The unfiltered Tom Daschle

Hugh Hewitt finds that the influence of blogging on politics is nowhere more obvious than in Rocket Man’s native South Dakota. As Hugh explains: “Tom Daschle has long sold himself as a moderate to South Dakota voters, and has done so with the assistance of a very friendly local press. But now the locals get the news via a stream of serious reporters trawling the national press and internet sites for the real news on the hyper-partisan Daschle. The result is that, for the first time in Daschle’s political life, he will have to run on his record, not on what he presents as his record.”
HINDROCKET adds: Well, maybe. So far, South Dakota’s newspapers are covering for Daschle. The state’s dominant newspaper, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, has a single political columnist, David Kranz–I think he’s the only one in the state–and he is a former Democratic operative and long-time friend and collaborator of Tom Daschle. Kranz simply reported as a fact that Daschle left the screening of Moore’s film early; readers of the Argus Leader have yet to be told about Moore’s claim that Daschle hugged him.
This story could still make a difference, however, if Thune pushes it. If he talks about it in ads and speeches, neither the press nor Daschle will be able to ignore the issue. I like Thune a lot–hey, he’s a Power Line reader!–and I’ve contributed to his campaign. But I doubt whether he can beat Daschle if he runs the same kind of race he ran two years ago against Tim Johnson. In my opinion, he has nothing to lose by making the Daschle/Moore connection a central theme of his campaign. If people in South Dakota had any idea who Michael Moore is and what he has said, not just about President Bush but about America and Americans–that is to say, about them–they would be appalled that Daschle consorted with Moore and attended the premiere of his movie, whether he hugged Moore or not. This issue could finally strip the veneer of normality off Daschle’s image.
John, if you’re reading this–go for it!

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