Johnson v. Daschle

Zell Was Right,” by Rich Lowry, National Review Online,, 14 January 2005 (from South Dakota Politics).

When Tim Johnson escorted John Thune down the Senate aisle to be sworn in, it was a complicated moment. John and Thune had run against each other in 2002. If not for Daschle’s efforts to keep Johnson in office, Daschle would still have his job and Johnson would be a has-been.

But things would get more complex. Like the fact Jim Jordan, former spokesman for Tim Johnson and former John Kerry campaign manager, has jumped on the pro-Zell-Miller bandwagon

“We are too coastal. We are too urban. We are too secular. And, most of all, we are too dovish. The public simply doesn’t trust us to keep them safe”

Rich Lowry opines

All the Democrats who now say that the party has foolishly given up on the South, that it is unable to connect with religious voters, that it is too beholden to liberal orthodoxy on social issues, that Americans don’t trust it on national defense, and that it doesn’t speak the language of most Americans should take a deep breath and repeat after me: “Zell Miller was right.”

This turnabout is extraordinary given the kind of criticisms that were lodged at Miller last year, especially after he amplified the arguments in his book in a humdinger of a speech at the Republican National Convention. An AFL-CIO official said Miller had “lost his damn mind.” James Carville said Miller was being “cynically manipulated by people who are greedy to hold on to power at any cost.” Well, Miller appears, in light of events, to have been the shrewdest cynically manipulated lunatic in all of human history.

“In the eyes of Middle America,” Miller wrote of the Democratic party, “it has become a value-neutral party.” That is almost mild compared with what other Democrats are now saying. Even Miller’s battering of the party for being too extreme on abortion has gained a measure of acceptance. Howard Dean of all people — another candidate to lead the DNC — now says, “I have long believed that we ought to make a home for pro-life Democrats.”

Of course, if not for Daschle this would not have happened. A more competent democratic leader would not have alienated life-long Democrats like Miller and would not have allowed the national party to be tarred by blue-state extremism.

Ironic. Or is it fitting?

If that isn’t Right…

The Death of HB 1191,” by Eleanor J. Bader, Z Magazine,, May 2004.

Kranz,” by Chad. M. Shuldt, Clean Cut Kid,, 16 January 2005.

Clean Cut Kid read the same Sfal article on the collapse of the South Dakota Democratic Party and Herseth’s shift to the right, but he caught something I did not.

The legislator who accused Stephanie Herseth for “moving” to the right voted to end abortion. Period. No qualifiers. This is further than I would go.

For an idea of the text….

Thelma Underberg, executive director of the state’s NARAL chapter, was shocked by the callousness of the rhetoric and the frenzy that accompanied the bill’s introduction. “One woman who got up to speak said that she understood that rape was traumatic, but that she could not help but think it would be therapeutic for the woman to give birth to new life,” she reports. After debating this issue, Underberg says that lawmakers voted against including a rape or incest exception. They also voted down a provision to allow abortion in cases of fetal deformity. Legislators did, however, toss a sop at ambivalent, would-be allies, and agreed to allow abortion in cases of life or health endangerment.

Eventually, the Governor vetoed it because he felt it might inadvertantly make some abortions legal while it was being challenged. Rounds’ “style and form” veto only survived by one vote.

I want to thank Chad for bringing this to my attention. It shows what consequences Daschle’s unprincipled support of the most murderous abortions have wrought: a countermovement that will be extreme in the opposite direction.

Democrats, especially blue-state Democrats, need to realize this. Those who support abortion in all cases will end up ending abortion in all cases. This is not a battle that Democrats can win.

After Janklow-Daschle

“Daschle’s Defeat Spurring Debate Among Democrats,” by David Kranz, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Page 1B, 16 January 2005.

South Dakota democrat and political commentator David Kranz relays some thoughts on the continuing implosion of the South Dakota Democratic Party

The return of [Republican] Gov. Bill Janklow in 1995 “was a reversion to jugular politics that hit like a tsunami,” Lange said.

Daschle and the state Democratic Party leadership share the blame for the decline, he said.

The leadership of Sen. Daschle and the state party failed utterly in stemming this tidal wave that reduced us to nine seats in the Senate and 22 in the House,” Lange said.

Friendship between Daschle and Janklow was a “symbiotic relationship,” he said.

I don’t think rebuilding the state Democratic Party is the primary concern to any winning national candidate as long as their alliance with enough Republican voters holds,” Lange said.

I doubt whether Rep. (Stephanie) Herseth, who keeps moving further to the right, is going to be the spark to re-ignite the Democratic Party when she can when without it.”

In the 2004 election, South Dakotans knew that Tom lost touch with the state. His concerns were those of the national party, not South Dakotans.

Over time, the true damage the Janklow-Daschle duarchy caused to South Dakota becomes more and more known. Both attempted to destroy their political parties to help themselves. The difference is that the Republican Party can survive without Bill (Governor Rounds and Senator Thune are much more conservative and popular than Janklow ever was).

Can the Democratic Party survive without Daschle? With only closeted Republican Stephie Herseth and more-bland-than-humanly-possible Senator Johnson holding statewise seats, probably not.

Update: More recently, Bill took out a two-page ad praising Tom.