Strike Out

It’s Saturday. It’s been a long and politically charged week, and we here at Campaign Desk were hoping we could find a reporter out there somewhere with an eye toward recording the absurdities of this thing called politics.

Our hopes soared when we stumbled across some chatter in blog land about a controversy brewing in the race for South Dakota’s lone Congressional seat. The state Republican Party has accused Democratic candidate Stephanie Herseth of maintaining “a secret Web page to receive campaign donations raised from liberal groups’ Internet sites.”

Some days in reporter land, it doesn’t get any better than this. Batter up; it’s an easy home run.

Unfortunately, Chet Brokaw in the Associated Press’ Pierre, S.D. bureau, didn’t even take a swing. He gives us an eyelid-drooping exchange between the GOP’s top dog, Jason Glodt, and a spokesman for Herseth. Glodt even threw a few pitches for Brokaw.

“There’s a reason she’s got that secret site,” Glodt said. “She doesn’t want to advertise the fact that she’s doing this.” Glodt points out that Herseth’s primary website has no link to the “secret” site to the “secret” site, including Daily Kos, InstaPundit and Talking Points Memo.

“Anybody can look at these blogs and the content, and realize the values they are promoting are completely contradictory to the South Dakota values she purports to represent,” Glodt continued. (One look at the home-town blog and we doubt Herseth would have chosen to advertise there.)

“There is nothing secret about the World Wide Web,” counters Herseth’s spokesman Russ Levsen. Type “Herseth” and “blog” into Google and the “secret” is revealed. And, as for Herseth’s opponent, Larry Diedrich, he doesn’t have many secrets either, thanks to the Internet. Google his name plus “South Dakota,” and the first thing to pop up is his home phone number.

Ah, such potential. Too bad Brokaw leaves it to the reader to deduce the silliness of it all.

Susan Q. Stranahan

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Susan Q. Stranahan wrote for CJR.