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Stephanie Strong is able to mount a challenge to U.S. Representative Kristi Noem, seen here in her official U.S. Congress photo.
Stephanie Strong is able to mount a challenge to U.S. Representative Kristi Noem, seen here in her official U.S. Congress photo.

Post-Mortem: The Right-Winger Who Couldn't Take Flight

Apr 4, 2012

I enjoy making mischief for Republicans. I also have a pathological weakness for underdogs. How could I not have rooted for political absolute beginner Stephanie Strong to make the ballot and challenge Rep. Kristi Noem in the South Dakota Republican primary?

I should have known better.

Stephanie Strong announced out of nowhere in February that she wanted to replace her fellow Republican Noem in Congress. She had no name recognition, no visible connections or constituency, and no apparent background in politics. Her nascent website showed little technological or communicative savvy. Following her announcement, the only other press I saw her get was her own classified ad seeking paid petition circulators to help her get the 1,955 Republican signatures she needed to make the June ballot.

Much to my surprise, Strong managed to submit petitions with 2,018 signatures. Not quite to my surprise, Strong did not gather enough extra names for insurance against the inevitable invalid signatures. Secretary of State Jason Gant found 106 invalid signatures—under 6%, which is pretty good compared to a national average of 19% invalid signatures on initiative and referendum petitions—dropping Strong's signature total to 1,906, 49 too few to make the ballot.

 I wrote some stiff criticism of Strong's failure. Strong contacted me with questions about election laws, and I was happy to point her toward the right information. 

Alas, my help was for naught. Instead of demonstrating that she could focus on the practical business of either appealing the rejection of her petitions or retooling for an Independent candidacy and petition drive in which she would make sure she got complete information from each signer, Strong melted down in right-wing nuttiness:

I want to know how Barack Obama got on the South Dakota ballot without submitting the proper paperwork and nobody questions that. I am short 49 signatures and they are still Republican signatures, Republicans who don’t take government assistance, but make their own way and are not recognized because they do not have a physical street address. Are you kidding me? While our President cannot even prove that he is an American, something needs to change and we all should speak out as our elected representatives will not [Stephanie Strong, comment to C.A. Heidelberger, "Stephanie Strong Fails to Make GOP Ballot Against Noem," Madville Times, 2012.03.29].

Uff da. To be clear, President Obama submitted the proper paperwork to make the South Dakota ballot. The President has provided more documented proof that he is an American than anyone who signed Strong's petitions or Strong herself. And in her greatest rhetorical offense, Strong contends that if you receive food stamps, or unemployment insurance, or a public education, you aren't a full American. By that criterion, Strong is limiting herself to getting signatures from three mountain men living in yurts somewhere west of Rochford. 

Even my affection for mischief and underdogs has its limits. I would like to have seen Rep. Noem suffer through a primary campaign against an unmoneyed but skilled conservative who could hold the Congresswoman accountable for a number of bad votes. Stephanie Strong showed with her birtherism and bias that she is incapable of rising to that challenge. 

 

Cory Allen Heidelberger writes the Madville Times political blog. He grew up on the shores of Lake Herman. He studied math and history at SDSU and information systems at DSU, and is currently teaching French at Spearfish High School. A longtime country dweller, Cory is enjoying "urban" living with his family in Spearfish.

Comments

08:40 am - Wed, April 4 2012
Rebecca said:
Wow.
08:47 am - Wed, April 4 2012
Bernie said:
More and more, I'm just an appreciative admirer of anyone who's willing to go out in the public arena -- bloggers, candidates, tried-to-be candidates, etc. — and expose themselves to the craziness in today's political culture regardless of their ideology or ability.
09:42 am - Wed, April 4 2012
Rebecca said:
I was thinking along the same lines as Bernie. I would never have the guts to write anything like this. I barely had the guts to comment with the word "wow." :)
11:57 am - Wed, April 4 2012
LK said:
Cory,

Thought you might be interested in this David Frum post. He moderated a "debate" between Jonathan Kay, author of Among the Truthers and Webster Tarpley, a Truther.

The last 3 paragraphs are extremely itneresting:

"And here's something else. Webster Tarpley was obviously not anything like as as cogent Jon Kay. Yet among his mish-mash of randomized factoids, there did occur a moment of lucidity.

"After explaining how Pearl Harbor was a government conspiracy and how the Toulouse killer Mohamed Merah was framed, Tarpley did for a moment muse about why Americans had become more susceptible to conspiracy theories. It was a poignant moment, really: the mad mind seemingly—briefly—aware of itself as mad, analyzing itself, trying to understand how it came to be trapped inside its crazy skull. He said, "Democratic governments rely on eudaemonic legitimation." Meaning that people trust their government when they feel themselves to be doing well. And as more and more people cease to feel they are doing well, they become readier to believe wild allegations of all kinds.

"That seems a true point—and, from the horse's mouth as it were, one more warning of the ill consequences of an economy that has left so many feeling marginalized and alienated."




http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/03/among-the-truthers-and-other-conspiracy-theorists.html
06:21 am - Thu, April 5 2012
Ed Goss said:
Cory writes the following "Alas, my help was for naught. Instead of demonstrating that she could focus on the practical business of either appealing the rejection of her petitions or retooling for an Independent candidacy and petition drive in which she would make sure she got complete information from each signer, Strong melted down in right-wing nuttiness:"
I then turn to the Rapid City Journal and read the following "Strong to challenge rejected Congressional bid in court" WHO SHOULD I BELIEVE????
06:42 am - Thu, April 5 2012
Ed! Thanks for pointing that story out! Strong will lose, because she doesn't understand the law. She wants to turn the case into some re-enactment of the Revolutionary War. Her petitions were rejected because she simply didn't fill in the blanks as required by law.
10:54 pm - Wed, April 18 2012
Wat Tyler said:
Can't stand the fact that people have to defend the status quo. Bravo that someone as ill informed as Miss Strong sought office. Somehow we have all been misled into believing that politics is fraternal, perhaps something off limits. Everybody has the right to run for any damn office they so choose. It is amazing how many people claim they know when they know so little about their own government. Who cares if she melted down into right wing craziness. Crazy people make the world turn. They offer change. The "bill payers and baby makers" just stew in their homes and fear the unknown, crazies challenge the unknown. If heaven means the Brady Bunch and hell is Howard Hughes, give me hell anyday. She can learn the law as she goes. Doesn't seem like the legal eagles have done such a good job over our history (gotta hand it to Aaron Burr though, sure fixed Hamilton) when you consider the Abes and TJ's were fewer than the Arthurs and Fillmores. Even the "Abes" messed up a little. We have suffered enough trailing behind the mundane, let's start electing some Hughie Longs and Davy Crockets again. Hillbillies danced on the tables when Andy Jack took office. Fat rich guys sipped martinis when Dubbya got elected and failed old hippies listened to Fleetwood Mac when Billy C took office. I want the table dancers again, thank you very much. Time for extremes. Enough patronizing in DC. Enough sucking up to safe and sane suburbia. They may pay the taxes but in the long run they just buy cars and put their kids on psych drugs. What excitement and honor is there in that?

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