Herseth Featured in Esquire Magazine, and shows why she's going to be a challenge for the GOP to beat

(Hat tip to Associated Press)

In a magazine article in this month's Esquire Magazine, Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth is featured in an article about the best and brightest women in the nation.
At thirty-five, Herseth is South Dakota's golden girl. Her grandfather was governor, her grandmother secretary of state, her father a popular state legislator for twenty years. She was high school valedictorian, got a master's and a law degree from an elite East Coast university, and got elected to Congress at the tender age of thirty-three. She's a Democrat who opposes gun control so completely, she's endorsed by the NRA and part of the small group of conservative Democrats who continue to support the war in Iraq. "This is one of those things where I've made myself available to work with the administration," she says. "I'm just not looking to make this partisan. Not only will I lose support among my constituency if I do that, but I just don't think it's going to get us where we need to be."

But Herseth is also capable of giving a fiery partisan speech that attacks Republicans for running a corrupt and secretive government that neglects the actual concerns of the people. I saw her do this twice, and she was very accomplished at it, slicing and dicing her opponents just like a seasoned politician. And she remains firmly in support of a woman's right to an abortion, a risky stance in a state so red that it recently banned abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

So Herseth is planting her feet, feeling her strength, looking for her moment. But in two promising ways, she's very much like the other four women. She's surprisingly open and straightforward in person, talking easily about the time she freaked out and flew to Quito, Ecuador, or her childhood on the farm with the tornadoes and the drought, or her parents' divorce after her father lost the '86 election.


She's also relentlessly focused on her goal. Right now, we've been on the highways of South Dakota for fourteen hours, and the Dixie Chicks are in the CD player, and there's one more rally to go, one more high school gym with farmers and housewives dressed in cheap, clean clothes, one more speech about how ethanol pulled $1 billion into South Dakota in 2004, a lifeline to rural America, because most of the biorefineries are owned by local farmers and ranchers, which helps the tax base and the school district, as long as federal policies don't encourage the kind of consolidation we've seen in other industries.
Read it all here. "I'm just not looking to make this partisan. Not only will I lose support among my constituency if I do that, but I just don't think it's going to get us where we need to be." The paragraph doesn't make it very clear, but I'm assuming she's talking about the Iraq war. And, yes, I suspect she would lose support among the SD electorate if aligned herself strongly with the congressional dems on it.

As you can tell, except for abortion, she takes a traditionally Republican stances on many issues, which makes it tough for Republican candidates to find a chink in the armor. How do you contrast your views with someone who holds the same positions? Future candidates are going to need to watch her record like a hawk, and more important than anything, develop strong points where they're different than she is.

As this article notes, (and as illustrated by Whalen's use of her comments during the campaign), despite her Republican positions on issues, what she says in her speeches will be important source material.

The 2008 campaign has already started. Candidates, are you going to be up to the challenge?


Anonymous said…
The GOP will not be able to beat Herseth because she’s one of them. She’s a dino (demo in name only), a branch of the repub’s libertarian wing. She’s incapable of intelligently addressing the imperative issue of our time. She’s incapable of providing any loyal opposition to the folly of the conduct of policy and strategy Iraq War, even when it’s safe to so do; even when the vast majority of those in the US and her district oppose the policy and effort. She is unable to separate criticism of the war, its policy and strategy, from praise for the soldiers. If one cannot be a loyal opposition to the Iraq debacle then it is likely that one could not find any war to oppose.
Anonymous said…
Herseth IS a Republican -- as a Democrat, I couldn't be any more disappointed with her Iraq position.
Anonymous said…
As a Democrat supporting Herseth can sometimes be maddening.

It is my hope that buyoed by her strong win in November, she will begin to move at least to the political center.

I can't believe that she really supports a lot of the things she does in good consicence. If she is doing it to move along, I guess that is fine but I hope she rediscovers the Democratic doctrine of creating opportunities for all South Dakotans with smart investments in programs like Head Start that save us money as a country in the long run.

And, on the war, I challenge her to tell us how sending a guard unit out for a second tour of duty in a country fighting a civil war makes sense.

It's a bit like Annakin Skywalker and the Dark Side. I hope Stephanie can redisdover her true self again and return to the alliance before she finds herself on the Death Star for life.
Anonymous said…
the point here is that Herseth is a PHONY. There's no way she believes in this war. But she refuses to speak against it because she wants to save her political a-s. It's that simple: she's willing to see Americans die and our foreign policy in shreds as long as she advances her political career. With Stephanie, the only calculation she makes is "how does this help ME?" She's a cynic, a phony, and a political whore.
Anonymous said…
PP says “South Dakota Supreme Court sided with vandals and criminals!”

Who are these "activists" judges? Get their names and emails on here so we can tell them just what we think! How dare they side with vandals and criminals!

Just who was the Democrat that appointed these liberal judges to the South Dakota Supreme Court!

I tell you, wait until Bill O'riley and Rush hear about this!
Anonymous said…
Cripes, I can't even get my post above in the right topic page!

Sorry about that!
Anonymous said…
3:00 - you are on the wrong topic

Somebody please say something good about Congresswoman Herseth. It wouldn't make sense that she tricked nearly all of SD to vote for her, especially Democrasts. It would seem Republicans are easy to deceive or just plain stupid.
Anonymous said…
Damn, I knew I should have voted for Whalen. My vote would have given him 31.4%.
Anonymous said…
She has the political skills to "go anywhere from here" - from governor to senator, if she has the patience. The GOP's only hope is if she can't wait for Johnson to retire and gets a bug to take on Thune. At this point, he's the only one who would for sure take her out.
Anonymous said…
Herseth will beat Thune. The only question is when.

Tim Johnson probably would have cleaned Pressler's clock in 1990. Instead he chose not to run for senate then and waited till 1996. By that time, Pressler was a member of the majority and a committee chairman, and Johnson barely won.

The moral of this story is that Herseth may want to go after thune sooner rather than later. He's an ineffective member of the minority party right now. Thune campaigned on the issue of being able to do more in the majority. By the time 2010 rolls around, not only will he be in the minority in congress, but we'll have a Democratic President too. Then Herseth will use Thune's own words against him about working in the majority and with the administration.
Anonymous said…
Only Jarrod Johnson can beat Herseth!
Anonymous said…
919 - Your funny!
Anonymous said…
what has Jarrod won now, one race out of 3...keep hanging your hat on him and he's a bright star...
Anonymous said…
Perhaps Herseth's fondness for the Dixie Chicks can become a campaign issue for the Republicans. (For the humor impaired, that's a joke.)
Anonymous said…
1:56: It's YOU'RE funny. Of course it was awful late.

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