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September 22, 2005
Just When South Dakota Looked Safe ...

Look who might stage a comeback attempt in politics -- the former obstructionist and Senate Minority Leader, Tom Daschle. According to the AP, Daschle has quietly organized a new political-action committee and will start making policy speeches, the first in Iowa:

Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's interest in public office isn't necessarily latent: he has set up a new political action committee and plans a Jefferson-Jackson Day speech in the politically pivotal state of Iowa. ...

Steve Hildebrand, director of the new committee and Daschle's former campaign manager, said the well-known Democrat from South Dakota "is not going to rule out opportunities to play important roles in public service."

"It could be president, it could be vice president, it could be something else," Hildebrand said. "It could be nothing."

He said Daschle's Iowa speech, scheduled for the state party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Nov. 5, will probably be his most political since last year's election.

Hildebrand insists that Daschle wants to speak in Iowa to "help his friends" there and not to stage a bid for the Presidency in 2008 or any other "higher office". Daschle must feel quite generously towards his pals in Iowa, if the AP reports this correctly. Daschle transferred half a million dollars into his new PAC and promptly started to hit the hustings for people like Robert Byrd, who might face the same kind of upstart campaign that dethroned Daschle after his long tenure in the Senate.

He told the FEC that he would not plan to run against John Thune in 2010, after his spending triggered an inquiry into his status as a potential national-office candidate. Thune's work in saving Ellsworth AFB removed the last argument Daschle had for convincing the conservative South Dakotans to keep him and his liberal voting record in the Senate, and they're not likely to send him back under any circumstances. Nor will Daschle content himself with a seat in Congress, not after the years he spent in the Senate.

He's aiming higher, not lower, and all of this fundraising and campaigning is meant to remind Democrats of his ability to build the party and deliver the money. Daschle would be the darkest of dark-horse candidates for the top slot in 2008, but he could make a good VP candidate if other combinations don't mesh well. Hillary-Daschle? It could happen. If not, he might well receive a Cabinet position or an ambassadorship if the Democrats win the White House in 2008.

We'll soon find out if Daschle learned anything from the 2004 elections. My guess is that Daschle goes the Al Gore route and tries to tap into the energy on the radical Left.

UPDATE: So far, it looks more like Daschle will swing towards the center. Today he endorsed the confirmation of John Roberts for the Supreme Court, according to the Argus Leader and South Dakota Politics, undermining Harry Reid's leadership in the Senate and the obstructionism Daschle once promoted.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 22, 2005 7:31 AM

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As the Captain has pointed out, Tom Daschle is quietly making a comeback into politics. Since he was ousted from the Senate... [Read More]

Tracked on September 22, 2005 9:56 AM

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