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.