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The jury is still out

The jury is still out on Tom Daschle’s performance in the Senate yesterday. Hugh Hewitt considers it a “Muskie moment” that will seriously damage Daschle’s career. I don’t know; the newspaper headlines I’ve seen have been along the lines of “Daschle Rips Bush,” not “Bizarre Near-Breakdown in Senate.” Why did he do it? The ostensible point of the speech was to complain about something that Bush never said; in fact, Bush never even came close. Daschle is a man who doesn’t get out of bed in the morning without consulting a poll, so he is no doubt aware that by a two to one margin, Americans are more likely to think the Democrats are playing politics with Iraq than the President. I assume he thought it would be helpful to the Democrats’ prospects in November to try to narrow that gap. Whether he succeeded, I have no idea. I doubt that in today’s America, the sight of a male politician getting in touch with his feelings on the evening news will damage his career. Whether Daschle achieved his larger goal of narrowing the credibility gap on the war, we will see when the next polls come out–and ultimately, of course, in November.

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