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, June 07, 2003  

KRANZ WATCH: Today is Day 12 of the countdown for David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, to report the following events that have occurred on the South Dakota political scene.

1) Daschle campaign manager Steve Hildebrand's Hooveresque (as in J. Edgar Hoover) intimidation of those critical of Tom Daschle.
2) The fact that Daschle plans to run campaign ads this summer, 18 months in front of the election, as reported in a recent Roll Call article. This would be the earliest ever before an election that political campaign ads have aired in South Dakota.
3) Tom Daschle's accidental mix-up of the names of two African-American reporters. If a Republican senator had done this, there would have been an uproar.
4) A recent 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.
5) The 1999 AP story about Linda Daschle's work as a lobbyist for Schering-Plough to extend its patent on the drug Claritin. David Kranz never reported this story, even though the Associated Press thought it merited one. Kranz has cited an AP story about John Thune's present employer having PhRMA as a client:


In addition to working out of his Sioux Falls office former, Rep. John Thune will do lobbying work as senior government affairs counselor with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn.

A recent Associated Press story said that firm represents the pharmaceutical industry trade group that fought against adding prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

Strangely, Kranz didn't think the 1999 Linda Daschle AP story about her lobbying work for a pharmaceutical was worth a mention. I haven't seen a piece written by David Kranz all week this week, so I hope he's got an in-depth piece on these items in the Sunday edition tomorrow. To go nearly two weeks without reporting ANY of these events reflects poorly on a paper that is lauded as South Dakota's newspaper of record.

posted by Jason | 2:31 PM
 

A justly outraged Greg Belfrage goes toe-to-toe with Daschle campaign manager Steve Hildebrand and his threatened use of the politics of personal destruction. Steve Hildebrand stated last week in a Washington Post article that he was using researchers to gather "embarrassing information" on Tom Daschle's critics in South Dakota. Hildebrand claimed to already have one piece of embarrassing information:


Hildebrand said the campaign has assembled embarrassing information on several conservatives who are considering more attack ads against Daschle. The information includes videotape of a conservative activist discussing how he paid for his girlfriend's abortion.

Now Greg Belfrage reveals that the so-called "videotape of a conservative activist discussing how he paid for his girlfriend's abortion" is in actuality videotaped testimony of Christian redemption in a public appearance by Rushmore Policy Council head Rob Regier. As Belfrage says, using someone's Christian testimony for personal political gain is absolutely despicable.
But Belfrage also gives an indication of just how far-reaching Tom Daschle's campaign to stifle the voices of the opposition in the state is. Belfrage intimates that the Democrats have also tried to intimidate Greg Belfrage himself by approaching Belfrage's employer about his webpage:

Intimidation and embarrassment seem to be [standard operating procedure] for Steve Hildebrand and some others in the Daschle campaign. I'll be counting the days to see how long it takes for Democrats to deliver a copy of this webpage to my employer. It's happened before.

And of course, you'll never read reports in the Argus Leader about this campaign of intimidation by Tom Daschle and his subordinates.

posted by Jason | 1:33 PM


Thursday, June 05, 2003  

Check out this photo of Tom Daschle hanging out with his Hollywood contributors after being lobbied by the Directors Guild of America last week. Then check out the accompanying press release:


The DGA PAC Leadership Council hosted an intimate breakfast on May 30, 2003, with Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.Dak.) and discussed a number of issues of great importance to directors including runaway film and television production and the country's health care crisis. Sen. Daschle's visit offered 38 of the Guild's members a unique opportunity to share their perspective on these issues.
DGA Third Vice President and DGA PAC Leadership Council Co-Chair, Paris Barclay, introduced Daschle who was receptive to the directors' concerns. He spoke about his admiration for the works created by those present as well as the importance of runaway production to local communities and the need for Congress to take an active role in turning the tide. He mentioned with "great pride" two films shot in his home state of South Dakota (Thunderheart and Dances With Wolves) and their continued impact on tourism for local communities.
Among the DGA members attending were Michael Apted, Warren Beatty, Hart Bochner, LeVar Burton, Bob Butler, Thomas Carter, Charles Haid, Randa Haines, Curtis Hanson, Victoria Hochberg, Rod Holcomb, Barnet Kellman, Cleve Landsberg, Daniel Petrie, Sr., John Rich, Thomas Schlamme, Penelope Spheeris, Jon Turteltaub, Lili Zanuck, Ed Zwick as well as DGA Associate National Executive Director Warren Adler.
The reception was one of a series of discussions with prominent elected officials including David Dreier (R-Calif.), Chair of the House Rules Committee, who in February introduced, with Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), HR 715, "The United States Independent Film and Television Production Act of 2003" and Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) who had introduced similar legislation in the Senate. Previous meetings of the DGA PAC Leadership Council have also been held with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Billy Tauzin (R-La.), Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Chair of the Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

And here are some of the comments Tom Daschle made at the "intimate breakfast."

"There has to be a better partnership between government and the [entertainment] industry than what I see right now... I'm alarmed at the trend in our country where you are forced to make movies outside our borders solely because you can't afford the costs of making them in this country. We've got to change that."

posted by Jason | 8:28 PM
 

Check out this blog, Cornfield Commentary, written by one of our Iowegian neighbors. It's good reading, and the author likes to confront the Des Moines Register.

posted by Jason | 7:50 PM
 

Randell Beck, executive editor of the Argus Leader, claims that political reporter David Kranz is "one of the finest political reporters in the country." This story came about in response to prospective Senate candidate Neal Tapio's press release about David Kranz's connection to Tom Daschle. Excerpt:


Talon News contacted the Argus Leader Executive Editor Randell Beck for a response to Tapio's allegations. Beck refused to permit Kranz to be interviewed saying, "He works for me and I'm not going to allow Dave to get into a pissing match with a guy who makes this stuff up."

While Beck did not refute Tapio's charges, he said that Tapio has "taken some facts and embellished them" to give a false impression. Beck defended Kranz, telling Talon News, "He's one of the finest political reporters in the country."

On a somewhat related note, New York Times executive editor Howell Raines resigned today due in part to his coddling of reporter Jayson Blair.

posted by Jason | 7:05 PM


Wednesday, June 04, 2003  

Read Hugh Hewitt's piece on blog alliances.

posted by Jason | 5:37 PM
 

Democrats to Launch New Think Tank in September

posted by Jason | 5:33 PM


Tuesday, June 03, 2003  

Recall that Tom Daschle, after conducting a focus group in Huron, made the following statement:


"[C]oalition forces don't need to find [weapons of mass destruction] to justify the war against Saddam Hussein."

Now Fox News reports that senators are investigating why no WMD has been found. Will Tom Daschle flip-flop on his prior statement and criticize the president on this issue?

posted by Jason | 8:53 PM
 

Denise Ross of the Rapid City Journal reports on a recent Thune appearance in Rapid City.

posted by Jason | 8:02 PM
 

SHADES OF NIXON: An old quote from Tom Daschle in the Minneapolis Star Tribune a few days ago:


"only the paranoid survive -- and I think you've got to be sufficiently paranoid in any [political] race."

So we have a paranoid Nixonian candidate, paired with a J. Edgar Hoover-like campaign manager who's gathering embarrassing personal information on "enemies." What a combination.

posted by Jason | 7:58 PM
 

Sibby Online has more fascinating excerpts from David Kranz's contributions to the Mitchell Daily Republic during Kranz's tenure there in the 1970's. Regular SDP readers know that David Kranz is currently the dean of South Dakota political reporters. Back in the day, David Kranz just couldn't shut up when it came to revealing his Democratic background. So why is he so reluctant to reveal his partisan leanings and background these days?

posted by Jason | 7:35 PM
 

From today's Washington Post: Tom Daschle Who?

posted by Jason | 6:49 PM


Monday, June 02, 2003  

The folks at High Plains Observer compare SDP and other South Dakota blogs to Andrew Sullivan and Mickey Kaus in exposing David Kranz, the David Broder of South Dakota, and his sham objectivity.

posted by Jason | 7:36 PM
 

KRANZ WATCH: We've reached Day 7 of the countdown for David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, to report on several items, and of course as time goes on, relevant news stories that David Kranz fails to report about start to pile up. Accordingly, some new items have been added. One item is the Hooveresque (as in J. Edgar Hoover) statement by Daschle campaign manager Steve Hildebrand in a recent Washington Post article threatening to reveal embarrassing personal information about those who would dare to criticize Tom Daschle. The other is the recent Roll Call piece reporting that Daschle will be running campaign ads this summer, 18 months away from the election. Herewith the items in easily digestible chunks:

1) Daschle campaign manager Steve Hildebrand's Hooveresque intimidation of those critical of Tom Daschle.
2) The fact that Daschle plans to run campaign ads this summer, 18 months in front of the election.
3) Tom Daschle's accidental mix-up of the names of two African-American reporters.
4) A recent 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.
5) The 1999 AP story about Linda Daschle's work as a lobbyist for Schering-Plough to extend its patent on Claritin. David Kranz never reported this story, even though the Associated Press thought it merited one. Kranz has cited an AP story about John Thune's present employer having PhRMA as a client:


In addition to working out of his Sioux Falls office former, Rep. John Thune will do lobbying work as senior government affairs counselor with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn.

A recent Associated Press story said that firm represents the pharmaceutical industry trade group that fought against adding prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

Strangely, Kranz didn't think the 1999 Linda Daschle AP story about her work for a pharmaceutical was worth a mention. The paragraph above is cold, calculated bias, in light of the fact that Kranz never reported the Linda Daschle AP story.

posted by Jason | 7:20 PM
 

QUESTION: Why is it that the Argus Leader is the only major newspaper in South Dakota that is NOT on the Google News source list? The Rapid City, Yankton, Aberdeen, and Madison papers are there, among others. Hell, the Black Hills Pioneer Press is there. But no Argus Leader. Somebody make a call on the clue phone to the Argus Leader and tell them to join the 21st century!

posted by Jason | 6:19 PM
 

The Washington Post today reports on the horrific experience of Native American children at missionary boarding schools on reservations throughout South Dakota during the 20th century.

posted by Jason | 5:47 PM


Sunday, June 01, 2003  

A reader points out that while the Argus Leader's political reporter is under scrutiny for past connections to Tom Daschle, the Argus Leader's executive editor is writing about cruising the loop.

posted by Jason | 4:14 PM
 

Here's a brief look at how the blogosphere works. (Via Instapundit)

posted by Jason | 4:06 PM
 

From the New York Times today: Drug Companies Increase Spending to Lobby Congress and Governments. Excerpt:


Lobbyists for the drug industry are stepping up spending to influence Congress, the states and even foreign governments as the debate intensifies over how to provide prescription drug benefits to the elderly, industry executives say.
Confidential budget documents from the leading pharmaceutical trade group show that it will spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress and state legislatures, fighting price controls around the world, subsidizing "like-minded organizations" and paying economists to produce op-ed articles and monographs in response to critics.
The industry is worried that price controls and other regulations will tie the drug makers' hands as state, federal and foreign governments try to expand access to affordable drugs.
The documents show that the trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, will spend at least $150 million in the coming year.

I noticed a letter to the editor in today's Argus Leader (unavailable online) "biting back" at Sandy Herr of Rapid City and excoriating John Thune for his work as a lobbyist for Arent Fox, whose client list includes PhRMA. Since we're pointing out the connections of South Dakota politicians to the "evil" pharmaceutical industry, the writer of this letter might want to read further down in this New York Times article, where we find the following:

The federal affairs staff at PhRMA has quadrupled, to 20 employees today from 5 in 1999. The organization plans to spend $5 million for outside lobbyists at the federal level. In their campaign contributions, drug companies have favored Republican candidates. But PhRMA has retained a diverse group of lobbyists to ensure access to politicians of both parties.

Its Democratic lobbyists, listed in recent reports to Congress, include former Representative Vic Fazio of California; David W. Beier, who was chief domestic policy adviser to Vice President Al Gore; Joel P. Johnson, who was a top aide to President Bill Clinton and to Senator Tom Daschle, the minority leader; and Nick Littlefield, former chief counsel for Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

(Emphases added.) And of course, we can't forget that there's a connection between Tom Daschle and the pharmaceutical industry through his lobbyist wife, Linda Daschle, who has lobbied for big pharmaceutical Schering-Plough in the past to keep the price of Claritin high. These facts are conveniently overlooked in the diatribe sent to the Argus Leader.

posted by Jason | 3:01 PM
 

In the Washington Post today: Senate Races Face Obstacles to Recruiting.

posted by Jason | 2:18 PM
 

In the New York Times political notebook today: Plenty of Campaigning at Rural Issues Forum. Excerpt:


There were snickers from some Democrats and big-city journalists who wondered why a presidential forum would feature somebody who had lost a presidential race so badly and embraced a die-hard liberalism many regard as unfashionable.

But George S. McGovern, 81, the former South Dakota senator who was trounced by Richard M. Nixon in 1972, received a warm reception from a crowd that preferred to remember his strong advocacy for farmers and his opposition to the Vietnam War.

Mr. McGovern spoke not once but twice, including a nearly hourlong speech that ended early this morning and tested the resolve of some admirers caught yawning. In his flat, slow drawl he defended rural life, attacked the war in Iraq as unjustified and, in a coda that caught people by surprise, sang "Jesus Loves the Little Children."

posted by Jason | 2:09 PM
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