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.
Saturday, March 22, 2003
Greg Belfrage reports on today's Rally for America in Sioux Falls, which was 3000 strong. Impressive.
Eleanor Clift saysDaschle overstepped with his intemperate comments. She seems to be upset with him more because Daschle hurt the Democratic party than anything else. A glimpse of Daschle's character is also offered:
Daschle’s sniping gets under Bush’s skin. “He has an amazing ability to double deal,” says a White House aide. “He’s so nice in meetings; then he goes out and nails us.”
Jonah Goldbergweighs in on Daschle's drive-by partisanship:
Now, I have no doubt that Daschle is truly “saddened, saddened” by Bush’s decision. After all, that’s a pretty low threshold for Daschle. Being “saddened” is his favorite rhetorical device. George W. Bush could pet a puppy and Daschle would hold a press conference sighing, in that stage whisper of his, that he’s “saddened and disappointed that President Bush couldn’t muster more than a token level of affection” for the poor creature.
"We focus-grouped and tested the idea that Bush had failed miserably as a diplomat and most of our respondents agreed," says a Democratic leadership aide. "It seemed like the perfect approach for us." Apparently it wasn't.
Bill O'Reillyadds his voice to the chorus of outrage at Tom Daschle's intemperate comments:
[T]he South Dakota senator finds himself in the same position as Trent Lott. His credibility is finished.
As you may know, Daschle has criticized the war against Iraq, saying, "This president failed so miserably in diplomacy that we are now forced to war."
But in 1998, when President Clinton bombed Iraq, Daschle said this, "We have exhausted virtually our diplomatic effort to get the Iraqis to comply with their own agreements and with international law. Given that... We have got to force them to comply, and we are doing so militarily."
So, what's up with the hypocrisy, Senator? You were all for using force five years ago. Now, after 9/11, the threat from Saddam's weapons even greater-- what say you?
The No Spin truth is Mr. Daschle is playing politics in a time of life and death and that should be unacceptable to all Americans, not just Republicans.
Senator Lott lost power because his credibility dissolved after he applauded a philosophy that hurt African-Americans. Now Senator Daschle is embracing a philosophy that's position is inconsistent with his past positions and it is not helpful in the war against Saddam.
Talking Points believes it is over for Tom Daschle, at least as far as national influence is concerned. I also believe the good people of South Dakota need to take a hard look at this guy.
The Vietnam antiwar movement began to burgeon in 1965. It reached its apogee in 1972 with the capture of the Democratic Party and the nomination of the movement's choice for president. When that nominee, George McGovern, proceeded to lose 49 states, the movement, with the imperviousness to evidence that fanaticism confers, was unshaken in its belief that it was the moral majority. That derangement is now being reprised in the likes of Tom Daschle.
The Senate minority leader is the most prominent national Democrat and will remain such until a presidential nominee is chosen. Daschle, who five years ago voted with a unanimous Senate to endorse regime change as U.S. policy regarding Iraq, and who five months ago voted with a majority of Senate Democrats for a resolution that did not mention the need for French or U.N. approval in authorizing the use of force -- the incredible shrinking Daschle from George McGovern's South Dakota -- now says that the president of the United States, not the president of Iraq, is the cause of war.
CNN's Lou Dobbs shares his view of Daschle's remarks:
Senator Tom Daschle said Monday that he was saddened by events, and criticized President Bush saying the president had "failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war."
This is the same Senator Daschle who said on the floor of the United States Senate five months ago that "it is important for America to speak with one voice at this critical moment." That on the day Congress approved the Joint Resolution authorized the president to use military force against Iraq to disarm Saddam Hussein.
Senator Daschle has every reason to be saddened, but by his own deeds, not those of the president.
President Bush has been clear and constant throughout, and for that deserves great credit, not criticism from the inconsistent.
It is not clear whether Tom Daschle was referring to the general complaint or the specific complaint when he said that George W. Bush's administration was guilty of "disastrous" diplomacy. It is clear that he speaks in the accents of the Senate Democratic cloakroom, in which Bush is regarded as an illegitimate president, a usurper who is trying to impose crazed conservative policies, a stupid man incapable of understanding a sophisticated world, who must be opposed ferociously at every step and on any ground. No Democratic campaign consultant whom I know, and I know all the leading Democratic campaign consultants, would have advised Daschle to make the comment that he did. If the war goes badly, Bush and the Republicans will pay a political price, whatever the Democrats say now; if the war goes well, comments like Daschle's will work powerfully against the Democrats and for George W. Bush. Daschle's words can only be explained as the product of a kind of hatred, unbuttressed by any serious intellectual argument, likely to hurt the party of the speaker far more than the party of the president they were directed against.
Is Tom Daschle a weasel? The New York Post thinks so:
The ugliest comments dripped from the mouth of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a weasel: "I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country."
When Saddam is gone and when the United States and its brave allies are victorious, Americans will remember the winners - and the weasels.
The Argus Leader today also carries this story regarding Tom Daschle's intemperate comments. Excerpt:
"It's certainly a different perception of the role of Senate leader than we have had typically," said Charles Jones, a presidential historian and emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin. "We have had good Senate leaders. (Democrat Mike) Mansfield was fantastic. ... But never, even with Nixon, did he respond as Daschle has.
"It perplexes me," Jones said. "... Daschle just sounded bitter, almost mean-spirited, and I simply don't understand that."
Greg Belfrage has a great post on the "Daschle Diatribe." In it, Greg publishes some e-mails he's received on the subject:
"Does our senior senator understand that when he belittles the Commander in Chief...he is sending the message that he just does not care?! This is one South Dakota Democrat that will be a Republican before the next election, thanks to Senator Daschle."
Thune says Daschle’s comments represent thinking from someone who’s from the South of France and not from South Dakota.
That's as good as or better than Santorum's slam. Daschle said today that he stood by his statement. Given the maelstrom that has begun, I think he'll be retracting it soon. There seem to be a large number of people who are angry about this. How can I tell, you may ask. Well, today has been SDP's busiest day ever. Traffic has been through the roof, and it is directly attributed to my blogging about Tom's intemperate comments.
"I was disappointed to see Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's comments," Hastert said in a statement.
"Those comments may not undermine the president as he leads us into war, and they may not give comfort to our adversaries, but they come mighty close," Hastert said.
"Senator Daschle has spent more time criticizing the leadership of President Bush than he has spent criticizing the tyranny of Saddam Hussein," Hastert said.
"Saddam Hussein is the reason we are at this moment in history," he added. "He has made a mockery out of the United Nations for 12 years now, and because the United Nations will not act to protect its integrity, we will act for it."
The Democrats are looking more and more like the McGovern Democrats of 1972. That means they're going to start losing elections, and the ones with some common sense know it:
After seeing the crowd’s rough treatment of [Senator John] Edwards, Garry South, the California political virtuoso who masterminded Gov. Gray Davis’s re-election campaign last year, worriedly told reporters, “you can oppose a war in Iraq, you can support a war in Iraq, you can be ambivalent, but if this party becomes branded again among the electorate as being insufficiently concerned about national defense, it doesn’t matter what we have to say about anything else. If we’re viewed as the anti-war party…we’re dead.”
Mr. Daschle lashed out before a group of union leaders yesterday, saying the Bush administration had "forced" the United States into war.
"I'm saddened — saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're forced to go to war," Mr. Daschle said. "I'm saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was critical for our country."
Republican National Committee Chairman Marc Racicot called the remarks "divisive and brazen political posturing."
"It is disheartening and shameful for Senator Daschle, who has previously advocated and authorized the use of force in Iraq, to now blame America first," he said.
Tom Daschle was just being his bad self yesterday:
The ranking Democrat in the Senate, South Dakota's Tom Daschle, stunned some when he emerged from a meeting with the president yesterday and said he was "saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war."
Here's Rep. Matt McCaulley's response:
"Sen. Daschle's comments are irresponsible and disappointing. With over 3,000 South Dakotans actively defending this country, it's clear that Sen. Daschle has once again put his liberal agenda before supporting our Commander in Chief on the eve of war. Taking this kind of partisan cheap shot is politics at its worst."
Andrew Sullivan recently carried this quote from Winston Churchill that illustrates the chilling conseqences of peace through appeasement: "Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed ; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves." - Winston Churchill, "The Gathering Storm."
Mike McNulty sure seems to get a lot of space in the Argus Leader lately. I wonder why they won't give Steve Sibson of Mitchell as much space? Steve writes a letter a month to the Argus, but it's rare that they actually print the letter every month. Moving on to the substance of the letter, it is obviously filled with untruths. First, a strong majority of Americans support the president in this effort to rid the world of Saddam Hussein. Therefore, President Bush doesn't have disdain for the majority, he has disdain for the noisy, tyranny enabling minority, of which Mr. McNulty is a member. The answer to the question of whether war is the next step if Saddam doesn't disarm is a resounding YES. The conseqences of inaction are greater than the consequences of action if Saddam doesn't disarm. That's because the consequence of inaction is that it is more likely that this country will be the victim of an attack with weapons of mass destruction. The likelihood that Saddam will give weapons of mass destruction to a terrorist organization is definitely north of zero, and north of zero is unacceptable. Also, Mr. McNulty is either ignorant or willfully ommitting certain facts in regard to the "66 UN resolutions condemning Israel for actions against 'Palestine.'" Everyone with a modicum of sophistication knows that there's a difference between General Assembly Resolutions and Security Coucil Resolutions. Security Council resolutions are supposed to be adhered to (although that's rapidly changing), while General Assembly resolutions carry about the same weight as the South Dakota legislature urging Tom Daschle to lift the filibuster on Miguel Estrada's nomination. The resolutions regarding Israel are all General Assembly resolutions. Finally, I don't "prefer" war. I only prefer it when the consequences of peace are disastrous. Mr. McNulty, I think the only one feeding the people propaganda is you. This letter is filled with untruths. I hope next time, you can do better. Oh, wait. There won't be a next time, because in the next few weeks the world will see how wrong you and your ilk were, and you'll prefer we just forget the whole thing.