Editorial by the Plain Talk The sun will continue to shine

Tom Daschle�s campaign stump speech has, in recent weeks, included a line or two about his desk in the chambers of the U.S. Senate.

Daschle told an audience at USD recently that the desk has been occupied by Senate minority leaders throughout the nation�s recent history. By custom, they�ve even carved their names on it.

In Hot Springs, according to a recent news report, he talked about the desk again.

�As one of the two leaders of the U.S. Senate, I have the opportunity to sit at one of the most powerful desks in the country, if not the world,� he said. �And I believe the sun will continue to rise over our state as long as I continue to sit at that desk.�

Here lies the biggest problem with the Daschle candidacy. He�s been trying since July 2003 to convince us that South Dakota will turn to chaff and blow off the face of the planet if he�s not in the Senate.

That just won�t happen.

His �early� television ads (if commercials that began running a full 16 months before the election somehow can be defined as such) portrayed Daschle walking through grassy meadows and sitting down to share a cup of coffee with constituents.

Those ads show the Tom Daschle we had grown to know over the past 25 years or so.

It�s difficult to say this, because, for the most part, we like Daschle. He�s smart, and a decent guy. But as election day draws near, one thing has become clear.

Daschle has changed. His challenger, John Thune, has done an effective job of informing us of that.

So have a host of other sources, from public interest groups to the elite national media, such as the Wall Street Journal, which pointed out the senator�s obstructionist ways this summer in a editorial describing the Senate as �the Daschle dead zone.�

Daschle can boast about ethanol, or his work on the farm bill, or water projects, or saving Ellsworth.

What member of Congress from South Dakota hasn�t recognized those as key issues to address for this state?

The senator has proven he can bring home the pork to South Dakota. But he seems to think that, as long as federal dollars roll in to fund those bread and butter issues, we�ll just ignore the positions he�s taken on legislation that defines who we are as a society.

Issues like abortion. Gun control. Marriage. Our federal court system.

James B. Teela, a businessman from Brighton, MI, sums it up well. He writes: �Thanks to the wisdom of our founding fathers, South Dakotans can � and must � affect change well beyond the geographical boundaries of their state. The framers of our Constitution designed Congress so that the interests of South Dakota (and other states whose populations are comparatively small) are protected through the establishment of equal representation in the Senate. This gives South Dakota a tremendous amount of clout in the United States Congress and the nation as a whole.

Based on most recent census data, South Dakota is generously blessed with one vote in the Senate for every 377,422 of its citizens. That�s nearly 45 times greater representation than California with only one vote for every 16,935,824 people. Consider that other bastions of liberal thought like New York have only one vote for every 9,488,228 residents and Massachusetts has only one vote for every 3,174,548 of its citizens. South Dakotans would be well served to ensure that this tremendous influence is used to their advantage � not for the advantage of those who oppose their values � or for the personal benefit of Tom Daschle�s political career ?

This time, South Dakotans owe it to themselves to send a man to Washington that will clearly support their values. John Thune is that man.�

We had six years to get know how Thune works on Capitol Hill when he represented us in the U.S. House. He proved himself to be an effective legislator, with great potential.

Thune has the capability to be a rising star in the U.S. Senate � a legislative body that likely will remain in Republican control after next Tuesday.

That combination � Thune�s character and a Senate that reflects the conservative movement in this nation, can only be good for South Dakota.

With Thune in the Senate, we�re sure the sun will continue to bask warmly on South Dakota.

We support his election Nov. 2.

Political endorsements made by the Vermillion Plain Talk this week reflect the opinion of Plain Talk editor David Lias. You may contact him at david.lias@plaintalk.net

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