RAINING ON SHINE’S PARADE

Last week had to be a little traumatic for poor Steve Shine and the Republicans.  After all, he and his buddies felt so threatened by our Democratic convention that they sprang for $10,000 worth of air time to try to remind someone – not sure who – how awful the years of Democratic leadership had been.

The weak effort was cobbled together from news paper headlines, a few head shots, and funeral music.  Of course, we had a good laugh at the hypocrisy of the entire situation – especially since the FSSA is still riddled with issues, Charlie White was convicted and removed from office, the Duke Energy scandal popped up, the Republicans “lost” a half billion dollars which had apparently decided to take a hiatus into cyberspace, and the Republicans couldn’t even figure out how to “figure out” what the counties had coming back to them.

But, the commercial wasn’t the only form of sour grapes spit out by the Republicans.  A truck with a large sign paraded through the streets to remind everyone that this was “Republican Country.”   The really sad thing is that Shine and his followers are so shallow that they just had to figure out some way to demonize this convention.  Never mind that this convention was extremely good for Fort Wayne and brought in around $500,000 to our economy and led to greater exposure of northeastern Indiana, which often gets left sitting on the sidelines.  Democrat,  Republican, or independent, this is our City.  Our visitors were very impressed with all the attractions and the amenities we have.

I suspect some of the sour grapes and childish activity was triggered by the impotency of Steve Shine and the Republicans to accomplish what was a major feat – bringing a state party convention to Fort Wayne for the first time in its history.  After all, does anyone remember when the Republican convention was here.  Anyone??

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PRE-PRIMARY ENDORSEMENTS POSE PROBLEMS

Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election. They are common in the United States, where their origins are traced to the progressive movement with its emphasis on ridding the political process of corruption.  Party primaries may have only one candidate per party, or a number of candidates may enter the fray, setting up a contested primary election, which, in turn, may raise the issue of maintaining party neutrality.  That neutrality can be breached when a party moves to make a pre-primary endorsement.

Pre-primary endorsements can be one of two types: an endorsement of a candidate by an individual or an endorsement of a candidate by a political party.  When we throw out the phrase “all politics is local”, nowhere is that more true than in the area of candidate endorsements by a political party before a primary.  The closer the race and the candidates are to the locality in which the election has a direct impact, the more volatile an endorsement can be.

All political endorsements come with baggage, but none more so than a pre-primary endorsement at the local level. We generally expect pre-primary endorsements at the national level – witness those lining up behind their respective candidates in the Republican primary – and even at the state level, although that can have its perils as well.  But taking a pre-primary position at the local level where candidates are personally known can divide party members, trigger issues of favoritism, and lead to a bad taste about politics, in general.

If a primary has more than one contender, then an endorsement is not wise.  While the selected candidate may disagree with that position,  those on the outside – not endorsed – will feel shut out and disenchanted with the political process.  A pre-primary endorsement sets the stage for a division in the party – perhaps not as  to whom should be selected but as to the very core of the party’s philosophy of fairness and inclusiveness.

Since I am a Democrat and darned proud of it, I will state I am speaking about my party.  We have several contested races, and, it may be that discussions arise as to the feasibility of an endorsement in one or more races.

I am a firm believer in the democratic process and consider myself a Jeffersonian Democrat although President Jefferson and I do part ways on a few points in our philosophical bents.  I favor the open and fair process of a primary with no interference by political parties – especially mine.  While individual members may contribute in any manner of ways to a candidate, I feel a party endorsement places the weight of the party behind a selected candidate and detracts from our overall democratic philosophy.

In addition, an endorsement relegates those not endorsed into a position of weakness, making their ability to attract donors and attention more difficult.  Feelings of exclusion may be felt, and, overall a disenchantment with the party and the political process itself.  I have always seen the Democrat party as inclusive, and, in the pre-primary endorsement process that inclusiveness is unceremoniously dispatched.

Our party approach to the primary should reflect our dedication to the principles of the Democrat party by trusting the Democrat voters to select a candidate; that can be done by avoiding a pre-primary endorsement.

 

BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK – BUT THERE’S GOT TO BE A MORNING AFTER

Need I say anything about yesterday’s election results?  Probably not, but I will anyways!  The morning after elections is always full of disappointments for the losing party and candidates, but it is also a time to regroup and understand that there is hope.  So here is my assessment – purely personal of course – on the Indiana races:

Senate – Sheriff Ellsworth vs. Carpetbagger Coats:

Coats was hand-picked to drop back into Indiana after Evan Bayh decided to self-limit his senate terms.  Coats and his wife were all set to retire in North Carolina – review the clip where he stated “if you don’t tell the good people of Indiana” referring to his plans to get out of Dodge permanently (although he hadn’t lived in Indiana for over a decade) and make his retirement home in North Carolina.  He even noted how excited he was at the prospect of registering and voting in North Carolina.

Of course, the issue of residency reared its ugly head, so he followed what is becoming an all-too-common path to running for office – he rented a space in the appropriate jurisdiction –  in this case, Indiana – to establish residency.  I would imagine it is a studio or something not too expensive since he likely will not be here much, if at all.

Odds are Coats has not sold his home in North Carolina – heck – I would bet the farm he hasn’t sold his home.  He will be an absentee Indiana senator, commuting to North Carolina during his term where his real home is located.  Any bets on how often he will actually step foot back in Indiana – the state he abandoned years ago?

This race is one of the most puzzling, but it shows that Hoosier values is an empty phrase to all those who voted for Coats.  I mean how is it he runs on Hoosier values when he hasn’t been a Hoosier for 12 years?  Shouldn’t he have been espousing North Carolinian values or lobbyist values or Washington, D.C. values?  Any values but Hoosier values.

At any rate, look for Coats, now 67, to run one term and then get back to his original retirement plans away from the “good people of Indiana”, which makes it almost certain he won’t spend much time in Indiana during his senate term.  Why would he?  He will mosey back to North Carolina, live in his $2 million dollar home, more than likely return to lobbying, and never give the “good people of Indiana” a second thought.

Both parties have probably already started thinking ahead to 2016.

House of Representatives – Hayhurst vs. Stutzman:

No surprise that this is the most disappointing of the races for me.  After beginning on Tom’s campaign in September 2009, the loss is extremely discouraging.  I watched Dr. Hayhurst traverse this district, walking door-to-door, speaking at events, participating in parades, and running a heart-felt campaign to be this district’s representative in Congress.  Hayhurst did not jump from one race to another – he focused on the congressional seat for Indiana’s Third District and would have made a great representative for the Third District.

Stutzman was selected in June, did very little campaigning, and probably looked at the race as an “entitlement” and pretty much a given.

I have to wonder whether Stutzman’s desire for the congressional representative’s seat was sincere or simply opportunistic. Since the age of 26, Stutzman has run for or held one office after another:  Indiana House of Representatives, Indiana Senate,  U.S. Senate, and now U.S. House of Representatives.  One gets the sense that “any old office will do.”

All the while, Stutzman continues to allege he is a “fourth-generation” farmer – but  more likely he is  a “FINO” – a “farmer in name only.”  I mean, how do you run for four offices in eight years, participate in legislative sessions, and farm full-time? And, now as a full-time legislator, how will he keep claiming he is a farmer?

Anyone who has been involved in farming knows that you don’t climb down off a combine for a photo shoot,  go back to campaigning, and then call yourself a full-time farmer.  Farming is hard work and requires long hours – even with the advent of technology those agricultural products don’t magically appear on your table or the store shelves.

My guess for Stutzman’s future?  He will attempt to stay in the House of Representatives until the opportunity for the 2016 senate race raises its head.  He will then switch gears again and go for the open senate seat which I predict Coats will vacate to return to North Carolina.  Opportunism at its height!

Local Races:

Morris vs. Wyss

What a disappointment – citizens complain and complain about career politicians yet continue to send the same politicians back year after year in a self-fulfilling cycle.  While Wyss may be a likable guy – he is a career politician with 25 years under his belt. Maybe the voters see part-time politicians differently than full-time politicians.  I have to wonder if all those voters who whine about career politicians have taken a look in the mirror and understand they are the very reason these politicians have careers in politics.

In the Indiana Senate race for District 15, the voters had an opportunity to send new blood to the state senate.  Jack Morris was well-informed on the issues confronting our state while Wyss tends to author or sponsor laws that are pretty much negligible and may be difficult to enforce.  Many of his efforts have been referred to as “nanny-state” legislation.

On the bright side, this race did force Wyss to campaign and remind voters who he was and what he looked like – something he hasn’t had to do much of with little competition in the past.

Ross vs. Dodge

This one was a real shocker – Codie was an excellent candidate following the path of Ed Roush’s campaign style and was well-informed on issues, especially those involving education.  As a previous teacher, his background would have been valuable in the area of education and its trials and tribulations.  With Daniels now poised to privatize our public schools, we need representatives who understand just what is at stake in this arena.

Dodge was also forced to campaign to keep his seat.  A small business owner who is now retired, Dodge has had very little impact in the Indiana House and prefers to maintain a low profile.

Indiana General Assembly:

Daniels’ Dangerous Tri-Fecta:

With the Indiana House of Representatives a 58 to 42 majority for Republicans, Daniels will now have the trifecta of power.  Republicans have whined about Obama’s trifecta for the past two years, so now let’s see if they acknowledge the danger in the trifecta they now will possess.  Bet you won’t hear a peep out of them.

With Daniels’ Republican minions now in control of both House and Senate, you can kiss goodbye any hope for Indiana’s environment, education, and social services.  With Daniels now in charge of two kowtowing legislative bodies, his privatization plans – even though terribly flawed in some cases – will kick into high gear.  Remember Daniels’ earlier reactions when he didn’t get his way on what he wanted;  he sometimes acted like a spoiled child and often was not involved in the legislative process.

In the area of environment, he has already diminished IDEM’s enforcement powers to the point of extinction along with attempting to do away with environmental regulations that protect our Hoosier air, waters, and lands.  Daniels sees Indiana as one big factory farming lot and will continue his efforts to increase the number of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) regardless  of the detrimental impact on air, soil, and water.  But that is of no import to the pro-big business minded Daniels.

Daniels contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates through his “Aiming Higher” PAC, so look for a number of representatives to be in Daniels’ pockets when it comes to key votes. Look for a new and energized Daniels to steamroller through his destructive privatization plans for our state during his remaining two years.

Sarah Palin may have considered herself a lame-duck in her first term, but you can bet Daniels will go with the label “game-duck” as in ” I am game to destroy Indiana’s environment, education, and social programs.”

Redistricting:

The issue of partisan redistricting now leaps to the front and center.  The redistricting will occur in 2011 based on the 2010 census.  Todd Rokita, the soon-to-be ex-Secretary of State, has put forth a plan called “Rethinking Redistricting” under the guise of helping us poor, uniformed Hoosiers better understand the redistricting process.

I understand it quite well, thank you – redistricting is political – always has been and always will be.  The party in power in the Indiana House of Representatives attempts to draw and re-draw lines to better enhance its chances of retaining control of the federal congressional legislature.

If the Republicans decide they would rather oust Joe Donnelly in the 2nd congressional district and not worry about keeping Marlin Stutzman in the 3rd congressional district, then a map will be designed to shift either all or part of the red county of Kosciusko into the 2nd district thus creating  a larger Republican voter base.

Since Donnelly barely hung on in this race, a shift could cause major problems for his re-election in 2012.  But what may be bad for Donnelly could be good for Third District Democrats.  Removing Kosciusko County means that the Third District will need to pull in voters – most likely from the south in what is now Pence’s 6th district – as it was in the days of the old 4th district, which was somewhat more Democrat-friendly than the current 3rd district.

Indiana State Elected Officials:

Secretary of State:  Vop Osili vs. Charlie “I don’t know where I live or vote” White

Who’d have thunk Hoosier Republicans would vote in a guy who is under investigation for voter fraud, and who, if convicted, probably will be removed from office?  Obviously, either Republicans have again abandoned those “Hoosier” values which so often drip from their lips, or they just don’t get it.

Sure, he is innocent until proven guilty, but he has already acknowledged his “error” by resigning from the Fishers’ town council he represented.  He was involved in drawing the council’s boundary lines, so his “oops, I didn’t know” act has little credibility.  His resignation is one of those “I got caught” moments requiring action.

Vop was a great candidate.  I got to know him back in the late winter when I asked him to speak at our Third District Breakfast Club.  A graduate of Carnegie-Mellon and Columbia University, he is a small business owner.  He is thoughtful, well-informed, articulate, and energetic.  My prediction?  Watch for Vop to continue to be a rising star in the Indiana Democratic Party, and, perhaps at the national level.

Treasurer:

Pete Buttigieg vs. Richard “I like wasting taxpayer money” Mourdock

Another rising star in our party, Pete Buttigieg, is the son of educators and grew up in South Bend.  He was valedictorian of his high school class and went on to earn a degree from Harvard before studying economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

Before leaving his job to campaign full-time, Pete’s career as a businessman took him across the country and around the world. Providing analysis and insight to key decision-makers, he has worked in a variety of areas including economic development, retail strategy, energy and logistics.

Sam Locke vs. Tim “I like campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime” Berry

Sam was born and raised in Connersville, Indiana, and graduated from Connersville Senior High School.  He went on to attend Indiana University – Bloomington on a ROTC scholarship and graduated with a BS in Secondary Education and BA in Political Science before being commissioned an officer in the Air Force.   He earned his Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Wyoming while serving in the Air Force at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base.

Sam is another young and rising star in our party.  We are truly fortunate to have had three great candidates for our state offices, and who I hope will continue to grace the Democratic party with their achievements and efforts.

Some Final Thoughts

While yesterday was a tremendous defeat for Democrats here at home and nationally, I have been around long enough to know that this is not the demise of the Democratic party.  This is a cycle in our country’s political process.  We watched the huge democratic victories in 2006 and in 2008, and now the victories – at least some of them – have swung back to the Republican column.

The Republicans will be no more successful at pleasing the American voter than the Democrats.  And, the Tea Partiers will find they are such a small number that they will really have no impact on policies or the direction of our country.  I can’t wait to hear the bellow of Rand Paul in the Senate that “we have come to take back our country” only to realize that his voice is a mere mouse squeak in the scheme of things.

Voters are becoming ever more a crowd that wants something done immediately despite the fact that most issues require time – and sometimes a lot of it.  They refuse to understand that our system was created with a check and balance factor that makes the wheels turn slowly.

Americans have become conditioned to instantaneous gratification – partly as a result of technology and the fast pace of our lifestyles.  When I was offline with no internet for five days this past week, I had to talk myself down from the ledge.  Just kidding, of course.  But think about how we all demand everything immediately.  What is fast today will be slow tomorrow and on and on.

As we ramp up our expectations for speed, speed, and more speed, we are not willing to accept the notion that our Founding Fathers created a political system meant to crawl toward resolution of a myriad of issues – and those issues were not the same increasingly complicated issues we face today.

While yesterday was, indeed, a bad day for Democrats, I think of the song from the Poseidon Adventure “There’s Got to be a Morning After.”  Democrats will reinvigorate themselves as in the past, and the cycle will begin anew. With the outstanding slate of candidates we fielded this election, I have tremendous hope for upcoming elections.

And, indeed, today is that morning after, and I am already looking forward to upcoming campaigns!

 

 

 

 

DOWNS CENTER RELEASES FLAWED POLL

Elections have become a battle of the “polls.”  A recent poll released by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics would lead a reader to surmise that the election for the Third District Congressional race is all but over with Stutzman leading by a whopping 25%.

However, that supposition would be entirely inaccurate – just as the Downs Center poll is inaccurate.  The following is the methodology that was used:

Statement of Methodology for U.S. House 3rd District of Indiana: SurveyUSA interviewed 565 registered voters from Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District 10/21/10 through 10/25/10, using Registration Based Sample (RBS) from Aristotle in Washington DC. Of the registered voters, 400 were determined by SurveyUSA to have already voted, or to be likely to vote in the 11/02/10 midterm election. Where necessary, responses were weighted according to the voter registration database. In theory, with the stated sample size, one can say with 95% certainty that the results would not vary by more than the stated margin of sampling error, in one direction or the other, had the entire universe of respondents been interviewed with complete accuracy. There are other possible sources of error in all surveys that may be more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. These include refusals to be interviewed, question wording and question order, weighting by demographic control data and the manner in which respondents are filtered (such as, determining who is a likely voter). It is difficult to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. Fieldwork for this survey was done by SurveyUSA of Clifton, NJ.

Note the bold and underlined portion of the statement.  In actuality, the responses were incorrectly weighted with Allen County receiving an inaccurate percentage.  The following are the Third District registered voter totals from the Indiana Government website:

Allen  –      230,789
DeKalb  –     28,999
Elkhart –      58,944
Kosciusko – 52, 328
LaGrange –   15,319
Steuben –      23,125
Whitley –      20,518

Total Third District voters –        456,677

I don’t claim to be a statistician; however, if Allen County has over 50% of the Third District voters, then a sampling should include at least 50% from Allen County.  This was not the case with the recent poll.  My understanding it that Elkhart County was attributed a 25% share of the total even though it is just shy of 13% of total Third District voter registration while Allen County’s percentage was nowhere near the actual 50% + of the Third District sample.

This inaccurate percentage could have been the result of looking at the entire county of Elkhart, not just the portion located within the Third District.  The bump to 25% is twice what should have been attributed to Elkhart County and skews the poll results.

In defending its poll, the Downs Center through Andy Downs stated that he believes his data is more accurate because he surveyed those likely to vote, not just those who are registered to vote.  So, just what is the likely voter vs. the registered voter distinction upon which the Downs Center considers its poll to be more accurate?

A registered voter is just that – someone who is registered but may or may not vote.  A registered voter could skip any number of elections and vote sporadically depending on issues or candidates that are important to that voter.  On the other hand, a likely voter is one who has “more than likely” voted in the last two or three elections and may very well continue that trend. A series of questions asked by the polling firm is used to establish whether or not the contacted, registered voter will vote in the current election and what that voter’s preference is at that point in time.

But how large a gap exists between the actual percentages between registered voters and likely voters?  In a recent article, the author noted that from 1950 to 2006 – where relevant Gallup poll data was available for 13 midterm elections – the average gap between the preferences of registered and likely voters was only 5 points. Only once, in 2002, did the gap reach double digits.

The newly released poll by the Hayhurst campaign more accurately reflects the actual differences noted by the author of the above article.   The Hayhurst poll shows a 4% lead by Dr. Hayhurst with a plus or minus deviation which indicates a possible dead heat in the race for the Third District congressional seat.

The Downs poll is flawed for two reasons:  1) the polling data was not accurately distributed within the district; and, 2) the research does not support the proposition that likely voters vs. registered voters provides a more accurate picture of just who will win this election.   If history serves, the difference is a 5-point margin – but that margin in this race leads not to the conclusion that the race is over but that it will be a tight race on election night.

Flawed polls do a great disservice to the voting public.  And, is so often stated, the only poll that matters is the one on election day.

STUTZMAN MAKES HAY WITH SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY

The quarterly candidate financial reports are out, and, according to the FEC reports, Marlin has had no trouble raking in money from PACs and other special interests.  As of September 30, 2010, Stutzman’s fund raising looks like this:

Total Receipts: $354,455
Transfers From Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Contributions: $196,313
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Committees: $153,142
Contributions from Party Committees $5,000
Candidate Contribution: $0
Candidate Loans: $0
Other Loans: $0
Total Disbursements: $225,347
Transfers to Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Refunds: $650
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Refunds: $0
Candidate Loan Repayments: $0
Other Loan Repayments: $0
Beginning Cash: $0
Latest Cash On Hand: $129,106
Debts Owed By: $10,101

Stutzman has received almost 45% of his funding from special interest groups – that leaves 55% attributable to individual contributions.

On the other hand, Dr. Hayhurst’s September 30th report reflects that 93% came from individual contributions and only 7% from special interest groups.  Here are his numbers:

Total Receipts: $692,553
Transfers From Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Contributions: $631,004
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Committees: $48,189
Contributions from Party Committees $5,000
Candidate Contribution: $7,570
Candidate Loans: $0
Other Loans: $0
Total Disbursements: $576,748
Transfers to Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Refunds: $0
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Refunds: $0
Candidate Loan Repayments: $0
Other Loan Repayments: $0
Beginning Cash: $0
Latest Cash On Hand: $115,804
Debts Owed By: $0

The disparity in accepting special interest money is staggering:  45% for Stutzman – 7% for Hayhurst.

So, as you go to the polls on November 2nd, ask yourself – who do you think is bought and paid for by the special interests?  Someone who receives 7% – or someone who receives a whopping 45% from special interests.  Doesn’t take a math wiz to calculate the numbers.

And, your next observation?  Stutzman is not his own man.  Dr. Hayhurst assured the debate viewers and the public that he is independent – and his special interest contributions back him up.  On November 2nd, you have a choice to send a “bought and paid for” special interest candidate – Marlin Stutzman to Congress .  Or you can vote for  an independent, fair-minded, and dedicated candidate – Dr. Tom Hayhurst.

OBAMA’S VIETNAM

Afghanistan has become Obama’s Vietnam.  As the struggle descends into madness, and Kharzai flirts with the Taliban, the country is no closer to stability than it was years ago when we first blasted our way into the countryside in search of the elusive Osama bin Laden.

Pundits have argued that Afghanistan is like Vietnam – or – it isn’t like Vietnam.  Set in two different world locations with two distinct geographical and environmental climes, the similarities exist outside these constraints with one over-riding theme: the inability to overcome the opposition for any length of time.

Johnson and Nixon tried in Vietnam – and in the process cost over 58,000 American lives.  Bush began the war in Afghanistan but quickly turned to his real target – Iraq.  Obama has set his sights back on Afghanistan, where many believe it should have stayed in the first place.  But regardless, Afghanistan now belongs to Obama.  His legacy will include his attempts to conquer the opposition forces and deliver a stable democracy in Afghanistan. A legacy that will probably fail.

The “war” will play out although no one knows for sure when the last of the troops will arrive back on American soil – they just will.  Sadly, the American public isn’t as vocal as it was during Vietnam.  But, then again, college students and the youth are not subject to the draft – a leveler that tends to make opposition to war more pressing and urgent to those facing their exportation to foreign soil to fight a foreign war.

Many dissimilarities exist, but the ultimate similarity is that of the inability to win the “hearts and minds” of a people who have battled foreign invaders for decades.  So, as the war drags on, and Obama becomes further entrenched in his ownership, and the public demurely turns its face away, the prospect of an enduring Vietnam scenario increases.

SOUDER SCROUNGES FOR DONATIONS

Throwing out his old, worn standard – the Liberals are coming, the Liberals are coming – Souder has already saddled up his trusty steed of conservatism and started to send out letters soliciting donations.   Whining that he is a “good” conservative, he is now portraying himself as a poor, beleaguered Indiana conservative fleeing from the “nasty, old Liberals” who are after his seat.

Souder has the ability to talk much and say little.  I have found in the few conversations I have had with him that it is hard to get a word in edgewise, and that tactic becomes useful when you have little to say in an unrehearsed situation.

But, Lord, give him a rehearsed forum, and he can ramble for hours without taking a position a la his performance in 2008 at a meeting he held to try to explain what was happening with the VA inpatient issue in Fort Wayne.  By the time the meeting was over, few understood what he had just said and even fewer understood his position.

But, Souder’s hypocrisy has never been more visible than his recent assault against President Obama, calling the President a “liar.”  Apparently Souder has forgotten the following pledge that he took in 1994 as he signed the now-infamous Contract with America (bet he had his fingers crossed behind his back):

CONTRACT WITH AMERICA

As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body, we propose not just to change its policies, but to restore the bounds of trust between the people and their elected representatives. That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.

    Within the first hundred days of the 104th Congress, we shall bring to the House Floor the following bills, each to be given a full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote, and each to be immediately available this day for public inspection and scrutiny:

  1. The Fiscal Responsibility Act: Balanced budget amendment & line item veto
  2. The Taking Back Our Streets Act: More prisons, more enforcement, more death penalty
  3. The Personal Responsibility Act: Limit welfare to 2 years & cut welfare spending
  4. The Families Reinforcement Act: Use tax code to foster families
  5. The American Dream Restoration Act: Repeal marriage tax; cut middle class taxes
  6. The National Security Restoration Act: No US troops under UN command; more defense spending
  7. The Senior Citizens Fairness Act: Reduce taxes on Social Security earnings
  8. The Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act: Incentives to small businesses
  9. The Common Sense Legal Reforms Act: Limit punitive damages
  10. The Citizen Legislature Act: Term limits on Congress

Further, we will work to enact additional budget savings, beyond the budget cuts specifically included in the legislation above, to ensure that the federal budget will be less than it would have been without the enactment of these bills. Respecting the judgment of our fellow citizens as we seek their mandate for reform, we hereby pledge our names to this Contract with America.


Hmm – didn’t Souder say he would only run for six terms?  Gosh, I guess he lied.

BOOT THE BLUES – DOGS THAT IS

What do Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth, and Baron Hill have in common?  They have decided to enter into the ranks – 52 in all – of the Blue Dogs, or more accurately, as newer members of Congress are called the “Blue Pups.”  Just what is a Blue Dog?  The Blue Dogs are a group formed in 1995 in response to the Democratic losses of 1994 – although they haven’t barked too much until recently.

Blue Dogs call themselves moderate to conservative members of the Democratic Party who, according to Pete Geren  have been “choked blue” by “extreme” Democrats from the left.  Hmm, wonder where the “Red Rovers” are – you know, those Republicans who have been strangled by the right-wing of the Republican party?

Part of the Blue Dogs’ motivation in opposing President Obama’s health care proposals may be attributed to the vast contributions they have attracted from medical interests, who are spending an additional $1.3 million a day on lobbying. The Washington Post reported:

The Blue Dog group has set a record pace for fund raising this year through its political action committee, surpassing other congressional leadership PACs in collecting more than $1.1 million through June … More than half the money came from the health care, insurance and financial services industries.

Of course, Donnelly, Hill, and Ellsworth aren’t the only offending members of Congress.  Evan Bayh of Indiana has decided that his bread is better buttered by the medical insurance and pharmaceutical companies and has opposed many of the components of President Obama’s health care reform plan under the guise of working for the “citizens of Indiana.”  The ads, of course, have been paid for by big Pharma.

Senator Bayh’s wife Susan, a former Lily pharmaceutical executive, received $2.1 million over the last several years for serving on the boards of health-related firms like WellPoint, the nation’s largest insurer, based in Indianapolis.  Kind a hard to bite the hand that feeds you.

WellPoint alone accounted for the biggest single source of Susan Bayh’s board income, paying her $976,000 in cash, stock options and stock awards from 2006 to 2008, according to Equilar, a California-based executive-compensation research company.

Blue, purple, or green – it really doesn’t matter.  It is pretty apparent from where their dog food comes, and, as long as their dog bowl is full, well, again, why bite the hand that feeds you.

Joe Donnelly

Brad Ellsowrth

Brad Ellsworth

Baron Hill

Baron Hill

CODIE ROSS FOR STATE HOUSE

In a classic match up involving stagnation and the status quo – represented by Dick Dodge – confronted with energy, youth, and new ideas – represented by Codie Ross – the evolving 51st Indiana House race has captured state attention albeit luke-warm.  But we can change that.  Howey Politics Indiana, a blog discussing Indiana politics has listed House District 51 as a “horse race” and among the “Hot 25” in Indiana’s upcoming elections.

Codie Ross for 51st District

Codie Ross for 51st District

Here are Brian Howey’s comments:

HD51: This hasn’t been a truly competitive district for a generation, but Democrats are talking up the challenger candidacy of Codie Ross, an Auburn attorney who is taking aim at Republican State Rep. Dick Dodge. “He’s a real go-getter,” said Indiana Democratic Chairman Dan Parker. Dodge defeated Lon Keyes 14,734 to 10,186 in 2008. In 2006, Dodge defeated Democrat Joseph Rauen 9,013 to 7,217 in a race nobody talked about at the campaign committee level. The district isn’t an absolute GOP juggernaut, but we’re a bit skeptical whether Ross can close the gap. Horse Race Status: Likely Dodge

For a generation?   It really is time for a change.  Dick Dodge may be a likeable, older gentleman, but his age belies his hidden agenda of supporting anti-consumer issues.  He has accepted $2,300 from the utility and coal industries.  Those contributions were from American Electric Power, Duke Energy, Indianapolis Power and Light, NiSource, Peabody Coal, and the Coal Industry’s Political Action Committee.

According to the Citizens Action Coalition, Dodge has a 2008 pro-consumer voting record of 0% – I have to repeat that – 0%.  What that says is that Dodge doesn’t take much interest in protecting his constituents.  Codie Ross is practicing good, old-fashioned politics.  He is walking his district to talk to the constituents, and he is intent on making sure that he takes the interests of his future constituents to heart.

It is time for a change – and Codie Ross is the person to do it.

Codie Ross speaks to the Third District Breakfast Club

Codie Ross speaks to the Third District Democratic Breakfast Club

So, let’s make the the change happen.  I don’t live in the 51st District, but I have met Codie, and he has spoken at our Third District Breakfast Club.  Dodge wants to hang on as he has done for a generation, and, why not?  He has had little competition, and he doesn’t answer to his constituents but rather to big industry.

On the other hand, Codie has solid ideas, common sense, and the desire to serve those of the 51st District – not simply hang on with no action as Representative Dodge has done now for far too long.  Visit Mr. Ross’s website and learn more about his vision for the 51st District.

REPUBLICAN IDIOCY CONTINUES OVER OBAMA ADDRESS TO SCHOOL CHILDREN

President Obama is planning to address the nation’s school children next week.  Of course, Republicans are having a hissy fit and throwing out all kinds of statements accusing Obama of potential indoctrination of the millions who may be allowed to listen to his remarks.   Heaven forbid, our children may just be inspired to continue with their education and realize how important graduation can be.

How quickly the Repubs forget – or simply ignore the fact that Bush 41 (Daddy Bush) did the very same thing in 1991 during his presidency.  The full text of his speech can be found preserved in the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library for posterity – or should I say for embarrassment of the now-whining and crying Republicans.

The fact is that there is a hatred in this country for President Obama, and the right-wing nuts are fanning the flames of that hatred by screaming at everything the president does or doesn’t do.  Blogsters like Michelle Malkin post misleading articles and her duped readers spit out their hate-filled comments without even bothering to check out that this isn’t the first time in history a president has addressed the school children of this country with a message of the importance of education.

Let’s face it – the Repubs look like twits since one of their very own took to the airwaves to deliver a speech about the importance of education to millions of school children – wow what an awful thing to do!  Sure, the Democrats criticized Bush 41 for what they believed was a political ploy and a poor use of eduction money.  But their criticism in no way comes near the level of the plain downright hate-filled rhetoric being spewed by today’s clutch of whiners – likening Obama’s purpose to Nazi tactics and the implanting of a socialistic agenda in the minds of all the school children who will listen to the speech.

Let’s hope that the hundreds of school systems around this country don’t cave to the fear-mongering and name-calling that have become such intrinsic characteristics of  the Republicans.

President Obama will address the nations school children on September 9th

President Obama will address the nation's school children on Tuesday, September 8th