I had the chance to hear Corinna speak today at Democratic forum. I will give her credit, I took from her speech that she is very intelligent, driven and hard working. The SD GOP is going to try to hang the ‘Carpet Bagger’ yolk around her neck because she spent 25 years in the military traveling the world. Her latest stint was in DC (and she has kind of an Eastern accent).

There were some concerns I have about her after hearing her speak. She seemed cold and distant (this is kind of typical of the military upper crust). She said her nickname at the Pentagon was ‘Gunslinger’ because she got stuff done.

I can probably deal with someone who is pretty stringent and driven in their ways. I want smart, hard working people in DC representing me, not obstructionists like Noem.

But something else was very clear about Robinson, she is a bureaucrat. You don’t get that high up in the Pentagon without playing reindeer games in DC. This can be looked at a couple of ways, as she explained, she knows the ins and outs of the halls of congress. Selling point? Sure, but a lot of South Dakotans don’t like DC insiders and have a distaste for all things Washington.

I also was a little disappointed that she gave a brief speech (about 15 minutes) and was planning on skirting out of the forum until Tom Cool reminded her to take some questions. While most gave support, including Phil Shrek, a regular attendee of Forum asked how she was going to deflect the ‘Carpet Bagger’ label. She said she looked forward to the attacks about carpet bagging. Jim Abourezk reminded her that Eisenhower was never called a ‘carpet bagger’ when he ran for president.

But the best question came from Roger Elgersma (a regular at public input at city council meetings) He asked how she would work to cut defense spending. She pretty much admitted that kind of ‘change’ is nearly impossible, further making me assume that she is part of the DC system. But hey, at least she admitted she would look at the issue.

At the end of the day, I look forward to her campaign to defeat a do-nothing congress person we currently have who has only damaged South Dakotan. Robinson said if she was appointed to a committee, like armed services, she would show up to ALL the meetings 🙂

30 Thoughts on “Corinna Robinson, Democratic candidate for Congress; First Impressions

  1. Winston on November 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm said:

    She isn’t any more of a “Carpet Bagger” than the GOP’s Leo Thorsness….. The GOP never had a problem with him, heck, they ran him twice to no avail. Then years later, he ran in the state of Washington and was elected to one term as a State Senator…. now that’s a “Carpet Bagger.”

  2. rufusx on November 1, 2013 at 5:21 pm said:

    How many years has Thune spent in DC? ’85-’87 Abdnor aide; ’97-’03 – US House; ’03-’05 Lobbyist; ’05-’13 Senator. That adds up to straight 17 years (20 total) – IN DC – as a do-nothing (lower than a bureaucrat). In addition, he was a STATE bureaucrat from ’89-96. 8 more years of it.

    So, during that ENTIRE time, Major Robinson was serving in the military. First 8 as enlisted (MP) – next 17 as an intelligence officer.

    And frankly, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, leaving SD for a career IS an experience that is COMMON to South Dakotans. Not everyone stays stuck in the SD mud their whole life. In fact, I would venture that MOST have not been. I could take my small town High school class as an example; less that 15% remained in SD.

  3. Thanks for posting this and your analysis. The candidate needs to “get real” on reducing the pentagon budget as the US does not need and cannot afford spending more on its military than do the next 20 nations combined. Of course, she’ll have to kowtow to EAFB to get elected, but that means having a sharp budget knife for the redundant bases in adjacent states and other military extravagances.

  4. Sounds like a pragmatic SHS answer on defense spending. Is Robinson a Blue Dog?

  5. Cory, I honestly was not impressed. Yes, her resume is impressive, but one thing I have learned from having MMM as mayor, I can smell BS a lot faster now.

    Also, it really bothered me she did a 15 minute ‘intro’ then tried to skirt out of there, At a VFW! With tons of Democratic veterans in attendance! She is lucky Tom Cool saved her ass.

    People may have thought the Mike Myers speech was weird, but at least he was forthright and genuine.

    I am also not a fan of the character who is claiming he ‘recruited’ her. Zach Crago. This is the same guy, in his love affair with Huether and his deep hate for Staggers was out getting support for a REPUBLICAN, De Knudson, as a city council candidate. Zach, where do your allegiances lie? Hey, no skin off my back, I am an Indy for a reason, I support candidates of all spectrums, but when you are working for the Democratic party, it is probably a good idea to support ‘Democratic’ candidates, I am just saying.

  6. rufusx on November 2, 2013 at 7:45 am said:

    Well DL, perhaps she’s not a polished professional POLITICIAN. Isn’t that something you’re always in favor of? Hey – your not the only one with a BS meter you know.

  7. Poly43 on November 2, 2013 at 8:19 am said:

    The candidate needs to “get real” on reducing the pentagon budget

    I’d say so. We have 19 aircraft carriers. The rest of the world has 14. We have laid the keels on an additional four more at 13 billion apiece. Count on 50% more by the time you figure in cost overruns. We have 18 Ohio class nuclear subs with 24 nuclear warheads on each of them. We have a total of 7700 nuclear warheads stockpiled, enough to blow the world up several times over.

    All in all, a hell of a lot of food stamp money.

  8. anonymous on November 2, 2013 at 9:23 am said:

    Detroit Lewis says:

    Also, it really bothered me she did a 15 minute ‘intro’ then tried to skirt out of there, At a VFW! With tons of Democratic veterans in attendance! She is lucky Tom Cool saved her ass.

    Not wanting to be on the firing line with potential constituents….

    That cost her my vote.

  9. Poly43 on November 2, 2013 at 9:48 am said:

    ….That cost her my vote….

    Bit of a knee jerk reaction ain’t it? Noem on the other hand? I’ve had a few years to develop an opinion of her as a politician and as a person. It is thumbs down.

  10. Ruf – She actually is a good speaker, I just couldn’t understand why she wanted to split before taking questions. I think she jumped into this before she educated herself on the issues. I think Roger’s question would have been a slam dunk, instead she acts like reducing defense spending would be like moving mountains. Clinton did it.

    Would agree Poly, Noem would never get my vote, and like I said above, Robinson is clearly intelligent and knows her way around DC, but she does give me that SHS wishy washy feeling inside.

  11. rufusx on November 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm said:

    Being an out-and-out liberal won’t win in SD – so many Repubs (who are disgusted with Noem) are more likely to vote for a candidate a little bit “SHSish” she almost has to be – to win. I understand that one’s tendencies are to vote on one’s “personal” preferences – but that can’t necessarily be what a candidate does – of they really want the office. They need to represent the whole spectrum of constituents – vs. just one segment. Taken as a whole- the constituency itself is a bit wishy-washy.

  12. Testor15 on November 2, 2013 at 11:20 pm said:

    she needs to stand solid on something rather than fighting Kristi for the high spot on the shot pile.

  13. Ruf, agreed. I think Corinna will be a good challenger to Noem, the irony is she almost emulates Noem in a lot of ways (presence). It will be difficult for Noem to chip away at her because of her intelligence and physical stature (she is already short). But she has this big burly military guy follow her around.

  14. testor – she stands for showing up to work – EVERY DAY – and doing the job; assuring that government actually WORKS for the people (as opposed to the party line).

  15. She said she had another event after Forum. It didn’t appear she was given the run down on how Forum works and what was expected of her. She was at Forum 30 minutes before the meeting started and walked table to table and person-to-person introducing herself.

    Tons of Democratic Veterans at Forum? Maybe 15 and many seemed to already know her.

    There are probably 10,000 military working in the Pentagon at any given time. It’s a career choice some military refuse and others accept. If you accept and are worth your salt, you’re on a fast train that doesn’t slow down until your branch tells you it’s time to move to your next job.

    If you want game players in the Pentagon, I’d start with those wearing stars on their shoulders. The Pentagon can be a dangerous place for a staff officer.

    There isn’t an open door between the Pentagon and Congress. Only select offices are allowed to work with Congressional staff and Congress to varying degrees.

    Don’t confuse knowing how the government works with being a DC insider. Noem is an insider but doesn’t know how the government works and doesn’t really care.

    Mike Myers talked about his personal life at Forum for over 35 minutes and glossed over every question on issues but there were no complaints about him.

    Noem got a pass not only on her first campaign but her first two years in office. I wouldn’t underestimate Corinna. At least give her a chance.

  16. Don’t miss understand me Jace, my job here is to point out the weaknesses of a candidate, things they need to work on. Trust me, Noem is an embarrassment to our state, but these are the kind of people South Dakotans to often vote into office, Corinna needs to work on becoming more relevant to talking to these people, it will be hard for her, she hasn’t lived here for years (so jealous) but she needs to realize where many of her constituents are coming from, Noem gets that, for god sakes she is from Castlerock. If I were Corinna, I would hit the road with one staffer and that’s it. Get a feel, because, I didn’t get that ‘feel’ when I heard her speak, and Noem will crush her in the category of ‘podunkness’. Sure, we can have pride that we are smarter and better, but that doesn’t always win elections.

  17. Agree with the learning curve from Pentagon to SD. She has the emotional tie of growing up here, coming home on leave and the perspective of seeing her home state from outside state borders. As with most all candidates, expressing warmth and sincerity through a microphone in a room of 50 or 500 takes some practice.

  18. anonymous: “Not wanting to be on the firing line with potential constituents….

    That cost her my vote.”

    If you jump to conclusions that fast, it can only be because you are already well aware you are supporting her opponent instead and are looking for excuses on why you could never support Robinson.

    Anyone new to this game is going to stumble out of the gate and there are going to be missteps. It is one thing to be a bit confused about the process…. it is another to be a seasoned politician looking to avoid the tough questions. I don’t know Robinson at all… I don’t even know most of her positions at this point, but I get the impression she isn’t avoiding anything and if she was honestly trying to hide something this early in the race she wouldn’t get very far.

    I’d recommend giving everyone an equal chance rather than judging someone based upon one event. At the very least judge them on the complete performance rather than second-hand accounts of what might have been going on.

    There is a long way to go before election time – I’m sure everyone running will have plenty of opportunity to make mistakes and hopefully correct them. Basing a vote upon one relatively minor event would be just a bit rash and would be like judging the career of Hank Aaron based upon the game where he managed one walk during seven trips to the plate.

    Perhaps we should try to keep an open mind a bit longer don’t you think?

  19. The title of this post was ‘first impressions’ for a reason, I just see some things she can work on to be more appealing. Besides, she isn’t running for the Dell Rapids school board, she is running for our lone congressional seat. She needs to get educated and she needs to answer questions when she is at public forums. This ‘wait and see’ approach will only bode for a couple more weeks until the GOP attack machine goes into full swing.

  20. PrairieLady - Gayle on November 5, 2013 at 6:50 pm said:

    So….really what does she want? Where else did she live in the US and why is she not running there?

  21. Poly43 on November 6, 2013 at 7:56 am said:


    Thune spent four years in DT L.A. learning to take the bible at its word….regardless of how stupid the word are.

    Biola holds to the key doctrine of Biblical inerrancy, the idea that the original writings of the Bible were without error with regard to both theological and non-theological matters

    Do I hold it against WWJD Thune because he has lived out of state? No. But I do because of his choice of a college that believes the world is flat and his voting record.

    Lets see where Robinson stands on the issues.

  22. Testor15 on November 6, 2013 at 7:57 am said:

    As someone who has moved a lot due to occupations, why shouldn’t she also moved back to SD and attempt to contribute?

    We have many who only serve in government to express their isolated Ignorance because they refuse to leave & learn.

    She joined the military, learned life lessons, broadened her views and now in retirement, wants to use her abilities to serve the state of her birth. Good for her.

  23. Yeah, it is going to be tough to hang the ‘Carpet Bagger’ yolk around her neck.

  24. Why did George McGovern, Joe Foss, Leo Thorsness, Larry Pressler and others move back to South Dakota? Tens of thousands of not so famous people from SD, served in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, the current 12-year war, and all the time in between and have returned to SD. All of them could have settled elsewhere and made more money. Most people who serve in uniform from SD remain legal residents of SD, have SD plates on their cars while they live out of state, have a SD driver’s license, vote regularly in SD and return home on leave. Because local South Dakotans forget their military who serve across the country and overseas, doesn’t mean SD’s military forgot where home is.

  25. Testor15 on November 7, 2013 at 9:36 am said:

    exactly Jace

  26. donCoyote on November 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm said:

    “She said she looked forward to the attacks about carpet bagging. Jim Abourezk reminded her that Eisenhower was never called a ‘carpet bagger’ when he ran for president.”

    Evidently Ms Robinson (and Jim Abourezk) is unaware that Eisenhower had lived in the United States for 7+ years after WWII and was President of Columbia University for 5 years before being elected President.
    Eisenhower didn’t swing for the fences upon returning stateside, turning down an offer from Truman to run for President in 1948 with Truman as his VP.

    You see, a true carpetbagger, like Ms Robinson, presumptuously seeks elected office in a region that they
    haven’t lived in for quite some time (30+ years). I don’t know how credulous she thinks South Dakotans are but it’s painfully obvious that she was recruited to run for Congress and that she’s moving back to her home state for that singular purpose. If she loses, and I think she will, she’ll be gone faster than an April snow.

  27. The thing that gets in my craw the most is that the Dems have to constantly look to DC to get candidates (Robinson, Weiland, Herseth, Varilek, McGovern, etc.) and as soon as they fail at the ballot, they scurry back to their DC jobs. Trust me, I would vote for Robinson 1 Million times over Noem, but for christsakes already, Dems need to look for some local talent.

  28. Correction on Weiland, before people implode, he lives here but works quite often in the capital.

  29. Oh my God you have to be kidding me with these comments about her being a carpetbagger…

    Do South Dakotan’s really disparage the military that much that they would not welcome home a veteran that spent almost her entire adult life serving at the beck and call of Uncle Sam in crappy locations around the world…not to mention tours in Iraq?

    She was the Director of the Antiterrorism Directorate at the Pentagon’s elite Force Protection Agency. Wouldn’t South Dakota appreciate the experience she brings?

    Thanks for your comment Jace…at least there is one who hasn’t forgotton…what have the other candidates done that measures up to what Robinson has done?

    As a matter of fact, what have some of the pundits on this threat done that measures up?

  30. I don’t know why the Democratsare not supporting Robinson. Noem nothing and Do’em nothing is commonly known as a do nothing in Congress and is not adequately serving SD. There are over 100,000 federal employees and retirees in SD, but she voted everytime to freeze their salaries and to shut down their needed operations. When asked why she is against federal employees, she said, “The average federal employee gets $70,000 and that is too much.” She doesn’t understand that not every federal employee gets $70,000. SD citizens cannot afford to have another two years of Carpet Bagger Noem who is only in office to fill her own pockets and not to serve the people of SD.

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