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, May 10, 2003  

Tom Daschle is appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" tomorrow morning. I wonder if Tim Russert will ask Tom Daschle about the emergence of a new opponent for the 2004 Senate race in South Dakota?

posted by Jason | 7:41 PM

KRANZ WATCH: Day 7 of the countdown for South Dakota's flagship political reporter to report Tom Daschle's focus-grouping activities has come and gone. As the countdown enters its second week, it is becoming more and more obvious that David Kranz would rather cover up news that is embarrassing to Tom Daschle than report on salient political news that has ocurred here in South Dakota. Does David Kranz believe he has more of a responsibility to protect Tom Daschle than to report what is happening on the South Dakota political front to South Dakota citizens? If so, his column belongs on the Argus Leader editorial page, not the front page of the Sioux Empire section.

posted by Jason | 7:28 PM

Much to Josh Marshall's dismay, he won't just have John Thune to kick around anymore. Word on the street here in South Dakota is that a US Senate campaign exploratory committee is being formed. Someone has decided to challenge Tom Daschle's increasingly tenuous hold on his Senate seat. There could be an announcement soon. Developing...

posted by Jason | 1:43 PM

Watch Greg Belfrage's blog for a new feature coming on Monday, May 12th.

posted by Jason | 9:44 AM

Friday, May 09, 2003  

KRANZ WATCH: Today is Day 6 of the countdown for David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, to report on Tom Daschle's focus-grouping activities in Huron, SD last week.

posted by Jason | 5:43 PM

Mike Madden of the Argus Leader reports that the proposed anti-Daschle ads have been shelved. Once again, however, the Argus Leader policy of burying Tom Daschle's questionable activities is at play. The bulk of Madden's story focuses on Republican fund-raising strategy that is only at the drawing board level, and barely mentions Tom Daschle's questionable fund-raising strategy that is actually being carried out, as is more thoroughly reported in the Washington Post.

posted by Jason | 5:22 PM

Can Tom Daschle go toe-to-toe for the leadership post with Senator Reid? Only with a booster stool. (Via "weegee")

posted by Jason | 4:46 PM

My business associations professor is doing his part to help out the Afghan people.

posted by Jason | 4:12 PM

QUOTES OF THE DAY: “I Find It Simply Baffling That A Senator Would Vote Against Even Voting On A Judicial Nomination.”
(Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) Congressional Record, 10/5/99).

“An Up-Or-Down Vote, That Is All We Ask …” (Senator Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, 10/5/99).

posted by Jason | 4:02 PM's blog has a list of past quotes from Democratic senators demanding floor votes for judicial nominees. (Via SDP reader Cory Skluzak).

posted by Jason | 3:49 PM

Quentin Hardy of Forbes magazine has an interesting piece about the Google search engine.

posted by Jason | 3:32 PM

Here's today's letter-to-the-editor of the day.

posted by Jason | 3:28 PM

Thursday, May 08, 2003  

KRANZ WATCH: We're still waiting for David Kranz to tell Argus Leader readers about Tom Daschle's focus-grouping. Today is Day 5 of the countdown.

posted by Jason | 4:24 PM

Well, another year of law school is in the bag, I've got one more to go. I have a job in Pierre this summer, so if any of you readers know about affordable housing in Pierre for the summer, I'd appreciate it if you could let me know. Never fear, I still plan on blogging this summer, I'll just be doing it from Pierre.

posted by Jason | 4:20 PM

From The Note:

Roll Call 's Cillizza reports NARAL Pro-Choice America's new hire.
"Seeking a larger platform for its issues in in the 2004 election cycle, NARAL Pro-Choice America has hired veteran Democratic operative Michael Meehan to oversee its vastly expanded soft-money operation."
"Meehan — a top political adviser to Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) — will serve as vice president for politics, campaigns and strategy, essentially overseeing all of the organization's political operations. Both the field and political directors at NARAL Pro-Choice America will report directly to him."
"In addition to Meehan, NARAL has added former DCCC Executive Director Howard Wolfson, now a partner in the Glover Park Group, and National Committee for an Effective Congress Washington Director Mark Gersh as consultants to its political operation. It has also had discussions with Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Al Gore's 2000 presidential race, about a role in the revamped political team."
And with NARAL's 501(c)(4) status, Mr. Meehan will have plenty of soft money to spend.

No wonder Bishop Carlson is suspicious of Tom Daschle's sentiments on abortion.

posted by Jason | 2:38 PM

Donald Lambro at the Washington Times comments on Tom Daschle's spectacular flip-flop:

Such flip-flops are evident elsewhere in the party. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, who said Mr. Bush failed "miserably" in his diplomatic handling of Iraq and was in "a rush to war," has had a dramatic change of heart, too. Mr. Bush deserves "great credit" for his leadership on the war that was necessary and "justified," he told reporters last week.
Why the switch? Mr. Bush's public approval scores on his handling of the war against Iraq and terrorism are in the high 70s and the South Dakota senator is running for re-election in a state where the president is very popular.

posted by Jason | 2:29 PM

Wednesday, May 07, 2003  

Josh Marshall, a notorious Thune-basher, writes about a phone call he recently made to Paul Erickson. Do you suppose David Kranz, Josh Marshall, and Steve Hildebrand schemed with each other on this story? It's so well-coordinated, isn't it? What a tag-team this bunch makes.

posted by Jason | 10:30 PM

Wow. Senator John Corzine just read the DSCC press release on the SENATE FLOOR! Tom Daschle is really mobilizing the troops to shut down any effort to criticize him in South Dakota. It reminds me that Tom Daschle will press every advantage with every tool available to him. This little charade we just saw on the floor gets the attention of the big media, and there will soon be stories in every major newspaper in the country. Mark my words. There have been a lot of Google searches with the terms "Paul Erickson" and "John Thune" and "Karl Rove" put together in my referrer log over the last few days. Tom Daschle and the big media are preparing an onslaught. Tom Daschle has to milk this for everything he's got in order to try to damage John Thune as badly as Tom Daschle was damaged after he made his intemperate comments on the war.

posted by Jason | 3:25 PM

KRANZ WATCH: In another affront to journalism, David Kranz finds it necessary to write an entire piece on some political propaganda issued by Senator John Corzine, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Perhaps "write" is too kind of a word to describe this piece. It looks more like David Kranz cut and pasted the DSCC press release and added some quotes from Ryan Nelson to provide "balance." He has essentially re-printed the DSCC press release, despite the fact that John Thune already has disavowed the activities of Paul Erickson and Rob Regier and specifically denied that there is any link between him and them. I guess it's all in a day's work for David Kranz to act as an arm of the DSCC.
David Kranz has a pattern of writing long pieces on negative news about South Dakota Republicans, and burying negative news about South Dakota Democrats, specifically Tom Daschle's embarrassments. It took weeks of public prodding by SDP for him to report on the fact that Tom Daschle had purchased a $2.25 million dollar home, and then it was only a short paragraph buried amidst other news. There was no long story wondering where Tom Daschle gets that kind of money. Now that political strategy and illegal campaign financing seems to be what David Kranz is exercised about, to date he has NOT reported on Tom Daschle's focus-grouping, after which Tom made his spectacular flip-flop from decrying President Bush's "diplomatic failure" to praising Bush and saying there was no need to find WMD in order to justify the war. Perhaps tomorrow David Kranz will discuss this story in today's Washington Post and comment that while Tom Daschle and the DSCC are accusing John Thune of questionable campaign finance tactics that have never occurred and will never occur, Tom Daschle and the DSCC are actually engaged in questionable campaign finance tactics AT THIS VERY MOMENT. Excerpt:

Democrats today are kicking off a roundabout way of helping to finance their 2004 congressional campaigns with the very type of unlimited donations from corporations, unions and individuals that many party leaders had vowed to flush from the political system.

The strategy involves creating two new groups unmistakably aligned with the Democratic Party's long-standing campaign organizations for the House and Senate. Technically, however, the two groups are not arms of the Democratic Party. That is a key distinction, because the nation's new campaign finance law bars lawmakers from soliciting "soft money," the unlimited money that politicians still crave....

[S]enate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) and Minority Whip Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) next week are scheduled to headline a hard money fundraiser at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington for the Democratic Senate Majority Fund. The new group bills itself in literature to donors as a legal way to funnel soft money through a "critical, and indeed, unique" venture to elect Democrats to the Senate.

Again, winning the imprimatur of Daschle, Reid and other top party members is vital to the group, which intends to operate as the all-but-official stand-in for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which for years was permitted to raise and spend soft money. The message to potential donors, say those involved with the new organization, is: of all the groups soliciting soft money to influence campaigns, this is the one best positioned to capture the attention and gratitude of powerful Democratic legislators.

Will David Kranz have a full story on Tom Daschle's questionable campaign tactics and focus-grouping activities tomorrow? Don't bet on it.

posted by Jason | 11:11 AM

Tuesday, May 06, 2003  

KRANZ WATCH: We're still waiting with baited breath for David Kranz to report about Tom Daschle's focus group conducted in Huron, SD and reported in the New York Post. Today is Day 3. Why is it we have to learn about these things from a New York newspaper, not a South Dakota newspaper?

posted by Jason | 11:52 PM

Tom Daschle rolled out the Democratic alternative to the Bush tax cut plan today. SDP reader Cory Skluzak poignantly observes:

To me the most amazing thing about this is the unstated premise that tax cuts translate into more jobs. In fact the plan is called the "Jobs, Opportunity and Prosperity" plan. Now, isn't this the much maligned economic policy of Reaganomics by any other name? It has taken 20 years, but the Democrats have finally come around.

On a related note, Rush Limbaugh discussed the Daschle alternative today on his show.

UPDATE: Rush also finally learns about Tom Daschle's new home: Daschles Buy Two Million Dollar Home, But No Tax Cut for You. SDP discussed this story weeks ago, and even shamed David Kranz into publishing it in the Argus Leader. Tell me again about how conservatives get their message out instantly via talk radio and the internet. Is there any doubt that if Majority Leader Bill Frist had just purchased a multi-million dollar home in DC, and had a wife making six million dollars a year as a lobbyist, the New York Times would have published the story, and that it would be at least a blurb in network television news coverage? Like I said, Eric Alterman, tell me again about conservative bias in the media.

posted by Jason | 10:48 PM

Here's an interesting piece on Jim McMahon, South Dakota's current US Attorney.

posted by Jason | 2:54 PM

I'm busy today working on my final paper for Constitutional Rights, so posting will be sparse. Meanwhile, read this article by the Cato Institute's senior fellow in constitutional studies: Minority Rules: Filibustering the Constitution.

posted by Jason | 1:15 PM

KRANZ WATCH: Today was Day 2 of the countdown for premier South Dakota political reporter David Kranz to report this.

CLARIFICATION: Today was Day 2 for David Kranz to report specifically about Tom Daschle's focus group conducted in Huron, as reported in the New York Post.

posted by Jason | 12:00 AM

Monday, May 05, 2003  

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee gets into the mix on the issue of anti-Daschle ads. Newsflash to Senator Corzine, the most limousine of limousine liberals: John Thune is not yet in the 2004 Senate race.

posted by Jason | 9:31 PM

Bill O'Reilly issues a challenge to Tom Daschle to make an appearance on the O'Reilly Factor:

[H]ow seriously should we take Senator Tom Daschle, who yesterday applauded President Bush's handling of the Iraq war after slamming the President just before hostilities began.

Daschle's criticism caused his poll numbers to drop big, now he's trying to make amends. In fact, he is saying even if weapons of mass destruction are not found in Iraq, the war was worth it because Saddam was so bad. Quite a turn around for Mr. Daschle, who was against removing Saddam by force just weeks ago.

Now, maybe the senator has had an epiphany, and if so, I'd like to speak with him about it. But maybe, just maybe, there's a new strategy in place on the democratic left. That is, don't fight the power, get on board the war train now that things have worked out. If so, it's probably good strategy, but there will also be the sincerity factor.

But like the ghost busters we're ready to believe you, Senator, but not before talking with you face to face about it. How about it, Mr. Daschle?

FLASHBACK: Somehow, I don't anticipate that Tom Daschle will take the challenge, given what Bill O'Reilly said in his Talking Points Memo shortly after Tom made his insipid infamous comments:

Right up front, I have to tell you I do not respect Mr. Daschle. A few months ago, he publicly criticized the FOX News Channel for not being fair to the Democratic Party. That, of course, is baloney. We have just as many Democrats on this network as Republicans.

What Mr. Daschle did not tell you was that we had invited him on The Factor dozens of times and his staff always dismissed us rudely. Now to be fair, lots of folks are rude to us, because we don't pander to anyone. But Daschle was outrageous in his accusations and intellectually dishonest, as well.

posted by Jason | 9:18 PM

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is planning to run ads urging Tom Daschle to endorse a bill protecting the gun industry from lawsuits by victims of gun violence.

Foundation spokesman Gary Mahalik told the Post, "On the political side, we have spent millions of dollars on advertising" to convince Congress to back the gun liability bill. He said the group is preparing a new round of ads targeting Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and other Democrats who have not endorsed the measure.

Watch Tom Daschle's behavior closely on this bill. He hasn't endorsed the bill, but maybe some public scrutiny will force him to do so. I'm sure our state NSSF chapter has mobilized to do precisely this.

UPDATE: Here is the Washington Post article cited in the quote above. Excerpt:

[S]enate Minority Whip Harry M. Reid (Nev.), the second-ranking Democrat who faces a very difficult election in 2004, reached out to the NRA late last year to work with the group on the liability bill. Reid now is one of 52 sponsors. Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) and several other Senate Democrats seeking reelection next year are considering joining Reid on the NRA's side. The Democratic presidential candidates have been mostly silent on the subject, too, though the upcoming Senate vote will put Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), a former trial lawyer, and Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), John F. Kerry (Mass.) and Bob Graham (Fla.) on the spot.

posted by Jason | 3:52 PM

It's good to see another local blog, High Plains Observer, re-emerge after a long hiatus. Welcome back to the blogosphere!

posted by Jason | 12:19 PM

FYI: The Daschle focus group recently conducted in Huron, and reported by the New York Post, was undoubtedly monitored by Karl Struble. This guy has been a fixture in South Dakota Democratic political circles for years, and wrote a piece in Campaigns & Elections magazine after helping Tim Johnson defeat Larry Pressler in 1996, entitled "How to Beat an Incumbent." Karl Struble is one of Tom Daschle's communications strategists, and a person to keep your eye on as the 2004 election approaches.

posted by Jason | 10:57 AM

Sunday, May 04, 2003  

Tom Daschle attended a funeral in Miami for a prominent Democratic fund raiser this past Friday. Daschle delivered the eulogy, and made this fascinating quote:

"In spite of the fact that he raised more money for me than any one else, not once did he ever come to me and ask me for a favor legislatively."

Which raises an interesting question. How does Tom Daschle respond to those fundraisers who DO ask for a legislative favor?

posted by Jason | 7:44 PM

KRANZ WATCH: In today's column David Kranz fails to discuss this story about Tom Daschle flip-flopping his position on the war AFTER the war has ended and we have achieved victory, and after Bill Clinton's pollster told him to do so. Tom Daschle's cynicism on this issue is mind-boggling, and South Dakota citizens should be offended by Daschle's obvious lack of respect for their intelligence.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that this is day 1 of the countdown for David Kranz to report Tom Daschle's focus group story. David Kranz jumped the gun on the rumor/general idea of Republican operatives conducting strategy and raising money to defeat Tom Daschle, despite the fact the operatives were off the reservation (see below). Will David Kranz report a strategy session for Tom Daschle's campaign that has ACTUALLY HAPPENED, and which has obviously advised Tom Daschle to flip-flop his position on the war? Will we get a thorough story, as we saw in this report?

David Kranz reports that Paul Erickson and Rob Regier have been slapped down hard by the mainstream Republican Party in South Dakota, and even by the White House.

posted by Jason | 4:40 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias