Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Noem’s Book Reveals Even More Damaging Information

Noem’s Book Reveals Even More Damaging Information

A hard copy of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's book, "No Going Back," on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at the Argus Leader newsroom in Sioux Falls.

Like many South Dakotans, I was intrigued by Gov. Kristi Noem’s chances for being selected as Donald Trump’s running mate, and I paid attention to the release of her book, “No Going Back.” When her promotional appearances turned into the book tour from hell, it was hard to look away.

During an interview with Stuart Varney on Fox Business, Noem spent most of the interview defending her decision to include the story about shooting her dog, Cricket. At one point in the interview, Noem asked Varney if he had read the book. Like so many of the politicians he has interviewed over the years, Varney ignored the question and went on to something else.

Just when it seemed the book tour was over, Noem showed up in an interview with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation. Cuomo wondered how readers could trust anything Noem said in the book when she included the falsehood about meeting North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. Noem defended her trustworthiness, once again asking the interviewer if he had read the book.

It was obvious that Varney and Cuomo had not done their homework. It was time for someone to read the book. So I did.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem discusses the drug cartel presence in the state’s tribal lands during press conference on Friday, May 17, 2024, at the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre, South Dakota.

The cover price is $30, but I got mine for $21.89 on Amazon. At first glance, the volume looks slim. There are 222 pages in the book, as well as two appendices that include a budget speech and a State of the State speech Noem delivered. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit to not reading the speeches. I sat through enough speeches like that as a journalist; life is too short to start reading them, too.

So it’s not a thick book, and the margins seem wide, like a wayward college student trying to stretch out his term paper to the required length. Margins get wider when she offers life lessons at the end of each chapter or quotes someone at length.

As you might imagine, she spends quite a bit of time bashing liberals and the media, but she manages to do it in a homey, informal style that, at times, is a little too reliant on cute asides to the reader.

She’s also fond of wise bromides that belong stitched on a wall-hanging. Here’s a sample of her sayings for when you’re ready to stitch your next sampler:

  • Be ready.
  • Be a leader.
  • Do some good.
  • Respect is earned.
  • Be loyal to what matters.

The problem with “No Going Back” is that it really doesn’t know what it wants to be. Part of it was obviously intended to build Noem’s resume as she jockeyed to be Trump’s pick for vice president. To that end, she’s always quick to point out her interactions with foreign leaders, even making up at least one. Part of the book serves as an infomercial for the greatness of South Dakota. There are also leadership lessons strewn throughout. On leadership and politics, according to Noem, she’s doing it right while others fall short.

Dana Hess

The most compellingly written part of the book is the chapter she should have left out. She’s good at conveying her visceral hatred of Cricket and the smelly goat. It leaves a reader wishing the rest of the book were just as well written.

Because of the Kim Jong Un faux pas, and corrections requested by Mike Rounds and Nikki Haley, I was looking for mistakes. Noem goes on at some length about the value of parents becoming involved with their local school boards, but muffs it when she says to be on the lookout for executive sessions. She warns that the school board can only go into executive session for contract negotiations or matters of human resources. She fails to mention that school boards are required to meet in executive session if the topic is student discipline.

President Trump’s 2020 visit to Mount Rushmore is a highlight of the book. At one point Noem says that the national memorial is under the management of the U.S. Forest Service. It’s really run by the National Park Service.

She has quite a few things to say about Trump’s visit to Mount Rushmore, at one point calling it a “peaceful celebration.” Actually, 20 protesters and a counter-protester were arrested. While the charges were later dropped, they did block a checkpoint and have a physical altercation with sheriff’s deputies and members of the National Guard.

Even more disturbing than her attempt to rewrite the history of the event is her casual mention of using Hells Angels to keep the peace on back roads leading to the memorial. “Let’s put it this way: if someone wearing a Hells Angels vest makes it clear they don’t have time for any roadblocks, interruptions, or noise, potential disrupters will think twice.”

So here’s our governor, calling on the most notorious motorcycle gang in history to keep the peace. That seems a more glaring, newsworthy statement than falsely claiming to meet Kim Jong Un or shooting a dog or double-tapping a smelly goat. Maybe it’s a good thing for Noem that Varney and Cuomo didn’t read the book.

Source: NewsBreak