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Special Interests Coach Her To Defeat?… South Dakota Governor Thrown For A Loss Over Fairness Measure

April 7, 2021 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

South Dakota’s Kristi Noem seems to be the latest conservative Republican governor to fall afoul of powerful interests that apply pressure to promote what they consider the proper “woke” social or political attitudes.
Noem surprised people across the nation when she altered her support for a state legislative bill to protect female athletes from having to compete in sports against biological males who think they’re women and enjoy an unfair advantage because of male physical attributes.
This recalled then-Gov. Jan Brewer’s surprise veto of an Arizona bill in 2014 to protect religious conscience, and then-Gov. Mike Pence’s troubles in 2015 over clarifying a state Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Indiana that he signed.
In both the Arizona and Indiana firestorms, where powerful interests threatened to wreak economic damage against the states in retaliation, the false media drumbeat was that the bills would authorize businesses to refuse customer service to homosexuals — a sort of “no hamburgers and Coke for you today!” at restaurants.
Brewer and Pence were early victims of power plays where left-wing activists would visit corporate boardrooms and feign to have weight to throw around to make business executives align with them in order to apply political pressure. The mere suggestion of meanness from the political left seemed sufficient to make the business guys and gals quiver.
I wrote in March 2014 in The Wanderer about threats against Arizona: “American Airlines and Apple, Delta Airlines, Petsmart and Yelp warned Brewer to veto the bill or else subject the state to serious damage. Major League Baseball chimed in. The National Football League raised the specter of yanking next year’s Super Bowl from the Phoenix area.”
Reuters reported in March 2015 about Indiana: “Pence, who was brought up Catholic but is now an evangelical Christian, faced massive pressure from businesses over the bill, which passed with an overwhelming majority in the state’s legislature.”
Today, however, it’s nothing unusual to see corporations being told to throw punches to advance some leftist program or else suffer the consequences.
After Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a bill to improve voting security in the Peach State after the 2020 election debacle, pressure campaigns arose against both Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, two of the largest companies based in Atlanta, urging their strong opposition to it. Exhibiting familiar “progressives’” “tolerance,” far-left pundit Keith Olbermann tweeted, “Boycott Delta. Ruin Delta.”
Coca-Cola rushed to accept the validity of left-wing activists’ position that election security is bad and wrong. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Coke issued a statement to employees saying, “While we are disappointed in the outcome, we don’t see this as the final chapter,” vowing to push for “greater access to voting.”
Last year I was shocked to see my former major-player financial employer, where I labored for 15 years in a worker-friendly environment, proclaiming its celebration of LGBT. As the twenty-first century began, I never would have dreamed of asking it to proclaim, say, Right to Life Month, but activists of a different stripe later concluded they had a right to make this traditionalist business toe their social line.
While Noem continued to try to find a way to recover lost ground over the sports legislation as this article was written on March 30, she had damaged some of the wide following she enjoyed with conservatives only a few weeks earlier as a principled officeholder with national potential.
Conservatives look to support politicians who actually work for their principles instead of merely talking a good game. They don’t reflexively support some Pied Piper who just gives them a flashing smile. That’s why many were dubious at first about Manhattan billionaire Donald Trump, but strongly got behind his presidency when he showed he intended to deliver.
Arizona’s Brewer had seriously damaged herself in 2014 when she vetoed the conscience bill after sudden big-business pressure. That, along with her ramming through an overnight state Medicaid expansion with support from big business and Democrats but not conservative Republicans in 2013, ended her political horizons then. She knew the peril to herself but bought into it.
Brewer earlier won widespread admiration, in 2010, when she signed into law a border-protection bill that sent the open-borders establishment into fainting fits. President Barack Obama scorned it and in 2012 U.S. Supreme Court liberals, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, seriously restricted it.
As for Pence, when Trump announced the former Indiana governor as his vice-presidential running mate in 2016, the Hoosier’s history of wobbling on the state RFRA gave some conservatives pause, although they generally liked Pence’s record.
But when Pence went wobbly again about verifying suspicious 2020 election results, conservatives could imagine the same kind of clout-wielding “moderate” corporatists paying him a visit who had done so in 2015.
A March 29 news release from the nationally active conservative Family Research Council (FRC) said Noem had failed to listen to South Dakotans, who strongly favored the women’s-sports bill, and instead aligned with “the NCAA and the tentacles of big business that pressured Gov. Noem to retreat from her earlier support of the bill in the first place.”
FRC President Tony Perkins said Noem “failed to listen to South Dakotans and is siding with big business, the NCAA, and the rest of the woke mob on the left.”
Perkins said the FRC “will continue to support efforts in other states pushing back against destructive gender ideologies that threaten our young people, our families, and our freedom.”
On March 26 The Wanderer asked national conservative commentator Quin Hillyer what he thought of Noem’s backing away from support for the bill. Hillyer replied: “I think when someone has as good a conservative record as Gov. Noem does, other conservatives should withhold final judgment.
“Let’s see what comes back from the legislature and what she ultimately signs into law before writing her off as a rising star of the conservative movement and the Republican Party,” Hillyer said. “She still has a chance to redeem herself by signing a good piece of legislation.”
On March 30 the WORLD Christian website posted that “Noem is attempting to repair damage to her conservative reputation after she changed her mind about signing a bill to protect girls and women’s sports.
“Early in March, Noem tweeted her excitement to approve House Bill 1217, which protects girls and women in kindergarten through college from having to compete against boys and men in school sports,” the WORLD article said. “But 12 days later, Noem balked and sent the bill back to the state House for major changes, virtually gutting it.
“After conservatives across the country expressed outrage, she offered a different solution that has garnered only limited support,” the article said.

Fear Of Amazon?

An article posted March 23 at the National Review website said, “Following the announcement of her veto, Noem faced significant criticism from conservatives at the national level, including from groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Family Research Council, and the American Principles Project.
“Citing a comment from a Democratic lawmaker in South Dakota,” this article said, “some critics have suggested that Noem fears Amazon might back out of an agreement to open a fulfillment center in Sioux Falls if she signs the legislation.”
ADF general counsel Kristen Waggoner was a regular critic of Noem’s faltering approach. In a March 22 news release, Waggoner said that “Noem has offered a hollow substitute for the urgent protections for women’s sports that the South Dakota Legislature sent to the governor’s desk in the form of HB 1217.
“By stalling her support, attempting to dodge the legal conflict, removing protections for collegiate athletes, and eliminating a female athlete’s legal remedy when her rights are violated, Gov. Noem, through her actions, has downplayed the injustices that girls and women are already facing when they are forced to compete against males,” Waggoner said.
And Idaho state legislator Barbara Ehardt, a former athlete and 15-year-long basketball coach, posted at the Washington Examiner on March 30: “The governor has been twisting herself into a pretzel trying to explain her sudden change of heart, and none of her proffered explanations make a whole lot of sense.
“Just two weeks ago, she tweeted about how eager she was to sign the bill,” Ehardt said. “This week, she says she’s been hearing for months from legal and constitutional scholars that the bill promises legal disaster for South Dakota and its families. What changed?”
Meanwhile, Noem’s South Dakota news site on March 26 reported on one of the factors that already had won her strong traditionalist support: “Gov. Noem has signed four pro-life bills into law, including HB 1110, which bans abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome.”
It quoted her, “The Declaration of Independence summarizes what we all know in our hearts to be true: God created each of us and endowed all of us with the right to life. This is true for everyone, including those with an extra chromosome.”

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