Originally Published: January 11, 2002 4 p.m.
It had to start sometime.
The siren song of a chance to seize greater power in the 2002 elections was too seductive for the power hungry to resist.
Sen. Tom Daschle, the Senate majority leader, decided to fire a fusilade at President George W. Bush, the man he'd like to challenge in 2004. To succeed in 2004, Daschle will gain great favor by helping to elect Democrats in the 2002 off-year elections.
So, Daschle launched a speech criticizing President George W. Bush for endangering Social Security and the economy by pushing through his tax cut proposal earlier this year and well before 19 terrorists changed the entire history and focus of our nation.
He didn't go so far as to volunteer to give his tax rebate back, but Daschle predicted near disaster if the Democrats didn't have the boodle they've been so accustomed to piddling away on vote-generating pork in the coming year. He said Bush's policies would erode the budget surplus built up during the Clinton years.
If the nation were not facing a cumulative national debt of $5,891,655,027,574.77 (more easily expressed as $5.8 trillion) it would have been obvious to any reasonable person that Clinton was taxing us too much.
With Bush's approval rating into the 80 percent territory, Daschle had better pack a lunch if he thinks he'll displace Bush in the White House. George W. Bush is not his father. He has a clear set of goals in which be believes deeply, and he won't waver.
Regardless of the opposition, he'll have to come up with a better cause celebre than the twaddle he used for ammunition in his first salvo.
After decades of Democratic-led plundering of Social Security money to fuel pork spending, Daschle's invocation of the "SS" card has the ring of Madonna crying out for abstinence.