Wednesday, September 08, 2004

MIA: I find it amazing that Tom Daschle -- the Senate Minority Leader and the man who has been President Bush's biggest nemesis prior to the presidential race -- is strangely hidden from national view.

The only attention he has been getting is in local South Dakota papers, in which he is quoted praising the war in Iraq and backtracking on his earlier criticisms.

Daschle told state chamber of commerce representatives meeting in the South Dakota capital that he is satisfied with the way things are going in Iraq.

"I give the effort overall real credit," Daschle said. "It is a good thing Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. It is a good thing we are democratizing the country."

He said he is not upset about the debate over pre-war intelligence on weapons of mass destruction, an issue that has dogged President Bush as Democratic presidential contenders have slogged through the primary season.
Why would he change his tune? Because he could be in trouble. Being a liberal in a conservative Red State has put his candidacy for re-election to the Senate on shaky ground. John Thune, a former member of Congress, is slightly ahead of Daschle in at least one poll.

Now, the residents South Dakota may eventually realize that they'd give up an extremely powerful presence of the Senate by kicking Daschle out. But many of the conservatives there can't be too happy with Daschle's perch atop the leadership structure of the Democratic Party as it has shifted further to the left while most residents there support President Bush.

To counter this, Daschle has even run an ad showing him and Bush in a warm embrace. Republicans have cried foul, saying it indicates support for Daschle when Bush has openly endorsed Thune.

Despite the controversy, the national media isn't shining a spotlight on such blatant political shifting. I'm assuming Republican ads in South Dakota are highlighting Daschle's lefty tendencies. But why doesn't the national media show Daschle's newly found support for Bush's policies? So far I have seen scant coverage on what is otherwise a compelling story.


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