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Epistemology is the study of knowledge.  It asks the question, “How do you know what you know?”

We Democrats here in South Dakota know a few things about politics in our state and in our state party.

For example, we know that our previous (and purported) Democratic House Representative, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, was defeated by a thin-thinking, smooth-talking, party-line-reciting, poor-people-bashing, right-wing reactionary Tea Partier.  

And why?

Because Democrats had no interest in voting for a Trojan horse Republican, and Republicans were wise enough to vote for the actual Republican, smack-dab right next to her on the ballot.

I know it and I own it: I have a problem, and yet so do many members of our party, with Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin.

After receiving our avid and assorted support, she decided to vote against Obamacare (and right proudly too, making her vote central to her [losing] re-election bid). She voted against legislation to curb global warming. She voted for legislation containing tax breaks for “Big Oil” companies. She voted for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.  She signed onto a letter to Nancy Pelosi which advocated that the Bush tax breaks for the crazy-wealthy be extended.

For many of us in the State Party, these choices marked a deep betrayal of who we thought we knew her to be.

We know who she is now, though.

Given that, although we progressives know that she shouldn’t run for retiring Sen. Tim Johnson’s seat, we aren’t so sure that she knows that she shouldn’t run for his seat.

In fact, some of us have a hunch that she wants to do just that.

See, as knowledgable as we have become about Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s politics, we are eager to know what our other options are.

We think, though, that there is a possibility that the U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, Brendan Johnson, might also be running.

We’re not sure, because his current office prevents him from bringing us in the know.

Nevertheless, we do know some things about Brendan Johnson.

Brendan was chosen “Prosecutor of the Year” last month by the South Dakota Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee.

His confirmation to his present position was unanimous in the US Senate.

AG Eric Holder placed him as chair of the Native American Issues Subcommittee, as well as on Holder’s Advisory Committee.

He initiated the first ever Tribal Listening Station in 2010, attended by 200-some tribal leaders and representatives from state and federal law enforcement.  

He seeks to equip people with information and confidence, as seen in his hosting of a Civil Rights’ Conference last year.  

He is U.S. Senator Tim Johnson’s son.

His father opposed every single one of Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin’s positions that I named above.

And, while this is admittedly soft by way of knowledge, friends of mine who are friends of his tell me that he’s a (yes, even in South Dakota we exist) progressive!

That’s what we know.

Now the moment has arrived for Brendan Johnson to know what we know:

Brendan Johnson, you should run for South Dakota's open US Senate seat.

Originally posted to Anna M. Madsen on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by South Dakota Kos.

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