Review

Like No Other Time: The 107th Congress and the Two Years That Changed America Forever

Senator Tom Daschle, with Michael D'Orso



America has experienced tumultuous and chaotic times since November
2000. The presidential election of that year created ill political
feelings and divisiveness across the land. On September 11, 2001,
terrorists inflicted a wound on the American spirit from which we
may never heal. We have gone to war in the Middle East, resulting
in worry and wonder with each passing day about what the news holds
for us. The events of the past three years remain far too fresh in
our minds to consider the recollections of the participants as
history. Indeed, to attempt to write of these years is like an
artist attempting to paint on a moving canvas. LIKE NO OTHER TIME,
by South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle, is one man's account of the
events of the two-year election cycle from 2000 to 2002. Because of
the important role the author played, these recollections are an
important contribution to understanding the swirling events that
our nation continues to confront, even as the book is
published.

During the time period of this narrative, Tom Daschle is initially
the minority leader of the Senate, then the majority leader, and
once again minority leader as power in the Senate shifts between
Republicans and Democrats. Daschle is a political partisan but that
designation should not have solely negative connotations.
Politicians although partisan can still, when required, act in the
best interests of their nation. Throughout American history,
statesmen like Harry Truman, Abraham Lincoln and Arthur Vandenberg,
to mention only a few, rose above partisan politics when the nation
was threatened. Senator Daschle makes clear in his narrative that
the political parties in America are currently far from
bipartisanship and deeply divided by a 21st century political
system that is seriously deficient.

Daschle is not reluctant to accept responsibility for his own
mistakes. LIKE NO OTHER TIME begins with the furor that arose over
the remarks of Senator Trent Lott at the birthday party of Strom
Thurmond. Lott's remarks seemed to endorse Thurmond's racist
viewpoint of the 1940s. Daschle accepted Lott's apology only to see
the remarks erupt into a firestorm of controversy that caused
Lott's resignation as Republican leader of the Senate: "In my
desire to be fair to Trent, I didn't fully appreciate the emotional
anguish that his words caused for many people, especially members
of the African-American community."

Senator Daschle recounts a series of events that commenced with the
decision of Senator James Jeffords of Vermont to leave the
Republican Senate majority and transform the Democrats into the
controlling party in the U.S. Senate. While other Senators had been
recruited to cross the aisle and join the Democrats, it was
Jeffords's decision that moved Daschle into the majority leader's
post. The behind-the-scenes negotiations and offers to Senator
Jeffords from both political parties are an eye opening lesson in
the democratic process behind the curtain. In many ways, it is a
sobering lesson about how democracy functions differently in
reality than in theory.

The tragic events of September 11th, the anthrax attack on his
office, the debate leading up to the war in Iraq, and the
congressional election of 2002 that cost Senator Daschle his
majority leader post are all discussed in detail. LIKE NO OTHER
TIME is a vivid lesson in the American political system for those
drawn to the hurly burly of government. In many respects it shares
common traits with Senator Daschle. It is somber, somewhat
dispassionate and seemingly lacking political fire. Perhaps Senator
Daschle's calm and placid account will stand the passage of time.
On the other hand, history may well prove that a leader with more
fire than Senator Daschle may have kept his party in power in the
first decade of the 21st century.

Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on January 22, 2011

Like No Other Time: The 107th Congress and the Two Years That Changed America Forever
Senator Tom Daschle, with Michael D'Orso

  • Publication Date: August 24, 2004
  • Genres: Current Events, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press
  • ISBN-10: 1400053757
  • ISBN-13: 9781400053759