Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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The less cerebral but more vociferous partisans of the Republican Party are screaming in outrage that the Daschle campaign against John Thune did not end with the election. There is evidence, they claim, that Daschle operatives are getting paid to "bash" Thune at every turn of his floundering term in the Senate.
The whining gets so loud at times that it sounds like a state-wide tornado siren, but it is whining that is actually created by a vacuum. People who deal with government or who need help in surviving the federal bureaucracy know in dire ways that there is no longer a Tom Daschle to guide them through the red tape. Tom Daschle's state Senate staff gained a reputation for being one of the most efficient and effective in the nation. Daschle used his power and his resources first to help the people of the state. His staff sometimes raised the ire of fellow Democratic senators because their constituents in other states on occasion asked if the Daschle staff could take over their cases. Tom Daschle was committed to making government work for the people, and his Senate staff was charged with meeting that objective. Senate field staffs work for the U.S. Senate Sergeant-At-Arms and are not to engage in political activity.
It does not take much for the differences in staff to register on the public. On the day that Sen. Tim Johnson was at Presentation College holding a town meeting on Social Security, both members of the Aberdeen Thune staff left their office to attend the meeting and ask questions of Sen. Johnson. While he held office, Daschle followed the Senate rules meticulously and his staff was ordered not to get involved in anything remotely political during the working hours they represented the U.S. Senate. Thune has hired the malice-vendors he paid to blog for him as operatives on his Senate staff. So much for the Senate rules.
Two other reasons generate heat for Thune. Informed people, including some very prominent figures in the South Dakota Republican Party, such as the former governor and congressman, are aware of Thune's ridiculously paltry record in the House of Representatives. They know that he is a total creation of media hype. He has no accomplishments or missions to cite other than getting elected.
And since the election when people have had time to reflect, they realize what a malicious, destructive, and dishonest campaign he conducted. People who voted for him realize he was a culprit and brought a tremendous moral discredit to the state with his malicious and vicious campaign.
The shift from a senator who runs his office and conducts himself with the highest of principles and standards to a man who has no principles and standards and could not care less about the services his staff provides the people was noticed immediately.
Thune claimed that Tom Daschle was out signing books when he should have been in the Senate guiding an energy bill to passage. The fact was that Daschle had done all he could for the energy bill. Republicans blocked it. But when John Thune should have been tending to the business of the state, he was floating all over the world raising money and photo opportunities in his role as a Republican star.
No one is paying an underground Daschle campaign to point these facts out to people. They notice the difference in how Daschle served the state and how Thune disserves it. The major factor working against John Thune is John Thune. Paid campaigners are not needed to discredit him. He does it by himself.