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.
Friday, January 16, 2004
WHERE'S THE CLOUT?: Tom Daschle is risking the sacrifice of millions of dollars for South Dakota priorities in the omnibus spending bill in order to champion the priorities of the party he leads, as seen by a story in the Washington Post today headlined "GOP Senators Push To Pass Spending Bill." Excerpt:
Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) sent senators a letter last week listing home-state projects they would lose if the bill failed. And yesterday Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) warned colleagues in a letter that defeat would mean a loss of spending increases for many popular national programs.
"Attached you will find a list of projects that may be of particular interest to you," Stevens wrote in what a senior GOP aide described as an unusual but not unprecedented move to remind senators of their personal political stake in passage of a bill.
One Senate aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said his senator's list included more than 300 items spread over nine pages, including one as small as $25,000 for a youth center.
How is Tom Daschle "delivering for South Dakota" when his leadership duties demand that he block funding for South Dakota spending items in the omnibus bill?
It would be very interesting to see the contents of the letter sent by Ted Stevens to Tom Daschle. For a list of the money earmarked for South Dakota in the omnibus spending bill, click HERE.
posted by Jason |
DASCHLE V. GIAGO: John Fund of the Wall Street Journal writes on Tom Daschle's primary opponent, Tim Giago:
Daschle Faces Revolt on the Reservation
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle faces a tough race this year with former GOP Rep. John Thune, but first he will have to contend with an unusual primary challenge from an American Indian leader. Tim Giago, a member of the Ogala Lakota tribe and editor of the Lakota Journal newspaper in Rapid City, says he will run because the "Indian vote on the Indian reservations has been taken for granted."
Mr. Giago isn't going to beat an incumbent senator well on his way to collecting a $10 million campaign warchest. But his candidacy signals a distance between the Democrats and Indians since 2002, when Democratic Senator Tim Johnson won re-election against a Thune challenge by some 500 votes amidst rampant voting irregularities on Indian reservations.
Mr. Giago's candidacy is one of several signs the Indian vote may not be monolithically Democratic this year in South Dakota. Russell Means, a leader of the Ogala Sioux tribe who narrowly lost a bid for tribal president in 2002, says Indians need to increase their clout with both major parties and indicates he'll be spending the year supporting Republican candidates like Mr. Thune. Democrats are crying foul and saying Indians are violating a long-standing mutual-support deal, but given the record of broken agreements between white politicians and Native Americans, it's not an argument that washes with tribal leaders.
Tim Giago's Lakota Journal contains an interesting editorial this week, which in part discusses the candidates for federal office in South Dakota. Excerpt:
The national election is a horse of a different color. Not only will we hear from all of the candidates hoping to unseat Bush, we are also about to elect a new Congressional representative to replace "Wild Bill" Janklow and we are also faced with deciding between Tom Daschle and a challenger for his senate seat.
Without going out on the limb, we strongly support Stephanie Herseth for the House of Representatives. We will not get behind a senatorial candidate just yet. There are a few things we hope to get out to our readers prior to endorsing any one candidate for the Senate.
NRO has predictions on the Senate race in South Dakota. Excerpt:
Polls indicate that when GOP congressman John Thune challenged Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson in 2002, about 20 percent of South Dakota's Republicans voted for Johnson on the theory that it was better to pull the lever for the man in the Senate majority. Thune lost by a whisker. Now the Democrats aren't in the majority and Thune is taking on Tom Daschle. The race will be close — and if Thune loses, Republican will grumble that he should have run for his old House seat because the Democrats stand a good chancing of winning it this year. LEANING DEMOCRATIC RETENTION
ARGUS SLEIGHT OF HAND: Yesterday I posted a reader's observation about the sleight of hand the Argus Leader's editors conducted on an LA Times story re-printed in the AL. The AL's editors made a subtle change to the LAT article, omitting a phrase and replacing it with neutral language, thereby portraying Tom Daschle in a less negative light than did the original LAT copy.
The Argus Leader's editors are "keenly aware of the subtle effects that the use and omission of words have on influencing public opinion." In reading a book entitled "Journalistic Fraud" (which I highly recommend), the passage in quotes above, which is lifted from the book, struck me as an apt description of the latest discovery of the AL's attempts to downplay news that reflects negatively upon Tom Daschle.
ED SCHULTZ WATCH: A fellow liberal talk show host asks whether Ed Schultz, touted as the liberal Rush Limbaugh, is an opportunist:
[I]n your professional past, among the many, many other things that you've done for a living in the media and outside the media, you have been a conservative talk show host, where you were using all of the same professional techniques and tricks of the trade to sell a conservative point of view, and now all of a sudden you're on the other side of the political spectrum. Did you have a "come to Jesus" moment about your personal politics, or are you an opportunist who's just taken what looks like a pretty good gig?
Elsewhere in the news, Ed Schultz gets mentioned in US News & World Report's "Washington Whispers:"
Fargo, N.D.'s Ed Schultz has a face for local radio--and a voice for national Democrats. After years of Democratic promises to match Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, Jones Radio Networks is offering up the tough-talking Schultz. "This is war," Schultz says of his battle with conservative radio. That you've probably never heard of the longtime radio guy doesn't matter to the Dems. They rushed on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, candidates Wes Clark, Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, and Joe Lieberman, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in Schultz's first week.
DASCHLE AND DEAN: BusinessWeek has an interesting piece that discusses Tom Daschle's likely reaction to Howard Dean, should Dean become the Democratic nominee, headlined "What Party Elders Overlook in Dean." Excerpt:
The nightmare scenario for Capitol Hill pols: The outspoken Dean utters a campaign gaffe that's amplified and spread, like political poison, by the Bush public relations machine. Then, few Dems, especially in the South and West, will want to share a stage with the Vermonter. Consider Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, who faces a tough reelection campaign in South Dakota. If Dean is behind by 10 points in October, Daschle may want to call out the border patrol to keep him out of town.
ARGUS SLEIGHT OF HAND: An observant reader has spotted an interesting sleight of hand conducted by the editors of the Argus Leader. Last summer, the Los Angeles Times ran a piece on lobbying by family members of senators and congressmen. Linda Daschle was mentioned in the piece, as blockquoted below:
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.
A week later, the Argus Leader ran the LAT story cited above (after a lot of pestering) on the front page of the June 29 edition. But the Argus Leader edited the above paragraph to read as follows (the edited part is in bold):
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 passed by Congress.
The AL's editors omitted "pushed by the Democratic leadership" and replaced it with "passed by Congress." Can there be a more blatant example of the AL downplaying news that reflects badly on Tom Daschle?
posted by Jason |
DASCHLE LEADERSHIP IN JEOPARDY?: More murmuring from the left about Senator Daschle's leadership can be found in the new edition of the American Prospect, in a piece headlined "Come Together." Excerpt:
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and his whip, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), need to do a better job of keeping their party together. This is no time to be a wishy-washy Democrat. Speaking recently about the energy and Medicare bills, Daschle told CQ Weekly that Democrats who supported Medicare reform "just felt that we had to take what we could get. … I found myself supporting the energy bill using the same strategy." The problem with Daschle's statement is that legislating on Capitol Hill is now a test of wills; as long as Republicans aren't willing to settle, Democrats shouldn't be, either.
KRANZ WATCH: David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, made an appearance on CNN's "Capital Gang" yesterday. As seen by his piece yesterday, headlined "Analysts expect nastiest ever South Dakota campaign" (in which not a single analyst is named) Kranz is trying to shape the contours of the debate in South Dakota. Because he is an instrument of the Daschle campaign, that can't be allowed to happen. You can access the transcript HERE. The segment with Kranz follows:
Next on CAPITAL GANG, "Beyond the Beltway" looks at the challenge to Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota, with David Kranz of "The Sioux Falls Argus Leader."
SHIELDS: Welcome back. In South Dakota, former Congressman John Thune announced as a Republican candidate against Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle. Immediately began debating whether the state should elect a senator to support President Bush, or to retain the leader of the opposition party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: I've also been able to develop a very close and good relationship with the people of my state, and I'm proud of that. So I'm not sure that -- whether it's President Bush or any other celebrity is going to make that much difference.
JOHN THUNE, REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, SOUTH DAKOTA: The person with the clout in the United States Senate is going to be the one who can work in a constructive way with the majority party, with the White House, with the House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHIELDS: Joining us now from Sioux Falls, South Dakota is David Kranz, political writer for "The Sioux Falls Argus Leader." Thank you for coming in, David.
DAVID KRANZ, SIOUX FALLS ARGUS LEADER: Hi, how are you.
SHIELDS: David, if John Thune could not defeat Tim Johnson two years ago for the Senate, why we consider he should have a chance against Tom Daschle in 2004?
KRANZ: That's a question he began weighing about a couple of weeks after that 2002 election. Some Republicans were telling him, you run this race and lose again, your political future is done. So as time went on, he was sorting out his decision, he started to contrast Senator Daschle's record with Senator Johnson, and he said, Daschle is far more liberal, and I think a race of John Thune versus Daschle would be easier to define for voters; Thune the conservative, Daschle the liberal. And that was one of the thins that really pushed him to the point of getting into the race.
SHIELDS: Bob Novak.
NOVAK: David, let me take a minute to say that I created quite an uproar in South Dakota with some remarks I made on this program and on "CROSSFIRE" about Native American voting, I want to say I did not intend any bias against Native Americans. I don't have any bias against Native Americans or anybody else, but I do feel, based on my reporting, that there were very serious voting irregularities in 2002 in South Dakota, which the -- I also believe that -- which the Republican Party, for political purposes, did not want to protest.
My question is, are the Republicans looking at the voting on Indian reservations in this upcoming election and worrying about taking any corrective measures on it?
KRANZ: Governor Rounds in particular is paying close attention to improving relations with the Native Americans. He's appointed a Native American to the state senate, and they are actively interested in playing this election a lot harder. They feel that they can make a case on the reservation for their side. You have some very key Native Americans, including Russell Means (ph), who tells Democrats, don't take this for granted anymore. You just can't. Tim Daego (ph), a gentlemen who announced his candidacy against Tom Daschle in the primary said the same thing. He says, hey, Democrats, don't take, you know, the Native Americans for granted.
So they've sounded out the warning shot, that on the other hand the Daschle campaign is saying, if you thought that our 2002 effort was big for Johnson, you ain't seen nothing yet. So it's going to be interesting to watch.
SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.
CARLSON: David, in the special election in June, to replace former Congressman Janklow, Stephanie Herseth is greatly favored, and if she wins, the Democrat, is that going to effect Tom Daschle's race? In that you would have a completely Democratic congressional delegation in what's a Republican state?
KRANZ: You hear Republicans saying that, they're saying, hey, we need, you know, to make sure that we preserve one of those seats and hopefully pick up the Senate seat. And so that's become an issue out here. And so John Thune when they said, Congressman Thune, we need you to bypass the Senate race, get in this race so we can, quote, "save the Republican Party." He says, the party doesn't see -- need saving, many good Republicans in this race that can do it. And so he went to the Senate race instead.
But there are some people who believe that these Republicans, these 20 percent Republicans who oftentimes vote Democrat may choose between one of the two, and let either Daschle or Herseth fall by the wayside, and so that's part of the discussion.
SHIELDS: Al Hunt.
HUNT: Dave, as you know, in 1992, Tom Daschle ran 25 points ahead of Bill Clinton in South Dakota, but that was against a very weak Republican opponent. This time, he's got a formidable opponent. Is there any concern among the Daschle people about the top of the ticket, particularly Howard Dean being the nominee and hurting Tom Daschle in South Dakota?
KRANZ: I think their side is concerned about that, but one of the things about South Dakota when you look at it, we're pretty inconsistent with the rest of the country. We have voted for many -- we have only voted for three Democrats for president, only four governors have been Democrat. Yet we continue to have an equal opportunity seat in the United States Senate, and Democrats are comfortable that that's not going to be an issue. In fact, when you talk about the previous question of the Republican advantage of maybe trying to win all three seats, Democrats are saying, well, you've got George Bush to vote for; we'll take the other three, and they're making that case and that particular argument.
SHIELDS: David, in 2002, there wasn't a state of all the Senate races where the president devoted more attention, energy and time than he did in South Dakota, trying to help John Thune against Tim Johnson. With all due respect to the state of Mount Rushmore, it's highly unlikely that the president will be visiting South Dakota much in 2004. How will that effect the Daschle-Thune race?
KRANZ: I don't want to speak for John Thune, but I got to believe he's thinking that's OK with him, because virtually every visit by President Bush in 2002 ended up in some sort of a mess. On August 15, he went to Mount Rushmore, didn't bring aid, disaster aid to the farmers and ranchers out there, and had a little bit of a backlash. He went to Aberdeen on October 29, and a ticketing snafu left 2,000 people holding tickets standing in the cold. On November 3, he came back for a final hurrah, filled the arena, tore down the entire Republican operation for getting out the vote so they could fill the arena, and Bush's visits weren't exactly a big plus for him at that point in time.
SHIELDS: Short time, Bob.
NOVAK: Dave, do you think the fact that Tom Daschle is no longer majority leader undermines the necessity for South Dakota to keep their high position in the U.S. Senate?
KRANZ: I'll tell you this, the majority leader, minority issue is a big deal in South Dakota. I've talked to a lot of Republicans who are sympathetic to Daschle, some of that 20 percent, and I asked them, what happens if Daschle runs for reelection but does not run for minority leader? The (UNINTELLIGIBLE) over the top of the table or over the phone, I hear saying, listen, South Dakota is so often 50th in everything. We finally got somebody in the United States Senate in the position of power and influence that can get things done for the state, and oh by the way, get things done for us. So why would we throw that out?
And that becomes a real tough point for that 20 percent of the Republicans who still support or will support Democrats. It's going to be awfully tough for John Thune to go get that vote, even though that has to be one of his top priorities in this election.
SHIELDS: David Kranz, thank you again very much for being with us. You've been terrific.
GIAGO V. DASCHLE: Rapid City Journal political reporter Denise Ross reports on Native American journalist and publisher Tim Giago challenging Tom Daschle in a Democratic primary: "Tim Giago to challenge Daschle in Senate race."