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Suing Your Way to Defeat


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Suing Your Way to Defeat

Tom Daschle goes mad and tries to lose the election all in one night. by Joseph Bottum

11/02/2004 7:17:00 AM       


LAST NIGHT, Tom Daschle threw his campaign into the shredder. What is it that makes South Dakota politicians do this kind of thing? There must be something in that Missouri River water that makes even the best of political pros tuck their thumbs into their armpits and squawk like demented chickens.

Daschle's new outbreak of ornithological lunacy started yesterday, when he requested from federal circuit-court judge a temporary restraining order banning Republican--and only Republican--poll watchers from all election sites on Indian reservations or majority Indian districts. This is way cooler than the decisions in Ohio to license voter fraud by outlawing both party's poll watchers. Those were complete victories for the Democrats, of course, but with the prohibition of both parties' watchers, the decisions at least made a token gesture toward evenhandedness--albeit, not enough of a one to keep the 6th circuit from overturning them on appeal.

Daschle's South Dakota filing is available online, and it makes great reading. Let's not pretend any of that goo-goo nonsense about how the law ought to apply to both parties equally. Does Heaven grant equal opportunity to evil? Does water sign consent decrees with fire? Republicans are, by definition, oppressors of minorities. They are evil, and their ghastly phosphorescent presence burns--man, how it burns. The mere knowledge that a Republican might be somewhere near watching, watching, always watching . . . why, that's enough to make minority voters tremble so anxiously that they can't vote. Republican poll watchers are against the laws of God and man. It says so, right there in 42 U.S.C. 1973i( B) .

This is crazy. I believe Tom Daschle just cost himself the election. If every possible fraudulent vote--um, excuse me, I meant unintimidated vote--were gained on the reservations, Daschle might pick up around 2,000 more votes than he was expecting. He will lose more than that in Democratic Sioux Falls alone for this stunt. This is going to play really badly in South Dakota. All those conscientious Scandinavians in the eastern half of the state--the kind who give certain farm towns 90 percent voter turnout, because voting is a civic duty: They're not going to like this at all.


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