Reflecting on the Minnehaha Lincoln Day

The Minnehaha Lincoln Day Dinner Saturday night was an impressive event with around 500 people attending. It has been a while since we’ve had a dinner of that size. It must have doubled last year’s.

Whoever was in charge of setting the stage and decorating the convention center deserves a big pat on the back. They did a great job with the huge American and South Dakota flags set as backdrops and the music entertainment to set the mood.

Throughout the night I kept thinking how much our party has changed over the years and how fortunate we are to have so many great leaders. Marty Jackley gave an outstanding update on the health care law and made it very clear he is doing all he can to get Obamacare overturned.

Dusty Johnson proved once again that he is a fantastic Master of Ceremonies. He had probably the best line of the night and also maybe the most akward. The best was when introducing Kristie Fiegen. He commented on her opponent Matt McGovern’s recent name change. When McGovern lived out of state he was Matt Rowen, but since he’s moved to South Dakota and decided to get involved in politics he’s decided to change his name to Matt McGovern after his grandfather George. So Dusty announced that Kristie Fiegen would be changing hers back to her maiden name. “Kristie Abnor Pressler Janklow.” The reaction from the crowd clearly indicated that it was the line of the night, and I heard it repeated continuously on the way out after the dinner.

The awkward moment came when Dusty was introducing Governor Daugaard and said, (paraphrasing) This Governor hasn’t just courted controversy he’s shacked up with it and he has three kids with it. The crowd kind of half laughed and groaned. You never know how much of any of this is planned at an event but you could clearly tell the crowd was uncomfortable with the joke and most were clear about it following the dinner. Dusty quickly made a joke about how he had waded into something he didn’t intend to (unintentionally implying the First Lady might be “controversy”). He joked that he realized now why most Chief of Staffs only last 18 months. Obviously there wasn’t any ill-intention and everyone in the crowd knew that, including Dennis and Linda Daugaard who were great sports.

While listening to our speakers, I was impressed by the very powerful message delivered by Dennis Daugaard that stressed unity and a willingness to make hard decisions. He repeatedly referenced Reagan’s eighty percent ally rule and encouraged the party to come together in 2012.

For quite a long period of time the microphone went out, but that didn’t phase Daugaard. After a couple of moments he simply pushed it aside and began delivering his speech the old fashioned way, earning applause from the crowd. He is clearly a well-liked and respected Governor.

Most importantly we can tell that our Governor is an emotional person, and that was very clear when he closed his remarks speaking about his recent trip to Afghanistan and visiting the soldiers serving overseas, particularly the wounded soldiers. One thing many appreciated was that he didn’t sugar coat his trip. He gave vivid descriptions of the accomplishments of the soldiers and the injuries he witnessed.

Everytime I see Governor Daugaard speak, I am reminded why I support him. He is absolutely genuine and clearly a man of the people who has carved out a unique life story that strongly resonates with the individuals of our state. Even at the odd times when we disagree with him on issues, his sincerity makes it impossible not to respect and admire him.

The event made me wish I could attend another dinner. Until next year!

18 Replies to “Reflecting on the Minnehaha Lincoln Day”

  1. Anonymous

    I haven’t figured out why the Chief of Staff is still playing frontman at lincoln days instead of allowing someone else to do it.

    1. Name

      Maybe Dusty emcees because he is invited by locals. Why do they invite him? Maybe because he’s pretty good.

      I heard the “courting” line actually went over pretty well. Yes, lots of surprised laughter, but stuffy events can use a little of that!

      1. anon

        Most people I spoke with thought it crossed the line.

        It’s kind of a fine line. It wasn’t that it was horrible but just not something you want to say about the Governor anyway. Especially in public. The line didn’t bother me but it was clear it took many off guard.

        I wouldn’t have said it but I also wouldn’t have used the word “pooper scooper” in a speech either.

        1. ymous

          I was there and our table laughed. It was meant in fun and most people around us were laughing.

          1. SIOUXLAND

            I’m not a fan of stuffy GOP events. I know that I thought the joke was funny but when I looked at several people around my table some were making faces and another said that was inapropriate.

            Either way it isn’t earth shattering but I did enjoy reading the update and also think Dusty is a fine MC.

            Right on about Daugaard.

    2. Anonymous

      ‘Name’ is right. Dusty is often asked to be the emcee at these events. We asked him for our Codington LDD which was the evening before. He does an excellent job, even when there is a bump in the road, he just rolls right through it.

      1. Anon

        Dusty was great in Codington. He usually is. The best emcee I have seen on a statewide event is Matt Michels. But Dusty is no slouch.

        If he wants to run for Congress it is smart for him to stay infront of people at these events.

        Noem was stellar in Codington also. I wasn’t expecting her to hit it out of the park like she did. It was a pleasant surprise.

  2. Anonymous

    Masters of Ceremony, when they are having fun and making it enjoyable for everyone else, sometimes cross the line. At McGovern Day, Master of Ceremonies Ben Nesselhuf may have crossed the line once or twice too. Cut Dusty a little slack.

  3. Anonymous

    Oh, Bill Clay-Powers. You aren’t really in that great a spot to be criticizing folks for name changes.

    1. Anonymous

      I agree with Siouxland. There is a reason why Daugaard was the headliner. As Governor he is the de facto head of the party. His speech focused on unity moving forward into the election. It was delivered effectively.

      Daugaard carried himself well when the microphone dropped out by carrying on. Eventhough I don’t always agree with him, I am proud that he is our Governor.

    1. One Way Street

      you like him because he is a fellow establishment politician who doesnt set off your Napoleanic nature as your height is in the same diminutive zip code, while your aspirations are not.

  4. One Way Street

    preaching unity and party support across the liberal-moderate-conservative divide, as polling is being done to determine how to help those that supported hb1234 over those that didnt, is kind of a mixed message.

    Reagan said those that vote with me 80% time were not his enemy; however, what about those in the much higher brackets: http://www.sdrepublican.org/2011SDGOPVoteReportByPercent.pdf

    1. anon

      There must be a complete sentence in there somewhere, but I’m still trying to find it.

      The mindset of some of these guys scare me.