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The Senate: shameless and clueless.
Early reactions from the Senate have shown little need for much of a fight. No Senate Republican has stepped forward to criticize Daschle for what he said was an honest accounting mistake, while Democrats yesterday credited him for discovering the tax errors himself and taking the steps to correct them….
Daschle’s confirmation, once considered the easiest among President Obama’s Cabinet nominations, rests to some degree in his ability to rely on his old friends within an institution renowned for its clubby atmosphere. In the history of Cabinet confirmations, the Senate has voted down only one current or former colleague, John Tower (R-Tex.), and that came after the former senator was accused of excessive drinking and extramarital affairs during his 1989 confirmation hearings to be defense secretary.
Once Daschle left the Senate, after his 2004 defeat to Republican John Thune, he remained prominent in senatorial circles. Senate Democrats named the headquarters of their campaign committee after him, and in March 2005, on the day that he signed a $1 million-a-year contract to join InterMedia Advisers, a private equity firm, almost every Senate Democrat turned out to a 400-person party at the National Building Museum in Daschle’s honor.
Daschle has become a major financial backer of Democratic campaigns. Last year he wrote more than $40,000 worth of personal checks to benefit Senate candidates. He and his wife, Linda Hall Daschle, donated over the past two years to at least 14 senators who will be tasked with voting on his confirmation.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”