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 31, 2003  

KRANZ WATCH: The folks at Power Line are taking note of "Daschle's relationship with South Dakota's dominant political reporter." They give SDP a plug, but we can't forget Sibby Online, the blog that broke this thing wide open.

posted by Jason | 5:03 PM
 

The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei reports from Sioux Falls on Tom Daschle's re-election campaign. Democrat in Bush Country:


The minority leader, up for reelection next year, is embarking on the earliest and costliest campaign of his political career, trying to hold off a wave of attacks over his outspoken criticism of Bush....

Daschle's image as a home-state hero is critical to his reelection hopes, because his anti-Bush routine won't fly in a region where the president rides high in the polls. Such is life for Democrats running in Bush country. Bush won the state with more than 60 percent of the vote in 2000, and his allies have spent the better part of two years portraying Daschle as the villain in the president's wartime Washington.


UPDATE: The folks at Power Line point out a factor that Jim VandeHei missed in his report.

posted by Jason | 4:36 PM
 

Greg Belfrage reminds Tom Daschle to RSVP the invitation extended to Daschle to appear on Belfrage's show.

posted by Jason | 4:02 PM
 

Remember how Argus Leader executive editor Randell Beck was excoriating us on Greg Belfrage's radio show for the suspicions of corruption we have about Linda Daschle's lobbying? Remember too that on an earlier Belfrage show, Beck claimed that the Argus Leader doesn't dig into the affairs of political spouses? On February 7, 1995 the editorial board of the Argus Leader published an editorial critical of Speaker Newt Gingrich's wife Marianne, headlined "Gingrich's wife's job raises ethical issue." Marianne Gingrich was working for the Israel Export Development Co. Ltd. The money excerpts from the piece:


"As innocent as her hiring may be, it looks like influence for sale."
[note: LOOKS LIKE]

"None of this has happened yet, but if it does, it won't smell good."
[note: NOTHING happened yet!]

"The spouse of U.S. leaders should be held to a high standard: Not only should they avoid impropriety, they should avoid all appearances of impropriety. Marianne Gingrich should seek employment elsewhere."
[note: just the appearance is a problem]

Ahem. We're waiting for the Argus Leader editorial board to substitute "Linda Daschle" for "Marianne Gingrich," to substitute "Tom Daschle" for "Newt Gingrich," to substitute "Baker Donelson" for "Israel Export Development" and to publish the exact same piece sometime soon.

posted by Jason | 3:54 PM
 

SDP reader Cory Skluzak sent in a reminder of how Tom Daschle and other liberals are trying to shut down conservative voices in the media by opposing a merger between Univision and the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation. The merger must be approved by the FCC. Daschle protege Jonathan Adelstein is a commissioner for the FCC and has already announced that he will vote against the merger.

posted by Jason | 3:18 PM
 

DECONSTRUCTING KRANZ: In 1968, David Kranz, currently the dean of South Dakota political reporters, was the publicity chair for the South Dakota State University Political Science Club, an organization headed at that time by Tom Daschle. During that year, David Kranz helped Tom Daschle organize a mock Democratic political convention under the imprimatur of the Political Science Club. Then to top it all off, David Kranz "reported" on the event for the SDSU Collegian.

In 1986, David Kranz, as a member of the Argus Leader editorial board, voted to endorse Tom Daschle in that year's US Senate race.

In 1990, David Kranz, as the managing editor of the Argus Leader, got the paper into some hot water with the New York Times and with Roll Call. The New York Times called the Argus Leader "vituperative" in its bias against Larry Pressler. Roll Call quoted two unnamed South Dakota reporters who said that David Kranz was the man behind the Argus Leader's bias. While the 1990 race did not involve Tom Daschle, the coverage of Larry Pressler by those under the supervision of managing editor David Kranz illustrates how Republicans are treated by Kranz as opposed to Democrats.

Kranz is syrupy in his coverage of Democrats in general and Tom Daschle in particular, and mercilessly investigates Republicans and conservatives. David Kranz is entitled to his biases, and as I've often said before, being a partisan Democrat does not make David Kranz a bad person, it just reflects on Kranz's capacity to be an impartial observer of the South Dakota political scene. I want David Kranz to be a mercilessly investigative reporter on both sides of the political divide. That's what South Dakotans deserve from the dean of South Dakota political reporters, but it's not what South Dakotans are getting.

posted by Jason | 2:47 PM


Friday, May 30, 2003  

Sorry about the non-existant posts today. I'll be back with a vengeance tomorrow. Stay tuned for more new stuff on David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, and his relationship with Tom Daschle at SDSU in the 1960's.

posted by Jason | 5:52 PM


Thursday, May 29, 2003  

BOMBSHELL: Sibby Online provides rock-solid evidence of Argus Leader political reporter David Kranz's long relationship with Tom Daschle. As we all know by now, David Kranz is the so-called dean of South Dakota political reporters, whose reporting is held out to be objective. In a column written by David Kranz himself while he was with the Mitchell Daily Republic, dated September 4, 1976, Kranz fondly recalls working with Tom Daschle on a mock Democratic political convention while both were students at South Dakota State University. Kranz also tells of he and Daschle's "tireless search to find a renowned public speaker to address the convention such as McGovern, McCarthy, Humphrey, or some other prominent Democrat." Here's the money excerpt from Kranz's September 4, 1976 piece:


More familiar faces are returning from other parts of the country to South Dakota. Tom and Laurie Daschle, aides to Sen. James Abourezk in Washington have been reassigned to Abourezk’s Sioux Falls office.

Daschle is formerly of Aberdeen and his wife is the daughter of PUC commissioner Mrs. Norma Klinkel. We went to college with Daschle at South Dakota State University and worked together on a mock political convention.

Daschle masterminded one of the most successful participation events by students of an unrequired nature when he headed the political science department’s convention project. Well over 650 students got involved in the event which was patterned after the Democratic convention that year because of the general interest.

I remember our tireless search to find a renowned public speaker to address the convention such as McGovern, McCarthy, Humphrey or some other prominent Democrat. With no takers, we finally found a popular young state senator from Salem to address the group. His name was Richard Kneip.

Dear readers, this piece by Kranz is the smoking gun. Throughout Kranz's career in journalism, it's hard to find a story about Tom Daschle by David Kranz that places Tom Daschle in an unattractive light. Conversely, it's easy to find stories by Kranz mercilessly skewering and investigating those opposed to Tom Daschle's agenda, and conservatives generally. Now we have conclusive evidence, from Kranz's own pen, that David Kranz and Tom Daschle knew each other and worked together while both were students at SDSU, and even worked together on a mock Democratic political convention. Throughout his journalistic career, has David Kranz, in carrying out his responsibilities as a journalist, allowed his partisan leanings to bleed into his journalism? I'd say it's more akin to a hemorrhage. It's not fair for South Dakotans to be told only half of the story about the South Dakota political scene by the dean of South Dakota political reporters.

posted by Jason | 4:58 PM
 

KRANZ WATCH: As we noted in an earlier post, when a reporter has a political agenda, what is NOT reported is just as important as what IS reported. Today is Day 4 of the countdown for David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, to report the following three items:

1) Tom Daschle's accidental mix-up of the names of two African-American reporters, PBS reporter Linda Scott and CBS producer Evelyn Thomas, who have been covering Congress for years. During the time Larry Pressler was in the US Senate, the Argus Leader, where David Kranz was then the managing editor, gleefully reported every boneheaded gaffe Pressler ever made. Has the policy to report every gaffe a senator makes changed, or does David Kranz only report the gaffes made by Republican senators?

2) The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. The poll shows that just 17% of the American people see Tom Daschle in a positive light, down five points from the January poll; almost one-third are negative, the rest are neutral or not sure.

3) The 1999 AP story about Linda Daschle's work as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough to extend its patent on Claritin. In that story, a Democratic congressman labeled her one of the best and most expensive lobbyists in Washington. The AP thought this warranted a story, but David Kranz never reported a thing about it. On this story he's way overdue.

posted by Jason | 2:59 PM


Wednesday, May 28, 2003  

Go read Sibby Online for some background on David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters. There's some interesting information on Kranz's tenure at the Mitchell Daily Republic in the 1970's.

posted by Jason | 11:16 AM


Tuesday, May 27, 2003  

A hearty congratulations to the folks at Power Line on the occasion of their blog's first birthday.

posted by Jason | 9:44 PM
 

FLASHBACK: Today's Roll Call piece by Paul Kane (see the post below for more) contained something eerily reminiscent of another Roll Call piece printed 13 years ago during the 1990 Pressler-Muenster campaign. From today's Roll Call:


Last week the Daschle campaign pounced on reports in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that Thune’s campaign committee, John Thune for South Dakota, remains active —
spending $22,000 in the first quarter — at the same time he has set up a soft-money nonprofit group, South Dakotans for Responsible Government, employing two of his former campaign aides.

Compare that with this excerpt from the July 30, 1990 edition of Roll Call, which discussed the Argus Leader's investigation by a Gannett reporter of Larry Pressler allegedly buying a house in Washington, D.C. based on insider information:

Pressler has been the target of intense investigation by the state's biggest newspaper, and [Roll Call] receives a steady stream of anti-Pressler, Argus Leader clips sent to us by his opponent, businessman Ted Muenster. Their flavor is captured in this typically even-handed headline: "Pressler Is Told to Clean Up His Act."

[C]iting the Argus Leader story (a familiar pattern), they held a press conference last week calling for an investigation of the matter. They alleged - surprise! - that Pressler bought the house based on inside information, a demonstrably untrue claim.

I shouldn't have to spell it out for you. The Argus Leader prints a story with the headline "John Thune might have run afoul of election regulations" written by a Gannett reporter and the Democratic party "pounces" on it. The Argus Leader sets them up, and the Democratic party knocks them down. There's still a familar pattern of the Argus Leader working hand in hand with the Democratic party.

posted by Jason | 4:51 PM
 

KRANZ WATCH: In reporting on the South Dakota political scene, David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, knows that in order to place Tom Daschle in a favorable light while casting those opposed to Tom Daschle's agenda in a less favorable light, what is NOT reported in the Argus Leader is just as important as what IS reported. This wouldn't be a big deal if David Kranz did not hold himself out to be an impartial observer of the South Dakota political scene. Exposing David Kranz's bias is the raison d'etre of "Kranz Watch" and basically, of SDP itself. For instance, David Kranz is busily investigating Sioux Falls businessman Paul Erickson, who caused a stir when he vetted a plan to spend nearly a million dollars on television ads critical of Tom Daschle. Even though this plan was shelved weeks ago, the Argus Leader editorial board and David Kranz thought it necessary to do a front-page, Sunday edition, above-the-fold piece on a non-existent story, while ignoring the fact that over the last few weeks, according to today's edition of Roll Call, the Daschle campaign has been assembling a team of fundraisers, researchers, and field directors, and is planning to run television ads this summer. Excerpt from today's Roll Call piece by Paul Kane, which also discusses various Democratic senators working to boost Tom Daschle's spirits:


The boost came as Daschle begins in earnest what could be his toughest campaign since he first won a Senate seat in 1986.

While whispers persist among Democrats and Republicans about whether he will actually stand for re-election (his party is already facing the daunting prospect of defending as many as five open seats), Democrats point to his activities as the only sure measure of his intentions — and all signs point to Daschle doing what needs to be done.

After taking a month or so off from the fundraising trail because of the war in Iraq, Daschle is now compressing as many events as he can to make sure his June 30 filing doesn’t fall off pace for his stated goal of collecting roughly $11 million for the race. One adviser said he’s averaging four fundraising events a week for his own bid.

Daschle still held his major annual D.C. event for his leadership political action committee, DASHPAC, last Tuesday night, raising roughly $350,000. That was followed the next night with an event for his re-election committee, A Lot of People Supporting Tom Daschle, at the home of Washington lobbyist Tony Podesta.

And this week Daschle returns home to South Dakota, where he’ll attend Memorial Day services and do events honoring the local ethanol industry, including pumping ethanol for a day at a Sioux Falls gas station. The latter part of the week he’ll do a fundraising trek through Los Angeles and San Francisco to benefit both his bid and the DSCC.

Daschle appears increasingly likely to take to the air with political ads sometime this summer for an election that remains more than 17 months away. “You can expect that it will be as early as South Dakotans have ever seen [political ads] if these attacks from the right continue,” said Steve Hildebrand, Daschle’s campaign manager....

Republicans contend that Daschle’s activity is a sign of weakness, and continue to point to his March 17 comments about President Bush’s “failed” diplomacy before the Iraq war as the source of what they say are hemorrhaging poll numbers.

There haven’t been any recent public polls pitting Daschle against his most potentially threatening challenger, former Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.), although an NRSC poll after the Iraq comments put Thune narrowly ahead of Daschle but within the margin of error.

Nationally, the conservative attacks on Daschle have made a huge dent in his image. A poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC released Friday showed Daschle’s national approval rating at just 17 percent, with almost a third of the nation viewing him negatively....

[F]ormer aides say Thune is focused entirely on his nonprofit, a so-called 527 for the section of the tax code under which it files....

But other than one full-time staffer on the 527, Thune has no built-in organization to respond to the newly aggressive Daschle team. Former campaign aides say Thune still has no official timetable for making up his mind, with some indicating a late fall or early winter decision.

Hildebrand, a veteran of South Dakota and national campaigns, is assembling what Democrats are calling a top team, and one that was preparing to work for a Daschle presidential campaign. He already has a team of fundraisers and researchers, and by next month he’ll have hired 20 field directors.

So while David Kranz is aggressively investigating a story that died awhile ago, Tom Daschle is planning to run political ads so long before election day that it will be the earliest South Dakotans have ever seen such ads. For an ostensibly objective reporter who always keeps track of those tiresome campaign ads that begin so long before election day, David Kranz sure dropped the ball on this one. Or did he? Maybe he hasn't reported on these activities because it places Tom Daschle in an unattractive light.

posted by Jason | 4:03 PM


Monday, May 26, 2003  

KRANZ WATCH: It's been a week since the last "Kranz Watch," and during that time, Tom Daschle has managed to commit another gaffe that David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, has a responsibility to report to the people of South Dakota. Also during the past week, a poll was published by a major media outlet indicating that Tom Daschle's nationwide popularity is at an all-time low. Finally, in digging through Argus Leader archives, SDP has noted that David Kranz never once reported on a 1999 AP story about Linda Daschle's lobbyist work for a large pharmaceutical corporation. Hence, SDP has begun another countdown for David Kranz to report:

1) Tom Daschle's accidental mix-up of the names of two African-American reporters, PBS reporter Linda Scott and CBS producer Evelyn Thomas, who have been covering Congress for years. Tom thought Linda Scott was Evelyn Thomas, even though they look nothing alike. Linda Scott was deeply offended by the implications of the mix-up. Tom Daschle has apologized profusely to Linda Scott, and she has praised him for his profuse apologies, but that doesn't mean that this story should go unreported by David Kranz.

2) The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. The poll shows that just 17% of the American people see Tom Daschle in a positive light, down five points from the January poll; almost one-third are negative, the rest are neutral or not sure.

3) The 1999 AP story about Linda Daschle's work as a lobbyist for Schering-Plough to extend its patent on Claritin. In that story, a Democratic congressman labeled her one of the best and most expensive lobbyists in Washington.

Today was Day 1 of the countdown for David Kranz to report these three items.

posted by Jason | 11:49 PM


Sunday, May 25, 2003  

FLASHBACK II: In 1999, Linda Daschle was hired to extend a pharmaceutical company's patent on a widely used drug. Funny. I don't seem to recall David Kranz writing about this, even though AP thought it merited a story. The most interesting quote came from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA:


"When you hear that a company is spending a huge amount of money and hiring the best and most expensive lobbyists in town, they're out to make a lot of money[.]"

Straight from the mouth of a Democrat. Linda Daschle is one of the "best and most expensive lobbyists in town." To the tune of $6 million a year.

posted by Jason | 11:01 PM
 

FLASHBACK: Two months ago, Linda Daschle, wife of the Democratic Leader, was listed by The Hill newspaper as a star rainmaker --one of Washington's top lobbyists.

posted by Jason | 10:06 PM
 

Tom Daschle and his fellow Democrats are trying to shut down the viewpoints of Hispanic conservatives:


More than 20 Democratic senators and representatives -- including Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) -- have urged Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell to block the planned corporate marriage between [Univision Communications Inc. and the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation], which would create the nation's largest Spanish-language radio and TV company. Although the fight is ostensibly over media ownership, several Democrats acknowledge it is part of a larger battle for Latinos' political allegiance.

Democrats fear the $2.5 billion merger would place more power in the hands of a few politically active Republican business executives, who could influence the news reports heard by millions of Hispanics.

This seems to fit a pattern. A few weeks ago, Daschle and the DSCC tried to shut down Club for Growth speech critical of Tom Daschle. I saw a piece on Fox News this past week where Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Byron Dorgan were excoriating Rupert Murdoch for the conservative views aired on Fox News. Now the Democrats are trying to shut down a corporate merger based on the content of the speech made by a media network. So much for tolerance of other viewpoints, and more importantly, so much for the principles of the First Amendment. Once again, the Democratic totalitarian streak is shining through.

posted by Jason | 3:13 PM
 

Human Events Online has recalled a quote made by Tom Daschle last year about allowing US Supreme Court nominees to have a vote on the floor of the Senate, and is wondering if Daschle will stand by that quote in the event of a need to appoint a new Supreme Court justice. Excerpt:


Human Events Assistant Editor David Freddoso called Daschle’s office to ask whether he would still guarantee a floor vote for Bush Supreme Court nominees. Despite Daschle’s statement from 2002, that apparently indicated he would allow such vote, Daschle’s spokesman evaded the question. “We’re not going to get into the hypotheticals of a hypothetical nomination that may or may not be made,” he said.

posted by Jason | 2:45 PM
 

In ABC's The Note, the ABC News Political Unit passes along a nugget reported in the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire on the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. The poll shows that the Republican assault on Tom Daschle has been effective in "Gingrichizing" the Democratic Leader:


"[D]aschle's down further in public's view amid Republicans' assault."

"Just 17% see the genial Senate Democratic leader in a positive light, down five points from January poll; almost one-third are negative, the rest neutral or not sure. With Daschle up for re-election in conservative South Dakota in 2004, he's more than ever a target of Republican attack ads."

posted by Jason | 2:33 PM
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