10 Years a Blogger Journalist. THANK YOU for the wild ride.

I have to laugh, I missed my own birthday. Or anniversary.  On February 5th, 2005, South Dakota War College was hatched waaaay back when on the free blogging platform “Blogger,” which is now owned by Google. 

It’s almost scary to read now, but this was my inaugural post.

I had someone tell me the other day that they were traveling to listen to “X” teach a class on campaign techniques and strategy. Admittedly, it was really arrogant of me to say so, but my response to them was “You’ve got to be sh*tting me. They ran a terrible campaign, and spent money like an idiot. They were lucky their opponent rolled over and died. What are they going to teach – ‘how to spend money like a drunken sailor?’”

In saying that, I was probably just verbalizing a frustration. There are tons of good Republican candidates out there, but many of them lack someone to show them the way. Hopefully, this weblog can serve as a reference for campaign “newbies” and those with some experience to use as something to get them pointed in the right direction.

Who the hell am I? I’ve been involved with Republican political campaigns since 1988. (I don’t know if I should wear this as a badge of honor, or hide my head in shame for having this affliction.) I’ve worked for the Republican party for a couple elections in Pierre, and one in Rapid City.

I’ve worked for candidates, I’ve worked with candidates, and I’ve done a bunch of other stuff in between. I’ve dived in with both feet, walked away for a few years as a sanity check, and came back. I ran for office myself, and got my stupid ass deservedly kicked for violating every rule I’ve set down to candidates, and it ended making me better for the loss.

In effect, it made me take stock and say “I will not run and do a crappy job again.” It forced me to understand that it takes certain “things” to run a campaign, and to recognize those things.

Circumstance has made me into an unofficial mentor. Why unofficial? One of the people whom I consider a mentor, Geraldine “Gypsy” Hines, the principal of Good Government Consultants in Sioux Falls once noted to me that a lot of people don’t want to pay for political consulting in SD. I tried it to make money off of it once, and while I had a few people who were willing to pay for consulting, I realized that most candidates at this level lack the resources to do so.

And really, the people who can’t afford it need it the most. So, the people I end up helping are typically the young, first time candidate whose never done this sort of thing before, but they’re jumping in with both feet. I’ve got a soft spot for these guys (and gals), because that was me once.

So, I’ve kind of ended up as that politically active guy who people get pointed to by acquaintances who say “Call this guy, he can help you with…..”

Ugh. My first blogpost was rough. I was much freer with “sentence enhancers,” which changed about 6-8 months into it when I started hearing that the Governor, John Thune, and many others whom I respect were reading. Just a little sense of self-consciousness, and getting to know my audience helped.

At times, my love affair with blogging has waxed and waned. It has shut doors in my face, and opened them.   I’ve thought about quitting a couple of times, and after a job required 18-month hiatus where I handed it off to others, I couldn’t wait to jump back in, and I did so with a vengeance.

I’ve made many, many friends, and maybe a couple of enemies with really think skin.  But I’m still here, and I’m not going anywhere.

In retrospect, I’m surprised that I did think about walking away, as there have been times I’ve fought for it, and fought hard.

When Noel Hamiel’s awful blog control act was introduced, while others spent time behind their desks, I was out in Pierre testifying against it, as well as pointing out to groups with lobbyists how it would affect them. And when someone wanted to drag me into court on a fishing expedition, Joel Arends successfully argued that I, as a blogger, have a journalistic privilege, making me a journalist, and not just a guy with a computer on his desk.

As the use of social media has risen I’ve managed to go from being treated as a freak of nature who people avoided, to someone that people are as used to being accustomed as a part of the political process.

And honestly, I couldn’t have done it without you; the readers. You are the ones who have made it happen, and I can’t thank you enough. It’s been a rollercoaster for the last ten years. And I’m here in line to give you ten more.


23 thoughts on “10 Years a Blogger Journalist. THANK YOU for the wild ride.”

  1. I have recently found out that some legislators are being asked not to visit this blog as it may distract from what they are suppose to do. I guess that means that this blog does make a difference.

    Thank you Pat for all you do.

  2. Congrats PP. I’ve been reading your site for almost as long. Might have missed the first two years or so. Like a bad penny, I just keep coming back, and you keep allowing me to insinuate myself here. Maybe we are both just gluttons for punishment? 😉 Anyway, here’s to the service you provide us all and the labor of love you give it to do it. Thank you.

  3. Pat is not a journalist in any fashion. Maybe a PR consultant putting out press releases but not a journalist

      1. p.s. Besides, just as in my profession (designer) saying someone IS one, doesn’t necessarily mean they are a GOOD one. (Just kidding, PP.) 🙂

        1. So, if my cat decides to start blogging, does that mean he’ll be considered a journalist? Toonces the Blogging Cat. Sounds about right.

          1. So, if you’ve worked fro the same news business for 25 years, claim to be fact-based and objective, but make up stories about your escapades in combat zones, does that make you an NBC news anchor?

          2. If your cat starts blogging, that will make you and your cat both famous and rich, unlike PP and myself. More power to you and Toonces. Keep us posted on your lauch date. 😉

            p.s. your cat will be considered a journalist if he/she reports the news, especially news no one else reports. And I have some very specific questions only a cat could answer. So yeah, let’s make some cat news!

            1. p.s. the above was me. Sorry. Didn’t look at the info box below. It’s way too easy to post as Anonymous here. I am not s/he. 😉

      2. Bill, I wouldn’t disagree. Part of what I’ve been doing since day 1 is aggregating political news and information. And ever since, many of those who have come after have followed my lead.

        No different than many/most newspapers, yes, I do publish press releases, and a lot of people find them informative. I even had a nice compliment from one of our top state elected officials (who doesn’t do a column), who remarked that it’s a good way to keep tabs on what everyone is doing.

        In addition to writing, I’m also the ad sales guy, the tech guy, and a host of other duties. While there are those who complain about my printing releases, my website is self-supported in ad sales, plus a little left over for trips to Pierre and elsewhere, and I take great pride in that the site runs with few glitches, and when someone has a problem, I can usually muddle through fixing it.

        Custodian might be more descriptive than publisher 🙂 , but they both work.

    1. It’s nice to see other bloggers join in the congrats.

      Was it too much to hope that one very bitter, jealous, and angry bigot from MVT would post a congratulatory message????

      Maybe he did as one of those anonymous posters?

  4. Pat,

    It was late summer of 2007 when a mutual friend turned me onto the DWC and I’ve seldom gone but a few days since were I didn’t peruse what you had to say.

    When he told me “Pat Powers has this blog” my reaction was “you mean the Pat Powers from Pierre.” Just that very fact gives you the utmost credibility as Pierre raises the smartest people. 🙂

    Thanks for all you do to keep us informed on details going on in the body politic and giving us a chance to offer our two cents. Keep it up and Godspeed.

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