Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Is Daschle’s Cynicism Obama's "Change?"

In September 2004 as Senator Tom Daschle campaigned for reelection, Jon Lauck, a professor at South Dakota State University, told NRO readers:

Daschle is a far-cry from South Dakota's other famous senator, George McGovern, who was a confessed and proud liberal and took his lumps for maintaining coherent political stances.

Daschle, on the other hand, is a cynic, a practitioner of Clintonian cooptation, triangulation, and obfuscation. In 1991 Daschle told the Washington Post that the "first thing that comes to my mind in a vote is: Can it [the issue] pass the 30-second test, how successful will it be in applying it to a 30-second ad?" The cynicism and being on both sides of every issue is catching up to him.
Lauck was right about Daschle's cynicism catching up to him. While promising South Dakatons all sorts of federal "goodies" Daschle said he could deliver by virtue of his Senate power and spending tens of millions on his campaign, Daschle lost to underdog John Thune.

For any who might doubt Daschle's cynicism, Lauck's article provided many examples that are worth remembering now. Here are a few of them:
While serving as the chief nemesis of President Bush for three years, Daschle is currently running ads in South Dakota depicting him in a warm embrace with Bush.

Despite turning the U.S. Senate into a killing ground for Bush's legislation and his party's disdain for the President, Daschle depicts the two as chums. While Daschle is running in a pro-Bush Red State and finds it necessary to 'embrace' the President, few have missed his hugging hypocrisy.

Daschle's ability to be both nemesis and chum at the same time is well-practiced.

For example, when he first ran for Congress, he constantly made the case for a balanced-budget amendment.

When the amendment was on the brink of passage in the 1990s, he voted no.

Daschle's affinity for constitutional amendments is strong, however. He's co-sponsored 20 such amendments in the last decade to address such weighty issues as indexing Congressional pay increases.

But during the Federal Marriage Amendment debate this summer, during which Daschle said he "opposed gay marriage," he voted against the FMA based on his disdain for amending the "sacred document" because it needed to be "insulated" from change.

During his first election, Daschle sent a letter to voters saying, "I am opposed to abortion. I do not support it. I have never supported it. It is an abhorrent practice. As a citizen and as a lifelong member of the Catholic faith I will do everything in my power to persuade others that abortion is wrong."

To solidify his Catholic bona fides, Daschle enclosed a letter from eight Catholic nuns saying "We know and we tell those with whom we speak of your abhorrence for abortion — and of your commitment to life."

Daschle now sends fundraising letters for NARAL. When the Bishop of Sioux Falls says Daschle should stop calling himself Catholic and that Catholics should not vote for pro-choice pols, Daschle says his relationship to the church is a private matter, despite his earlier invocation of his Catholicism. …

Earlier this year, Daschle supported Senator Feinstein's gun-control amendments to the gun-manufacturer liability bill, which then died.

In his last competitive Senate race, Daschle said "no representative from our state has ever supported restrictive Federal gun control laws written in Washington and there is a very good reason why. What makes sense in New York is crazy in South Dakota." In 1990, Daschle said "I am against gun control, period."

Daschle has filibustered dozens of judges that President Bush has nominated to the federal bench and prevented them from even receiving an up-or-down Senate vote.
During the Clinton years, however, Daschle said, "I find it simply baffling that a Senator would vote against even voting on a judicial nomination."

Daschle furiously opposed Bush's recess appointments of judges earlier this year, but during the Clinton years Daschle said "that's the only way [the president] can get the nominations through" because the other side was "blocking just about everyone."

Daschle said of Clinton's recess appointments: "I don't blame the president for being frustrated and having lost patience. . . . The president acted, and I'm glad he did." …

In South Dakota this election season, Daschle constantly bashes "outside groups" and 527s for running ads critical of him.

After the passage of campaign-finance reform, however, Daschle's allies immediately set up 527s. In his reelection bid Daschle has raised more money than any candidate in the country and will spend almost $20 million dollars trying to save his seat.

In the 1980s, however, Daschle constantly railed against expensive campaigns and said that "big money [was] going to be the downfall of the American political system."

Daschle now raises his money in Hollywood and the Hamptons, which the New York Times has dubbed "The Democrats' ATM."

While Daschle constantly bashes the "special interests," he is gobbling up triple the PAC money as his opponent, and his wife, son, and daughter-in-law are or have been lobbyists themselves. …
Lauck’s entire article’s here.

It’s well worth a read for what it tells us about Daschle, a cynic who, beneath his cultivated veneer of soft-spoken reasonableness, is a nasty, self-seeking partisan whose grown rich “serving the public.”

I was reminded of Deschle’s cynicism last night when I read in an AP story:
Daschle filed the amended tax returns after Obama announced he intended to nominate him as secretary of health and human services.

"I disclosed this information to the committee voluntarily and paid the taxes and any interest owed promptly," Daschle wrote. "My mistakes were unintentional."
Having finally paid the taxes he owed only after he was nominated, Daschle tells us he did so “voluntarily.”

With Daschle’s nomination President Obama isn’t providing: “Change.”

It’s more like: “Cynicism we can believe in”