April 30, 2024

Kristi Noem

“South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem — a potential running mate for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — is getting attention… for a new book where she writes about killing an unruly dog, and a smelly goat, too. The Guardian obtained a copy of Noem’s soon-to-be released book… In it, she tells the story of the ill-fated Cricket, a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer she was training for pheasant hunting…

“On the way home from the hunting trip, Noem writes that she stopped to talk to a family. Cricket got out of Noem’s truck and attacked and killed some of the family’s chickens, then bit the governor… ‘At that moment,’ Noem writes, ‘I realized I had to put her down.’ She led Cricket to a gravel pit and killed her.” AP News

Both side condemn Noem’s decision to shoot her dog:

“Perhaps you’re thinking, Come on — it can’t be that bad! I assure you it is. I bet the dog was old. It was a 14-month-old puppy. Well, the dog was probably sick. She was healthy and ‘having the time of her life.’ The dog must have mauled a kid or something. She just killed some chickens, after being trained to hunt birds. Surely Noem found a humane way to put the dog down. She took the dog to a gravel pit and fatally shot it. Okay, but at least Noem loved her dog? ‘I hated that dog,’ Noem writes…

“Oh, you thought this bloody tale of animal cruelty was done? Nope! Noem then decided she had to murder the family’s ‘nasty and mean’ goat, too… According to The Guardian, the point of Noem’s story is that she’ll do anything ‘difficult, messy and ugly’ if it simply needs to be done. Presumably, there was a less upsetting way for her to express this.”
Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine

“Americans love their dogs. This is true whether one is a Republican or Democrat. The love and appreciation for canines have no political allegiances. The animals are known as ‘man’s best friend’ for a reason. Through all the political strife, turmoil, confrontations, and domestic hostilities, every normal, rational, and sane person would agree that the idea of having to shoot and kill a lovable canine is gut-wrenching. Everyone seems to have known this except the governor of South Dakota…

“To make matters worse, Noem allegedly claimed to ‘hate the dog’ and considered it ‘less than worthless,’ all because of an incident in which the dog mistakenly attacked a local family’s chickens while on a hunting trip… She could have included any other example in her life in which she had to make a tough decision, but for some reason, she chose to include the one of shooting her dog.”
Christopher Tremoglie, Washington Examiner

“Leaving aside the fact that she could have tried to find Cricket a new home away from farm animals, Noem showed shockingly poor political instincts in choosing to publicize this story as proof of her ability to make difficult decisions. For someone who is openly campaigning for vice president and hopes to run for president eventually, this kind of politicking will only lead to failure. Trump can do a lot better than Noem as his vice president.”
Jeremiah Poff, Washington Examiner

“It’s the phrase gravel pit that stands out most—imagery fit for a Cormac McCarthy novel. Typically, campaign books don’t scream ‘literature.’ They’re more or less marketing tools meant to showcase a politician’s character and leadership skills. Noem likely believed that recounting this saga (in addition to a story about killing a goat) would serve as a testament to her courage and her rural bona fides, endearing her to millions of potential voters. Instead, Noem publishing these sentences may one day be remembered as the gravest mistake of her career.”
John Hendrickson, The Atlantic

Other opinions below.

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From the Left

“A 2023 Pew poll found that 97% of people with pets view them as a member of the family. That, however, apparently was not how Noem viewed Cricket, writing in the book that she ‘hated’ the rambunctious puppy. Noem said she considered the pup ‘less than worthless’ after she ruined a pheasant hunt by going ‘out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds and having the time of her life.’…

“Perhaps Noem included the tale of shooting Cricket in her book because she had read reports of how Trump did not like the beloved pets that bring joy to millions…“My own hypothesis, however, is that she possibly thought that telling the story would endear her to a certain breed of heartless Republican, convincing them of her toughness. If that was Noem’s calculation, she might have made a grave miscalculation.”

Dean Obeidallah, CNN

From the Right

I grew up in rural America, and I only know of a farmer shooting a dog on the spot one time in my life. It was because the dog brutally attacked a little girl. I have never in my life after spending decades in rural America on farms and ranches ever heard of a dog getting shot because it wasn't good at hunting and killed chickens. Not once. Noem seems to be framing it as though *checks notes* murdering your dog is part of ranch life. It's not, and nobody is dumb enough to buy that.”

David Hookstead, Outkick

“It could be worse, I guess. One of her predecessors, Bill Janklow, wanted to be famous as the longest-serving governor of the state but ended up famous as the guy who killed a biker while speeding and running a stop sign. While Noem hasn’t killed anything human — yet! — her chances of being Donald Trump’s vice-presidential pick are stone-dead with this revelation.”

Jeffrey Blehar, National Review

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