Obama’s policies ARE on the ballot

When speaking at Northwestern University on October 2nd, President Obama reminded us what the 2014 midterm election is all about. He said:

“I am not on the ballot this fall. But make no mistake, my policies are: every single one of them.”

And those policies are on the ballot here in South Dakota.

National security policies are on the ballot. Turkey, a member of NATO, refused the United States’ request to allow Kurdish forces to defend the town of Kobani against murder and decapitation of men, women—and children—by ISIS. That was until the threat of Republican control of the Senate and the consequential disruption of US support caused Turkey to relent. How many others, from China to the Ukraine, will be injured until the strength of our powerful democracy is restored?

Free trade policies are on the ballot. The Democratic leader of the Senate refuses to support free trade agreements that would result in significant agricultural exports from the United States. How long are we willing to allow our own state’s interests to be ignored in the name of “politics?”

Mike Rounds is also on the ballot and he will be strong on national defense and support bills that are good for South Dakota and our economy. This election could determine if Republicans win a majority in the Senate. A Republican Senate will hold strong on our values at home and internationally while bringing a realism regarding the American people’s need for economic and social soundness. A vote for Mike is a vote for policies that represent South Dakota’s values.

A little state that often can have great influence

While South Dakota has a small population—barely half of the population of Nebraska—history has given us opportunities for unusual, national influence.

In 1952 Barbara Bates Gunderson, originally a newsperson from Yankton, was the Republican Committeewoman for South Dakota. At the Republican National Convention, held in Chicago that summer, she became convinced that Dwight Eisenhower should be the next president of the United States. Her husband, Bob, had returned from serving under General Eisenhower throughout the campaign in Europe and found the general’s leadership and ethics to be beyond reproach. Now, once again, the United States was at a crossroads regarding exercising our influence far beyond our borders.

Barbara convinced the South Dakota delegation to change their vote from Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio to Dwight David Eisenhower. In doing so, she incurred the wrath of Sen. Karl Mundt—one of the most influential United States Senators—as he had promised Taft that South Dakota would cast its entire delegate vote for him. South Dakota’s change of support was announced at a very critical time as the states were called—one-by-one—to cast their votes. This was a history changing decision and, as history tells us, Eisenhower received the Republican nomination and then elected president of the United States.

When President Eisenhower decided to have his summer White House in the Black Hills, he flew into Ellsworth Air Force Base. As he was about to step off the airplane, he looked about at the welcoming committee then he turned to a general near him and said, “I don’t see Mrs. Gunderson.” The general looked at him and said, “Mr. President, I was told by Sen. Mundt that she was not to be invited.” The president looked at his watch and said, “If she’s not here in thirty minutes I’m changing my plans, returning to Washington, and will not be in South Dakota again.” A police car went, with sirens blazing, into Rapid City and to West Blvd. When the car arrived at her door Barbara was already dressed appropriately to sit next to the president at lunch.

Later, Barbara became a member of the United States Civil Service Commission—a federal government agency created to select federal employees based on their merit rather than who they knew. When she went to Washington, Barbara discovered that there were very few women in the federal government and none higher in rank than herself. There were certainly no cabinet secretaries, assistant secretaries, or even deputy assistant secretaries. At the same time, she recognized that there were incredibly capable women occupying key positions in every department of government. She determined that there must be a way to pierce that glass ceiling.

As an accomplished writer, Barbara knew the importance of publicity in changing behavior and she devised an interesting contest. She went to the presidents of major corporations—Mr. Sarnoff at RCA, the president of General Electric, and others—and asked them if they would contribute to a fund that would reward outstanding civil servants. The plan was to have every department in the government nominate the most effective, impressive, and accomplished women on their staff who would then all compete with the others for a monetary prize. The winner would receive $25,000—a great deal of money at that time ($164,600 in today’s dollars). All of a sudden those who had been ignored were given an incredible amount of attention and the position of women in government changed forever.

A wonderful example of South Dakota sending someone to Washington who was an original thinker, was not fearful of the political hierarchy, and was able to take strong positions to make changes.

South Dakota Supports Obama???

A vote for anyone other than Mike Rounds for the U.S. Senate is a vote for President Obama. The Republican Party cannot control the majority in the U.S. Senate without Governor Rounds.

If you WANT Barack Obama to continue to completely ignore the needs of American citizens, then vote for one of the other candidates. If, like me, you want control of your government in your state, vote FOR Governor Rounds. Mike Rounds well understands the needs of this state—and, for that matter, any state.

If you WANT a continuation of a failed foreign policy and the embarrassing world opinion that America no longer has any strength—vote for one of the other candidates.  If you WANT the attorney general to ignore any legal standards of our land, as AG Holder has continually done, vote for someone that you may “like” a little better than Mike.

There is another significant advantage to us if Mike is our next senator: he was a leader in the Republican Governor’s Caucus. There are other former Republican governors, currently in the U.S. Senate, who are eager to work with Mike and admire his leadership. None of the other candidates show the vaguest sign of such leadership.

If Rick Weiland were somehow elected, his loyalty would only be to the president and those who spent a fortune to get him elected. He has never held public office, nor does he understand the process.

Former Senator Pressler has been my friend for a number of years. I have worked on his previous campaigns, travelled abroad with him, and spent many hours discussing issues with him. When he chose to run as an “independent” his motivation for running was unclear. As time passed, it became obvious that there was some political chicanery afoot.

Reliable sources now indicate that the Democratic Party—with whom former Senator Pressler would caucus—urged and supported his efforts. We do not know what might have been promised to him as a reward for serving as a candidate. There is something secret awaiting him if he is successful in pulling votes away from a strong Republican. Whatever the appointment or perk, it raises money and keeps him running even though there is no chance of his winning the seat.

Gordon Howie is also a friend. While serving with him in the South Dakota State Senate, though we differed on some important issues, I found him to be an earnest and caring person. It is clear, however, that there is no chance of his winning. Those who vote for him, instead of our former Republican governor, are creating a very real possibility of continued Democratic control of the U.S. Senate.  Hopefully no one will throw away their precious vote to get something that they despise.

Our foreign policy is in disarray and the vicious president of Russia is contemptuous of Obama’s inability to act firmly. He is absolutely convinced of our near impotence in influence abroad. All of the president’s attempts to change our economic situation at home have been a gross failure. Without a change in congressional control these problems, that are a result of inconsistent and contradictory policies, will continue.

Please, please remember that a vote for ANY candidate other than Mike Rounds will be a vote to strengthen a failed presidency.