst who looks at #'s and media (including blogs).
Anonymous said…
Bill was my boss when I was an adjunct at USD in late 1990s/early 2000s. I found Bill to very likeable and very knowledgeable.

I disagreed with much of what Bill wrote as Joel reported in his blog. That doesn't make Bill a bad person, I just think he's coming from a different perspective. While he was saying initiative and referrendum was out of control, I contend it is what helped save the will of the people in the abortion debate. But reasonable people can disagree.

I do agree that politics as taught at the university level and politics as fought at the street level are very different things. I think you have to understand both.

Like anyone who comments on politics, they will have their strengths and weaknesses. Bill's strenghts are his education, his observation of other political situations and systems, and his relative newness to South Dakota to look at things from a different perspective.

I've known Bob Burns for some time and find him to be a delight. I don't think you can accuse him of being a GOP hater. He is a numbers guy with a good insights and a sense of humor.

Bill and Bob bring their differing experiences to their analysis. There's nothing wrong with that. Both have plenty of insights and analysis to offer, whether we agree with it or not. That's what makes politics so much fun.
Anonymous said…
I hate professors. I hate liberals. I hate Kranz. I hate moderates. I hate smart people who read and use big words. I hate newspapers. I hate tv stations 'cept Fox News. I hate Public Broadcasting. I hate Vote No on 6ers. I hate gays. I hate anyone from out-of-state. I hate anyone who is not pro-life, anti-gay, pro-Iraq War Republicans. They are all idiots.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous 9:43 must not have gotten the grades he/she desired.

USD's Pols Department is tops in the South Dakota and extremely competitive in the region.

I would also like to second Silas's comments.
Anonymous said…
Hey anon 1:35,
How do you really feel about things? But you left out your position on gun control, helmets, seat belts, drugs and alcohol. Please enlighten us further.
And despite all your hatred, God still loves you.
mod g-o-p'er said…
Your conclusion that the professor has no credibility in analyzing South Dakota elections shows an amazing naivety Pat. Did you attend the meeting Joel speaks of? I know you didn't because I was there. Richardson's presentation was interesting and enlightening. Unlike much of the poltical banter we hear pre- and post-election, the presentation Saturday was based on statistical analysis. The numbers then spurred the group discussion Joel mentioned. Richardson's analysis was extremely credible because it was rooted in facts.
Anonymous said…
Ow. My knuckles hurt when I walk. Why mommy why?

I hate people who like helmets, seat belts, gun control and medicated marijuana. Jesus told me so. Secular humanists are going to hell. Judjment day is coming.
Anonymous said…
jake wrote:
"Anonymous 9:43 must not have gotten the grades he/she desired."

Yeah, I was shooting for a 4.0, but I had to settle for a 3.9. Got one B in my MPA degree program.

What a waste of time and money that was. The department, the program, and especially its director are all equally worthless.


anon 9:43
Anonymous said…
I agree with those that think USD's program is solid. And I would also say that Dr. Richardson is a good political scientist. From my perspective as an alumni of the USD POLS department, he never taught a class about partisan politics or electoral anything. He was more of a political theory professor. In that arena he was good, as well as conservative compared to many.

There are several liberal hacks in that department; however, you would never know that in the class room. They are all excellent in their fields. I don't think Dr. Richardson is an expert in partisan politics.

Defending my own degree, I think the department must be strong. I did well enough to beat anon 4:10 and am now studying at a top graduate school in the field. For me, the experience was far from worthless - it was invaluable.
Anonymous said…
It can easily be argued that USD's politcal science department is head and shoulders above the rest of the universities in the State - including Northern's.
Anonymous said…
"It can easily be argued that USD's politcal science department is head and shoulders above the rest of the universities in the State"

Yeah, but how does it compare to schools in other states? Not very well. I guess you wouldn't know that if you never left SD. For those who have, it's plain as day.

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