Memo to Sam Hurst: Wow

The praise being lathered on Sam Hurst for his blog essay “3834: Remember That Number” is definitely deserved. You can find it at on his web site The Dakota Day. Yeah, I’ll ruin the ending for you and post the excerpt below, but only to entice you to read the whole piece. I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, and he perhaps inadvertently exposes an illegal signature-gathering technique used on behalf of the Kevin Weiland petition drive, but I admire his thoughtfulness, his spirit and his masterful writing. Here’s a taste:

Political conditions on the ground in each state are different, but in South Dakota, this is not the time for nuance, for playing the game, for insider tactics. This is not a time to celebrate the vague mirage of a middle ground without substance. 

Let Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin worry about herself. Let Democrats worry about the fate of the party. It is at rock bottom. It stands for nothing. It has virtually no ability to raise money or mobilize its base to action on behalf of its candidates. It has no influence over politicians elected in its name. It cannot compete. Not forever, not for always, but right now, South Dakota Democrats need leaders who will yell, “Charge!” And it needs soldiers willing to aim their sabers into the fire. Perhaps 3,834 naïve, liberal, desperate, lost souls, would be a good place to begin. Poor Lakotas, closeted gay couples, rock climbers and back country hikers, family doctors, less-than-literal Christians, seven Jews, two Muslims, the last family farmers, underpaid teachers, artists, windmill technicians and solar electricians, a ragged army indeed.


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About Bob Mercer

I am a newspaper reporter in Pierre where I cover state government, issues and politics for the Aberdeen American News, the Black Hills Pioneer, the Mitchell Daily Republic, the Pierre Capital Journal, the Rapid City Journal, the Watertown Public Opinion and the Yankton Press & Dakotan. I began covering the Legislature in 1985 and have lived in Pierre since December 1986. I grew up in Wisconsin, worked my way through college, took my first full-time newspapers jobs in Wyoming, and have lived in South Dakota since the summer of 1984 when I moved to Aberdeen to join the American News. I worked for the Rapid City Journal as its state government reporter in Pierre from late 1992 through late 1998. I spent four years as press secretary and a senior aide to Gov. Bill Janklow during his fourth and final term from late 1998 through 2002. I returned to journalism in January 2003 as a self-employed reporter, providing state government coverage to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre and, depending on the year, Aberdeen newspapers. In 2008, the Aberdeen American News offered to hire me as full-time member of the AAN staff, with my reports continuing to be available to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre, Yankton and Rapid City papers. The new arrangement has been in effect since January 2009 as the seven papers continue their remarkable dedication to their readers and the general public, as the only South Dakota news outlets with a full-time reporter covering state government in Pierre throughout the year. In addition to focusing on the Legislature during the annual winter session and its various activities during the interim periods between sessions, I spend many days throughout the year -- traveling as often necessary -- to cover state government boards and commissions which oversee the state universities, technical institutes, outdoors, water, environment, business, public schools, banking, agriculture, utilities, health care and various other areas of public interest. I purposely don't register to vote because of my profession; the last time I recall voting in a presidential election was the first time, 1976, when I had just turned 18. I think I voted for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford. Make of that what you want, just don't make much of it.

2 thoughts on “Memo to Sam Hurst: Wow

  1. Indedem

    Thank you for posting Sam’s article. I say WOW too! And its about time! The Democratic party IS and HAS been in disarray. I ran in 2004 for a State office and it was an eye opening experience. Not only did I have the misfortune to run during a Big National and State election year, but a local one as well. What I found was little to no support from the local Dems and none from the State Dems. Thankfully Tom Daschle had a fund for helping local Democratic candidates, otherwise you were on your own! There was no platform to speak of (there were the planks from the National party), not much to say who we were at the State level. I remember during my interview with the local newspaper, one of the interviewers stated “I fear that if you go to Pierre, your Caucus may consist of you and maybe one other independent thinking legislator”. Basically, I didn’t stand with either party and truly believed I was there to represent my constituents. I was advised by Democratic incumbents that I could go my own way and that they prided themselves on voting their beliefs and not the Party line. And that is why the SD Democratic party is practically non-existent. They have no direction, no leaders and are happily “doing their own thing!” I tried to be a part of the Party structure but I could not deal with the lack of will to change itself….we truly “ate our young”. I have always been a registered Democrat, however, I am now seriously considering going Independent. I am hoping that maybe a young Daschle or McGovern might be out there and he or she will take charge and lead this Party away from its path to oblivion.

  2. Pingback: Hurst to consider taking beating for Democrats, as opposed to beating on them? That’s a change of pace. | South Dakota War College

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