Daschle is playing politics again

Through recent action, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) is proving to everyone he is a man without core political beliefs, just political aspirations. Time and again, the supposed “”leader”” of our U.S. Senate is an obstructionist who politicizes everything for individual gain rather than thinking of anything but covering his rear-end.

Case in point: the Homeland Security Bill. After the bill passed in the House in July, Daschle, who as Speaker sets the Senate’s agenda, has been sitting on the bill for quite some time because the differences between Republicans and Democrats cannot be reconciled. Daschle and the Dems want to give the jobs to union workers, while Republicans don’t want the security of the American people to be tied up in unions, because the structure of unions makes it very difficult to hire and fire workers easily, if not utterly impossible.

In July Daschle said, “”We … have a need to begin work on the homeland security legislation.”” But now it’s October, almost November. Is the bill going to pass the Senate anytime soon? No. And considering that the Senate has broken for the November elections with still no agenda for homeland security, it’s not even close.

If Daschle is serious about the security of the American people, not of the political lobbying power of union groups, he’d bring the issue before the Senate. But he’ll have none of that; the union votes are too important to lose. So what are Daschle’s priorities here?

Here’s the problem with union workers being responsible for homeland security: If they’re incompetent, you can’t move them around or fire them. This is the flexibility that a large department of the federal government needs. Leaders shouldn’t have their hands tied when they’re trying to defend our nation. Could you imagine not being able to remove a worker that, because of his ineptitude, didn’t stop the next terrorist attack?

Of the current Bush administration, Daschle said in mid-October, “”I don’t know if we’ve ever seen a more precipitous drop in international stature and public opinion with regard to this country as we have in the last two years.””

Some have criticized Bush in his handling of international affairs. The complaints usually include at least one of three things: the rejection of the Kyoto protocols, distancing the United States from the International Criminal Court, and pre-emptive action against Iraq.

Per his earlier quote, it’s obvious Daschle is concerned with international public opinion on these matters. He forgot one thing, however: his voting record. Some of you might recall that Daschle voted: First, to back out of the Kyoto protocols; second, to forego U.S. participation in the International Criminal Court; and lastly, he also voted in favor of Bush’s Iraq resolution. With Daschle supporting Bush through voting yet publicly condemning Bush on his international repuation, something fishy is going on.

The answer to Daschle’s two seemingly politically incompatible views (of criticism and support of the current administration) lies in maximizing political support. By criticizing Bush, Daschle solidifies the left and those who think certain policies of the Bush administration are wrong. Similarly, by voting with Bush, Daschle attempts to rein in voters who think his public comments are analogous to relinquishing American interests to the world community. Apparently, Daschle thinks he can have it both ways.

Take the Iraq issue. Remember the fuss Daschle was causing when he was opposing the president and his resolution? Well, what happened? He voted for it. I know Americans have a short attention span, but it’s definitely longer than a couple weeks. What does Daschle stand for? Does he even know?

By voicing his opposition to Bush’s Iraq resolution, in the event that Saddam is not seen as the threat he seems to be, Daschle can say he tried to stop the resolution from materializing. On the other hand, if Saddam proves to be a serious threat, Daschle can say he ultimately voted for the resolution. Presto, Daschle plays both sides of the field perfectly.

And what happened when the Iraq issue was settled and voted on? Daschle and other prominent Dems immediately shifted focus no more than one day after the vote to their “”kitchen-table”” issues such as the economy, where they are believed to be politically stronger. Of the economy: Does anyone remember the tech-bubble burst and 9/11? Can those be attributed to Bush? Or how about the real-estate crash during Bush senior’s term as the 41st president? Was it his father’s fault, too?

Well, you’ve got to hand it to him — Daschle’s doing an awfully good job at this Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde act. Does anyone think he might be thinking of a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004?

Al Gore as a presidential hopeful in 2004 is a concept that’s been discussed hotly the past few months, and, yes, quite recently Gore was slamming Bush in a speech in San Francisco. Daschle then started raising the “”Bush is politicizing war”” rhetoric. When your competition starts attracting attention, what do you have to do? Get some attention yourself. That’s exactly what Daschle has been doing.

Daschle is publicly going against what Bush does, yet votes with Bush to seem more of a moderate to the typical undecided voter. He’s trying to oppose Bush and ride the popularity of Bush (which stands at around 70 percent). The only way we can show Daschle that we won’t put up with his constant politicization of the issues is to not vote for him, should he earn the democratic bid for ’04. But at the rate he’s going, maybe his bid has already ended.