The sincerest form of flattery…

In 2010 just before the State Fair, the Republican Party made a strategic move to cement the idea in voters’ minds that Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin was inevitably tied to the incredibly unpopular Nancy Pelosi.

SD GOP stickers from 2010 Election cycle

Even if a fair goer wasn’t political and would never wear a sticker, they couldn’t escape the message. The stickers were everywhere. Adults who wanted to show their disappointment in Herseth-Sandlin’s lack of willingness to stand up to her party’s leadership proudly displayed the image across their chest and kids who loved stickers wore them for fun. Either way the message was everywhere. And the message resonated.

Now Ben Nesselhuf and the South Dakota Democrats are taking up that same strategy with their stickers… Even the design. Right down to the exclamation mark and period.

They want to negatively tie Kristi Noem to her vote on Medicare. They are rallying their base.

SDDP 2011 Fair Stickers

I’m going to give Nesselhuf credit for an genius political move just like we should give credit to Bob Gray, Lucas Lentsch and that very talented person who designed the originals. (Perhaps that timeless art should have been copyrighted and the Dem’s could pay a nice little royalty fee? – I’m certain imitation will suffice.)

The Democratic Party is hurting electorally across South Dakota, and they don’t have a specific candidate to promote, so they are doing the next best thing they can. Promote a cause.

“Save Medicare! – Fire Noem.”.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize the Democrats are energized, motivated and ready to put up the best fight they can muster.

Stickers and signs don’t win elections, but they influence attitude and allow people to publicly display their support for a cause or candidate. Sticking a sign in the ground or planting a sticker on a supporter encourages activism. You can’t win an election without first winning the support of the volunteers.

We all have our own opinions of the Ryan Plan. But the latest move by the SDDP is one reason elected officials must actively promote their position on the issues to the voters. If our elected officials don’t define their position on complex issues aggressively, a simple sticker and slogan by the opposition can cement opinions – not necessarily the way we want.

23 Replies to “The sincerest form of flattery…”

  1. BF

    Nothing there that could in any way be protected by copyright law. Besides, if there were, nothing would have had to be filed. Looks like Mr. Clay needs to brush up on his understanding of intellectual property rights.

  2. caheidelberger

    Noem could use the August recess to actively promote her position to the voters by scheduling a series of public meetings and town halls to tell us why her vote to end Medicare is really a good thing. Instead, her events calendar remains empty. She’s wasted a full week of the recess, and the only meetings on her planner are the exclusive fundraiser with Boehner next week, followed by (note timing and priority) the flood meeting in Pierre with Rep. Mica. And even your post, Hans, avoids the main issue and tries to distract us with a horse-race story about the colors on Dem stickers. Noem’s record puts her in deep trouble, and you decline to defend her on the issue. Weak!

    1. Tim Higgins

      Corey: As I posted at Madville, the bill that Kristi voted on does not end Medicare. For all receiving Medicare and those that are 55 or older nothing will change. You once again say nothing that Obama is going to cut 500 million from medicare for people currently receiving this benifit. All you do is try to spin the Obama cut by trying to convience me and all readers of Madville that it is not really a cut.

    2. Stan Gibilisco

      Cory, even for people under 55, the Ryan plan would not “end Medicare.” It might severely “gut Medicare”; that issue can be debated. But to say that it would “end Medicare” is simply false. One might in fact argue that if we do nothing, we’ll effectively “end Medicare” by allowing it to continue on a suicide course.

      1. Anonymous


        It seems Cory would rather kill Medicare by letting it just run out of money than actually fix the problem.

        Noem is saving Medicare. Maybe she should hold a town hall so she can pound that idea into Cory’s head.

        Though I’m not sure he is capable of understanding.

        1. caheidelberger

          No, I’d rather preseve our commitment to future generations and find ways to fund Medicare. Kristi Noem just throws up her hands and gives up. I think America is better than that. We did it in the 1960s when we had much less wealth. We can find a way to make it happen now and on into the future. Don’t you guys believe in America?

  3. SD Republican

    The Dems can scream all they want that they think Noem tried to destroy Medicare, but they forget one small thing… the Senate voted down the Ryan Plan, thus, Medicare (and entitlement reform) is a dead issue…

    1. Job Creator

      It isn’t always what someone “did” that influences the vote. It might also be what someone “would do if given the chance.”
      There is a very good likelihood that Kristi would be considered out of touch with most of the common-sense electorate in South Dakota. Only time will tell. This is going to be one fun election cycle – especially if the Democrats get tough for once!

  4. Les

    I’m curious as to why Rep Noem voted against allowing the CFTC the power to regulate derivatives?

    20 years ago Brooksley Born was taken out of power as head of the CFTC under Clinton by Rubin then Sec of Treas and Greenspan at the Fed for trying to regulate what she saw as a crisis coming in our financial world due to derivatives.

    Brooksley saw the financial crisis coming into play and 20 years later a bipartisan house is still corrupted by the same forces of the 90’s.

    What a sham!

  5. MC Post author

    The part we should be paying attention to is….

    It doesn?t take a rocket scientist to realize the Democrats are energized, motivated and ready to put up the best fight they can muster.

    The 2012 election is on!

    1. grudznick

      But this Ben fellow, everybody I talk to thinks he’s either a joke or arragant and iggernant. I seriously think the Dems in SD will make a dent in 2012. Mark this down, send me flowers later.

      1. MC Post author

        I’m not coumting anyone in or out for any party. The elections are too far out, there is much that can happen between now and and then.

  6. Lee Schoenbeck

    reruns, summer reruns — you can’t make the red carpet walk on reruns. $10 says that sticker gets 10% of the play the Pelosi one did – because it doesn’t ring true to the thousands of center right South Dakotans that will give credit to anybody trying to solve the country’s fiscal crisis. The bumper sticker works on the premises that we are stupid (clue: we aren’t) and don’t understand that the country’s fiscal issues can no longer be ignored.

    1. anon

      I think the D’s will have more success than that. However you are right these aren’t going to be as powerful of message as Pelosi and Obamacare but it will be a solid attempt to show they are trying to keep Noem’s popularity grounded.

      Thune got 70%+ when he ran for reelection. The D’s know they can’t allow Noem to reach that kind of popularity when a Senate seat is at play in ’14.

    2. caheidelberger

      Lee, I’m trying to see who is trying to solve the fiscal crisis. Noem hasn’t come up with any specific policies. And she certainly isn’t coming out of her bunker this August to tell us about them.

  7. springer

    I think that most people realize that Obama’s and the Dem’s refusal to address the debt, the spending, or entitlements is the true threat to Medicare. For all the Dem’s yelling that the Reps or Noem or Ryan are killing Medicare, the truth is that unless something is done to fix Medicare (and SS) and to address our debt crisis (yes, it’s still there), none of our entitlements are safe. The Reps need to be stronger and more forceful in explaining this point though.

  8. Anonymous

    Nesselfluf gave his supporters something to promote at the fair. It was a good move. The D’s are going to play hardball in 2012. I believe they know they can’t win but they are intent on holding Noem’s election #’s down aswell as her popularity.

  9. MOSES


  10. State Traveler

    Seems to be a good move by the Dems in my opinion. Throw everything at her and see what sticks.

    Glad SHS is gone though!!!


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