Who is "The Greatest?"

I've been working on a project involving all of South Dakota's Governors, and as I was reading something about Governor Janklow tonight, it got me thinking. If we were to try to quantify that something special about our chief executives - who would we consider South Dakota's "greatest" Governor?

So, as any modern politico would, I'm doing a poll -

Who is South Dakota's Greatest Governor?
Mike Rounds
Bill Janklow
George S. Mickelson
Richard Kneip
Joe Foss
Peter Norbeck
Coe Crawford
None of the Above (Explain under comments)
pollcode.com free polls
Who do you consider South Dakota's greatest Governor? And is this list just way too short?


Anonymous said…
PP, you screwed the pooch on this one. Why is Rounds on this? To even rise to the level of mediocrity, you have to first be able to make a decision.
Anonymous said…
Janklow, you can only vote once, remember
Anonymous said…
I have a toss up on mine for different reasons. But I am going to vote anyway.

Do you really think Janklow would bother or have time to check out this blog alone have someone else do it for him... i laugh at the thought!
Rounds R. Rounds said…
No Walter Dale? Rounds has to tie with someone for last place.
Anonymous said…
Why is Rounds on the list? Where's Tom Berry?
Anonymous said…
How did Rounds manage to scrape up two votes?

Oh yeah, I forgot about the tveidt's. They must be bucking to get their dog hired and in the top salary list as well.
Anonymous said…
Clearly the history buffs haven't voted yet. Without Peter Norbeck there would have been nothing for the Johnny-come-latelys to do.
Coe Crawford? What did he ever do? Less than Rounds apparently! Where is Tom Berry? Or Mellette?
Rassilon said…
Next time that you walk into the capitol, take a good look at one of the executive portraits on the first floor. Pick a governor, any governor. Then ask yourself, “What did he accomplish? What were his strengths? What were his failures?” Then, if you’re lucky and there’s a government class nearby, ask a teenager to answer these same questions about that same governor. You’ll pretty much get a blank stare as an answer from the kid.

Khafra was a great leader. His name literally means “Appearing like the sun god Ra.” I’m sure you’ve heard of him. He ruled Egypt about 4,500 years ago. Still no clue? He built the Great Sphinx; it’s his face that probably appears on the monument. The funny thing is that even with a cool name and a famous statue, people still don’t know for certain when exactly he lived and the length of his reign. There’s still an Egypt, but will there be a South Dakota in 4,500 years? Will the capitol be a pile of ruins in 450 years? Which governor will be considered great then?

Your question about great governors, Patrick, is vague at best. It can last no more than a few generations at best. The notion of greatness, however you may wish to define it, is ultimately meaningless.
PP said…
Rassilon - the question is intentionally vague, because I don't think we can easily quantify such things. Greatness is in the eyes of the beholder.

I'd agree that greatness only lasts a few generations, hence the preponderance of modern Governors.

I personally look at Janklow as our greatest in terms of his accomplishments in commerce and modernization. Where would we be today without the railroads and wiring the schools?

Some might choose him for longevity, and yet others might because he had an innate ability to manage the great bureaucratic monster we call state government.

But we also have greats such as Peter Norbeck, and Coe Crawford (one of my personal faves) who held many state offices early in the century.

Don't forget that some of the greatest contributors to South Dakota Government, such as General Beadle or our recently departed Dr. Farber, never held the office. But we see their contributions every day.

For purposes of this benchmark, I hope people judge with their own standards.
Anonymous said…
Great comment PP!!!!!!!!

You go guy!
Anonymous said…
The problem with a poll such as this is that I assume most of your readers don't have memories that go back far enough to remember what a great Governor Joe Foss was. The likely reason people are voting for Kneip is because he's the Dem they most remember and the Dems need somebody to vote for other than the others on the list. What they still fail to realize is that Rounds is one of them.

Anybody ever heard of Nils Boe?
Nils Boe was, I believe, our only bachelor governor. His sister acted as first lady. At least that's what I remember from my tour of the Capitol back in 6th grade. He was Governor whaen I was born as well
been there said…
I'm too young to know Crawford or Norbeck, but Foss was head and shoulders above any of these others. I would put Mickelson in second place.
Anonymous said…
Yes, looking at the polls it's easy to see we have a young crowd. Too few votes for Foss. Sure,Janklow did some good things, but in my book, no one as arrogant and dishonest as he can truly be called "great". Except perhaps by he himself.
Anonymous said…
Walter Dale Miller is the greatest. The way he stepped in and took control, a born leader. Lifted his second wife out of poverty - from the trailer house to the governor's mansion, gave her a job. Given another term he would have done the same for all of South Dakota. Oh, what could have been (-;

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