South Dakota Politics
A University of South Dakota law student's blog dedicated primarily to shining light (either a harsh, unyielding spotlight or a soft, warm glow) on figures and institutions in South Dakota.

Friday, February 28, 2003  

"Dead on arrival" Daschle strikes again.

posted by Jason | 11:24 AM

The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. This applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet in South Dakota, we have a prohibition on speech made by lawyers and incumbent judges who want to campaign to be (or remain) a circuit judge. This is a prohibition not just on any speech, but on political speech, speech the Framers particularly wanted to be protected. Now a 2002 US Supreme Court decision, Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, has declared such prohibitions like the one here in South Dakota unconstitutional. SDP is glad to see that the state legislature is responding to the clear unconstitutionality of this prohibition on speech by putting a proposal on the ballot that would allow for the appointment of judges rather than the election of judges.

posted by Jason | 10:47 AM

As usual, Charles Krauthammer has a great column in today's Washington Post.

posted by Jason | 9:32 AM

Thursday, February 27, 2003  

Here's an interesting report on the debate over the Wounded Knee uprising in 1973.

posted by Jason | 11:06 AM

Today's Washington Post has an interesting tidbit regarding John Thune:

Former representative John Thune, a South Dakota Republican who lost a bid for Senate last year, said his screening process led him to turn down a company whose books seemed hazy. Thune, who joined only one board, that of Iowa-based bank holding company First Midwest Financial Inc., declined to name the firm he passed up. But he said he was not alone among former colleagues in turning down questionable companies.

"There was a time when board seats were pretty good retirement gigs for members," he said. "They knew there would not be much heavy lifting involved. That's very different now. People are using screeners to figure which, if any, boards to join. And they are going to stay away from anything that looks even a little hot."

posted by Jason | 9:43 AM

Jim Pinkerton of Newsday has a piece today comparing Vermont governor Howard Dean (presumably no relation to Tony Dean) the dark horse candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination to George McGovern's presidential candidacy in 1972. And, as Pinkerton notes at the end of his column, McGovern lost.

posted by Jason | 9:36 AM

The Rapid City Journal editorial board is on a roll. Today's subject is Tom Daschle's filibuster of the Estrada nomination. The Journal makes a great point about what a (God forbid) President Daschle would do:

The U.S. Constitution gives the Senate "advice and consent" in the appointment of federal judges. But Democrats are being unreasonable in their demands for documents that no president - not even a President Daschle - would release and in their unprecedented use of a filibuster to block a judicial confirmation vote.

posted by Jason | 9:17 AM

The Rapid City Journal had a great editorial yesterday on the voter ID bill. The link is dead, but here's the operative excerpt:

Of the many bills introduced this session to fix perceived problems with South Dakota's election laws, the bill requiring voters to show a photo identification card before voting (HB1176) is one change in state law that is most needed to address the rumors and speculation that South Dakota has a voter-fraud problem. Requiring a photo ID in order to vote seems to us to be a reasonable request that would help poll workers match potential voters with the names appearing on voter registration lists. Voters whose names aren't found on the registration lists would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot that won't be counted until the registration problem is answered.

More importantly, HB1176 would help erase suspicions that state election laws are too lax and easily manipulated. Election laws exist to ensure that elections are fair and honest. Although there's no evidence that the 2002 election wasn't square, HB1176 will help make voting fraud more difficult to carry out and frustrate political operatives from casting doubts on future close elections.

posted by Jason | 9:11 AM

Wednesday, February 26, 2003  

They're starting to peel off.

posted by Jason | 10:03 AM

The Argus Leader editorial board urges the state to continue investigating the voter fraud case. Question: why won't the Argus Leader use its own resources to investigate this important story?

posted by Jason | 9:52 AM

Out of idle curiosity, I did a Google News search using the terms "Tom Daschle" and "credibility gap." I came up with a stunning array of stories in which Tom uses that phrase time after time. Tom has been trying to get that phrase into the public consciousness to describe President Bush on everything from economic policy to the coming removal of Saddam Hussein, and I guess I'm unwillingly doing exactly what Tom wants by repeating it. From now on I will just call it "the phrase" whenever it's vomited from Tom's mouth. The most recent occasion of Tom using the phrase was fourteen hours ago in a Reuters story. David Broder wrote a piece on Tom introducing the phrase earlier this month. Tom is accusing President Bush of lying, and it's really disgusting. What's more disgusting is that according to Mort Kondracke of Roll Call, Tom is willing to bring his and his party's own poll numbers down in an effort to bring President Bush's numbers down. It's like trying to tame a wild horse that would rather kill itself than allow its rider to tame it. I'm very confident that Daschle's strategy will fail, and will ultimately turn people off, particularly South Dakota voters.

posted by Jason | 9:42 AM

Tuesday, February 25, 2003  

Joel Rosenthal, former state chair of the Republican Party sat down for an interview with the Rapid City Journal, and gave some insight on the future of the party. Excerpt:

"Sen. Daschle says he intends to be a candidate for the U.S. Senate again. I'm not sure I totally believe it, but I'll take him at his word 90 percent. He's going to have a rough year beating up on a very popular war president. He may change his thoughts. Herseth is going to stay in the state. Janklow — the question was, is he going to like it in Washington, is he going to fit in? Three weeks ago, I was in Washington. He told me he loved it, and he wishes he would have done this 20 years ago. He's been very, in my judgment, restrained in not wanting to tell everybody what to do and take over. It's becoming very apparent how smart he is, what a quick learner he is in how he's developing policy. He is well-respected. He is a voice that's quickly being listened to. We haven't seen how that's going to manifest itself yet. I think Bill Janklow will certainly be looking to stay in Washington for another term. I don't know whether that will be as a senator or congressman. It would be my hunch that he's not going to rule out anything."

"John Thune has had very good legislative skills. We now know he's going to be working as a lobbyist and as a communications consultant for the pharmaceutical industry in both Washington and South Dakota. I'm sure he's going to be taking a look at something again. He has a campaign office open, and he'll be heard from. Just stay tuned."

posted by Jason | 8:11 PM

Howard Bashman of How Appealing, a blog dealing with all things relating to federal appellate courts, has a link to SDP on his weblog. Howard has done and is continuing to do extraordinary work covering the Estrada nomination. This absolutely makes my day. Thanks Howard!

posted by Jason | 3:17 PM

Tom Daschle was in Florida yesterday. Since January, Daschle has visited Michigan, Ohio, Arkansas, and Florida and pounded President Bush on everything from economic policy to the coming removal of Saddam Hussein. In the same period, Daschle has only graced his home state with this past week's three day "listening tour." Here's a sample of the vitriol he's been serving up:

President Bush took advantage of his popularity after the Sept. 11 attacks to make the American people think when they went to the polls last year that he was on their side with his tax and economic policies, Sen. Tom Daschle believes.

But Americans are now seeing through the smoke screen, Daschle says, and that will mean bad news when the president runs for reelection next year.

''He fooled the American people once, but he cannot fool them twice,'' the South Dakota senator told The Herald Monday, following a reelection fundraiser at the Miami City Club. ``Voters will see very clearly that they were fooled in the last election.''

Tom is obviously following through with his latest strategy to question Bush's credibility. Mort Kondracke, in the February 24 Roll Call says this will undoubtedly backfire:

It's a high-risk strategy, flying in the teeth of strong Bush approval
ratings for trustworthiness and leadership and opening Democrats up to
new charges of obstructionism....
[A] Gallup poll in January showed that 83 percent of voters think
Bush is "willing to make hard decisions"; 76 percent consider him a
"strong and decisive leader"; 70 percent think he's "honest and
trustworthy"; and 65 percent say he "inspires confidence."
"We're not going to get this done overnight," a Democratic strategist
said of the task of bringing Bush's numbers down.
In the process, Democrats could well bring their own numbers down.
Instead of concentrating on blocking Bush, they should use clear,
appealing countervisions - and big ones, to match his.
Bush, said a White House aide, disdains what he calls "small ball."
Democrats can't fight Bush by being small themselves.

posted by Jason | 12:00 PM

I know it's now old news, but this story contains some fascinating details of events surrounding the state of South Dakota dropping forgery charges against Maka Duta in the voter fraud case.

posted by Jason | 9:56 AM

David Kranz actually does an evenhanded job for once in reporting on John Thune's latest activities.

posted by Jason | 9:47 AM

Monday, February 24, 2003  

The Argus Leader begins its offensive on the voter identification bill. Watch for an Argus editorial on the matter very soon.

posted by Jason | 1:11 PM

Tony Dean (Dechandt?) has another rant posted on his website about the evil Republicans and the vast right wing conspiracy to kill all of the ducks in North America. Somehow, racism gets discussed as it relates to ducks:

But we in the northern states aren't a helluva lot better than our southern brethren who have become conservative Republicans in recent years, largely because of the GOP's "southern strategy," a thinly veiled racist movement. You'll read a lot about that too on some of the southern duck hunting websites.

Huh? What does racism have to do with wetlands and duck hunting? Answer: nothing. In reading this rant, I was struck by the inability of Tony Dean to address the existence of a certain basic right given to us in the Constitution, namely property rights. You can find it listed in the 5th Amendment and the 14th Amendment. Tony, we live in the United States, not Stalin's Soviet Union. As much as you'd like to tell landowners what they must do with their property, we do not yet have the dictatorship of the proletariat. Before Tony decides to run for Congress, he'd better read the Constitution and figure out whether he really wants to take the oath to preserve, protect, and defend it.

posted by Jason | 10:00 AM

Sunday, February 23, 2003  

Richard Perle, an influential voice in American foreign policy, absolutely gutted chief Saddam apologist Congressman Kucinich regarding the "no blood for oil" argument, on today's Meet the Press.

MR. RUSSERT: Congressman, you made a very strong charge against the administration and let me show you what you said on January 19. “Why is the Administration targeting Iraq? Oil.” What do you base that on?
REP. KUCINICH: I base that on the fact that there is $5 trillion worth of oil above and in the ground in Iraq, that individuals involved in the administration have been involved in the oil industry, that the oil industry certainly would benefit from having the administration control Iraq, and that the fact is that, since no other case has been made to go to war against Iraq, for this nation to go to war against Iraq, oil represents the strongest incentive.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe the president of the United States would risk the lives of American men and women for oil?
REP. KUCINICH: I think that to answer that question would be to put a focus on a person, and I think the policy is what we have to talk about, that this policy to go against Iraq was promulgated even before 9/11, and the day after 9/11, the secretary of Defense in a meeting of the National Security Council said we could use this moment to go after Iraq, even though there was no connection. I think that when a president commits the young men and women of this country to battle, that it should only be when there is an imminent threat to this country, and that—I believe most sincerely that one of the motivating factors involved in this effort to strike against Iraq is the desire on the part of some to be able to control the oil interests in Iraq. I believe that.

To which Perle responded:

I find the accusation that this administration has embarked upon this policy for oil to be an outrageous, scurrilous charge for which, when you asked for the evidence, you will note there was none. There was simply the suggestion that, because there is oil in the ground and some administration officials have had connections with the oil industry in the past, therefore, it is the policy of the United States to take control of Iraqi oil. It is a lie, Congressman. It is an out and out lie. And I’m sorry to see you give credence to it.

posted by Jason | 5:20 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias