said: "It is a good thing Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. It is a good thing we are democratizing the country."
"praised the Bush administration's war and nation-building work in Iraq and said he has no serious concerns about the lack of weapons of mass destruction."
A leading Republican? Why no, it is Senator Tom Daschle, the main Democratic attack dog!! Why the sudden change in spots? Could it be there is a senate election in South Dakota this year? Why yes, there is an election.
A couple of comments from the National Review about the election that will explain Senator Daschle now being a friend of the President and the administration after bad-mouthing everything Republican for 2 1/2 years:
1. By almost any measure, South Dakota is an exceptionally Republican state. Recent party-registration figures in South Dakota are 48.1 percent Republican to 38.5 percent Democrat. Registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats by more than 43,000 voters.
If that isn't enough, South Dakota has voted for a Democratic president just four times since being admitted as a state. The state is reliably Republican even in lean years. For example, Bob Dole won South Dakota in 1996 with 46 percent of the vote.
And, most importantly, South Dakota is Bush country. Bush beat Gore by roughly 72,000 votes in 2000 and won the state with 60 percent of the vote.
2. If Al Gore's message didn't play well in South Dakota in 2000, how well do you think a liberal from Massachusetts who favors gun control, is stridently pro-choice, and voted against the death penalty for terrorists who kill Americans abroad will do in 2004?
3. Democratic Senator Tim Johnson narrowly defeated John Thune in 2002. To pull off this feat Johnson had to: (a) vote for the president's tax cut and advertise his vote on TV (a tax cut Daschle voted against), (b) play up the fact that he is generally pro-life, (c) focus attention on his son's admirable service in the military, (d) get lucky enough to have a pesky libertarian candidate take 3,070 votes away from Thune, (e) turn out an amazing number of Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Shannon County, and (f) focus almost exclusively on the question of who can bring home the most pork. All of this got Tim Johnson a 528 vote victory out of 337,508 votes cast.
To say Senator Daschle might be a little concerned about the election is putting it mildly. It takes a mighty frightened Democrat like the extremely partisan Senator Daschle to praise President Bush and his administration. First, Senator Daschle loses the majority leader's post and now he is faced with becoming just an ordinary citizen again or maybe helping his wife out with her Boeing lobbying duties.