Is the GOP starting to be less dogmatic, and more pragmatic?

Upon starting up my iPad, this post from State Representative Mark Mickelson greeted me in my facebook feed this morning:


Obviously, this was Mickelson making a declaration as to his reasons why he was opposing a second amendment bill. The thing that struck me was that it’s not often that you see a prominent Republican voting against a gun bill.

And it wasn’t just this measure on permitless carry. Representative Mickelson cast a “No” vote on House Bill 1116; a similar bill which has the full backing of the National Rifle Association, and will likely be used in rankings for this next election.

It’s not just on guns that you see Republican legislators deviating from a strong conservative viewpoint. State Representative Steve Hickey has allied himself with Democrats on several measures related to eliminating the Death Penalty in South Dakota, one of which has other notable Republicans joining him on the measure with Democrats.  Hickey has also notably allied himself with former Obama campaign staffer Steve Hildebrand to take on payday lenders.

This past summer, we had a committee of mainly Republicans led by State Senator Mike Vehle propose a $100 Million dollar tax increase, arguably the largest tax increase in state history, Since then, it’s been considerably watered down from the “shoot for the sky” proposal, but the fact is that a package of tax increases ares moving forward.

All of this leads me to speculate – are we coming around full circle to when I first got into politics, and we regularly had moderate Republicans in office?

Over the past few cycles, We’ve had holy wars between candidates all the way up to the US Senate level over who was and was not adhering completely with the Republican platform to the letter, and faux scorecards painting some candidates more in adherence… and others would get robocalled.

Now that the dust is settling from last election, those who wanted to marginalize some Republicans find themselves marginalized themselves.

I have to wonder, are we moving away from burning down the Republican village to save it, and closer to a point of live and let live, and a time of more civility where people won’t worry about bringing their best ideas to the table?

What do you think?

61 thoughts on “Is the GOP starting to be less dogmatic, and more pragmatic?”

  1. Or maybe the RINOs are just becoming bolder.
    Hickey has sure found his niche with the media. Can’t pass gas in the capital without getting his reaction to it. If he were a democrat nobody would care.

  2. I should have said “Now that the election is over, Pat praises Republicans for being less conservative.”

    1. Please, can you show me where I offered praise? The last I recall, I was opposing all of the examples I used.

      It’s called a discussion. That’s what adults do. Try not to let it upset you so.

        1. If you’re talking about a specific issue get the details right. He’s emphasizing his gun knowledge and got the name of the gun wrong.

          We don’t have 57 states or 20/20 shotguns or AK15’s. Get it right.

          1. Why do you suppose Senator Obama mentioned visiting 57 states during the 2008 campaign? It remains a mystery to this day.

  3. I hardly think these positions (excluding Hickey) are moderate. They are mainstream Republican. I’m indifferent on the $10 fee for a concealed carry permit. Mickelson is respectful in his position and that is the main issue of importance to me. We can disagree and still discuss the issue.

    I don’t support Daugaard’s tax increase but hopefully we can discuss it in the party without calling each other names.

    The GOP is a party of ideas and no ones ideas should be shunned.

  4. Three things:

    1). Doing what is necessary to have a sound infrastructure isn’t moderate. It is mainstream conservative Republican.

    2). Listening to law enforcement with regard to protecting law enforcement from violent criminals and sex offenders isn’t moderate. It is mainstream conservative Republican.

    3). Using the power of the government to prevent private parties from freely entering into contracts because one doesn’t like the terms and appeals to emotion with no good facts and rationale is progressive liberal Democratic.

    I have wavered personally on Mickelson’s vote but appreciate his willingness to stand by his decision that is politically probably costly. Mickelson is a man of integrity and courage.

    Hickey’s picking on a unpopular industry in self-congratulating self-righteousness because his ego is out of control and he can’t handle being wholly ineffective among his colleagues. Not so much respect.

    I just hope he does his ballot initiative with the same degree of incompetence he did on the death penalty bill.

    1. Troy, my ego, your arrogance— what is true is your comment here is doesn’t matter much to me. Minds are changing on the death penalty. The hearing should be listened to by all because it is riveting and extremely challenging from both vantage points. Incompetence is not a word Jackey or Meierhenry would use for how we presented our case this year. Your comments ring bitter. If you are indeed opposed to the DP you should do more than throw cheap bitter darts at people who are actually doing something about it.

          1. that is a great question anon 524P. it would simply indicate that hickey does his early morning online stuff at that hour.

  5. Good thoughts and well written…I think (and hope) you’re right, Pat. If DC was more like SD we’d be far better off.

    The gun lobby has made its’ own bed. For many years, if you had an “R” behind your name, you were EXPECTED to vote for anything the NRA threw out there…even if it made little or no sense. Their heavy-handed retribution for a no vote made enemies out of friends. They weren’t smart enough to accept the fact that most legislators would not vote their way 100% of the time.

    Now, after a few “no” votes, and lots of threats from gun groups, legislators woke up the next morning and found themselves re-elected! The extremism of some organizations, including many in the gun lobby, has worn out its’ welcome with mainstream America… the people who vote…

    Congratulations to Rep. Mickelson, and the other GOP legislators, who had enough backbone to vote for common sense.

    1. The “gun lobby?” You mean the millions and millions of people all over the U.S. who fight to protect your freedom, even though you apparently don’t care to? That gun lobby?

      Let me promise you this: the gun lobby votes! Mr. Mickelson would do well to keep that in mind too.

      1. I’m prior military, grew up shooting prairie dogs, enjoy hunting with friends and family, especially cooking with my wild game cookbook, taking my deer to my favorite meat locker for deer brats, sticks and all the goodies, maybe in the future have some fun rifles and a pistol for a mini hobby but will never join the NRA again nor support these extreme organizations. Their making money off of this and those this crap use it to divide us while profiting on fear and conflict. Wasn’t this all created about 30 years ago?

        1. Well, when they come for the guns, don’t say the NRA and these “extreme organizations” didn’t try. Of course, it’ll be a little too late, but that’s ok.

          Oh, everyone likes to whip up on the NRA and other shooting sports associations as being out of touch, clueless, removed from reality – until they need them. Then they wonder where in the world are those folks who are supposed to be protecting my rights?

          The NRA and many other major groups are used to this kind of nonsense though, and still do what they do in spite of naysayers. Why? Because they know that if they give an inch, it’ll be taken. And if they give a foot, that too will be taken, by all those trying to take our rights away.

          It’s pretty easy to sit back and think it won’t happen here, not in SD, not where I live. I pray you don’t ever regret that attitude. The NRA and others have done more for you than you realize. I’m sure I’m speaking and you’re tuning me out, but that’s ok. I’ll send them a bigger check so you don’t have to. You can thank me later.

          1. They are not coming for our guns! That’s survivalist holed up in their bunker talk. Groups like the NRA do not speak for me. It comes down to common sense and not living your life in paranoia hyped up be special interests either making money off this or some nut jobs that just happen to have guns.

              1. when the feds come for my gun, i’m going to pelt them with the little orange and pink postcards that trash office holders at election time because of their gun-grabbing voting records.

      2. Good example of how the NRA and other gun groups work…. “We’ll vote you out!! ” Even when it’s a legislator who has supported them for years, but doesn’t like one of their bills well enough to support it… they want to throw out the bum…he only supports us 95% of the time…stupid!!

        Many of us who have served in the legislature have noticed that the gun lobby and their threats are not nearly as serious as they were at one time. When the House killed a bill a few years back that would have forced business owners to let their employees have guns in the parking lot, the NRA vowed to get rid of all the republicans who opposed them… know how many lost the next year??…. Zero!

        Legislators like Rep. Mickelson have learned that there are far more common sense voters out there.

        1. That’s not how the NRA works. They score on a grading scale. Mr. Mickelson won’t fall into bad graces, because as you said, he votes pretty much in line with gun rights. But the NRA scorecard will point out if there is someone in the race more supportive and then voters can choose. That’s what choices are about, educating yourself on who is more in line with you.

  6. I am indifferent to this bill. I have a concealed carry permit. I don’t carry, but on the rare occasions that I do, it is good to have that protection. It really does not take a lot of time to get a permit. I believe I even received a temporary permit to use until my real one arrived in the mail. IMHO this is not interfering with the 2nd Amendment. And yes, it is good to see a discussion without name-calling.

  7. It appears from all of his recent FB posts that the 2018 primary has already begun. Noem, Jackley, Mickelson, Michels and a candidate to be named later. Fantastic field!

  8. Quite possibly one more example of Republicans fixing a problem that doesn’t exist.

    Is this really a serious problem in South Dakota?

    1. It takes eight minutes to get a concealed carry permit.

    2. 96% of people get it.

    3. It costs $10

    4. Violent offenders and sex offenders can’t get a permit.

    That is really some landmark legislation that the GOP can be proud of! Now stand back and admire your work. You all should get a gold star for this one.

    1. As a right, the state and US gov’t should subsidized the $10 for folks who cannot afford it, drive them to the sheriff’s office if the applicant cannot, pay for the gun range training, and heck, even purchase a weapon and ammo for the underprivileged among us who wish to exercise this right.

      But for the grace of God am I able to afford the expense–what about the poorest among us?

      1. I know it seems totally absurd but knowing how many corporations love their government subsidies at the same time pushing for less government I can see the gun industry pushing this.

        The fear driven legislation was created to help drive sales for the gun manufacturers and it’s worked great! I’m all for the 2nd amendment but seeing bills like what Greenfield sponsored is another example of craziness and idiocy.

        1. “The fear driven legislation was created to help drive sales ”


          Gun & ammo manufacturers have enjoyed PHENOMENAL success in the past 6 years!

          Gee, why it that?

    2. We need to set up “outreach” programs, funded by the gov’t of course, that will flood our poorer neighborhoods to ensure that those folks have the opportunity to exercise their right to carry. Then, we need to develop programs for our high school kids to let them know what they are entitled to once they turn 18, AND provide them the means to purchase the permit, weapon and ammo once they do. We also need to “arm” counselors by allowing them to counsel frightened students that carrying a weapon may be the solution to their fears of bullying, etc.–these conversations should be protected as confidential. And if parents object to their kids possessing or carrying weapons, then we need to have a judicial bypass procedure so that the kids can exercise their Constitutional rights without the tyrannical and irrational interference of their liberal parents..

      What we need is more gun education in our schools.

      Let’s call it, “HestonCare”.

  9. ….and this guy wants to be governor? He cut and pasted these reasons from someone as I saw them all over well before he posted it.

    Further it is bill 1116, not 1216.

    Does anyone really think a criminal is deterred from getting a gun because of a permit. Did the guy in Lennox yesterday have a permit? How about the guy last month in Kimball?

    1. Mr. Anonymous – those were my reasons, not someone else’s, they were cut and pasted from my word document. Thanks for the heads up on my typos – I fixed them. I personally don’t view this issue as conservative or moderate, but one of judgement, giving significant weight to local law enforcement’s opinions Mark Mickelson

  10. Heres the thing – while in the grander picture, this conceal-carry bill may not be a “big deal” to folks, because it only takes a few minutes, only costs a few dollars, etc., etc. – it’s important to keep in mind that incrementalism is always at work. And used against liberty and freedom, incrementalism can be a devastating force.

    “Oh, calm down, we’re just requiring a tiny bit of sacrifice,” leads to, “calm down, we just want you to fill out a few more papers and get fingerprinted,” which leads to, “just calm down, the special training classes and licenses are purely for your protection,” which leads to, “you can’t have that type of gun because it holds too many bullets,” which leads to, “no one should have that kind of gun because it’s just not necessary,” and on and on it goes.

    Either the 2nd amendment gives us an all-inclusive freedom or it doesn’t. You either have a right or you don’t. Having it both ways sounds great in principle, but who gets to draw the lines in this scenario? Who gets to pick? Today’s SD legislature may be pretty much supportive of the 2nd amendment, but what about tomorrow’s group? What if they think only people who have 100 hours of instruction, who pay a large fee, register their guns (and only certain guns), and must have their names published, are worthy of a permit? What then? You think I’m far-fetched? Look at some of the “not such a big deal” rules popping up around the country.

    Freedom, for honest, law-abiding citizens, should be protected at all costs, with all tenacity and perserverance. If abused, it should be dealt with swiftly and justly.

    Am I going to be supremely inconvenienced by having to get a permit? Probably not, because I already have one. But what’s next? And when do we decide if we are asking too much?

    Dogmatic? I dont think so. I don’t think their is any dogma here… the Constitution says I can have a gun. It’s my right. You can say Mr. Mickelson and others who share his viewpoint are being pragmatic, and I understand this position, but I believe you are wrong. Today’s pragmatism is tomorrow’s exclusions and rules and that’s a rabbit-hole I prefer to avoid. I either have a right, or I don’t. That’s pragmatic to me.

  11. It was 4% in Pennington county not statewide. Last I knew none of those officers killed were from legal gun owners. Officers also have access to the NICS system that would provide the criminal history along with outstanding warrants they check with virtually every stop. If these people they speak of with “violent/sexual” histories can’t own a gun they can’t legally carry it. If they can, then they can already carry openly legally. Anyone who can legally carry should be able to legally conceal it.

    Onwards to the principle of the matter. Free law abiding citizens shouldn’t have to ask permission of law enforcement or bureaucrats to exercise a right! Next thing you know bloggers are going to need a license to exercise their 1st amendment rights.

    Lastly this is a winning message for the GOP to the public in states like SD. Arizona has a similar law and it was described as a “nonevent”. More freedom, good scores from gun groups, and a simpler legal process from a ” nonevent” seems like a winning idea to me.

    Pass constitutional carry!

  12. regarding the premise of this discussion thread, i.e. is the republican party becoming more ‘pragmatic’ and less ‘dogmatic,’ (that is to say less arch-conservative), i’d say “somewhat.”
    the republican establishment in this state maintains the classic big-tent approach to party governance, and as such they’re the repository of the institutional memory of how things work, they’re the reflection of the attitudes of the majority of voters (or they wouldn’t retain power) and they’re always pragmatic.
    the dogmatic conservatives have never ruled the roost and what gains they make come after they work with the establishment, not against it.
    the hardest-core conservatives in the state always come back to their central problem: this is already a conservative state, and to be even more conservative often means having to walk out of the tent and off toward loon land.

    1. If that was the case? Why do all the “Pragmatics” claim to be conservatives to win elections?

      1. because all you “true-conservatives” say you’re the only conservatives. that’s the lie. if you’d listen to yourselves, you’re mostly libertarian. libertarians who want police and hate pot.

  13. That is one of the better posts that I have seen on here.
    Moderation is progress, not through the ability to pass a bunch of laws, but through the ability to provide for more logical discourse and more cooperation.
    I have my CC Permit since it is easy to get, and occasionally useful. I also enjoy the reciprocity it gives me while I attend school in the other half of the Dakota territory.
    Bringing this up as an annual issue is getting a bit old. If they infringe further, it is worth the fight, but it is likely a very small number of people that are truly affected by this legislation – lets move on to something useful.

  14. Without having your permit to carry concealed carrying concealed under this new proposed law ends legally at SD’s
    Border. Most upscale traveling hunting residents go a step further today by obtaining either a MN or UTAH or both permits expanding reciprocity to a multitude of States. What should be brought is a bill specifying that concealed carry applies only to that weapon being under clothing on a human body. Stripping statutes making It illegal to have a covered weapon in a motor vehicle without a CC permit would mean something. C’Mon, you throw a jacket over your Glock in the back seat without a permit to carry concealed and after getting stopped for whatever thrown in jail for harbering a weapon illegally? That is the only part of our firearms statutes which makes zero sense today. The question remains concerning how many biker gang kingpins will become SD residents should the law change and we open up CC to whomever has a SD drivers license. Also one thing General Q. Public will endow upon the Legislature is any major catastrophe proven to have occurred because of this change. Caveat emptor.

    1. The biker gang example is terrible. They would more than likely have a rap sheet that would disqualify them already…

      1. He’s saying that wouldn’t matter if this bill passes… They can just get a SD identification, and automatically be legal, no matter how long their rap sheet is.

        We’re better off leaving things the way they are now.

        1. No… They can’t… If they can’t legally own the gun they can’t legally carry it. Pretty simple.

          1. Welcome to SD politics “Liberty Dick.” Facts are as inconvenient to the moderate left here as they are to the Liberal left in DC.

    2. Charlie–I just read an article that said this:

      Also this week, Sen. John Cornyn (R) of Texas introduced federal legislation that would turn concealed weapons permits into something like state driver’s licenses, which are legal anywhere in the United States. The measure nearly passed a Democrat-controlled Senate last year, meaning it could well end up on President Obama’s desk in 2015.

      This law would seem to fix your border issue wouldn’t it?

      1. Yes it would. More armed law abiding citizens will always result in less horrific acts of violence.

  15. Lib Dick the frustration only centers on left VS right in the undeveloped eye. The bigger picture harbors unintended consequences which only fools glance over. Diminishing the threshold always lowers the bar. Let’s hope I’m 100% wrong.

  16. Looks like SD is not alone–Just read an article that New Hampshire, Kansas, Mississippi and Montana have all introduced legislation or constitutional carry also.

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