In March of 2021, I wrote Kristi Noem: Political Suicide?
In that article, I noted SD Governor Noem refused to sign a bill passed by the SD Legislature that would have prevented males from competing against females in high school and college sports. Her excuse for not signing the bill was, to put it mildly, lame:
I saw Noem on Tucker Carlson Tonight on 03-21-21. It was clear the NCAA threatened her, and she caved, but blamed it on unnamed legal advisors who told her she would lose any battle with the NCAA.
In an update, I added:
UPDATE, 03-24-21, 1400 MT: Well, if Governor Noem isn’t intent on committing political suicide, her latest take on the controversy is inexplicable, as Mary Chastain at Legal Insurrection reports:
‘South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s office sent an email slamming ‘conservative cancel culture’ for the criticism she received after she did not sign a bill banning biological males from competing against biological females.
From The Daily Caller:
‘Governor Noem is very used to fighting off criticism from the left,’ Noem spokesman Ian Fury said in a Wednesday email. ‘After all, in the past year, she was the only governor in the entire nation to never order a single business or church in her state to close. The left bullied her incessantly, but she didn’t cave.’
‘But if any number of conservative pundits are to be believed, that same governor who refused to cave is now caving to the NCAA and Amazon on the issue of fairness in women’s sports. What? Apparently, uninformed cancel culture is fine when the right is eating their own,’ Fury said.’
Oh dear. Where to begin? No one is trying to ‘cancel’ Noem. Normal Americans of good faith are merely raising two issues: (1) Is Noem actually sincere in her desire to protect the rights of female athletes, or has she gone wobbly in the face of D/S/C woke threats? (2) Is her stated course of action—building a ‘coalition’ to oppose the NCAA—a rational and effective tactic, or a means of appeasement and obfuscation?
Definitive answers to those questions remain unresolved.
Noem is obviously taking personally reasonable concerns about this particular policy, and is responding as corrupt D/S/C politicos reflexively respond to any criticism. Attacking one’s heretofore supportive base and accusing them of behaving as mindless and vindictive D/S/Cs is not a tactic designed to ensure one’s long-term electoral viability. No one is trying to run Noem out of office—to “cancel” her in any way–though the manner in which she is handling this issue might eventually have that effect. Her defensive and offensive response can do nothing but make her base believe she really has gone wobbly on this issue of significant importance, and may portend the same or worse in the future.
What should Noem be doing instead? Calmly demonstrating her tactic is indeed designed to protect the rights of female athletes, that it is succeeding, and will ultimately prevail. This will require more than rhetoric. Thus far, she’s producing nothing but talk, and attacking her supporters. This need not be political suicide, but she’s continuing to hand her political enemies ammunition.
It seems Noem is not the only one that caved under pressure, as Breitbart.com reports:
The NCAA made loud proclamations in April that it could pull events from states with limits on transgender athletes. Still, now the college sports governing body has caved and will allow tournaments in states including Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas despite their laws restricting trans athletes.
The NCAA sided with transgender athletes only last month, saying they may cancel events in states that aren’t ‘free of discrimination against transgender athletes.
The NCAA Board of Governors made its announcement as more than two dozen states proposed, debated, and advanced legislation aimed at requiring state schools to ensure that athletes compete only in the category of their birth gender.
But now, only a month later, the NCAA announces that despite its saber-rattling in April, it will allow events in states that have already passed laws limiting transgender athletes to birth gender categories, Yahoo! Sports reported.
Over the weekend, the NCAA named Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee host schools for softball regionals. It has also been confirmed that Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, will host the Women’s College World Series once again. Though, all these states now have laws that put limits on transgender athletes, banning players born as males from playing in girls’ sports regardless of their claimed transition status.
Why did the NCAA cave? Most likely because states where it really wanted to stage events told them where to get off. That, and the anti-woke backlash is occurring in too many states, with far more in the offing. The NCAA isn’t a governmental organization. It has no power, no funding, apart from that given it by participating schools across the country. It probably accurately perceived a threat to it’s funding and power if it put the convenience of a tiny number of mentally ill individuals ahead of most Americans.
But didn’t Gov. Noem say she was going to muster a mighty coalition that would protect SD girls and women even better than a law passed by her own legislature would? She even invoked the magic name of Herschel Walker! He won the 1982 Heisman Trophy, so obviously even his name has unlimited power. Isn’t that what happened? Isn’t that why the NCAA caved?
Considering she hasn’t taken credit for the NCAA’s retreat, that’s highly unlikely. If she had gathered a mighty coalition, including Herschel Walker—who seems a very nice fellow–she would surely be crowing it from the rooftops, but she certainly is not.
There is little doubt her retreat—many consider it a betrayal–has damaged her 2024 presidential chances. Anyone’s chances may be neutered if Donald Trump runs again, and if he does, she may have taken herself out of the vice presidential derby. But much can happen between now and then, and Noem seems to be doing everything–like fighting Joe Biden’s ban on Fourth of July Fireworks at Mt. Rushmore–she can to once again appear to be a stalwart conservative, a champion of Normal Americans. It will be interesting to see what happens if the SD Legislature passes another, similar bill at the next session.
SMM will keep an eye on its next-door governor.