Apparently its never too soon to announce a bid for office. The 2012 election season is barely over and former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds has officially announced he will run for South Dakota US Senator in 2014. While the move is not surprising, I really thought it was too soon for such a move. He could have at least let newly elected officials take office before launching a campaign.
Not to be outdone current US Senator Tim Johnson also put his pre-announcement into the ring. At least Senator Johnson admits it’s too soon for such announcements by this statement: “As in past campaigns, I will make my formal announcement later next year”.
I for one hope neither candidate is chosen during the state primaries.
In Mike Rounds case I believe he is the wrong direction for the Republican Party. What the Republican party needs is true small government conservatives. The South Dakota US Senator should have the high moral values to lead coupled with fiscal conservatism this country is in need of. Looking back at Rounds two terms as Governor I don’t see him being the greatest representative of either high moral value or fiscal conservatism (that’s not meant as an attack, just an observation).
I would also like to expand upon ‘high moral leadership’. A true leader sets an example that people can look up to and follow. If a leader has to dictate (or in this case legislate) their morals then they have failed in becoming a good leader. Going forward the Republican Party must stop trying to legislate their moral code upon everyone else. “Forced morality” is in itself a contradiction. But, I expect the Republicans to continue down the same path to irrelevance. They can always blame licentious libertarians for that I guess.
As for Senator Tim Johnson I believe it is time for him to leave office. He has served three terms as US Senator for South Dakota. That will make 18 years Tim Johnson has spent in Washington. That is simply too long for any single person to hold such a politically powerful office. I am a supporter of a two-term limit on US Senators. The longer a Senator stays in Washington the more they become disconnected with their home state. I feel this way no matter what party the Senator happens to belong to.
It would be better for the South Dakota Democratic Party to choose a new leader from among their ranks. Senator Johnson could then use his political power and popularity to assist the campaign of that chosen candidate. To gain independent votes the Dems should focus their campaign around what the Democratic social programs are doing for people in South Dakota. Instead of attacking the Republicans they should show how the Democratic candidate can work within the Senate to make the social programs work. The only attacks they should place towards the Republicans is to point out their lack of alternative plans.
When the primary elections happen I really hope both parties consider their actions and what is truly best going forward. However since we are talking politics I cannot imagine that either party will show an abundance of wisdom in choosing their candidates.