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, November 22, 2003  

WHERE'S THE CLOUT?: The AP reports here Senator George Allen's claim that "on Thursday, [Senator Tom] Daschle was in Virginia conducting a book signing instead of working to win enough Democratic votes to pass the energy bill."

The Argus Leader's above-the-fold "Daschle lends clout to energy bill" headline from Thursday gets even more ridiculous, and removes all doubt about that paper being an arm of the Daschle campaign.

Now watch David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, somehow fail to mention this item in his column tomorrow.

UPDATE: As predicted, Kranz fails to mention this item, as well as the eight items from last week's "Kranz Watch."

posted by Jason | 9:48 PM

TOM DASCHLE A "STRONG OPPONENT" OF RURAL HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT: The New York Times reports in a piece headlined "As Filibuster Threat Fades, Medicare Bill Nears Vote," that while Tom Daschle won't filibuster the Medicare prescription drug plan, he's still a "strong opponent of the legislation." Aside from a prescription drug benefit, the bill (HR 1) contains several provisions under the header "Rural Health Care Improvements." The AP's Jack Sullivan has a story about these improvements today that appears in the Bismarck Tribune, headlined "Rural doctors, hospitals welcome Medicare provisions." Excerpt:

The centerpiece of the huge Medicare bill is a prescription drug benefit for older Americans, but the measure also would boost payments to doctors and hospitals in rural areas by $25 billion and rework a reimbursement system they say is outdated.

"The bottom line is that there have been some very damaging provisions in Medicare for many years for the way rurals are paid, and this erases most of them," said Dr. Wayne Myers, president of the National Rural Health Association.

How is Tom Daschle "delivering for South Dakota" when he strongly opposes a bill which not only contains a prescription drug benefit, but also boosts payments to doctors and hospitals in rural areas by $25 billion?

If this bill passes, remember that Tom Daschle fought it every step of the way.
Daschle Rx.bmp

posted by Jason | 1:39 PM

Friday, November 21, 2003  

Indian Country Today has a piece in today's edition on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's Native Vote 2004 initiative, with the headline "Democrats start voter campaign." Excerpt:

In South Dakota, the Republican Party has now joined the efforts to court the American Indian vote by showing up at pow wows with free ice water and ice cream. State officials have also been more attentive to the issues facing American Indians in South Dakota and in Washington state, where Marie Cantwell, D-Wash. defeated the incumbent Republican Senator Slade Gorton. The American Indian vote and campaign participation is given ample credit for that campaign’s outcome.

I detect a slightly sardonic tone in this passage. Gee, free ice water and ice cream is all the Indians get from those tightfisted Republicans! At least the Democrats hand out winter coats and have barbecues.

posted by Jason | 5:50 PM

WHERE'S THE CLOUT? Today, the Argus Leader backpedals from its "Daschle lends clout to energy bill" headline with a story by Mike Madden headlined "Daschle support of plan disputed." And now we see what kind of clout Tom Daschle has for ethanol, as the energy bill has just been blocked, largely by members of the party he supposedly leads.

posted by Jason | 12:14 PM

Thursday, November 20, 2003  

SOUTH DAKOTA LEGAL NEWS UPDATE: The Microsoft website has a press release headlined "Microsoft and South Dakota Plaintiffs Settle South Dakota Class Action Lawsuit."

posted by Jason | 9:15 PM

We're starting to find out just how misleading the front-page, top-of-the-fold headline in today's Argus Leader really is. The headline reads "Daschle lends clout to energy bill."

But today's CongressDailyPM, a publication of the National Journal, has a piece headlined "Daschle Unlikely To Work To Get Energy Bill Votes," which completely contradicts the message of the AL's headline. Excerpt:

Aware of the difficult position he finds himself in on energy legislation, Senate Minority Leader Daschle is unlikely to use his position to press wavering Democrats into supporting the bill, despite the fact that he has decided to vote against a Democratic-led filibuster and for the bill, a senior Democratic aide said today. Republican and Democratic supporters of the bill had hoped Daschle's backing would help create the critical mass of support they need to defeat the filibuster and join the House in approving the conference report. But Democratic senators and aides close to leadership today said Daschle feels he has done enough in announcing his support for the bill and will respect the fact that a majority of Senate Democrats strongly oppose it. "He doesn't owe [Senate Majority Leader Frist] anything," one Democratic source said today.

In fact, one source said Daschle's decision to hold off announcing his decision until late Wednesday was at least in part designed to blunt the impact of his support on the filibuster campaign. While there are a number of Democrats still uncertain as to how they will vote Friday not only on cloture but the bill itself, Daschle's support has not triggered mass defections from the filibuster camp. At least one lawmaker, Minority Whip Reid, now appears likely to back the filibuster and oppose the bill, sources said, while undecided Democrats including Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said today they are still mulling their options.

Contrast the AL's headline of the AP story with the Yankton Press & Dakotan headline of the AP story: "Senate Readies For Energy Bill Showdown; Daschle Says He's Ready To Support Legislation."

posted by Jason | 5:26 PM

The Argus Leader really earns its moniker as the "Daschle Daily" today, with a front page, top-of-the-fold piece, noticeably without a byline, and heavily borrowing from an AP report, misleadingly headlined "Daschle lends clout to energy bill." What kind of clout did Daschle lend to the energy bill? He was shut out of negotiations, and wielded the threat of a filibuster during the entire process. The only clout he's lending is his vote, which is the exact amount of clout the most junior senator has. The Argus Leader truly is just an arm of the Daschle re-election campaign. To hold itself out as an unbiased source for South Dakota political news is ridiculous. Congressman Janklow said a few weeks ago that the editors of the AL were very clever and very sophisticated in their liberal bias. I don't think there's any sophistication about it. This is as bold and in-your-face as it gets.

FLASHBACK: It's not as if this is anything new. Back in 1990, even the New York Times called the Argus Leader "vituperative" in its biased coverage of that year's Senate race. Even Roll Call weighed in on the AL's bias, noting how the Democratic candidate's campaign sent in a steady stream of AL clippings with its "even-handed" headlines.

posted by Jason | 1:28 PM

DASCHLE BOOK SALES UPDATE: From today's Roll Call, Heard on the Hill column:

Writing Another Chapter of History? Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) was feted at Democratic strategist John Podesta’s home Tuesday night to celebrate publication of the lawmaker’s book about the 107th Congress, “Like No Other Time.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) — along with journalists David Broder, Al Hunt, Carl Hulse and Mark Leibovich — were among the insiders who attended.

The author praised Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), noting that he literally couldn’t have written the tome without his colleague’s party switch — leading to a warm embrace between the lawmakers.

Daschle joked that given last week’s historic marathon session on judicial nominees, “there might be a sequel” coming soon.

But the lawmaker was probably not laughing about a correction the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran Wednesday about a front-page story dealing with an audiotape purportedly of Saddam Hussein that surfaced this week.

The paper said that because of an “editing error,” the story mistakenly put Hussein’s quotes into Daschle’s mouth: “It was the speaker on the tape, not Daschle, who said, ‘The evil ones now find themselves in crisis, and this is God’s will for them.’”

It's unlikely that Zell Miller will be feted at John Podesta's place to celebrate Miller's book, despite the fact that it is a bestseller (current Amazon sales rank: 32, which Tom Daschle's is not (current Amazon sales rank: 3,497).

posted by Jason | 12:09 PM

DASCHLE VS. AARP: It's amusing to see how flummoxed liberal Democrats and the liberal media are at AARP's support for the bipartisan Medicare Reform Bill. The Washington Post has a piece written in part by David Broder headlined "AARP Decision Followed a Long GOP Courtship." The LA Times has a piece headlined "When AARP's Director Speaks, Lawmakers Listen." Both pieces are palpably reproachful in tone toward AARP. There's no mention in either of the articles of the fact that moderate Democrats like John Breaux support the bill, which is a rather salient fact to overlook.

posted by Jason | 12:00 PM

Wednesday, November 19, 2003  

Argus Leader executive editor Randell Beck and radio talk show host Greg Belfrage discussed an article in the Des Moines Register headlined "South Dakota knocks Iowa in bold drive to lure business" on today's show.

posted by Jason | 9:32 PM

Roll Call has an interesting piece today headlined "Senate Sticks by Pre-Thanksgiving Vow." Excerpt:

But clearly the Democrats were faced with a far more flummoxed position, a sharp divide on which way to proceed on both Medicare and energy and their minority leader, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), apparently stuck in a political bind with both national and local implications.

One senior Democrat described the AARP endorsement as “a huge announcement.”

“This is a time our Caucus is going to be in a huge disarray just trying to think through and reconcile where all the passion is,” the senior Senator said.

Another Democrat noted that Daschle, who still may face a very difficult re-election battle if former Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) jumps into the race, is in a precarious position.

Leading a filibuster on a prescription drug plan, no matter how objectionable Democrats may consider the other pieces of the bill like premium supports, could provide Bush and Senate Republicans a major avenue to attack the minority as obstructionist.

At the same time, Daschle could give Thune a major inroad to attack him in a still undecided campaign battle.

posted by Jason | 7:47 PM

Daschle Rx.bmp

Remember this photo when Daschle tries to take credit for a prescription drug benefit in Medicare next year.

posted by Jason | 7:09 PM

The South Dakota Alliance for Energy & Economic Growth, sensing Tom Daschle's indecision on whether to support or filibuster the energy bill, fired off a press release headlined "Daschle Has 'Do-or-Die' Chance to Sustain Jobs, Economic Growth by Passing Energy-Ethanol Legislation, South Dakota Energy Coalition Says."

And just thirteen minutes ago, the AP wire had a report headlined "Daschle says he'll vote for energy bill."

posted by Jason | 6:54 PM

DOH!: Yesterday, an alert reader brought my attention to this correction in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Because of an editing error, a story on the front page yesterday misattributed a quote from the speaker on an audiotape purportedly of Saddam Hussein as coming from Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. It was the speaker on the tape, not Daschle, who said, "The evil ones now find themselves in crisis, and this is God's will for them." The only solution for Iraq was for "the zealous Iraqi sons, who ran its affairs and brought it out of backwardness . . . to return . . . to run its affairs anew," the speaker on the tape said, referring to the Baath leadership.

Today, Jonah Goldberg spots the same correction.

posted by Jason | 12:59 PM

Jeff Gannon, resident DC expert on South Dakota politics, has a new piece up, headlined "Daschle Outmaneuvered on Drug Plan, Energy Bill."

posted by Jason | 8:00 AM

Tuesday, November 18, 2003  

TOM DASCHLE VS. AARP: Knight Ridder has an article headlined "Democrats contemplate Medicare filibuster."

A reader e-mails: "As for the AARP announcement, I think the untold story is that AARP now recognizes that Dems will return to power no time soon, so they best make peace with the Republicans."

UPDATE: "AARP Gives Republican Medicare Bill Its Blessing; Backing Is Big Boost for Prescription Drug Measure, Which Democrats, Liberal Groups Want Defeated "

posted by Jason | 8:25 PM

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune carried an opinion column today by Doug Grow, headlined "Dealing with tragedy the Bill Janklow way." (Via Belfrage)

posted by Jason | 8:16 PM

Greg Belfrage, SDP's favorite radio talk show host, has a new post headlined "More Daschle Duplicity."

posted by Jason | 3:55 PM

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: The AP has a report headlined "Janklow says he was avoiding another car right before accident," while Denise Ross of the Rapid City Journal, borrowing from the same AP report, has a piece headlined "Crash statements at odds."

posted by Jason | 12:59 PM

DASCHLE AND HIS AARP REVOLT PIPE DREAM: The AP has a report headlined "AARP Endorses Republicans' Medicare Bill." Excerpt:

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said, "When seniors see the details of the Republican plan, the AARP leadership will undoubtedly regret this ill-advised decision...."

In response to Daschle's tart prediction that he would face a revolt within his organization over this bill, [AARP chief executive William D.] Novelli said, "There's not going to be a revolt within AARP. There's going to be a problem if Congress fails to pass this legislation."

No doubt that threat has Tom Daschle's rapt attention.

posted by Jason | 9:47 AM

Monday, November 17, 2003  

SOUTH DAKOTA LEGAL NEWS UPDATE: The AP has a report today on the Amendment E dormant commerce clause case, headlined "Corporate farming raises questions." My Economic Rights professor is quoted in the story. The good professor has noted in class that while Nebraska's corporate farming law has survived an equal protection challenge, it may be more difficult for the Nebraska AG to defend a challenge under a dormant commerce clause theory.

posted by Jason | 8:20 PM

ED SHULTZ WATCH: The Fargo Forum's Political Notes section contains the following information on Ed Schultz, the Democratic Rush Limbaugh:

Some who follow North Dakota politics continue to be amused at Ed Schultz’s transformation from Republican to Democrat.

From last Friday’s Democratic-NPL e-mail newsletter: “Ed Schultz of [KFGO] ‘News & Views’ will be on Scarborough Country tonight from 9:00 to 9:30 p.m. on MSNBC. To hear all the details, tune in to ‘News & Views.’ ”

From the Jan. 1, 1999, issue of The Forum: “The North Dakota Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against … KFGO of Fargo accusing it of ‘blatant favoritism’ in supporting Republican political candidates … stems from a broadcast of News and Views with Ed Schultz.”

In February 1994, The Forum reported that Schultz said on his former WDAY talk show that he might consider seeking the Republican endorsement for North Dakota’s House seat.

In 2000, he supported Casselton Republican Gary Nelson for governor.

Last year Schultz considered a bid for governor as a Democrat. He frequently broadcasts from the Washington, D.C., offices of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation. Publicity on his new national talk show pitches him as the Democratic Rush Limbaugh. Democrats’ daily e-mailed newsletters often urge them to listen to Schultz’s show, on which Democrats such as Joel Heitkamp sometimes guest host.

posted by Jason | 4:51 PM

CBS Market Watch has a story headlined "Daschle says Democrats were too easy on Bush." Excerpt:

Speaking at Newsweek's "Who's Next" event in New York, Daschle discussed the prospects for the upcoming campaign. He was joined on the panel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro, author of biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, and Anne Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Jonathan Alter, Newsweek's senior editor and columnist, served as the moderator.

Asked by Alter if the Democrats had been too nice or accommodating to Bush, Daschle said that "nice" was probably the wrong word. But he didn't necessarily disagree with that conclusion. Daschle said his colleagues didn't send their message forcefully enough to Bush to contest some of his policies, especially since Bush won a contested election and didn't emerge with a mandate from American voters.

"I don't think we sent it as strongly as I would have liked," said Daschle, referring to the Democrats' message. Daschle is also the author of a new book called "Like No Other Time."

posted by Jason | 4:41 PM

Bob Novak writes that Tom Daschle "insisted on an end to nonpartisanship" to the proceedings of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a column headlined "Memo splits Intelligence Committee." Excerpt:

After Republicans regained Senate control in the 2002 elections and term limits imposed new leadership on the Intelligence Committee, Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle insisted on an end to nonpartisanship. As the new vice chairman, Rockefeller followed the party line by demanding half the staff, which was the real cause for delayed reorganization of the Senate under GOP leadership.

posted by Jason | 1:32 PM

LIGHT MOMENT OF THE DAY: If you're feeling down and need a good laugh, see this from the Argus Leader website.

posted by Jason | 12:08 PM

Sunday, November 16, 2003  

Tom Daschle appeared on "Fox News Sunday" this morning. You can read the transcript HERE, including the part where Daschle defends Ted Kennedy calling certain judicial nominees "Neanderthals." For more on that, click HERE.

Much of the conversation centered on judicial nominations, and I think the following point that Tony Snow made is important:

"Well, one can use numbers in any way, but the real key here are U.S. district court of appeal judges. These are the people who are on the level right before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The president has nominated 29; only 12 have been confirmed. Six now have been filibustered. That is 20 percent, and that's a much higher percentage than any president has ever faced."

The federal trial court nominations are less important than the federal appellate court nominations. The federal appellate courts are where Supreme Court justices are usually picked. That's why all of Tom Daschle's filibusters are against federal appellate court nominees, and why only 12 of the 29 nominations to the appellate courts have been confirmed.

posted by Jason | 7:50 PM

KRANZ WATCH: There has been a host of stories lately that have developed regarding Tom Daschle, which David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, has either ignored or buried. David Kranz and Tom Daschle are old chums, as Jeff Gannon's series on Argus Leader bias detailed this past summer, and which you can read at your leisure at the links on the right side of this blog. Today, Kranz merely offers a trip down memory lane with his other old chum, George McGovern. The developments Kranz has ignored or buried are listed below:

1) David Kranz interviewed NRSC chair Senator George Allen recently, who had some choice comments about Tom Daschle regarding the judicial nomination debate this past week. The story wasn't posted on the AL's web-site, and was buried on page 4A of the Saturday Argus Leader. Inside South Dakota has more.

2) Kranz has never reported on Tom Daschle missing the vote for funding in the war on terrorism because he was busy signing books in Sioux Falls. Rapid City Journal political reporter Denise Ross reported on this item.

3) Kranz doesn't report today on Daschle missing part of the debate on judicial nominations this past week in order to attend a fundraiser in Denver, CO.

4) Kranz doesn't report on the bishop of Tom Daschle's home diocese saying that Daschle is a scandal.

5) Kranz doesn't report on the lagging sales of Tom Daschle's book (current Amazon sales rank: 4,909). If Tom Daschle's book had rocketed to the bestseller list, like Zell Miller's book (current Amazon sales rank: 25, 4th on the NYT bestseller list), which was released at the same time, no doubt Kranz would be slobbering about it in his column today.

6) Speaking of Zell Miller, Kranz fails to mention Tom Daschle calling on Zell to apologize for his remarks concerning the "lynching" of Justice Janice Rogers Brown. Of course, Tom Daschle never called on Barbara Boxer to apologize for making similar remarks concerning the nomination of Ronnie White.

7) Kranz fails to mention that Tom Daschle is attempting to kill a bipartisan prescription drug plan, an issue on which Daschle based his entire August tour around the state. The AL has a front-page story on the bill, and doesn't even mention Tom Daschle's opposition to it.

Once again, we begin to see a pattern emerge. Developments that place Tom Daschle in an unflattering light are buried or ignored. That's because David Kranz knows that what is NOT reported about Tom Daschle is just as important as what IS reported.

UPDATE: One reader e-mails: "Jason—great blog—you could also add the failure to report that Tom Daschle is locked out of negotiations on the energy bill and prescription drug bill. How is that good for SD?"

Another reader e-mails: "The problem with reporting in states like Wyoming, N.D., S.D., and Montana is what is NOT reported. Incumbents can freeze you out, and so reporters pull their punches. Bloggery is accomplishing what the daily papers do not."

posted by Jason | 4:38 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias