Politics forge strong friendships Daschle, Janklow say similar goals led to strong working relations

Politics forge strong friendships Daschle, Janklow say similar goals led to strong working relationship U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle and South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow share a moment of levity during their appearance at the Farber Center for Civic Leadership on the USD campus last Wednesday. Their discussion, entitled "When Partisans Become Allies" was the first of several events scheduled in early 1999 involving nationally-recognized civic leaders. by David Lias When it comes to Republicans in South Dakota, there's no dispute that Gov. Bill Janklow leads the pack in influence on the affairs of the state.

South Dakota Democrats often proudly cite U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle as one of the most influential and powerful men of their party, who has risen, in his years in Washington, to become Senate Minority Leader.

One might expect that, once you mix these two men together, you'd naturally get a highly partisan debate on whose political philosophy is more fitting to help entice fundamental progress both nationally and in South Dakota.

Daschle and Janklow proved that's hardly the case, however. The two men, in their years of working on similar issues together, have grown to be close friends, have learned that cooperation, not political bickering, leads to progress.

Daschle and Janklow discussed their political philosophies in a joint appearance last Wednesday on the USD campus. The W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership hosted the event, entitled "When Partisans Become Allies: A Conversation with Gov. Bill Janklow and Sen. Tom Daschle."

Daschle said that people often get the idea that Republicans and Democrats never get along because the media has a tendency to focus on conflict rather than positive political accomplishments.

"I think part of it is media-driven, and I'm not blaming the media," Janklow said. "There are always people who are trying to spin their stories. Politics has gotten to the point where the derogatory gets attention. It's those people who want to try to stop something that get all of the press."

The notion of term limits, both in the state Legislature, and in Congress, he added, is devastating.

"South Dakota has waited 110 years to have a senior person in a political party in a position where Sen. Daschle is," Janklow said. "He's four or five Senate seats away from being the majority leader. Good grief! Is there anybody in this state that doesn't understand the significance of that, what it means for South Dakota, what it means if he's a person who performs for this state, and we should subject him to term limits and throw him out, just because his time is up? What kind of new-tech idea is that?"

"Bill Janklow is one of the smartest men I know," Daschle said. The audience erupted in laughter and applause.

Daschle's response to Janklow's comments not only elicited a strong response from the capacity crowd in Farber Hall. It also demonstrated the true friendship that has grown as these two political titans of the state have worked together.

"Bill Janklow is absolutely right," Daschle said. "Turnover is a fact of life, and I think when you have an opportunity to invest as a nation or a state in people that want to serve, let the people make the decision as to how long it should be. Let them be the ultimate decision makers with regards to term limits."

Janklow said the one unique thing about South Dakota is that its citizens know its elected officials well. "Honestly, I think that's what drives most elections in South Dakota," he said.

"I think people in smaller states tend to vote for the individual," Daschle said. "It doesn't matter if it's South Dakota or Wyoming, or Alaska or New Hampshire. You've got people who are willing to put something ahead of party label or even a philosophical approach."

South Dakotans, Daschle said, seek personal connections with their political leaders.

"I think in South Dakota all of those personal connections have a profound influence on the way people vote," he said.

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