She coulda been a contender. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem handled coronavirus so well, it was no surprise people speculated that she might have national potential. But instead, Noem angered conservatives and Americans of all stripes by vetoing a bill that would have completely banned transsexuals from invading women’s sports.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem initially appeared eager to deliver a win to social conservatives on a top, culture war issue.
Just minutes after the GOP-led state legislature passed a bill banning transgender women and girls participating in women’s sports leagues, the Republican governor fired off a tweet declaring herself “excited to sign” the bill.
Noem’s enthusiasm faded surprisingly fast. Within days, the governor, who is widely viewed as eyeing a run for higher office, found herself caught in a political mess, facing tough lobbying from business interests, legal threats and talk of betrayal from social conservatives who had been reassured she was on their side.
The governor shied away from the bill when her office showed signs of turmoil — a key member of her staff who oversaw both policy and communications announced she was leaving. Ultimately, Noem crafted an escape plan that left plenty angry and tarnished her hard-charging reputation: a partial veto.
Noem’s missteps have landed her at the center of a rift within the GOP. Its leaders find themselves caught between trying to please both business groups and hard-line social conservatives. Even Noem, who has built a reputation of not backing down from fights, has struggled to articulate a clear position on the ban.
“She was considered a shining star in the GOP with a bright future. No more,” Michael Farris, the head of an advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom, that backed the bill, wrote on Facebook after Noem announced her partial veto. [AP]
By refusing to stem the tide of transgender insanity, Noem has mutilated her political career as surely as the transgendered mutilate themselves. She might as well identify as Jeb Bush and adopt the pronouns sellout/hasbeen.
The issue in question is South Dakota’s House Bill 1217. The bill would require that women’s sports teams at the high school and collegiate level only be open to biological women. No longer would schools be allowed to indulge mentally troubled individuals who harbor a strange desire to compete in sports against the opposite sex. To add teeth to the bill, it would also allow private actors to sue for damages when schools ignore or defy the law. Individuals could also sue if retaliated against for reporting violations of the law.
As the AP mentioned above, Noem promised to sign the bill if it was passed.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 8, 2021
Last Friday, Noem chose to block the bill using a South Dakota tactic called a “style and form veto.” :
Governor Kristi Noem has made a decision on one of the most controversial bills to come out of the 2021 legislative session. That decision is to send it back.
Friday, Noem sent House Bill 1217 back to lawmakers with some recommended changes. That includes limiting the impact to students in elementary and secondary school. She also wants to get rid of the section that would require students to sign a written statement verifying their sex and whether they’ve taken certain medications. [KELO]
In addition to limiting the law’s application to only grade school athletes, Noem also wants to strip the section that allows private citizens to sue over violations or retaliation. Noem’s revisions make the bill toothless and borderline incoherent. Biology matters for high school girls, but not for college girls? If girls can’t sue for redress when the law is violated, what can be done if schools simply ignore the law?
There’s no way around it. Noem isn’t merely proposing to “fix” flaws in the law. She clearly is caving to pressure from business interests which put profitability ahead of the wellbeing of children.
Concerns are being raised by businesses in the state that signing H.B. 1217 could have harmful effects on the state’s economy.
Similar bills across the nation, including Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015, and North Carolina’s bathroom bill in 2016, sparked nationwide outrage and boycotts by sports leagues as well as businesses.
President and CEO of Visit Rapid City, Julie Schmitz-Jensen fears that a similar backlash could be seen in South Dakota.
“When the word gets out nationally that our state passed this law if it does get passed, it’s going to impact any group that looks at our state and looks at full equality when it comes to hosting a convention or a sporting event,” Schmitz-Jensen said.
Visit Rapid City is a part of the South Dakota Convention and Visitors Bureaus which wrote a letter to Noem discouraging her from signing the bill. [KEVN]
Time and time again, weak Republicans have cratered to this kind of pressure. Noem had the chance to be different. Instead, she failed in the exact same way.
Kristi Noem says she doesn’t want to ban males from women’s sports at the college level because it might make the NCAA mad and they might “punish us.” That is the most Republican line of reasoning I’ve ever heard. Sick of it. Nauseated by it.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) March 22, 2021
Even worse than kowtowing to businesses, Noem has also chosen to submit to the subset of America that is embarrassingly obsessed with college sports. The NCAA is supposed to be a non-profit that exists to organize and govern athletic competitions, but instead it wants to be a fourth branch of government with veto power over state laws. The NCAA has said it is “monitoring” South Dakota’s bill, an obvious threat that they will bar the state from hosting tournaments it it passes, much like it previously boycotted North Carolina for its transgender bathroom bill.
To put it plainly, the NCAA has effectively issued an ultimatum to Governor Noem — if you want college sports in your state, you had better accept transsexuals in women’s sports.
Once again, we see a sports institution using Americans’ voyeuristic and vicarious addiction to spectator sports as blackmail to shove the worst cultural poison down their throats like a Big Mac and fries.
The proper response to a threat like this would be to pull all of South Dakota’s colleges out of the NCAA, immediately, and encourage other states to do the same. Instead, Noem is submitting to the association’s power.
But don’t worry! She’s going to start a petition to change things!
The website Gov. Noem promoted on Tucker tonight is just a list to get email addresses that she’ll be use to fundraise for her presidential campaign
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) March 23, 2021
Perhaps realizing that her failure was damaging her national political brand, on Monday Noem held a press conference with several former pro athletes to pitch what she dubs a nationwide push to “defend women’s sports”:
During a news conference Monday morning in Sioux Falls, Noem announced the coalition is being created separate from the controversy surrounding House Bill 1217, which would ban transgender girls from participating in high schools sports. The coalition, according to Noem, is comprised of athletes, leaders and “everyone who cares about defending women’s sports.”
Noem hinted at the purpose of the new coalition, saying that once enough states are on board, the coalition will be big enough that the NCAA “cannot possibly punish us all.”
Throughout the conference, Noem maintained her view that 1217 is not an anti-transgender bill, but was simply about “defending women’s sports.” When asked if she believes her new coalition would affect transgender people in South Dakota, Noem reiterated that her focus was on protecting girl’s sports, and that any attempt to frame it as a transgender issue would be inaccurate. [KELO]
Rather than stand up to the NCAA right now, Noem kicks the can down the road by promising to forge a coalition that will resist the NCAA later. Let’s not be fooled. Real action right now is far more valuable than any promise of a magical deus ex machina in the future. Noem is pulling an age-old trick that by now should be familiar to grassroots conservatives. Just look at border security, where establishment Republicans perpetually promise real immigration enforcement sometime in the future in exchange for immediate total amnesty.
Instead of delivering real leadership, Noem is using a press conference to spin her retreat in the face of the left’s evil. Instead of combating the transgender mania directly and explicitly, Noem is now simply calling for activists to “defend Title IX” and “defend women’s sports.”
Like so many Republicans before her, Noem is playing entirely on Democratic turf. Title IX does not need to be “defended.” The left has repeatedly used and abused Title IX to advance the most abominable policy outcomes imaginable.
Even though men are substantially more interested in sports overall, Title IX’s demand of absolute equality means that universities have shut down successful men’s sports programs solely in order to maintain parity between male and female athletic participation. The Obama Administration, meanwhile, used Title IX as a cudgel to force colleges to create kangaroo courts for policing sexual assault on campus. Now, Noem boasts that she will be even better than Democrats at protecting this deeply flawed law, while refusing to openly confront the poison of transgender fanaticism.
Noem is effectively accusing Democrats of being “the real sexists,” much like ailing establishment Republicans accuse Democrats of being “the real racists.” This is a capitulation within a capitulation, and a pathetic concession to the left’s moral framing of the issue. The chief problem with left-wing transgender insanity isn’t that it makes it harder for women to enjoy sports. It’s an all-out revolutionary assault on “male” and “female” as coherent biological concepts — the logical terminus point for the left’s destruction of the precondition for healthy families, and a weaponization of mental illness to attain and consolidate power.
Instead of adopting a bold ideological defense of traditional moral values against the left’s rapaciousness, Noem has taken the position of being better than Democrats at being a Democrat.
Fortunately, conservatives don’t seem to be taking the bait. Kristi Noem made an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, and put on a painful display:
Craziest thing I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/VX4uOMShbx
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) March 23, 2021
Predictably, Noem’s decision did nothing to placate the left, which will accept nothing less than unconditional surrender. After Noem’s veto announcement, the ACLU announced that it would immediately sue even if the neutered version of the bill were passed:
Gov. Kristi Noem sent a bill banning transgender students from participating in school sports teams back to the South Dakota legislature today with proposed changes. The American Civil Liberties Union says Gov. Noem’s changes to House Bill 1217 continue to discriminate against transgender youth and will leave the state vulnerable to costly litigation. [ACLU]
Noem has failed to stand up for her own base, while doing nothing to win over her enemies. Sound familiar? It’s a classic losing GOP tactic. But from Noem, it also wasn’t a surprise. In 2020, South Dakota’s legislature nearly passed a bill banning the use of puberty blockers and other sex change treatments on young children. The bill failed, in part because Noem criticized the push after previously promising to sign such legislation.
If we are harsh on Noem, it is because we began with relatively high expectations. To give credit where it’s due, Noem did a heroic job resisting the Covid-lockdown regime, which remains the greatest crime against humanity ever perpetrated short of war or genocide.
Noem’s bravery in the face of both local and national condemnation was a tremendous service to her people. Noem never imposed a mask mandate, and never issued a statewide stay-at-home order. She never forced restaurants to close and never invented insane regulations about what stores could be open or what they were allowed to sell.
Noem’s bravery has benefited South Dakotans enormously. The national unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, but South Dakota’s is half that at 3.1 percent — the same it was before the pandemic. According to The Economist, economic activity in South Dakota has dipped by just 2 percent overall, while across America it has fallen 24 percent.
Noem deserves praise for all of this. It’s no surprise that her handling of the virus has put her name on the shortlist of potential candidates for president or vice president in 2024.
The contrast between Noem’s handling of the corona-virus and the trans-sports issue is actually quite bizarre when one thinks about it. The number one thing the Globalist American Empire has been pushing over the last year is Covid hysteria and the lockdown regime. It is strange that Noem could show such courage in resisting the barrage of propaganda and pressure to submit to Covid tyranny, and yet wilt so easily when it comes to preventing the transsexual takeover of women’s sports.
This statement by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce sheds some light on the puzzle above:
The head of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce continues to oppose a bill awaiting Gov. Kristi Noem’s signature that would ban transgender girls from playing sports.
David Owen called House Bill 1217 “the worst bill that passed this session.” He said the bill “professes to protect women’s sports, but is really just a flat ban against transgender participation,” ignoring the lived experience of transgender students.
Supporters of the bill say it’s necessary to prevent people assigned male at birth from winning women’s sporting events. Owen called the notion of someone intentionally manipulating their gender identity for athletic reasons “a fictional myth.”
The bill also carries economic concerns. Other business leaders draw a comparison to North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” that drew condemnation in 2016.
“We know from other states that the threat is very real, and we’re hoping the bill will be vetoed,” Debra Owen, public policy director with the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, told KELO-AM’s It’s Your Business with Bill Zortman on Friday. [KELO]
Setting aside the pablum about transgendered lived experience, it’s clear the concern here is economic. If Noem were to protect women’s sports from transgenders, other states might follow the North Carolina model and boycott South Dakota businesses. The NCAA would follow through with threats to cancel sports altogether in the state.
Conservative commentator Mollie Hemingway astutely noted that corruption, or at least conflict of interest, may have played a significant role in Noem’s decision to capitulate.
Noem's "top advisor" is "controversial behind-the-scenes power broker" Matt McCaulley. Clients include Sanford Health, which owns Sanford Sports Complex, a Sioux Falls arena that hopes to lure NCAA tourneys. Lawmakers worried about conflict of interest. https://t.co/w1ZyQtRHpm
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 23, 2021
And there we have it. By all appearances, the governor who resisted the full-scale push to lockdown the economy has caved to lobbyists and special interests threatening a boycott of business — a transexual lockdown, if you will — if she doesn’t play ball on that perverse agenda.
The tell in Noem's botched interview with Tucker tonight was when she mentioned getting "tournaments" to N.D. Her choice not to sign was a financial decision, not a legal one. A choice that also sealed her fate in never becoming a serious contender for 2024.
— The Election Wizard (@Wizard_Predicts) March 23, 2021
By 2024, the coronavirus will be gone. The left’s relentless push to remake American society into an unrecognizable abomination will still be here. The right absolutely requires a leader who will stand totally for the truth, and against the left and its twisted, evil ideology. Noem had her chance to show she could be that person. She blew it.