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 28, 2003  

Take a look at Professor Andrew Clem's excellent blog and then add it to your bookmarks. Andrew Clem is a South Dakota native, and the son of Professor Alan Clem, a semi-retired professor of political science here at the University of South Dakota. Andrew will begin teaching at James Madison University this fall.

posted by Jason | 2:40 PM

From Ruth Coniff at The Progressive: Senate Quicksand. Excerpt:

As 2004 approaches, the Democrats are trying to pull together a real opposition to the party in power. But they are struggling. Some problems for the Democrats are acute: a popular Republican Administration, no bully pulpit in Washington, and a fundraising disadvantage. Others are chronic and long term: a fading constituency and a muddled message.

Read it all.

posted by Jason | 2:02 PM

Friday, June 27, 2003  

John G. Adams, a 1935 graduate of USD Law School, and a former general counsel for the Army, who often clashed with Senator Joe McCarthy during the Red Scare in the early 1950's, died today at 91.

John Gibbons Adams was born on March 23, 1912, in Ashland, Ky. He grew up in Sioux Falls, S.D., and received a law degree from the University of South Dakota in 1935. In World War II, he served in the Army as a commissioned officer in Africa, Italy and France. He was active in the reserves for 30 years after the war, rising to the rank of colonel.

For two years beginning in 1947, he served in the Senate as chief counsel and staff director of the Committee on Armed Services.

UPDATE: The Argus Leader follows up (for once) an item in the NY Times and the AP.

posted by Jason | 5:51 PM

TROUBLE IN PARADISE: The American Spectator reports that some Senate Democrats are angered by Hillary Clinton's jockeying efforts to be Tom Daschle's successor:

Hillary Clinton and her staff are angering some of her Senate Democratic colleagues for the floating of her name as a possible replacement for Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle should he decide to retire.

It isn't so much that under normal conditions a fourth year senator would never have an opportunity to move through the leadership ranks so quickly; it's that Democrats are desperate for Daschle to make one more run in 2004 given their precarious electoral position. With questions about the retirement or early exit by such Democratic war horses as Sens. Bob Graham and Fritz Hollings, as well as Zell Miller in Georgia, Democrats would prefer that Daschle run again in an attempt to protect his South Dakota seat, which otherwise would seem to be a lock for Republicans. There it's expected that former Rep. John Thune will try for the Senate again next year after his controversial loss to Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson in 2002.

"Hillary doesn't need to be pushing our best people out the door or trying to dictate terms," said a Democratic leadership staffer. "She isn't looking at the situation on the electoral map as some of us are."

posted by Jason | 5:41 PM

Donald Luskin mentions this LA Times story about the relatives of lawmakers becoming lobbyists at his excellent blog, The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid. (Via Cory Skluzak)

posted by Jason | 5:32 PM

National Geographic has a story on the twister that hit Manchester, SD a few days ago, and a certain storm chaser: Storm Chaser Deploys Probe, Makes History. Excerpt:

On that Tuesday night, Samaras achieved his most significant feat yet: The probe he helped design measured the biggest pressure drop—100 millibars—ever recorded in the heart of a tornado.

posted by Jason | 5:23 PM

Thursday, June 26, 2003  

After this story, followed by this story, both from the Los Angeles Times, and both about the phenomenon of relatives of lawmakers becoming lobbyists, some members of the local press--in Nevada--are taking notice. See this follow-up to the LA Times stories in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Then read this from the Las Vegas Mercury. Excerpt from the Mercury:

Finally, a newspaper has dared to take on Nevada's sacred keeper of Nevada's sacred cows. Alas, none of us in the local media can claim the credit. On Monday, the Los Angeles Times published an exposé of the many connections between U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, his four sons and his son-in-law, and lobbying efforts by the mining, gambling and development interests in the state....

The Las Vegas Review-Journal and Las Vegas Sun picked up the item the day after the Times story. The R-J reworked the Times' news and added some investigative work of its own, noting yet more connections.

You can see where I'm going with this. Granted, the LA Times singled out Senator Harry Reid of Nevada for closer scrutiny because he puts his colleagues in the shade with this phenomenon. But the LA Times also probed the phenomenon as it relates to Tom Daschle in its story last Friday. Excerpt:

These days, when a corporation or interest group wants support from a key member of Congress, it often hires a member of the lawmaker's family.

An examination of lobbyist reports, financial disclosure forms, and dozens of other state and federal records reveals that at least 17 senators and 11 members of the House have family members who lobby or work as consultants on government relations, most in Washington and often for clients who rely on the related lawmakers' goodwill.

Perhaps the best-known example is Democratic Senate Leader Tom Daschle, whose wife, Linda, represents the aviation industry. She says she does not lobby the Senate. But her partners do, and her clients benefited from the airline bailout pushed by the Democratic leadership.

In addition, Sen. Daschle's daughter-in-law, Jill Gimmel Daschle, registered as a federal lobbyist in May. She had planned to lobby the Senate but decided against it on Friday, an aide to the senator said.

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader and its star political reporter David Kranz have yet to make a peep about Tom Daschle's daughter-in-law getting into the lobbying business. There's no "reworking the Times' news and adding some investigative work of its own." This is a new development that David Kranz is ignoring, which is business as usual. Jeff Gannon of Talon News also reported on this development last week, even before the LA Times printed the story last Friday.

David Kranz is not tracking this story, and it's not because he doesn't "dare" to. Why doesn't the Argus Leader follow up the LA Times story, as the Las Vegas L-J did? Because, to paraphrase Glenn Reynolds, the Argus Leader is a monopolist institution, with a political reporter who has too-comfortable relations with Tom Daschle.

posted by Jason | 8:07 PM

Instapundit has another post on "localblogging," while Ed Cone points to an earlier Instapundit post about yours truly. Excerpt from Ed Cone:

Blogging with your homies is fun, but it’s also going to become an important part of weblog journalism. We’ve already seen how a weblogger in the right place can report news of international interest – what’s coming is the weblogger reporting for a local audience.

In fact, it’s already happening, in different ways and different places. As individual bloggers report on things they can touch and feel themselves, they will spark conversations with other nearby bloggers, feed stories to the local press, and sometimes break news of widespread interest.

Bloggers can cover stories that the press wants to ignore – I seem to be the only person covering the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation project with any kind of regularity, for example.

Quite right.

posted by Jason | 7:20 PM

From Newsday: A Struggle for History: A people who survived now seek to thrive in the 21st century. Excerpt:

For more than a century, the austere battlefield on the Crow Indian Reservation has had a memorial and grave markers for Custer and more than 260 troopers, while any trace of the Indians' participation, as winners or as scouts who died alongside the cavalrymen, was largely invisible. Now, after years of controversy, foot-dragging and prejudice, American Indians can finally point to this site and see something of their own here, too: a sculpture of three "spirit warriors" on horseback with a woman trailing behind and a circular stone dugout with plaques for the names of the warriors who fell.

Newsday also has this story on Kevin Costner's recent dedication of an exhibit in Deadwood, SD.

posted by Jason | 7:13 PM

Hillary Clinton could become the new Democratic Leader in the Senate if Tom Daschle retires, according to a New York Post report. Excerpt:

Another source told The Post the idea is popular among those Democrats who feel Daschle may retire - rather than face a difficult re-election battle in South Dakota next year - and who want to replace him with a leader who can instantly command national attention.

UPDATE: Fox News has the story too.

posted by Jason | 12:44 PM

Wednesday, June 25, 2003  

Ryne McClaren says that Barbara Streisand and Maureen Dowd are drinking the same Kool-Aid.

posted by Jason | 8:47 PM

Steve Sibson of Sibby Online fame got one of his monthly letters to the editor published in today's Argus Leader, but with a key phrase contained in parentheses trimmed. Also see Sibby's post on former Senator Pressler staffer Kristi Stewart-Golden's response to Argus Leader executive editor Randell Beck, who claimed that Senator Pressler walked into a closet in a Senate committee room and stayed there.

posted by Jason | 8:43 PM

See Julie Neidlinger at Lone Prairie for an interesting take on Betty Friedan's classic work The Feminine Mistake.

UPDATE: I know, I know, it's "Mystique." Just playing along with Julie's play on words.

posted by Jason | 8:32 PM

David Brooks has a piece in the Weekly Standard on Democratic hysteria and paranoia: Excerpt:

Tom Daschle condemns the "dictatorial approach" of this administration. John Kerry says Bush "deliberately misled" America into the Iraq war. Asked what Democrats can do about the Republicans, Janet Reno recalls her visit to the Dachau concentration camp, and points out that the Holocaust happened because many Germans just stood by. "And don't you just stand by," she exhorts her Democratic audience....

Wherever Democrats look, they sense their powerlessness. Even when they look to the media, they feel that conservatives have the upper hand. Conservatives think this is ludicrous. We may have Rush and Fox, conservatives say, but you have ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times. But liberals are sincere. They despair that a consortium of conservative think tanks, talk radio hosts, and Fox News--Hillary's vast right-wing conspiracy--has cohered to form a dazzlingly efficient ideology delivery system that swamps liberal efforts to get their ideas out.

As Glenn Reynolds would say, read the whole thing.

posted by Jason | 8:24 PM

Tuesday, June 24, 2003  

KRANZ WATCH: Time again to bring out the list of news stories that David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, has ignored. Today, we've added the story from last Friday's Los Angeles Times regarding the phenomenon of lawmaker's children becoming lobbyists. Tom Daschle's daughter-in-law was named in the story, and if the liberal Los Angeles Times can discuss it, there's no reason David Kranz can't, unless of course he doesn't want to write about it because it places Tom Daschle in a poor light. Or perhaps Argus Leader executive editor Randell Beck is waiting for a correction so that he can preen about a story that was printed in the LA Times being "inappropriate" to print in the Argus Leader.

Additionally, I've added to the list a correction that David Kranz must make to this story he wrote on February 9, 2003, in light of Randell Beck's nuanced view of what is inappropriate to print in the Argus Leader. Beck claims that the Argus Leader could not print a story about an alleged sweetheart deal between one of Linda Daschle's clients and the military, because she does not work on military issues for the client. In light of this nuanced view, the following paragraph written by David Kranz was also inappropriate to print:

Thune job

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.

Since John Thune does not work on pharmaceutical issues for Arent Fox, the last sentence of this paragraph was inappropriate to print in the Argus Leader, according to Beck's own standards. Accordingly, intellectual honesty requires a correction.

Here then is the amended list of stories that David Kranz has ignored, and that we're waiting to see written by South Dakota's most prominent political reporter:

1) The Friday LA Times story on the children of lawmakers taking jobs as lobbyists, in which Tom Daschle's daughter-in-law was named, along with Linda Daschle. An insightful observation from the story:

Perhaps the best-known example is Democratic Senate Leader Tom Daschle, whose wife, Linda, represents the aviation industry. She says she does not lobby the Senate. But her partners do, and her clients benefited from the airline bailout pushed by the Democratic leadership.

2) A correction of David Kranz's February 9, 2003 story, in light of executive editor Randell Beck's nuanced view on what is appropriate to print in the Argus Leader.

3) 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.

4) 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. In addition, the Argus Leader, under the supervision of then managing editor David Kranz, gleefully reported every gaffe Larry Pressler ever made. In fact, Randell Beck repeated a false story about Larry Pressler recently on Greg Belfrage's radio show. Since Beck wasn't around the Argus Leader during the Pressler years (he began in 2001), who do you suppose told Randell Beck this false story? The smart money would be on David Kranz.

5) 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.

6) 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, as seen above. But somehow, an AP story about Linda Daschle's lobbying work for a big pharmaceutical didn't inspire David Kranz to write a paragraph.

As the stories about Tom Daschle that David Kranz ignores pile up, it becomes clear that David Kranz, in his constant vigil to keep embarrassing stories about Tom Daschle out of the Argus Leader, knows that what is NOT printed is just as important as what IS printed.

posted by Jason | 8:49 PM

The Senate Rules Committee has voted to limit filibusters on President Bush's judicial nominees.

posted by Jason | 12:54 PM

Monday, June 23, 2003  

The folks at Power Line react to today's landmark decision by the Supreme Court upholding the University of Michigan's affirmative action program. Kirk Kolbo, the attorney for the plaintiff Barbara Grutter, discussed this case in my Constitutional Rights class this spring.

posted by Jason | 8:49 PM

Denise Ross of the Rapid City Journal has the following story: Daschle resumes hunt for land in Black Hills. Excerpt:

"Linda and I are coming out in August," Daschle said. "We are looking at different land."

If the couple buys land here, it will follow a recent purchase of a $1.9 million house in Washington, D.C. The couple moved there from a townhouse near the U.S. Capitol about a month ago, he said.

The Daschles currently own a house in his hometown, Aberdeen.

Besides looking for land, Daschle said he filmed some campaign commercials while in the Black Hills. He said political observers should not read his search for Black Hills property as a sign of impending retirement. After Daschle stepped away from a presidential bid in January, South Dakota's newest political sport has been looking for clues that he will hang it up rather than run for a fourth six-year term in the U.S. Senate. He is running for re-election in 2004, the Senate minority leader said.

"I'm running. I don't know how these rumors get started," Daschle said. "I wouldn't be out here if I weren't running again."

UPDATE: The AP also ran this story.

posted by Jason | 8:32 PM

The Los Angeles Times follows up last Friday's article on the lobbying activities of various lawmakers' children. Excerpt:

Seeking favors is as old as the Capitol, but the new tendency to come at it from the side — through family members — may be a consequence of campaign-finance reform: As restrictions have tightened on traditional political giving, interest groups have cast about for new ways to ingratiate themselves.

Nothing strikes quite such a personal note as channeling fees or lucrative jobs to relatives — whether the relatives lobby Congress or perform other services. There are no restrictions. Neither House nor Senate rules bar the practice.

At least 17 senators and 11 members of the House have children, spouses or other close relatives who lobby or work as consultants, most in Washington, according to lobbyist reports, financial-disclosure forms and other state and federal records. Many are paid by clients who count on the related lawmaker for support.

posted by Jason | 8:24 PM

CORRECTION: In an earlier post, I claimed that Argus Leader executive editor Randell Beck had called prospective U.S. Senate candidate Neal Tapio a "right-wing nut" in an interview on Greg Belfrage's talk-show. After re-listening to a recording of the show, found on reporter Jeff Gannon's blog (a direct link to the recording can be found here), I realize that I was mistaken. Mr. Beck did not say this. I apologize to Mr. Beck for this, and also to Bill Hobbs of Hobbs Online who excerpted a portion of my post that made this claim. A reader writes in:

[Beck] called the claims about [Argus Leader political reporter David] Kranz "falsehoods," "crap," and a "house of cards." He says that people are "attacking him personally," referring to Kranz. He said it's a "well-known political ploy" to "attack the media" like Nixon and LBJ did. With regard to the new information, Beck concluded "It doesn't mean anything." Beck did not offer one example of a fact that was wrong.

Beck didn't have the facts straight regarding the 1968 Daschle-Kranz political organizing. He thought it was a "debate," not a convention. He thought the reason it was switched from (R) to (D) is that a Republican
candidate turned them down. That's not true. Kranz and Daschle, according to Kranz, thought there'd be "more interest" in a Democratic convention. Beck also didn't mention that Kranz was Daschle's "publicity chair" for the
Democratic convention--Beck just said they went to college together and were in the same club, which is completely misleading and avoids all the relevant facts. Beck said Kranz wrote a story in The SDSU Collegian about the event.
He didn't say Kranz failed to disclose his involvement when writing the piece as he has continued to do.

Beck said with regard to [former Senator Larry] Pressler that "this is the guy who walked into a closet...I rest my case." This story is a lie, as [former Pressler staffer] Kristi Stewart-Golden explained the next day on the show.

He said that the "small cabal" only wants us to "demonize Daschle."

He says Talon News is "despicable" and "underhanded" and is "manipulating the facts" and that "there is no credibility there" and "no sense of fair play." He said of Talon: "even the RNC disavows it's so far out there." This is a lie too.

Beck said "I'm defending Dave." "Dave is my guy." He's "one of the best political reporters in the country."

The funniest part: "We are a private enterprise." Only public officials who are "on the dole" should be criticized because they "have to be held accountable." Journalists can't be criticized because of their "right to have a personal life." He said Kranz had the "right to attend SDSU at the same time as Tom and not be subject to personal attack."

posted by Jason | 7:59 PM

From Friday's Los Angeles Times: A Washington Bouquet: Hire a Lawmaker's Kid. Excerpt:

Perhaps the best-known example is Democratic Senate Leader Tom Daschle, whose wife, Linda, represents the aviation industry. She says she does not lobby the Senate. But her partners do, and her clients benefited from the airline bailout pushed by the Democratic leadership.

In addition, Sen. Daschle's daughter-in-law, Jill Gimmel Daschle, registered as a federal lobbyist in May. She had planned to lobby the Senate but decided against it on Friday, an aide to the senator said.

This comes on the heels of Jeff Gannon's report on June 18th: Lobbying is Daschle Family Affair.

posted by Jason | 1:00 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias