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September 29, 2004
South Dakota Isn't Kerry's Fault

The AP features an analysis of John Kerry's down-ticket effect, but the main case presented has little to do with Kerry and his candidacy:

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle hugged President Bush from one end of South Dakota to the other this summer. In his own campaign commercials.

The brief embrace might seem an odd claim on re-election for the man Republicans depict as obstructionist-in-chief for the president's congressional agenda. But Daschle is one of several candidates with a common political problem as Democrats nurse fragile hopes of gaining Senate control this fall.

From the South to South Dakota and Alaska, they are running in areas where Bush is popular and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry not so much.

Democrats in the South and West have a big problem with Kerry at the top of the ticket. Right now he's barely able to hold his base, commonly considered 40% and coincidentally the same level of support he received in the latest Pew poll. But the problems that Tom Daschle faces in South Dakota are entirely self-inflicted, although Kerry's association surely doesn't help in a state that Bush won by 22 points in 2000.

As minority leader of the Senate, Daschle has led an unprecedented attack on the traditions of the Senate and the appointment of judges. No federal judicial nominee save Abe Fortas had ever been filibustered before Bush's term, and the Fortas filibuster was bipartisan. Once a candidate came out of the Judiciary Committee, the Senate always gave the nominee an up-or-down vote -- something Daschle has denied almost a dozen Bush nominees now. It's obstructionism at its worst, an escalation of a process that had already been too partisan by half.

Now that Daschle's running for re-election, it behooves him to suck up to Bush in his ad campaigns, but the majority of South Dakotans won't be fooled. Daschle has strayed from his centrist-right constituency and literally embraced the leftist lunacy of Michael Moore more than he ever embraced George Bush. That may play well among the limousine liberal set in Hollywood and the Northeast, but his home state has been highly unimpressed with the company Daschle really keeps.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 29, 2004 5:43 AM

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