September 1, 2004


Poll: Thune Edges Past Daschle in South Dakota (Jeff Gannon, September 1, 2004, Talon News)

An internal poll shows that Rep. John Thune (R-SD) has gained enough momentum to pass Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) in the most closely watched Senate race of 2004. The Republican numbers indicate that Thune is moving up in the polls and is at or near 50% while the incumbent remains stalled at 48%.

National Senatorial Committee Chairman Sen. George Allen (R-VA) announced the new numbers at a breakfast for South Dakota's delegates to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday. He told delegates that South Dakotans have the ability to "transform the United States Senate" by replacing Daschle with Thune. [...]

The NRSC chairman's remarks included a shot at Daschle, who has often been criticized for appearing to be a conservative in South Dakota, but promoting a liberal agenda in the Senate. Allen said that Thune "won't be carrying the water for Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton."

He ticked off a list of legislative initiatives that have been stymied by Daschle's obstruction by use of the filibuster. Included on the list were energy policy, tort reform and judicial nominees. On the subject of judges, Allen said that Daschle was blocking qualified nominees to the courts that would "apply the law, not invent the law."

Unlike Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, the President should emerge from this election with a Congress prepared to do his bidding and, thanks to items like these that are stuck in the filibuster pipeline, the capacity for significant immediate achievements.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 1, 2004 1:03 PM

Someone put Terry McAwful on suicide watch.

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 1, 2004 1:12 PM

Mike - If you accept the premise that Terry M is really the Clinton's hand-puppet this is all good news as Hillary's potential rivals in '08 (Kerry, Edwards, Daschle, etc) fall by the wayside.

Posted by: AWW at September 1, 2004 1:21 PM

Hillary's only rivals are John Edwards and Bill Clinton. She will fight the former and divorce the latter.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 1, 2004 2:15 PM

I don't think she'll divorce him -- Bill's too good a fundraiser and she needs the beard for the 2008 campaign's appearances.

Posted by: John at September 1, 2004 2:22 PM

John - Hillary with a beard? How am I going to get that image out of my head now?

Posted by: AWW at September 1, 2004 2:34 PM

Bill Clinton is ineligible to run. He has already been elected to two terms.

A Daschle loss would be huge. Although I think it unlikely, as the Democrats can always produce a few thousand votes on a Indian reservation should they be needed. There is no level of corruption of which Little Tommy is incapable.

The victories in the South will matter. A victory is Washington State is within reach. If the GOP gets to 54-55 Senators, plus gaining a few more House seats, much of the conservative agenda stands a better chance of being adopted. One must remember that the filibuster rule continues to operate in the Senate, and that will serve as a brake against the more egregious things that the GOP might push forward.

Posted by: Bart at September 1, 2004 2:44 PM

Judges, Judges, Judges..
If Republicans can get over 55 in the Senate the quasi filibuster on Judges for the Supreme Court and lesser courts will fizzle.

Posted by: h-man at September 1, 2004 3:10 PM

The Senate can change the fillibuster rule or eliminate it altogether. With five additional conservative Senators and the votes of the three or four remaining "moderate" Democrats such a change might be possible.

Posted by: Earl Sutherland at September 1, 2004 3:33 PM

Funny how conservatives are going to remove the filibuster - back in 1975, they were defending it.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 1, 2004 3:41 PM

You should also keep in mind that Specter, Chafee, Snowe, and Collins remain GOP Senators. How many of these clowns are interested in moving the Courts back into the realm of sanity?

How many 'moderate' Democrats will be left after this cycle? The Nelsons and maybe Prior and Lincoln of Arkansas.

Posted by: Bart at September 1, 2004 3:43 PM

Don't bet on Lincoln being back. Kerry could lose Arkansas by twenty points. Ben Nelson will switch and Bill Nelson and Pryor will have to consider it.

Posted by: oj at September 1, 2004 3:48 PM

Jim Hamelen

SOUTHERN AND BORDER STATE DEMOCRATS DEFENDED THE FILLIBUSTER. The last time the rule was modified was in 1961 when Richard Nixon in one of his last acts as president of the Senate cast the deciding vote that reduced the cloture threshols from 67 to 60.

Posted by: Earl Sutherland at September 1, 2004 3:58 PM

If Thune beats Senator "I'm Deeply Disappointed" then Thune will share the political bad*ss throne with George Nethercutt 1994.

Posted by: pchuck at September 1, 2004 4:25 PM


That vote was in 1975.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 1, 2004 4:26 PM


Not if Nethercutt adds to his own stature by taking out Patty Murray.

Posted by: oj at September 1, 2004 4:34 PM

Jim Hamlen, Earl Sutherland

You people keep arguing, but I didn't want to imply by my remarks that I am against the filibuster, quite to the contrary I'm definitely in favor of it.

Posted by: h-man at September 1, 2004 4:37 PM

I am, too - it's just amusing how the labels have changed over the years. Sure, the Southern Democrats wanted it - after LBJ left the Senate, their power began to wane and they didn't want to lose it. But the 1974 elections buried a lot of war horses (although the effect was more pronounced in the House).

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 1, 2004 4:49 PM

The GOP should pick up at least 5 seats(Florida,Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Louisiana) but lose one, giving them 55. There are a few Democrats who will back the GOP occasionally, but there are some Republican senators who will defect, especially concerning social issues.

Victories by Thune and Nethercutt will bring that number to 57, within striking distance of filibuster-proof status.

Posted by: Bart at September 2, 2004 8:34 AM