An Open Letter on the Family Heritage Alliance Endorsement of Mike Rounds

FHA_Rounds_endorsementI sent this email to Dale Bartscher, Executive Director of the Family Heritage Alliance on Sunday afternoon –

Dear Dale:

Since I don’t have all their addresses, I would consider it a favor if you would share this letter with the entire FHA board at your earliest opportunity.

Thank you.


Immediately after the Family Heritage Alliance publicly endorsed Mike Rounds for U.S. Senate, I briefly shared the gist of what I am about to say with Dale Bartscher, but I felt it important that since the entire FHA board backed this decision, the entire FHA board should hear this directly and completely.

Since the Family Heritage Alliance was formed nearly four years ago, I have been a moral and financial supporter.

However, your recent public endorsement of Mike Rounds for U.S. Senate has caused me to seriously rethink that support.

Mike Rounds was many months ago chosen and purchased with over $2.5 million by a political establishment which is pretty much as morally and intellectually deficient as the one wielded by the Democrats. He was forced on rank and file Republicans with the influence of heavyweight endorsements and massive amounts of money; all that was left at that point was to wait for the low-information electorate to obediently complete the formality in the primary. As is so often the case, the money and the hype accomplished the goal, and the deal was done on June 3.

Or so the establishment hoped.

Unlike most elections, this time around, conservatives still have a choice even after the primary is done. That is, unless conservatives are going to choose to dutifully do as they are told, just as the low-information crowd does.

At a minimum, if FHA didn’t like any of the other candidates for U.S. Senate, or if FHA thought a candidate more dedicated to conservative Christian values could not win, you could have simply said nothing at all about the race. Yet you deliberately chose to endorse a man with a record of fecklessness and betrayal.

When I heard the word “principle” in the endorsement of Mike Rounds, I was frankly astonished. Why? Because Mike Rounds has clearly told us with his words that he is a “pragmatist,” not a man of principle. What’s more, he has clearly demonstrated this repeatedly with his actions.

Consider his record:

– Mike Rounds vetoed South Dakota’s first abortion ban in 2004, sending the message to the opposition that the pro-life community was divided and lacked resolve to save lives.

– After he grudgingly signed the second abortion ban the South Dakota Legislature sent to him, he was nowhere to be found while the rest of the pro-life community in South Dakota worked tirelessly for its passage.

– Mike Rounds voted against an abortion parental notification bill while in the South Dakota Legislature.

– In 2007, Mike Rounds made human papillomavirus (HPV) sexually-transmitted disease vaccinations-a risky, rushed-to-market drug falsely marketed as a panacea for cervical cancer and the HPV sexually-transmitted disease-available to girls 11-18 at $9.2 million taxpayer expense. We don’t need dangerous vaccinations at taxpayer expense to protect against that which responsibility can protect cheaper and more reliably, especially when doing so may actually undermine sexual responsibility.

– Mike Rounds continues to support the EB-5 foreign investor visa program, despite taxpayer losses and a suspicious death surrounding this scheme which is fraught with bankruptcy, national security concerns and “crony capitalism.”

– It is well known that Mike Rounds has met few taxes he didn’t like, and has refused to promise not to vote for tax increases. He received a 56% Cato Institute rating on taxes, and a 41% rating on spending from Cato. Several Democrat governors have better scores.

– Mike Rounds increased the size of government while the chief executive of South Dakota

– Mike Rounds pushed for a minimum wage increase in 2007, a socialist tool that meddles with the free market and causes economic problems for businesses and workers.

– Mike Rounds supported the unconstitutional government health care program SCHIP, and called for more funding for the program.

– Mike Rounds supported government health care structures through Zaniya Project promotion of statist “solutions” that even its own research found unnecessary.

– Mike Rounds supported an ObamaCare-style health care exchange bill (HB 1166 in 2007), and an ObamaCare-style mandate bill (SB 131 in 2007). It’s little wonder that, other than empty words, he would be AWOL in the fight against ObamaCare.

– While claiming to be opposed to ObamaCare, when ObamaCare was freshly passed, Governor Mike Rounds sent his minion to the legislature with instructions to kill the anti-ObamaCare Health Care Freedom Act. This was done at a time when the states critically needed to send a message of rejection of ObamaCare to Washington.

– Mike Rounds attended a meeting with President Obama that was intended to “polish” the sale of ObamaCare to the American people, to make this unconstitutional and tyrannical legislation seem more palatable.

– Mike Rounds served on a government health care task force with former Democrat Senator Tom Daschle, one of the architects of ObamaCare and other socialized health care schemes.

– Mike Rounds opposed the efforts of Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Mike Lee and others to defund ObamaCare last year. The last time I checked, “opposition” to something involved more than just saying you are opposed…or even opposing those who oppose what you CLAIM to oppose.

And of course, Mike Rounds has excuses for why he has been on the wrong side of so many issues. But then, feckless people usually do. However, discerning people don’t have to buy the excuses.

I have to ask you: why in the world should Christians and conservatives give a pass to someone with an “R” after their name, when we would condemn a “D” for doing the same thing? Are we really so desperate for an illusion of victory that we will stoop to hypocrisy?

Your public endorsement of Mike Rounds has seriously damaged the integrity and credibility of your organization. You have aligned yourself with a pathetic record, and if he is elected, your endorsement will continue to associate you with the betrayals of conservative values that are sure to continue.

While none of us are perfect, if Mike Rounds is what “conservative” means today, then our state and nation are in even more dire trouble than most of us ever realized.

My friends, Mike Rounds’ actions are not the actions of a conservative. These are the actions of someone who likes to enjoy the accolades and benefits of aligning themselves with conservatism, without actually doing the heavy lifting of being conservative.

As discerning Christians, we are to judge not on words and illusions, but on fruits. Mike Rounds does not bear the fruit of a reliable conservative who will defend the truth, especially not in a culture that has become hostile toward the truth.

Why in the world would you believe anything that is said by a man who claims to be pro-life, yet vetoed South Dakota’s first attempt to end abortion in our state and only grudgingly signed a second bill when the legislature forced it on him a second time, and was largely absent during the defense of that legislation?

Why in the world would you believe anything said by a man who claims he wants to rein in and shrink government in Washington DC, when here in his own state he expanded government, left the state with a $127 million structural deficit, and never met a tax or fee that he didn’t like?

Why in the world would you believe anything said by man who claims to support family values and faith in the public square, when his surrogates and sycophants viciously attack conservatives and Christians as “kooks,” “extremists,” “fringe,” “divisive,” “superstitious,” “racists,” bigots,” “haters,” “nut jobs,” “wingnuts,” and a string of vile words that I won’t begin to catalog here? Though he carefully guards his “Mr. Nice Guy” persona, can the apples really fall that far from the tree?

Why in the world would you align your organization with a spineless squish who has repeatedly betrayed conservative and Christian priorities, especially when there is a candidate in the race who is unapologetic about supporting the values you claim to champion?

Could it be because you perceive the better candidate to only have a slim chance of victory in the general election? If we chose sides based on the perceived chances of victory, then the American Revolution would have died in the womb and all the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today never would have come to fruition.

Knowing that at least some of you understood beforehand Rounds’ fecklessness and betrayals of conservative and Christian principles, I can only conclude that you have openly embraced this squish for one reason: to maintain access to the halls of power in a “Republican” controlled state and political establishment.

Did Christ seek access to “that fox,” or did he stick by what is right? Did Christ embrace the snakes, vipers, and whitewashed tombs of his day as “the lesser of two evils,” or did he stand on principle?

As long as we allow a corrupt establishment to fear-monger us into backing feeble candidates who will sell out our values for political expediency, we will continue to be their powerless lapdogs. “Access politics”, while sometimes useful, is ineffective with intransigent pragmatists who have no respect for you and view you as their obedient lapdog. As Ronald Reagan once said, sometimes in order to get them to see the light, you must first get them to feel the heat. Obedient lapdogs leverage no heat.

God has not given his people a spirit of fear, and we should not be among those who shrink back from the truth. As long as we conservatives and Christians continue to obediently reward with our support those hypocrites in our midst who make a mockery of the values we hold dear with their “pragmatism” and betrayal, our great nation will continue its slide into corruption and oblivion.

To stop this slide, we must cease rewarding “the lesser of two evils.” We must clearly come down on the best side of what is right and stop behaving “pragmatically.”

A candidate who cannot be relied on to do the right thing might possibly be worth our grudging and desperate vote, if there is no better alternative available, but they are definitely not worthy of our public endorsement and support.

I realize it is unlikely that you will rethink and rescind your endorsement of Mike Rounds at this point, though I certainly hope that you will, since our ailing country will not be saved by electing weak nest-featherers like Mike Rounds.  Only bold leadership can pull our nation back from its self-destructive course, and Mike Rounds is no leader-as his record illustrates, he isn’t even a good follower of the right path.

However, if you insist on continuing to back him, I hope you’ll remember what you’ve done when, if he gets elected, Mike Rounds takes a pass on, surrenders on, or joins the other side in opposing your stated values. And I hope you’ll remember it when he lets you down a second time….and a third….and a fourth…and….

Bob Ellis

This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.

Comment Rules: Please confine comments to salient ones that add to the topic; Profanity is not allowed and will be deleted; Spam, copied statements and other material not comprised of the reader’s own opinion will be deleted.


  1. WXRGina says:

    This is an excellent letter, Bob! I hope the FHA will get its mind right and back away from this RINO.

    • Bob Ellis says:

      Thank you. It’s always painful to disagree with and criticize friends, especially in public, but I did not believe I could be faithful to the truth and say nothing.

    • Dotcoman says:

      They won’t. RINO’s gotta stick to their herd, and spineless squish’s tend to cling to each other.

  2. Guest says:


  3. charliewalksonwater says:

    Brilliant, Bob, brilliant.

  4. Constitution Cat says:

    Thank you, Bob for a splendid article. Marilyn Oakes implies
    that the FHA Board endorsements are sacrosanct because the Board prays about
    their political decisions. There is not even one political meeting that I
    attend which does not open in prayer. The fact that the FHA Board includes
    petitions to God when they are making their judgments does not guarantee that
    the very human members of the Board are receiving endorsement instructions
    directly from the Maker. We Christians who work in the political arena ask God
    daily to help us restore our country to its founding roots and to guide us as
    we evaluate issues and make decisions on political matters. FHA has attempted
    to position itself as the sole representative of the Christian community’s
    views, but this endorsement indicates that their motivation is not the
    promotion of Christian principles and
    values but is rather a pragmatic access to political power. If, as Marilyn
    says, “it will take more money” to elect a more authentic Christian candidate,
    then we should be opening up our pocketbooks to make sure that happens. Christians
    are not called to be pragmatic, they are called to be authentic.

  5. Rhudedog says:

    I spoke to a FHA board member last night and understand a little more of their predicament and why the endorsement. Glad I’m not a board member when tough calls like this need to be made. “Lord, give us all wisdom from you to know Your heart and mind”

    • Bob Ellis says:

      Can you share a little more with us on this “predicament”?

      • Rhudedog says:

        There’s a reason why I’m not a blogger. It’s a bit like the guy that asked his friend “How’s it going with your girlfriend?” to which he replied “It’s complicated”

        • Bob Ellis says:

          I mean no disrespect, but if it’s too complicated to explain here, then maybe it’s just a sophisticated excuse they’re handing you.

          Given Rounds’ long and clear record of betrayals, I have a hard time imagining any legitimate “predicament” that can arise between enthusiastically endorsing a liberal squish and standing for what is right.

          If you can find a way to articulate this “predicament,” I’d still love to hear it, though.

    • Dotcoman says:

      What predicament? Dale strongly encouraged them to vote for Mike, so they did.

  6. Dotcoman says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with Lora Hubble. Dale Bartscher was working a full year ahead of the GOP primary to poison the wells against Stace Nelson and Lora Hubble. He worked behind the curtains to make sure that they would not be able to secure money from national conservative groups and that they would receive neither audience with, nor the endorsement of national conservative figures.

    Dale has been working with the RINO’s midget Mike, Denis and stalking horse Larry and Annette the entire time. They knew that RINO’s like Mike, Denis and Larry’s Liberal voting records would never stand up to national conservative scrutiny, so they sent Dale the Squish to meet with them and poison those wells of money and influence so no one could use them in South Dakota, if midget Mike couldn’t make use of them himself.

    That’s Dale acting like a Christian for you.

    I remember when Dale showed up late to a US Senate debate, and tried to attack Stace for a cardboard cut out of little Mike. When informed that it was in fact Bosworth who brought the cardboard Mike, Dale continued to hammer Stace and ignored Bosworth. Dale then proceeded to attack Stace and turn the debate into the Dale Bartscher show. He then demanded that Stace go on the record right then and there and pledge that when he loses the primary that he’d do the right thing and endorse the winner Mike Rounds.

    Dale didn’t need to ask the same of Bosworth, he knew she was already a Rounds stalking horse. I bet he never bothered to bring up the issue with the other stalking horses in the race Larry Rohden and that other guy,

    • Bob Ellis says:

      I don’t know anything about Dale working behind the scenes with the establishment, and I certainly hope that isn’t the case.

      From what I understand, Dale and at least some members of the FHA board know full well what a squish Rounds is. I suspect they felt trapped by the same ultimatum the RINOs have used to hold conservatives hostage for years: If you don’t back our RINO candidate, the Democrats will win. And admittedly, I’ve allowed myself to be trapped by that in the past, as well.

      Not anymore. The liberals infesting our party have gone way, way too far, and I’ve witnessed way too much of it in the last 2-4 years. I can’t and won’t be held hostage to “Where else are you going to go” anymore.

      If a Democrat gets elected, it will be their fault for pushing a squish on us with their massive amounts of money and hype, just as the RINOs have engineered their own defeat in the last two presidential elections. I’m sticking with values and principle.

      • Dotcoman says:

        Bob, if it was not true I would not have said it. Maybe it’s time to investigate Dale?

        Fact is Mike Rounds is much worse than a mere RINO, he’s been hand picked by Comarade Tom Daschle to replace Tom’s current vote in the US Senate.

        Tom has been rewarding Mike Rounds for all his hard work in bringing about Comrade Tom’s Socialist utopian vision for South Dakota and the United States. From Obamacare to EB-5 to secretly meeting with the ChiCom Red Army to invest in SD, it’s all Tom working though Mike, Denis and apparently Larry and Dale.

        Rick Weiland is not Tom’s first choice to replace his vote in the US Senate, Mike Rounds is.

        Who are we gonna have a harder time getting rid of in 6 yrs a openly “honest” Democrat like Weiland, or a sneaky RINO like Daschle’s hand picked replacement for Tim? Once the RINO Rounds gets in there he’ll never leave and will be even harder to defeat on down the line as are the total failures Kristi Noem and John Thune.

        Thune just backed Cochran to the tune of $15,000. Which I bet went a long way to buy black Democrat’s to vote at $15. a head. So Thune is definitely into protecting the RINO herd in the Senate. If he’s not in line with Tom Daschle, I don’t think he’s gonna find a friend in Mike.

        • Bob Ellis says:

          I only had a foggy recollection of the “Will you support Rounds if he wins the primary” question, and only a slightly vague recollection that there had been any discussion of that cardboard cutout of Rounds at the forum. The event was back in November, and since I was both trying to type up summary notes during the forum and run the camera at the same time (and people occasionally came up to me to talk to me during all this), I couldn’t remember a whole lot of anything with clarity.

          So I took the time this morning to wade through 2 hours or more of video to finally find the place where all this happened. Here is a link that will take you to the exact point where Dale started to address the cutout and ask about support for Rounds:

          While I had no problem with the cutout (if you don’t consider appearing before the people from whom you want votes to be that important, I think you deserve a little ribbing), nor did I have a problem with Stace’s answer (I already knew at that time that I would not vote for Rounds the fraud if he bought the election).

          However, Dale’s comment about the cutout and his subsequent question about supporting the winner of the primary were addressed at BOTH candidates who were present. I didn’t see any badgering, certainly nothing that was directed only at Stace. If there was anything else after this part, I missed it.

          If you have any specific evidence or details about Dale working behind the scenes with the RINO establishment, please share those details with the readers and me. But while I strongly disagree with FHA’s endorsement of Rounds, and am completely unable to reconcile that action with an organization which exists to protect conservative family values, I have no knowledge whatsoever of anything Dale has done “behind the curtain” to work with the RINO establishment.