Rep. Kristi Noem isn’t letting the facts get in the way of a good political ad.
Noem repeats a claim in her new TV ad that those big, bad bureaucrats tried to prevent kids from doing chores on farms and ranches. It’s the same assertion Sen. John Thune made during his speech at the Republican National Convention in August.
The problem? It’s not true. PolitiFact, the Pulitzer-winning political analysis website, said Thune’s claim, and now Noem’s, is a lie. In fact, they gave it a Pants on Fire award.
“It’s ridiculously false to suggest it applied to children of family farmers and even sillier to say it applied to ‘chores.’ Pants on Fire!” PolitiFact wrote.
In fact, 27,000 kids are killed or seriously injured on U.S. farms every year according to a study released this year. It seems like something the government should keep an eye on, doesn’t it? A proposed set of rules to make farm life and work safer for young people was drafted and debated this year, with Thune and Noem fighting against them.
Noem, in her first new ad of the season, explains how she stood up for family farms and ranches against this imaginary federal intervention while her son Booker, who became a South Dakota celebrity along with his sisters in 2010 ads, acts up a storm in the background while tending to horses at the family ranch near Castlewood.
Booker’s a nice kid whom I interviewed during an appearance in Mitchell in 2010; the Noem bus driver said he was loving his time in the sun.
This is the first truly new ad for Kristi Noem this year, followed by a cut-and-paste job featuring GOP boilerplate clips and a 2010 video of her riding horseback. She had trailed her Democratic challenger, Matt Varilek, who had rolled out three new TV spots already.
Of course, Varilek made sure to spotlight his kids, along with his wife, in two of his ads. Everybody loves to show off their loved ones, since it makes the candidates seem like stars in a family sitcom, not serious, thoughtful people who want to go to Washington and deal with those darn bureaucrats and pesky issues and problems.
Noem has a lot more cash than Varilek — $1.2 million or so with more to come, plus help from her Republican allies, so expect to see more ads, and probably more Booker. Will the other ads be a bit more fact-based?
Hey, it’s the election season. Don’t count on it. Maybe Varilek will tell us how he is working to prevent old people from being put on ice floes if the Republican Social Security reform proposal becomes law.