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, October 11, 2003  

ENERGY BILL UPDATE: An interesting editorial in the Juneau Empire argues that Tom Daschle's opposition to Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) oil production will force the U.S. to rely on oil from Russia. Excerpt:

Forget the Middle East. The Russians are coming and have more to gain with Daschle's stand on ANWR development.

Among the latest developments on the political wrangling involving the energy bill is a piece from the Fairbanks News-Miner entitled Stevens says energy bill may have to wait until next year. Excerpt:

[Senator Ted] Stevens said in July that he thought the conference committee would produce a bill this fall because both delegations from the House and Senate are led by Republicans. Last year, a similar bill died due to differences between Democrats, who led the Senate, and the Republicans who had the House majority.

And of course, it was Tom Daschle who was then the majority leader, leading the charge to kill an energy bill with an ANWR drilling provision.

Another story from the Fairbanks News-Miner contains an interesting quote from Senator Stevens:

Stevens, in seeking to explain the delay [of the energy bill], focused more on the Democrats' unwillingness to deal on the ANWR issue and others.

"They're acting as a majority-type minority really. They're demanding that everything meet their ultimate demands, which can't be done, so that could hold it up," he said.

In the end, though, that might not be a bad thing from his perspective, he said.

"The longer they hold it up, the more chance there will be that we'll have a majority large enough to put it in with votes on our side for ANWR," he said.

"I don't think you can tell that until we finally get this bill to the floor," he said.

Emphasis added.

Finally, Reuters has a piece on how MTBE makers are trying to tie liability protection to the provisions in the energy bill involving ethanol. Tom Daschle has signed a letter to the energy bill conferees saying there are 42 votes opposed to MTBE liability protection.

posted by Jason | 6:29 PM

Andrew Sullivan is on a tear, puncturing the media's historical revisionism of the arguments made by the administration to go to war with Saddam. One of his more recent punctures involves a floor statement made by Tom Daschle during the debate last fall over whether to authorize the use of force against Iraq. Andrew discovered this via Bo Cowgill.

posted by Jason | 5:24 PM

Friday, October 10, 2003  

DASCHLE HAVING IT BOTH WAYS ON GUNS: The AP is reporting on the gun-manufacturer immunity bill: Gun Makers May Win Exemption From Suits. Tom Dachle has recently agreed to co-sponsor the bill. Despite the pro-gun stance Tom Daschle has taken on this bill, he has also introduced a bill (S. 22) with an anti-gun provision entitled "Closing the Gunshow Loophole" (Go to, type in "S. 22" and see Sections 5251, 5252, and 931). He introduced the bill along with Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and Chuck Schumer. Which bill represents the real Tom Daschle? The one he co-sponsors with Senator Larry Craig, a rock-ribbed conservative from Idaho, or the one he introduces backed by flaky liberals like Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and Chuck Schumer? Clearly, what you see is not what you get with Tom Daschle. If John Thune were to replace Tom Daschle, you know Thune wouldn't be trying to have it both ways on guns.

posted by Jason | 12:41 PM

Jeff Gannon of Talon News has a new article entitled Outrage Grows Over College Dems Racial Slur Against Indian Candidate. The article discusses the Louisiana gubernatorial race, where Republican candidate Bobby Jindal, a man of Indian descent, is running dead even in the polls.

posted by Jason | 12:15 PM

Noel Hamiel, publisher of the Mitchell Daily Republic, has an opinion piece in the latest edition of the Volante (USD's student newspaper) regarding the Media Symposium held a few weeks ago, where former PBS News Hour co-host Robert MacNeil trashed the Fox News Channel.

posted by Jason | 9:26 AM

Thursday, October 09, 2003  

SOBERING REMINDER: As a This Day in History blurb reminds us, it was two years ago today that some murdering terrorist scumbag attempted to assassinate Tom Daschle by mailing an anthrax-laced letter to his office in the Senate. One of the few things I've admired about Tom Daschle is the quiet courage he exhibited in the face of this attack, and the concern he showed for the staffers victimized by this act. It is a sobering thought indeed that we have yet to catch the bastard who did this.

posted by Jason | 5:56 PM

ADDITIONS TO THE BLOGROLL: Today I'm adding several new bloggers to my blog links on the right side of this site. They range from Minnesota to Montana. First off is Mitch Berg, who blogs under the moniker Shot in the Dark, and is a member of the Northern Alliance of bloggers.

Next, I'm adding another blog out of Billings, Montana. Michael Erickson, owner of the Wild West Mustang Barber Shop in Billings, has an interesting blog you can view by clicking HERE. Mike has links to several other Montana blogs that I think are worth reading.

Finally, via Instapundit, I've discovered Prairie Pundit. I'm not sure where the writer hails from, but given the name, it must be someplace nearby.

posted by Jason | 5:31 PM

Denise Ross of the Rapid City Journal reports that Tom Daschle has launched a campaign website, and almost in passing, reports that he has also launched a new series of television ads: Daschle sets up campaign Web site.

posted by Jason | 7:15 AM

Wednesday, October 08, 2003  

DASCHLE HAVING IT BOTH WAYS ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: The San Francisco Chronicle has a report entitled Campaign finance watchdogs oppose union lawyer's appointment to FEC, while the Washington Post has a blurb on the same matter. For more on Daschle's behind-the-scenes machinations to undermine the law he championed, see a recent New Republic piece by Peter Beinart HERE and a recent piece in the Hill HERE. For some reason, you never see David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, reporting on these items in his Sunday column.

posted by Jason | 9:47 PM

KRANZ WATCH: It's virtually guaranteed that David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, will mention the blurb from a recent Bob Novak column regarding a prospective Thune-Daschle race in his upcoming Sunday column. Novak reports that Daschle supporters don't think John Thune will run. It will be interesting to see if Kranz will mention a certain portion of the blurb in light of Kranz's wistful notion last Sunday that Daschle had "missed an opportunity" to run for president. Will Kranz mention the following portion of Novak's blurb?

A footnote: According to close associates, Daschle nearly announced his candidacy for president this year but decided against it because his wife Linda, a prominent Washington lobbyist, would be subject to personal attacks.

For more background on this assertion, read LA Weekly and Slate, publications that supplied such analysis many months ago.

It's also virtually guaranteed that Kranz will NOT mention a recent Novak blurb regarding Tom and Linda Daschle taking advantage of the D.C. "homestead" tax exemption. It's interesting to watch how selective Kranz is in citing Robert Novak's columns as they relate to South Dakota political figures. Anything that reflects negatively on Tom Daschle is omitted. Watch for him to omit Novak's "footnote" cited above, as well as the homestead deduction issue.

FLASHBACK: I have commented on Kranz's selective citations of Novak on South Dakota political figures in the past.

posted by Jason | 6:10 PM

The LA Times runs a correction:

An article in Section A on Monday about the recall election said that only once in the history of the United States has a governor been recalled. That recall occurred in 1921 in North Dakota, not South Dakota as the story said.

posted by Jason | 7:18 AM

Tuesday, October 07, 2003  

RES IPSA LOCQUITUR?: Todd Epp, the attorney for Jim Abourezk in the Abourezk v. lawsuit, has a letter to the editor of the Argus Leader in today's edition. In it, he argues that President Bush "looking bad" is "res ipsa locquitur" (legalese for "the thing speaks for itself"). I would contend that Epp (a well-known leftist zealot) and his complimenting attitude toward the Argus Leader's "fine journalists" is res ipsa locquitur. A liberal complimenting the Argus Leader for its fine journalists speaks for itself, and reinforces what SDP has been arguing these many months: the Argus Leader has a liberal bias.

posted by Jason | 10:10 PM

TOM DASCHLE HAVING IT BOTH WAYS ON INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: Paul Greenberg, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, takes note of Tom Daschle having it both ways on the issue of independent counsels: Independent counsel calls come from different choir. Excerpt:

Tom Daschle, who as the Democrats’ leader in the U.S. Senate led the move to repeal the independent counsel law, is now leading the move to bring it back. He’s being joined by the party-line pols who used to loathe the idea of an independent counsel. Now they clamor for what they once denounced.

posted by Jason | 12:05 PM

Monday, October 06, 2003  

The Hill reports that the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce has hired Rhoads Weber Shandwick Government Relations to help the community dodge the potential closing of Ellsworth AFB. Excerpt:

"Defense. The Texarkana, Texas, and Rapid City, S.D., Chambers of Commerce have each signed Rhoads Weber Shandwick Government Relations to help guide them through the next round of military base closings, in 2005.

Although some in Congress want to delay closing more bases, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has promised to urge President Bush to veto any bill that prevents the round from proceeding as scheduled.

Pentagon officials estimate there is as much as one-fourth excess base capacity, which is a drag on defense budgets. But for many communities with significant military presences, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) represents a threat to a key economic engine and they turn to D.C. lobbying firms for help. Weber Shandwick CEO Barry Rhoads served as counsel to a previous BRAC commission. The firm is among the best-known firms specializing in base closings."

posted by Jason | 9:08 PM

Gambling Magazine has an article entitled Tribal Gaming Industry Not Afraid Of Political Process, in which the chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association takes credit for Senator Tim Johnson's victory in 2002.

posted by Jason | 8:56 PM

The New York Times editorial board tells Tom Daschle what his duty is on the energy bill: Democrats' Duty on Energy. Excerpt:

What keeps farm state liberals like Tom Daschle of South Dakota tethered to a bill they generally dislike is a provision greatly increasing the use of corn-based ethanol as a gasoline additive. This would be a boon to corn farmers and politicians who need their votes, though by itself it would have a trivial impact on the country's energy problems.

To these Democrats, we make the same suggestion we have given to senators eager to fix the nation's electric power grid without signing on to the rest of the energy bill: carve out the parts they think useful and vote on them separately. If Mr. Daschle feels so strongly about the ethanol provision, he should try to break it loose from the larger bill and see whether it flies on its own. Having done that, he and his like-minded colleagues could follow their best instincts and kill the rest of this dreary bill.

The NYT editorial board must not have read Tom Daschle's recent letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal regarding ethanol, ANWR, and the energy bill. There, Tom Daschle basically said he was not tethered to the energy bill due to the ethanol mandate.

posted by Jason | 1:54 PM

State Representative Matt McCaulley has the usual suspects howling due to his proposal that the state legislature pass a resolution for a constitutional amendment banning income taxes: Income Tax Ban Proposed. Excerpt:

McCaulley said the cost to South Dakota taxpayers of government regulation and state, local and federal taxes was the equivalent of the money they earned by working from Jan. 1 through June 28 this year.

"The last thing South Dakota needs is an income tax,'' he said.

UPDATE: Though a proponent of a state income tax was quoted in this story as saying there's no threat of an income tax in South Dakota today, the facts contradict his statement. What follows below is a list of bills proposing a state income tax sponsored in the state legislature over the last seven years:

HJR 1002 (2003)
HB 1201 (2002)
HJR 1004 (2001)
HJR 1002 (2000)
HJR 1002 (1999)
HJR 1005(1998)
HB 1201 (1997)

There's no threat of an income tax? There's a threat every year in the state legislature!

DOH!: I just learned that the last two links in the list were wrong. I've fixed them. Sorry about that.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A friend writes:

Let it be clear that I'm not for an income tax in SD, but I think the last part of your blog was a little misleading. Not one of those bills listed ever made it out of committee, getting no more than three vote in favor of them. In 1999, the whole House voted on whether to debate the Joint Resolution that was killed by the committee. That motion failed, although
by a slim margin. That was the last time you could argue there was a "threat" of an income tax in SD. In addition, the most recent bills have only concerned corporate income taxes.

All of the points made are great, and clarify the issue. The point I was trying to make is that the usual suspects are conniving to get an income tax in SD, and every year they introduce a bill proposing an income tax. Their latest gambit is to try to repeal the food tax (which appeals to a broad segment of the population) which would force the legislature to look for alternative sources of revenue, i.e., a state income tax. To me, a bill that provides for an income tax in the state constitution qualifies as a "threat" no matter what the likelihood is of it passing. The usual suspects are always searching for a way to get one passed. Sometimes it's an individual income tax, sometimes it's a corporate income tax, and sometimes it's both. I think the distinction between corporate and individual income taxes is beside the point I'm trying to make. Those who support a state income tax generally support both individual and corporate income taxes.

posted by Jason | 7:50 AM

The Los Angeles Times has a "news analysis" entitled Voter Revolt — It's a California Thing which contains the following passage:

Firing [Governor Davis] would be a remarkable step, a notion that has been lost in the hurly-burly of the headlong campaign. California has never recalled a governor. In the history of the United States, it has happened only once, in 1921 in South Dakota.

No, it happened in NORTH Dakota.

posted by Jason | 7:23 AM

Sunday, October 05, 2003  

SMOKING OUT THUNE: Bob Novak's latest contribution includes a three-paragraph update on a prospective Thune-Daschle Senate race in 2004:

Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle ended months of speculation last week by informing close supporters that he will seek re-election for a fourth term in South Dakota next year.

Daschle's supporters are confident former Rep. John Thune will not be the Republican Senate candidate despite White House pleas for him to run. A Daschle-Thune contest is a tossup according to polls, but Daschle would be prohibitively favored against anybody else.

A footnote: According to close associates, Daschle nearly announced his candidacy for president this year but decided against it because his wife Linda, a prominent Washington lobbyist, would be subject to personal attacks.

What was that David Kranz was saying about a "missed opportunity" for Daschle to run for president?

posted by Jason | 4:39 PM

Denise Ross, political reporter for the Rapid City Journal, discusses Tom Daschle's appearance at the first annual South Dakota Festival of Books. Tom Daschle's first book, entitled Like No Other Time, is set for release on November 4. David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, tells us in a report today, that Tom Daschle has tentatively set aside November 4 to sign copies of his book at the Sioux Falls Barnes & Noble. Kranz's report also includes some wistful paragraphs unbefitting a purportedly unbiased journalist about a "missed opportunity" for a presidential run by Tom Daschle.

posted by Jason | 4:04 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias