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Wednesday, August 19, 2009



"a man who has proven his lack of sympathy for the elderly and ailing."

This statement is even more stupid than the 'concerns' about illegal immigrants getting health care and "death panels" and every other stupid, patently false thing you and your ilk no doubt wanted to ask Daschle about at this thing.

It's also the kind of pathetically cheap statement that ensures no one will ever take you seriously from this point forward.


You know Miranda, I was very involved in the 2004 race between Thune and Daschle. Going door to door, I met people who absolutely hated Tom not for his policies, but as an individual. That was no accident and it had not been the case in any previous campaigns.

I watched as Tom's character was assailed constantly by one of the meanest campaigns in our states history--including accusing him of being unpatriotic. There is no way Thune would have won his narrow victory had he not demonized Tom beyond any semblance of reality and the lax standards of campaign civility.

Throughout that onslaught, Tom Daschle never once said anything personally derogatory about his opponent. I'm certain he never projected to you any level of disrespect and condescension the times you met him as he just isn't like that. Yet you continue to vilify him here as he attempts to field a few questions about health care. You tell me, what should one make of that?

P. Chirry

If you don't want your character attacked, don't be cruel to Strom Thurmond?

Anyway, I attended the town hall meeting. It wasn't Daschle "attempting to field a few questions about health care". It was Daschle and his liberal AARP buddies spewing out meaningless Democratic health care talking points and statistics. They didn't explain how the legislation would work are what was even in it. I don't think I heard the phrase "public option" once.

They did tell us, though, that there were no death panels. That was good to know.


Maybe cautioning people against Flint's posts is what's meant by a Miranda warning.


A.I.: I too have gone door to door on tough campaigns, so I can sympathize with you. Hostility is common in politics and the 2004 election was no exception. But Democrats cannot claim the moral high ground on hostility. Some have joked about incest in the Palin family, Alec Baldwin said that Henry Hyde and his children should be stoned to death, Nancy Pelosi has called townhall protesters Nazis.

This post was not like any of those things. I looked at Tom Daschle's actions and drew a logical conclusion. If what I said was nasty, so is the truth. Really, A.I. is it meaner to point out that someone doesn't seem to care much about the ill or is it worse to treat sick people badly?

P. Chirry: Exactly. No conservative forced Daschle to prevent Biden from helping Thurmond. That was his own doing. AAR, by the way, just lost thousands of members because of its support for the healthcare plan.

FascistSocialist: I like it!

Really?: I'm sorry! Next time I'll write something like:
Tom Daschle showed his genuine love and support for the ill and ailing by preventing Joe Biden from helping an ailing, 98-year-old Strom Thurmond.

What is interesting to me is that no one has bothered to offer a real defense of Daschle's actions in the Strom Thurmond case, or his ties to UnitedHealth.


Maybe because no defense is necessary?


There is a big difference between jokes about Palin and deliberate efforts by a Senate campaign to incite and motivate the a hate vote. The other two things you cite are pathetic right-wing canards.

Alec Baldwin, as part of an attempt during an appearance on "Late Night" to self-mock his own tendencies to employ radical rhetoric, said what you quote. That was misinterpreted by the irony-challenged and/or those wishing to portray him as sadistic and demented. At the end of the feigned rant, O'Brien applied an oxygen mask to Baldwin. It was planned. It was a joke. Ha, ha. Bad taste? Arguably yes. Not your brand of humor, fine. But Baldwin was not inciting people to kill Hyde or his family.

As for Pelosi, she never accused anyone of being a Nazi. She said some protesters at town halls were carrying swastikas which was reference to people conflating President Obama and efforts to reform health care with Nazis. There were protesters doing just that. So lets be clear that it was protesters calling Obama and his supporters Nazis, or at least Nazi-like and Pelosi was simply pointing out their actions.

Spare me the "protesters did the same to Bush" rejoinder, I know they did. That just means two wrongs don't make a right and it has nothing to do with the Thune campaign demonizing Daschle and your continued effort at the same--which are third and fourth wrongs that still do not make a right.

The reference you make to Thurmond is more of the same. It was not Daschle's job to make Strom Thurmond comfortable and we do not know exactly what was said by whom during the incident you reference. We do know Republicans were working to pass a trillion dollar tax cut through reconciliation and Democrats were trying to make changes though amendments. Daschle's first duty was to do what he and his supporters believed to be best for America and apparently he did just that.

Were Thune minority leader and in a similar situation, and Orrin Hatch were offering to pair his vote with an ailing Ted Kennedy (they are friends you know), I would expect him to do exactly as Daschle did. It's not pretty, but the business of the Senate takes priority over the comfort of any one member and every member knows it. They're big boys and girls, or at least they're supposed to be.

As for where Daschle's loyalties lie regarding health care, despite any money he receives from insurers, he is supporting Obama's reform efforts--which certainly are not particularly friendly to the insurance industry.


"Daschle's first duty was to do what he and his supporters believed to be best for America and apparently he did just that."

I'm sorry, but Daschle's first duty was to represent his constituents and protect their rights. In 2004 the majority of South Dakota voters decided that Tom Daschle was no longer doing that.

By the way Miranda, what is your favorite hockey team?


What voters did in 2004 does not mean Daschle was not doing what he and many of us thought was best in 2001 when the Thurmond incident occurred Jason. Apparently he played some hardball which was understandable under the circumstances. Whether or not you agree with his policy stance, what he did to defend it was well within the limits of what a party leader would/should do. He should not be demonized for that.

Democrats have won a number of elections against incumbent Republicans over the years. We have sometimes made a bit of fun some of them, and that sometimes may have been in poor taste. But I can think of no instance where we have obsessed over someone we defeated years after the election. This is like some sort of pathology and it really is sad.


A.I.: Democrats certainly do obsess over politicians of the past. They are constantly bringing up Richard Nixon. There's even a new Nixon movie out this year. What disease do you think its creators have? Or were you just being vicious?

This, however, is not a case of “obsessing” over someone who is out of the picture. Tom Daschle was playing politics in Aberdeen on the day I posted. Losing an election does not entitle a person a free pass to say whatever one wants without scrutiny.

Furthermore, your side is not simply guilty of "telling a few jokes." The attacks against Palin and her family are inexcusable. As is talk about stoning Henry Hyde. Viciousness does not disappear just because you say, "ha, ha, that was a joke," afterward. But if the examples I gave aren't vicious enough for you, how about the hanging of Sarah Palin's effigy or the "abort Bush" signs? There are plenty of examples of ugliness on both sides. And although I may not have picked the best incidents, we both know that. By the way, what acts by Thune's campaign do you claim were intended to "incite and motivate the hate vote?"

My point in bringing up Democrat hostilities is not that two wrongs make a right. It's that I don't have much sympathy for Democrats who complain about viciousness when their own are attacked, but either dismiss or condone hateful attacks on conservatives.

As for my "demonization" of Daschle," all I did was point out what is true. He did not allow Biden to help the ailing Strom Thurmond. Instead, he put politics ahead of concerns about Thurmond's welfare, and we have no reason to believe that he wouldn't do the same to us. And he does have ties to the insurance industry.

It's nice that you have faith in Daschle's loyalty to Obama. I'm not particularly worried about that. I just think it's a little odd that someone who has taken money from the insurance industry and whose wife has lobbied heavily for it, is now campaigning for the side that says the industry is corrupt. It’s like trusting someone who had taken money from Halliburton to tell you how to reform the oil industry.

Also, you justify Tom Daschle's behavior toward Strom Thurmond by saying that his duty was to do what he thought was best for America. I am not sure that the prospect of Republicans giving the people back their own money is an emergency that requires making an old man suffer. Furthermore, it is very probable that those who launched vicious attacks against Daschle felt that they were doing what was best for the country as well. If we use your logic, then, their acts are justified.

Jason: Thanks for your comments! I agree with you. I like the San Jose Sharks, particularly Marleau, Nabokov and Thornton. How about you?


Again you twist facts and torture logic:

Linda Daschle has primarily been an aviation industry lobbyist. She did a smattering of health-care-related lobbying 10 or more years ago, but hardly can be considered someone who has "lobbied heavily for" the insurance industry.

Baldwin was not joking about stoning Henry Hyde. He was joking about his own reputation for using hyperbolic rhetoric by feigning a rant. The joke was aimed at himself. It was ironic, self-mocking humor using preposterous statements that no one was meant to take seriously or literally. What is so difficult about understanding that? On a brighter note, apparently you do now understand what Pelosi was saying.

The entire premise of your original post rests on a subtext of Daschle should be dismissed because he is a "has been", was "voted out of office", was mean to an old man and has insurance industry ties. Then John Thune must also be dismissed because he takes campaign contributions from the insurance industry and health care providers, dropped out of politics at one point (has been) and lost an election. I don't know that he has been mean to old people, but your example with Daschle is a bit of a reach anyway. IRONY ALERT: Maybe Thune kicks his dog. I haven't heard that he doesn't.

And what do you mean by "Daschle was playing politics". He can't be on a panel discussing health care reform because it is a political issue? Then what of Thune's town halls? Are you saying only the guy who won the race has the right to express his views.

My point is, you avoid issues by offering a red hearing about Daschle's past and character. You didn't scrutinize what he said at the forum, you dismissed it out of hand because the evil, no-account Daschle has no standing. It's the same basic tactic that was used in 04.

As to that election, there were many vicious attacks from the Thune camp as you say/admit. Some were within an acceptable realm of political give and take including questions about Linda Daschle's lobbying work. But the whole by criticizing Bush, Daschle was giving aid and comfort to the enemy theme was over-the-top. That was tantamount to calling Daschle a traitor and I don't think it's much of a reach to surmise more than a few people "hate" traitors. And Thune's non-denial denials that he was pursuing that theme didn't wash.


"Whether or not you agree with his policy stance, what he did to defend it was well within the limits of what a party leader would/should do."

You may be right A.I. If I remember correctly, one of Thune's talking points was that Daschle had lost touch with his constituents, and that he often put his party over his state. Now, I don't know if that is true or not, but it certainly did resonate with voters in 2004.

Miranda: I have a minor obsession with the Detroit Red Wings. And now that I live in Fargo, I keep an eye on Fighting Sioux (or whatever we will be allowed to call them after October 1st) hockey.


I am not arguing that Daschle should be dismissed or that he has no right to speak. What I am saying is that he is not a convincing spokesman and that this was a bad strategy for the Democrats.

Obama does not need to convince someone like you to support him. You and many others have shown that you will follow Democrat leaders, come hell or high water.

The people he needs to win over are mostly those on my side of the aisle. These are some of the same people who voted against Daschle. Therefore, sending him in to convince us to adopt this plan isn't a brilliant move. Taking only pre-approved questions made his talk even less convincing, as It made it look like he was afraid to answer questions that he did not specifically pick out.

When I say he was playing politics, I meant exactly that. He involved himself in the political game, using the panel only to discuss the issues that made his side look good. I am not arguing that he lacks the right to express his views. I am arguing that he does not have the right to escape criticism or scrutiny simply because he doesn't hold office. If he puts himself in the public eye, we have every right to question him. That was a response to your insinuation that bringing up Tom Daschle's politics amounted to an "obsession."

If Daschle had added anything new to the healthcare debate, I would have commented on it.
He merely repeated things that others in the administration have said. So I can only
assume that he meant to sell the plan by linking his name to it. I think that that hurts the case.

I did not say or admit that there were vicious attacks from the Thune campaign. I said that the 2004 election was no exception to the rule of nastiness in political campaigns. The nastiness I saw came from college Democrats. I think your example is a bit of a stretch, and Daschle said equally hateful things about President Bush. For instance:
"This president failed so miserably in diplomacy that we are now forced to war." Was it true? No. We chose to go to war. We could have continued to ignore Iraq's violation of the UN's resolution, but we chose not to. And Bush did not fail any more than Clinton, the UN or any of the others who tried to get Hussein to abide by the UN's resolutions. Your side, A.I. is just as vicious, just as guilty of twisting things.

I also think it's a bit of a stretch to say that the quote you give was intended to incite hate. In any case, I thank you for your comments.


Jason: January 9th will be a great day for one of us, then! Good to see another hockey addict in the Blogosphere. Now that I am back in the Dakotas, I'll certainly keep an eye out for North Dakota's teams. I've heard good things.


You didn't scrutinize his politics, you attacked him personally. If you thought nothing of substance was said, you could have simply said so and skipped the rest--or skipped the whole thing.

Nice to know you agree Iraq was a war of choice though. I thought everyone on your side thought it was necessary.

When you say resolution singular, I assume you refer to 687 calling on Iraq to destroy the wmd's we were told absolutely existed so we had to go to war. That action from "reluctant warrior" Bush who wanted congressional authority to use force so he had some leverage in dealing with Iraq. Daschle helped him get that leverage only to have Bush kick out inspectors it enabled and launch an unprovoked war. And you seem to think Daschle should have been a good little boy and said rah, rah Mr. President as we got embroiled in an absolute mess. But again, you are right, it was a war of choice. Personally though, I'd rather be spending the $100 billion a year or so it still costs on universal health care.


Of course it was a war of choice, A.I.
On 9/11, Bush could have chosen to sit around and do nothing. He could have let the attack slide and waited for the next. He chose not to, and I am glad of that. It’s true that he could have chosen not to pursue the war in Iraq. And I suppose that, to some, letting a tyrant bury people alive is the right thing to do (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6033627.stm).

Maybe, to a democrat, it's alright that citizens in Iraq were subjected to "electric shocks to the tongue and genitals, suspension from a rotating fan, burning the skin using heated metal implements or sulphuric acid, and rape” under Saddam’s regime. (http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,AMNESTY,,IRQ,,3ae6a9f10,0.html)

Maybe forcing families to watch the public beheading of their relatives is A-OK with you, A.I. Or maybe you simply think that the appropriate response is to sit around and ask men like Hussein to play nice. I never thought so and neither did President Bush. Oh, it’s true that Hussein never did anything truly awful – like saying something bad about Tom Daschle, but pouring acid on someone’s mutilated genitals is right up there.

Now, I know that the myth is that the only reason we went into Iraq was to clear out the WMDs, but Bush never claimed that that was the only reason he went in. I was referring to resolution 1373, A.I. Here were Bush’s words on it when he addressed the UN:
In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and Western governments....And Al-Qaida terrorists escaped from Afghanistan are known to be in Iraq.

These things are true and the UN failed to stop them with its diplomatic measures.
Yeah. A.I. I think Bush should have had more support in the War in Iraq. And yes, I do think our enemies took comfort in opposition at home. And I humbly submit that if Bush would have had more support from Daschle and congressional Democrats, the war would have been easier to fight and less of a mess.


Politics and rhetoric are two different things, A.I. It is true that I did not criticize his speech. But I did criticize his politics. I criticized his strategy of prescreening questions, Obama's strategy of sending him, his acceptance of funds from the industry he is now preaching against and his actions on the floor of the United States senate - all of which are part of Politics.


Maybe it's time I tried this criticize his "politics" thing. Thus, I must thank you again, this time for saying John Thune is a paid shill for the health insurance industry. You do say Daschle-the-has-been deserves criticism for not staying in lockstep with the insurance industry agenda after receiving money from them. So it would follow that Thune, who advances pretty much their every stand, is a loyal soldier for them after taking campaign contributions. No traitor he, how admirable.

How about George-the-midieval-diplomat-Bush who said: "This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while" and "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them." If that's the kind of "reasoning" and mindset you wanted Daschle to support, I humbly submit I'm sorry he offered the support he did except for the fact that once troupes were committed, we had to stand behind them.

While we're on the topic of Iraq, since when is/was 'he's mean to his own people' the standard for invading another country--or even Sadam's support of suicide bombers in Israel. He had to be a imminent threat to us or the war would have had no legitimacy and the American people would have said no to the invasion, thus wmd's.

As for your criticism of Daschle's "politics", how do you know he prescreened the questions? Might AARP and SDPB not have been interested in keeping focus on real issues rather than some contrived silliness about "death panels"? And speaking of panels, why would the rest of the group Daschle appeared with not also have had a role in screening?

Also, how do you know Obama sent Daschle. Out in the big wide world beyond right wing fringe sniping and condescension, there is a group of people who recognize his expertise on health care issues and think what he has to say has legitimacy. Might the sponsors not have chosen him as a panel member simply on his merits?

Finally, I must admit to some guilty pleasure in taking the kind of shots I did at Bush and Thune here. Thank you for giving me an excuse for doing so--adolescent though the excuse may be. But, it is guilty pleasure because the attacks bordered on or perhaps crossed the line into ad hominem which has no place in legitimate debate. Nor, does use of terms like "has been" and "the man you voted out of office" in the context it was used. Those were attacks on his politics? Indeed...!


And silly me, I let you get by with another poorly based accusation. The Biden/Thurmond vote pairing anecdote is published only on Fox and written by extremely conservative author, etc. John Lott, Jr. Did Lott acually witness the exchange he cites and hear Biden offer to pair his vote, or was this hearsay? He admits what was said in the Biden,/Daschle/Clinton exchange is pure supposition and assumption. Then he goes on to paint Biden-the-decent and by default, Daschle/Clinton as heartless. Why is there absolutely no other reference to the incident from another news source or observer? Don't believe everything you here and Fox news Miranda. They never miss an opportunity to paint a Democrat in a bad light and all to often, they lie.

You also got the motivation accusations regarding town hall protesters wrong. The accusation isn't that they are "paid off" by the insurance lobby and others. It's that a good number (not all) of them are organized by groups like Dick Armey's, sans pay, to simply be disruptive and give the impression they represent a far greater constituency than they actually do. The left is called for organizing protests all the time and I see no reason corporate America should not be held to the same standard.

Speaking of standards, this blog (KB) has been pretty good about avoiding ad hominem attacks in the time I've posted here and if he gets a fact wrong, he generally admits it. It's not my blog and it's none of my business how it is moderated. But I am disappointed that personal attacks supported by dubious evidence are being posted. I can get more than enough of that over at the War College.


A.I: Your statement that the incident I referred to was only covered by Fox News is blatantly false. Here are some other articles that cover it. Some are known for their conservative bias, others are not. Knight Ridder and USA Today certainly aren't. Neither is the Cincinnati Post.

Here's an article from the Washington Times:
The incident was also listed in the Washington Times as the "Outrage of the Week" on May 24.

Knight Ridder covered it in this article, which is googleable, but requires free registration to access:

Lawmakers Still Dueling over Tax Cut. Knight Ridder Washington Bureau (Washington, DC). May 23, 2001

Here's one from the Cincinnati Post:

Other references to the incident can be found at the following addresses:

Furthermore, the article I referenced may have been from Fox News, but it was an article praising Democrat Joe Biden. And if we can dismiss someone's account, just because we disagree with their politics, well, then I would have been completely justified in dismissing Tom Daschle. But you were all up in arms about that prospect earlier.

Now, you are right that I was wrong about Pelosi's comments. I misunderstood them and I apologize for that. However, people carrying swastikas have nothing to do with whether or not an event is funded by the insurance industry or run by grass roots protesters. She seems to me to have deliberately stuck in that comment to demonize those who disagree with her. And that really isn't much different than painting the protesters as Nazis.

It may or may not have been true that some of the protesters were carrying swastikas. I would be interested in seeing evidence of that. But even if she had seen some carrying such signs, they hardly represent the majority of the protesters. If nothing else, Pelosi was grossly unfair.

As for Alec Baldwin, you're right, I did not know the context of the comments, but after knowing them, my opinion is unchanged. If Baldwin's idea had merely been to mock himself, he could have done so without using Henry Hyde. He could have ranted about aliens or really, anything he wanted to. Instead, he chose to "joke" about killing Hyde and his family. It reportedly scared Hyde. And it was vicious.

I have never liked the idea that a country ought to allow horrendous human rights violations unless the country is itself threatened. But I am not an isolationist. In my view, the allied nations ought to have put an end to the Holocaust long before they did - and I think the situation in Iraq was similar. Stopping human rights violations in either case would have been justification enough for me.

Nevertheless, it is important to play by the rules, and I think that Bush did. He made it clear that countries which harbored and supported terrorists would be treated like terrorists. And he used not only the resolution you brought up, but the resolution I brought up to support his actions.

Back to Daschle:
Yes, it's possible and even probable that the panel had a role in screening the questions. And it's possible that Obama didn't send Daschle. Perhaps it was Daschle's idea. In that case, I think his strategy was a bad one.

On standards: I freely admit that Dr. Blanchard is a much more civil and thoughtful person than I am. Ironically, though, Sunstein thinks my life is more valuable!


Thank you again Miranda for presenting the links to negate your accusations about Daschle being heartless. The USA Today piece and others note the Senate adjourned shortly after the "incident" occurred and Thurmond himself said he could stay on. As I said in an earlier post, I could imagine Daschle would not adjourn the Senate just because a member was uncomfortable. But he sure as hell wouldn't keep them their hoping they would have a heart attack either. The whole thing is typical mountain-out-of-a-molehill character assassination.


The senate did adjourn soon after, A.I., but that was not Daschle's doing. He and his fellow democrats were trying to keep the session going long past midnight with an "indefinite number of amendments." And we are not talking about denying Thurmond a pillow. We are talking about
making an elderly man who was on "death watch" stay on when he felt ill. I stick by my comments.


a.i., daschle and hildebrand were plenty nasty in the '04 election. don't deny it.


Sorry lexrex, but I can think of nothing close to accusations of being a traitor. What do you have?

Las Vegas Paul

Thanks for the read... It's certainly interesting to read about the views of an election similar to what we are about to experience in Nevada.

Marieke Smits @ kleurplatenhuis.nl

Een sprekend verhandeling opstellen ten aanzien van wilde dieren kleurplaten is zeker niet zo een fluitje van
een cent echter het moet gezegd worden dat het jou uitstekend is geslaagd, fantastisch!

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