April 4, 2005

Centrist Dem Stephanie Herseth visits

Stephanie Herseth, Democratic House Representative from South Dakota, is visiting campus today. Ms. Herseth will be giving a public lecture at 4:30 PM -- "Securing Quality Education and Healthcare in America" -- in 3 Rockefeller Hall, and the Young Democrats are holding a lunch with her at 12:30.

Herseth is a Dem from a blood-red state, and her stances and political tactics have been criticized by some Democrats. A summary of their qualms with her:

- is anti-gun control
- supports a flag-burning amendment
- said she'd vote for W if the election went to the House of Reps
- voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment
- targeted her get out the vote effort at Thune-Herseth supporters, i.e. directly working against Tom Daschle, the Democratic majority leader who was defeated by fewer than 10,000 votes in a major victory for the GOP

According to South Dakota Politics, "Herseth deserves much of the credit for Daschle's defeat." And Sam Hurst of the Rapid City Journal writes, "Stephanie Herseth is too young and too bright to have lost her backbone. At an age when she should be known for brash idealism, she has chosen instead to pander to the dark voices of discrimination. Such is the cynical calculus of electoral campaigns."

Daily Kos, however, has taken a sympathetic stand towards Herseth, arguing in June that "Some of you may not like it, but we're going to see some Republican-lite out of Herseth in the coming months. It's the only chance we'll have to hold the seat."

Herseth embodies the kind of tug-of-war of ideology and strategy going on within the Democratic Party right now. It will be interesting to see how Dartmouth Democrats respond to her and what kind of message she'll have for us. We'll have updates later.

1 comment:

  1. I just attended a lunch where Rep. Herseth spoke. I'll post something longer about it later on, but, for now, it's enough to point out that she at several points commented on her irritation that "the bloggers" were so down on some of the aspects of her right-wing voting record (most notably gay marriage). Losing donors seemed to especially sting. She came across as allergic to accountability. This fits in with the overall impression she gives, which I will elaborate upon.