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, December 20, 2003  

The New York Times has a report today headlined "Ease a Little Guilt, Provide Some Jobs; It's Pork on the Hill" discussing the FY 2004 omnibus spending bill. Excerpt:

Every state — indeed nearly every Congressional district, no matter Democratic or Republican — is the recipient of one pork project or another. The measure includes $200,000 for the University of Hawaii to produce a documentary on the Kalahari Bushmen, $220,000 to renovate a blueberry research center at the University of Maine and, in a provision Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader, called "most ironic," $500,000 for the "Exercise in Hard Choices" program at the University of Akron, which examines how Congress makes budget decisions.

Tom Daschle's campaign website carries the theme "Tom Daschle Delivers for South Dakota," which sends a message as subtle as a sledgehammer that he will bring home the pork, as long as South Dakotans just forget about his liberal voting record. The problem is, he's NOT bringing it home, and what's more, he's suddenly become some sort of moral exhibitionist about pork-barrel spending, which contradicts his campaign theme. As reported earlier, Tom Daschle objected to a unanimous consent motion that would have allowed this omnibus spending bill to pass, which contained money for, among other things, the construction of a nursing home on the Cheyenne River Reservation, as well as money to renovate the infrastructure of Corsica, SD. Earlier, Tom Daschle refused to use his so-called clout to urge his caucus to support the energy bill, which would have been good for ethanol.

We need a senator who votes right on the issues, AND at the same time brings home the bacon. Tom Daschle certainly does not fit that description.

posted by Jason | 5:25 PM

Tom Daschle's son and daughter-in-law are supporting Howard Dean.

posted by Jason | 2:13 PM

Friday, December 19, 2003  

ED SCHULTZ WATCH: The website contains an update on Ed Shultz of KFGO-AM in Fargo, ND, the liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh, headlined "Ed Schultz Begins Airing Nationally on Democracy Radio, January 5." Excerpt:

For his work on KFGO-Fargo, Schultz has won numerous prestigious awards in the radio industry including the Peabody and the Marconi.

That's not quite true, as I pointed out weeks ago.

On a related note, check out's website, which contains photos of the usual suspects.

posted by Jason | 11:00 AM

DASCHLE HAVING IT BOTH WAYS ON ABORTION: The website has a piece headlined "Catholic Politicians Can't Have It Both Ways."

posted by Jason | 10:42 AM

Senator George McGovern is wintering in Marco Island, Florida, according to a piece in the Naples Daily News headlined "McGoverns settle in as Marco's newest residents."

posted by Jason | 10:32 AM

Thursday, December 18, 2003  

I had to chuckle at a letter to the editor from a Daschle supporter, published in today's Argus Leader, scolding a previous writer for citing the results of online polls as evidence of a lack of support for Tom Daschle. Her point is absolutely correct: it's ridiculous to rely on unscientific polls.

At one point, this Daschle supporter states that "If people present online polls as if they are scientifically based, their motives should be suspect." I wonder if this Daschle supporter would agree that Tom Daschle's motives should be suspect, in light of the fact that he recently cited an online poll published in the Rapid City Journal during debate on the Senate floor. Here's what Daschle said on the Senate floor:

"This bill is deeply flawed. There is a poll in this morning's South Dakota Rapid City Journal. The poll simply asked the question, Do you think the legislation the Senate is about to pass is adequate? Mr. President, 64.5 percent of those who responded said no, it is not adequate. Those of us who have been working on this legislation should not be surprised."

Don't expect to see a letter from this writer excoriating Tom Daschle for "presenting an online poll as if it were scientifically based" as vigorously as she does the writer guilty of the same shenanigans.

posted by Jason | 10:45 PM

DASCHLE RAISES $50G, LOVES LIMOUSINE LIBERALS: Tom Daschle was in Providence, Rhode Island last night to scoop up more cash for his campaign here in South Dakota. The Providence Journal supplies the details in a story headlined "Daschle gets R.I. money for S.D. race."

The story also provides SDP's quote of the day:

"My favorite people are those who live like Republicans and support Democrats," said Daschle.

So much for the little guy.

UPDATE: has a post headlined "Daschle does the trial lawyer hop."

posted by Jason | 10:33 AM

Wednesday, December 17, 2003  

The transcript of Tom Daschle's appearance on C-Span's "Booknotes" a couple of weeks ago can now be accessed HERE. Excerpt:

LAMB: You know that your marriage is somewhat controversial in political circles. You bring it up in the book. But I wanted to ask you about two different references to your wife. The first time I read it, I`ll admit I laughed, I just chuckled a little bit. Then I read another one. The first time I read your reference to your wife -- I`m going to find it here. It`s on page 108 -- you describe her as the following. You say, "she has worked as a public policy analyst for the aviation industry for more than 20 years." And then about 200 pages later, you say "Linda is an influential aviation lobbyist."

At first I thought you were defining a lobbyist as a public policy analyst, then I realized later that you had actually identified her as a lobbyist, and the problems that were created by her being an aviation lobbyist. So -- did you know that you -- you consciously ...


LAMB: ...define them two different ways?

DASCHLE: I did, because she hasn`t been a lobbyist for 25 years. She`s been an analyst. Part of a lobbyist`s job is to analyze and to provide clients with the best analytical information about public policy that you can. But in her case, she started out, of course, working for an airline and then went to an association representing airports, and then she became the deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration for a number of years, and then came out to become a lobbyist with a number of aviation clients. So, throughout her life she`s been a public policy analyst. Currently she`s not only an analyst but a lobbyist.

LAMB: So, in a town like this, you name a lot of power couples in the town. Is it -- is it a problem at all ever for your constituency? That this is a lobbyist, and you are a high-powered senator?

DASCHLE: I don`t think so, Brian. I think people in South Dakota know us well. We spend a lot of time at home. I get into every county every year. I think I`m probably as accessible as anybody has been in my state. Linda comes home a lot. I think people feel they know us, and they -- I think they -- they understand what life is like in Washington and respect the fact that she has her own career, her own professional ambitions and aspirations, and that the spouse of a public service person should not be penalized or in any way criticized for the fact that she or he has their own professional life to live.

posted by Jason | 9:16 PM

Tom Daschle is attending a fundraiser for his campaign today in Providence, Rhode Island. Sen. Jack Reed is hosting the fundraiser at the home of Providence lawyer Jack McConnell. Tickets are $500 and $1,000. Once again, Tom Daschle is raising cash among wealthy East Coast liberals, as he did last week in Jacksonville, Florida under a shroud of secrecy. And of course the Argus Leader is nowhere to be found on this story.

UPDATE: The blog has the scoop on Jack McConnell, the Providence lawyer who is opening his home to Tom Daschle for a fundraiser today.

posted by Jason | 5:02 PM

The American Spectator's Washington Prowler has a report on Tom Daschle's latest efforts to unify his caucus, headlined "Terrified Tom."

posted by Jason | 4:02 PM

Jeff Gannon, resident DC expert on South Dakota politics, has a new report, headlined "Special Interest Dollars Fuel Daschle's 'Shadowboxing' Campaign."

posted by Jason | 11:42 AM

DASCHLE FAILS TO DELIVER--AGAIN: The National Journal's CongressDaily reports that Tom Daschle objected to a unanimous consent motion to approve the fiscal year 2004 omnibus spending bill, which contained $43 million worth of projects for South Dakota. One such earmark was $275,000 for a nursing home on the Cheyenne River Reservation. The South Dakota Native American community has to be thinking that with friends like these, who needs enemies?

Naturally, there's no screeching from the Argus Leader about this story, in contrast to last year when the Bush administration didn't offer as much drought relief as the Argus Leader would have preferred. Or contrast the AL's reaction when the Bush administration drafted a budget that cut funding for the Lewis and Clark water project to the AL's silence on Daschle's latest failure to deliver.

posted by Jason | 11:17 AM

Tuesday, December 16, 2003  

It has been a slow news day today for South Dakota politics, aside from the Thune announcement. No hush-hush Daschle fundraisers or anything like that. But look for reports out of Rhode Island tomorrow on a fundraiser that Daschle will be holding in that state. He's going to be raising cash out-of-state even more frenetically in the coming days, as it appears more likely that Thune will run against him.

posted by Jason | 5:19 PM

John Thune has just sent a letter to Randy Frederick, chair of the South Dakota Republican Party, indicating that he will NOT be running for the House.

UPDATE: The AP's Carson Walker reports.

posted by Jason | 1:11 PM

Monday, December 15, 2003  

The Democratic blog Daily Kos contains a post soliciting donations for Stephanie Herseth's campaign. Also, read the comments, which include a couple by a member of Herseth's campaign staff, as well as some comments which prompt the blog's moderator to tell his readers to "keep your hormones in check."

posted by Jason | 11:42 PM

KRANZ WATCH: When will David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, report on the fact that many Democrats are disgruntled with Tom Daschle's leadership, and that some at the grassroots level are even calling for him to be removed from his leadership position? We've seen a report in the National Journal quoting various Democratic staffers, an editorial in the New Republic, and quotes by various liberals in various other publications, all indicating a groundswell of unhappiness with Tom Daschle's leadership. Also, the conservative American Spectator reported recently that Daschle "seems resigned to losing his leadership post after the next election." Then there's the editorial position of Buzzflash, a liberal grassroots website that reaches 2.5 million readers a month, calling for Tom Daschle to be removed as the Democratic leader.

Will Kranz report? Or will he continue to ignore stories that may damage Tom Daschle's implicit campaign promise that if re-elected, he will remain the Democratic leader? As many now know, Kranz and Daschle are old college chums. If John Thune runs against Daschle, no doubt we'll see Kranz using his influence at the Argus Leader to provide "vituperative" and "hysterical" coverage of Thune, as even such publications as the New York Times and Roll Call described the AL's coverage of another Republican Senate candidate thirteen years ago.

posted by Jason | 7:04 PM

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS TOM DASCHLE?: This Wednesday, Tom Daschle will be in Rhode Island for another fundraiser with wealthy Eastern liberals who have probably never set foot in South Dakota in their lives. Last Thursday, Tom Daschle traveled to Florida for a what a local newspaper labeled a hush-hush fundraiser. Tom Daschle sure is raising a lot of money outside the state of South Dakota. And apparently, he'd rather not have any scrutiny when he does it.

FLASHBACK: Recall that in November, Tom Daschle made a quick trip to Denver to pick up some campaign cash.

posted by Jason | 5:43 PM

The New Republic, one of SDP's favorite publications, is disgruntled with Tom Daschle's leadership, as seen in a piece headlined "Spare the Rod?." Excerpt:

In 2001, around the time Kennedy was fawning over the education bill, Baucus and Breaux were helping to pass the Bush tax cut under a "bipartisan" label. Although Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle was said to be furious at both men, his anger didn't stop the two of them from pulling the same stunt again last month.

Which is why it's time for Democrats to do more than get angry--and actually punish their most egregious defectors. Party leaders, for instance, should at least raise the specter of stripping Baucus of his position as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, where he continually uses his power to undermine his own party.

posted by Jason | 4:56 PM

The AP's Jack Sullivan provides an update on the coming Thune decision headlined "Thune Courted for House and Senate Bids."

posted by Jason | 1:29 PM

Sibby Online has details about a letter to the editor published in the Argus Leader yesterday, which mysteriously is not available online.

posted by Jason | 11:27 AM

DASCHLE'S HUSH-HUSH FUNDRAISER: The Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville has a report headlined "Daschle ducks (in) city."

U.S. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle slipped into Jacksonville on Thursday for a private fund-raiser, then visited a Jacksonville Bar holiday party before popping in at the North Florida Building and Central Trades Council holiday oyster roast.

Attorney Wayne Hogan hosted a fund-raiser at the University Club for Daschle, a South Dakotan running next year. Daschle later spoke for eight to 10 minutes at the union event at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers hall, talking about Democrats regaining seats and the majority in the Senate, said Eddie Dedmon, council president.

But what surprised some Democrats is the visit was hush-hush, and U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown -- the city's top elected Democrat -- and aides didn't know about it until Friday. Party leaders and Hogan, who led the fund raiser, did nothing to publicly promote the visit as the party seeks to rev up for the 2004 elections.

"I am quite certain, had she known he was in town, she would have attended," said Brown's chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons. "Daschle is a national figure who would galvanize Democrats in North Florida."

Hogan said the fund-raiser was planned in advance, but the other events were spur of the moment. The Bar party was downstairs from the fund-raiser, and the union party was on the way to the airport. Local Chairman Clyde Collins and donor Steve Pajcic said they learned about it that day.

"It wasn't my show. He came for a private visit," Collins said. "We hope to have him back."

Dedmon said he got wind of the visit about 4 p.m., several hours before Daschle spoke to a crowd of 300.

"It was really an unexpected visit," he said.

Why all the secrecy? It's not as though Jacksonville is Baghdad or something. Could it be Daschle doesn't want his South Dakota constituents to know he's scooping up campaign cash from wealthy out-of-state contributors? He shouldn't worry. Everyone knows that the Argus Leader, and particularly David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, won't report it.

posted by Jason | 11:04 AM

Dr. Bill Richardson and Secretary of State Chris Nelson will be fielding your questions on the Janklow verdict tomorrow night at 8 p.m. on SDPB's "South Dakota Focus."

posted by Jason | 9:28 AM

Sunday, December 14, 2003  

I woke up this morning at around 8:30, flipped on the TV to NBC's Meet the Press, where Tim Russert was just going to commercial, saying that Saddam Hussein had been captured. I was still groggy, but THAT cleared my head in a hurry. I actually started whooping and clapping, a response much like that of the reporters at Ambassador Paul Bremer's press conference as the news was announced. Then, when President Bush appeared on television, his words underlined my own gratefulness to our men and women serving in harm's way. A great, historic day. But now I must go Christmas shopping, so blogging will be sparse the rest of the day.

posted by Jason | 12:32 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias