Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thoughts about the Democrat Donnybrook: Why Hillary Will Win on the 6th

I've had a number of lengthy email exchanges with blog readers and friends (most of them outside of the state of Indiana) who have expressed curiosity about the imminent Indiana primary and how this, the most Republican of states, will turn when it comes to a Democrat presidential primary. This post is an attempt to synthesize and combine those conversations into a coherent discussion of the Democrat presidential primary.

Warning; monster post follows.

Polling has been all over the place, as the Real Clear Politics average indicates. This fluidity has a lot more to do, I think, with differing polling methodologies than it does with actual fluidity in the race itself.

The most accurate poll was probably the recent SUSA poll that indicated a nine point lead by Clinton. I tend to distrust SUSA as a polling firm, but they're loads better than the Indy Star's polling firm. The Star's pollster did a general election poll back late last year whose sample was biased and unbalanced, containing more Democrats than Republicans. If you don't know that general election polls in Indiana should have more declared Republicans than Democrats, then you shouldn't be trusted to conduct polls here.

Indiana is also a difficult state to poll; there have been no seriously contested statewide primaries in Indiana in almost three decades. This absence of historical data makes determining turnout models and other weighting factors difficult (and primaries are hard enough to poll as it is).

This situation is complicated by the fact that Indiana, like anywhere else, is not a homogeneous state (especially, especially, when it comes to political primaries). It has distinct regions that differ significantly from each other and will yield dramatically different poll results. If your samples do not naturally account for these regional variations (or are not weighted to account for them), then accurate statewide primary polling is difficult and perhaps impossible.

Most polling thus far does not include crosstabs that indicate regional breakdowns. Such breakdowns are important because Democrat primary voters are effectively concentrated in four areas. These are southern Indiana, with about 40% of the votes, Indianapolis with 15%, The Region with 15%, and the North (Fort Wayne, South Bend, etc) with about 15%. The rest of the state (a vast tract of territory encompassing the Indianapolis suburbs and virtually all of central Indiana; the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and portions of the 6th and 8th districts) has only 15%.

It doesn't take a genius to look at that and determine which area is most important, at least for Democrats (the areas of importance to Republicans are roughly the inverse of this). The most recent SUSA poll counted only 26% of its respondents as being in southern Indiana, when somewhere between 35% to 40% of all Democrat primary voters will likely come from there; Hillary won southern Indiana by better than two to one.

Southern Indiana is a prime example of the inverse of the rest of Indiana, hence its dominant importance in Democratic primaries in the Hoosier state. In much of Indiana, the Republican primary is effectively the election. Accordingly, it is where voters--Republicans or not--tend to vote so as to maximize their say over their local government. Democrats in these areas tend to field incomplete slates of candidates or have unchallenged candidates in the primaries.

In Southern Indiana, the opposite is true. In many counties (though not all; Lawrence, Orange, and many others come to mind), the Democrat primary has a dominating position. Accordingly, it is where voters--Democrats or not--tend to vote in the spring (Republicans in southern Indiana have, you might say, been practicing Operation Chaos for generations). Republicans tend not to have contested primaries, and Democrats do (Harrison County is an interesting exception this year). People tend to vote in the Democrat primary as a result.

Contested primaries (regardless of location or party) tend to disproportionately draw voters, particularly when the other side's primaries are not contested.

This creates an interesting dynamic. Turnout will probably surge in the south, and not merely in places line Monroe County (Bloomington). Turnout will surge everywhere; 30+% turnout would not surprise me, nor would even near 40% turnout (by comparison, turnout in the 2004 primary was 23%).

Ohio saw statewide primary turnout surge 50% from 2004 to 2008. I suspect that we will see similar results in Indiana, with much of that turnout surge manifesting itself in the Democrat primary. For the first time in a very long time, Indiana will probably have more Democrat primary ballots pulled than Republican ones.

But this surge will be uneven. In Republican one-party counties (where the Republican primary matters, especially in central Indiana), voters will be reluctant to pull a Democrat ballot and lose a significant portion of their say over local government, regardless of what Rush Limbaugh is urging on the radio. In Democrat one-party counties (especially in southern Indiana), voters will more inclined than ever to pull a Democrat ballot.

The trend will be from Republican ballots to Democrat ones; there will be few crossovers in the other direction. Such a trend will spell the end of John McGoff's challenge to Dan Burton in the 5th district; the good doctor's candidacy always required Democrat crossover votes to have a real chance.

Most of the Democrat one-party counties are in southern Indiana. While voter turnout and Democrat primary voting will surge across Indiana, it will surge here far more than in much of central Indiana. And an Obamassiah surge to counter the Clinton surge won't come from places like Bloomington (or at least won't come enough to matter. Most of the college students will already be gone the prior weekend (finals are this week; Commencement is Saturday). This will probably negatively impact Obama's hopes of a youth surge. Finals and the move home will also erode his student volunteer base going into the final days and hours of the campaign.

Hillary Clinton will carry southern Indiana (the 8th and the 9th districts) by better than two to one, where as much as 40% of all Democrat primary votes will (if history is any indication) be cast. And she will carry the area despite Obama running close in places like Clark, Vanderburgh, Bartholomew, and perhaps Floyd. She will lose Monroe.

Southern Indiana is Hillary Clinton's bulwark in Indiana. She will probably carry the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th districts by similar margins, though the numbers of Democrat primary voters in these four districts is considerably less than in the 8th and the 9th (perhaps two thirds as many, if that). The "bitter country" of the Hoosier state will go overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, a woman that few of those same areas would give much of a margin in November.

Obama, meanwhile, can probably count on high turnout running him up a margin of two to one in Indianapolis (the 7th District). He will also poll well among liberal yuppies in Hamilton County and in the surrounding donut counties. Even if he wins in the donut, he will not build margins there of the sort necessary to overcome the margins that Hillary will have run up elsewhere in the state. Obama will carry the Region and the 1st district (perhaps handily), though SUSA polling presently shows him only even there. The 2nd district will probably be close.

The pattern here will be a familiar one. Obama will win a few affluent and urban (and minority-heavy) counties, and perhaps those with college communities, but will lose virtually everywhere else. It will be the same pattern seen in Ohio and, more recently, Pennsylvania. The environment and the political terrain, despite being next door to Illinois, are too foreign to the Obamassiah for him to prevail; this is not Wisconsin, a state with a vibrant progressive tradition that Obama won in all demographics at the height and cresting peak of his campaign.

Hoosier Democrats are going to manifest the same buyers' remorse that blue collar and Rust Belt Democrats have shown in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Hillary will likely carry the state by about ten points (though she won't pick up very many delegates out of it).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Supreme Court Upholds Hoosier Voter ID Law; 6-3 Ruling Sends Dan Parker Home to Cry

It wasn't even close if you think about it; the Star's characterization of it as a fractured opinion has more to do with some of the concurrences from several conservative justices urging yet more stringent voter ID measures.

From the Indy Star:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court, in a fractured decision, upheld an Indiana law today that requires voters show a photo ID issued by the federal or state government.

“States should have the ability to implement appropriate and constitutional steps to protect their electoral systems from fraud,” Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter said in response. “We can move forward in Indiana with a process that provides constitutional protections to its citizens protecting their vote from potential fraudulent activity.”

Indiana next votes in the May 6 primary that is expected to set a record for turnout in a presidential election year.

Richard L. Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and an expert on election law, called the decision a significant win for backers of voter identification laws.

Opponents had argued that the law, considered the toughest voter ID statute in the nation, places substantial practical and financial burdens on voters and is aimed at fixing a type of election fraud that rarely occurs.

The state said the law imposes minimal, if any, interference and increases public confidence in the integrity of the elections.

The court agreed. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices John Paul Stevens and Anthony Kennedy wrote that because Indiana’s cards are free, the inconvenience of getting one does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters’ right to vote.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who sided with the majority for different reasons, did not recognize that opening.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter dissented.

Challengers, who included the Indiana Democratic Party, said the law is particularly hard on the poor, the elderly, minorities and others who might be less likely to own a driver’s license or passport and more likely to vote Democratic.

The law, passed in 2005, was previously upheld by a federal judge and by a panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A survey released earlier this year by American University’s Center for Democracy and Election Management found that more than two-thirds of registered voters in Indiana, Mississippi and Maryland would trust the election system more if voters had to show an ID. About 1.2 percent of those surveyed lacked a government-issued photo ID, which the center’s co-director said shows the photo ID requirement is not a serious concern.

Poor Dan Parker.

Couldn't care less about the Democrat Marion County Clerk demonstrably disenfranchising thousands of voters in the 2007 municipal primary, but cared so much about a case where not a single actual disenfranchised voter could be found?

Pathetic, and the Supreme Court saw it for what it was.

Clinton, Desperate, Campaigns in Carmel

Hillary Clinton must be banking a lot on cross-over voters and Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos if she expects that her husband will find many Democratic primary votes in Carmel, one of the most Republican-leaning cities in the entire United States.

From the Indy Star:

Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife this morning at Carmel High School, even though the school has a Students for Barack Obama Club, but not one for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Still, about 2,200 juniors and seniors took part in the historic moment, and dozens of students flocked to the stage at the end of Clinton’s presentation to shake his hand and take photos on their cell phones.

Clinton spoke for an hour to the students and about 800 staff and community members in the school’s packed gymnasium, often inspiring cheers and applause.

He talked about his wife’s stance on energy, global warming, jobs, health care and the economy.

“Hillary believes America should look the way you look today,” he said. “Despite race, gender, age, religion, we are all here together.”

Joe Hogsett, co-chairman of Clinton’s Indiana campaign, said even though Hamilton County is predominantly Republican, there are still a lot of Democratic voters because of the county’s large population.

About 100,000 votes were cast in the county during the 2004 presidential elections, he said.

What Hogsett didn't say is that Hamilton County cast no more Democrat primary votes in 2004 (about 3,600) than much smaller Harrison County did.

Clinton has also been to Harrison County.

But then, he went to Bedford too; Lawrence County cast a paltry 1,100 votes in the 2004 Democratic primary.

Magically Auspicious

The Wright Stuff

Howey Has Self-Induced Obasm

Either glassy-eyed or doe-eyed, depending on how you look at it, Brian Howey reminds all of us about just how great, really great, really, the Obamassiah is.

All you have to do is just drink the Kool-Aid, as Howey has, and you'll see, really you will.

Behold, the glory of the Obamassiah.

He just walked into Indiana, and the whole state felt the joy of the Obarapture and millions of Hoosiers cried out in relief at the pleasure of their collective Obasm.

Now if only he could actually win...

Feeling the earth move as Obama walked in

“I feel the earth, move, under my feet …."
- Carole King, Tapestry

EVANSVILLE - In the very toe of the Hoosier State, which was rocked and rattled by an earthquake the previous week, Barack Obama was preparing to descend to the stage at Roberts Stadium. His move came in a state that in its 192-year history has elected only three African-American mayors (all in Gary), three African-American members of Congress, two black sheriffs, and two Hispanic mayors. None served much south of I-70. Indiana House Majority Floor Leader Russ Stilwell of Boonville looked at the gathering crowd on this Tuesday night and softly said, "There’s an undercurrent out there. I’m not sure if people realize what’s going on." In about an hour, more than 8,000 Hoosiers - black, white, young, old - stood in a huge line that wrapped around the stadium, and for most, another two hours waiting for a transformational figure in American history to appear.

Around 10:45 p.m. on this balmy night, Obama took the dais in Evansville to thunderous cheers. "Evansville is going to be so important," Obama said a few moments after Hoosier rocker John Mellencamp sang “Small Town” … “All my friends are so small town. My parents live in the same small town. My job is so small town. Provides little opportunity. Educated in a small town. Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town. Used to daydream in that small town …"

Oh please.

GOP Challenges Pelosi for Gas Price Plan

From The Hill:

House Republican leaders on Tuesday challenged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to release a plan to lower gas prices that they say Democrats touted when they were in the minority.

“Two years ago this week, you stated that House Democrats had a ‘commonsense plan’ to ‘lower gas prices,’ ” the letter said. “In light of the skyrocketing gasoline prices affecting working families and every sector of our struggling economy, we are writing today to respectfully request that you reveal this ‘commonsense plan’ so we can begin work on responsible solutions to help ease this strain.”

In a press release dated April 24, 2006, Pelosi said, “Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging, rolling back the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies, and increasing production of alternative fuels.” The letter cited policies put in place during the GOP control of Congress that the Speaker claimed had raised prices on American consumers to benefit oil companies.

The House GOP leaders’ letter points out that the price of gasoline has spiked $1.18 since Democrats took over in January and stands at $3.51.

“Once a nightmare scenario, $4 gasoline is now a very real possibility of becoming a summer staple,” the letter stated. “In some cities, including San Francisco and Chicago, it is already a startling reality.”

Pelosi’s office did not respond immediately for comment.

Silence is golden.

At least for the oil companies that bankroll the Obamassiah and profit from Baron Hill.

They are calling it the "Pelosi Premium."

Baron on Obamassiah: "He's Got Game"

From the Chicago Tribune:

In the short term, basketball is almost never a bad thing in Indiana, where a critical primary is May 6.

"I get asked about basketball every single day," said Rep. Baron Hill, a Democratic congressman from the state and member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

"I've watched him play," Hill added of Obama.

"He's not a bad player. He's got some game."

Baron would know; he's been present for at least three Obamassiah church services, err, campaign rallies.

The Forbes Fictional 15


They say fortune favors the bold--but it also favors the fictional. The characters that make up this year's edition of the Forbes Fictional 15, our annual listing of fiction's richest, boast an aggregate net worth of $137 billion. That's enough to give $20 to every (real) person on the planet.

Flapping into the top slot on this year's list is the first non-mammal to rank as fiction's richest: Scrooge McDuck. Soaring gold prices mean the penny-pinching poultry's hoard of coins and bullion is now worth more than you can shake a tail feather at.

To qualify for the Fictional 15, we require that candidates be an authored fictional creation, a rule that excludes mythological and folkloric characters. They must star in a specific narrative work or series of works. And they must be known, both within their fictional universe and by their audience, for being rich. Net worth estimates are based on an analysis of the fictional character's source material, and are valued against known real-world commodity and share price movements. In the case of privately held fictional concerns, we sought to identify comparable fictional public companies. All prices are as of market close, Dec. 10, 2007.

And the list:

1. Scrooge McDuck
2. Ming The Merciless
3. Richie Rich
4. Mom
5. Jed Clampett
6. C. Montgomery Burns
7. Carter Pewterschmidt
8. Bruce Wayne
9. Thurston Howell III
10. Tony Stark
11. Fake Steve Jobs
12. Gomez Addams
13. Willy Wonka
14. Lucius Malfoy
15. Princess Peach

Top 25 fictional companies rated, too:

2. Acme Corp.
3. Sirius Cybernetics Corp.
4. MomCorp
5. Rich Industries
6. Soylent Corp.
7. The Very Big Corp. of America
8. Frobozz Magic Co.
9. Warbucks Industries
10. Tyrell Corp.
11. Wayne Enterprises
12. Virtucon
13. Globex
14. Umbrella Corp.
15. Wonka Industries
16. Stark Industries
17. Clampett Oil
18. Oceanic Airlines
19. Yoyodyne Propulsion
20. Cyberdyne Systems Corp.
21. d'Anconia Copper
22. Gringotts
23. Oscorp
24. Nakatomi Trading Corp.
25. Spacely Space Sprockets

Rove: "The Reborn Adlai Stevenson"

The Obamassiah probably won't appreciate being compared to the quintessential snobbish liberal egghead.

From the Wall Street Journal:

And what of the reborn Adlai Stevenson? Mr. Obama is befuddled and angry about the national reaction to what are clearly accepted, even commonplace truths in San Francisco and Hyde Park. How could anyone take offense at the observation that people in small-town and rural American are "bitter" and therefore "cling" to their guns and their faith, as well as their xenophobia? Why would anyone raise questions about a public figure who, for only 20 years, attended a church and developed a close personal relationship with its preacher who says AIDS was created by our government as a genocidal tool to be used against people of color, who declared America's chickens came home to roost on 9/11, and wants God to damn America? Mr. Obama has a weakness among blue-collar working class voters for a reason.

His inspiring rhetoric is a potent tool for energizing college students and previously uninvolved African-American voters. But his appeals are based on two aspirational pledges he is increasingly less credible in making.

Mr. Obama's call for postpartisanship looks unconvincing, when he is unable to point to a single important instance in his Senate career when he demonstrated bipartisanship. And his repeated calls to remember Dr. Martin Luther King's "fierce urgency of now" in tackling big issues falls flat as voters discover that he has not provided leadership on any major legislative battle.

Mr. Obama has not been a leader on big causes in Congress. He has been manifestly unwilling to expend his political capital on urgent issues. He has been only an observer, watching the action from a distance, thinking wry and sardonic and cynical thoughts to himself about his colleagues, mildly amused at their to-ing and fro-ing. He has held his energy and talent in reserve for the more important task of advancing his own political career, which means running for president.

But something happened along the way. Voters saw in the Philadelphia debate the responses of a vitamin-deficient Stevenson act-a-like. And in the closing days of the Pennsylvania primary, they saw him alternate between whining about his treatment by Mrs. Clinton and the press, and attacking Sen. John McCain by exaggerating and twisting his words. No one likes a whiner, and his old-style attacks undermine his appeals for postpartisanship.

Got to love this addendum from Hot Air:

In short, Obama has run as something he clearly is not, at least not so far. He wants people to believe that he can change the game, but in the three short years he has served in national office, he has done nothing to suggest that. John McCain actually has a track record of working across party divisions and trying to reach solutions on controversial issues; Barack Obama prefers to reserve his “political capital”. All Obama has done is talk about change, and that talk has begun to wear thin, especially as people take a closer look at him and his political associations.

Unfortunately for Obama and the Democrats who have carried him so close to the finish line, that “fierce urgency of now” is nothing more than a soundbite for a legislator who doesn’t legislate, an agent of change who hasn’t changed anything, and the beacon of hope who hasn’t felt an urgency to take any action in the “now” for the past three years. He’s been eating his waffle and hanging out with people who don’t like America or Americans much. That qualifies him to work the next Daily Show spin-off, not run the nation.

Bring him on.

Sheehan Files to Challenge Pelosi

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan wants to snatch House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's congressional seat from her in November, but first she's going to need the help - and signatures - of 10,198 friends and supporters.

Sheehan was at San Francisco City Hall on Friday to take out papers for her independent run for Congress, but without those signatures from voters in the district, her name won't show up on the ballot.

"It's an uphill battle," said Sheehan, who vowed to run against Pelosi in July after the speaker refused to start impeachment proceedings against President George Bush. "But I'm excited about the signature-gathering process. It's going to be an opportunity to talk to people about our campaign."

The 50-year-old Sheehan, whose son, Casey, was killed while serving in Iraq in 2004, became the public face of the anti-war movement when she mounted a demonstration outside Bush's Texas ranch that lasted from 2005 to 2007.

Even after pleading exhaustion and closing down "Camp Casey" in May, Sheehan was a regular speaker at anti-war gatherings across the nation. Since moving from Dixon to San Francisco's Mission District, she's been campaigning virtually full time.

To get the signatures, equal to 3 percent of the district voters registered for the 2006 general election, the campaign will have people setting up ironing boards and card tables on street corners throughout the city, seeking voters who want an alternative to Pelosi. Sheehan has until Aug. 8 to collect the needed signatures.

The return of a classic:

She'll be bringing the pain in 2009.

Grumpy Voters

Axis of Evil

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Birch's Boy Begs Supers for Neutrality

From the Washington Post campaign blog:

With his state's critical primary in two short weeks, Democratic Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh -- a strong supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton -- has been leaning on the Hoosier State's freshman House members to stay on the sidelines rather than endorse Sen. Barack Obama.

Obama is hoping to win the outspoken support of Reps. Brad Ellsworth, Baron Hill and Joe Donnolly. He campaigned for them ahead of their 2006 Democratic sweep, and their districts sprawl across the southern half and central heartland of Indiana -- white, working class areas that favor Clinton. Even a good showing in those districts could be enough for Obama to take the state, given his strength in Indianapolis and the largely African American north near Chicago.

In an interview today, Bayh said he has appealed to Ellsworth, Hill and Donnolly to stay out of the race until their voters have spoken. Clinton will take all three of their districts, he said.

"Why should they get crosswise with some of their friends if they really don't need to?" asked Bayh, perhaps the most powerful elected Democrat in the state.

Already, according to three House sources, one member has defied that appeal. Newly elected Rep. Andre Carson of Indianapolis had been in Bayh's sights before he broke for Obama.

The effect of any endorsement -- his included -- "really is pretty marginal," Bayh said.

But with 25 percent of Indiana's Democratic voters in Chicago's media market, Clinton is going to have to run up her margins downstate. She doesn't need any headwind from the region's new House members.

"My advice to you is to follow the voters of your district," Bayh said he has been telling them.

He has not overtly asked them not to endorse, but, he added, his advice "would have that effect."

Remember, children, do as Birch's boy says, not as he does.

After all, his political future is on the line on May 6th as much (and probably more) than Hillary Clinton's.

New Primary Poll

From WISH TV, and it includes rough crosstabs:

QUESTION: How would you rate the performance of George W. Bush as President; excellent, good, only fair, or poor?
Excellent 6%
Good 31%
Fair 35%
Poor 25%
Not Sure 3%

That's actually a good deal higher than I would expect.

QUESTION: If the election for President were held today, who would you vote for if the choice were between Barack Obama, the Democrat, and John McCain, the Republican?
McCain 51%
Obama 43%
Undecided 6%

QUESTION: If the election for President were held today, who would you vote for if the choice were between Hillary Clinton, the Democrat, and John McCain, the Republican?
McCain 52%
Clinton 41%
Undecided 7%

Not a lick of difference in the general between Obama or Clinton when they face off against McCain; ten point leads and being above the magic 50% threshold pretty much dashes lefty hopes of a presidential campaign being able to devote resources to make Indiana into a genuine swing state.

QUESTION: If What is the single most important issue in determining your vote for President? (NOT READ):
Economy/job creation 25%
Lowering Taxes 23%
Troops out of Iraq 12%
War on Terror 11%
Health Care Costs 10%
Immigration Reform 6%
Gas/energy dependence 3%
Moral issues 3%
Social Security 2%
Balancing budget 2%
Global Warming/Environment 2%
Other/Not Sure 1%

Not surprising, but worth comparing to the similar question put to Democrat primary voters below.

QUESTION: If the Democratic Primary for President were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for? (ROTATED):
Barack Obama: 48%
Hillary Clinton: 47%

This seems to be a shrinkage of the Obamassiah "lead" indicated in some recent polling.

QUESTION: What is the single most important issue in determining your vote for President? (NOT READ):
Economy/job creation: 41%
Troops out of Iraq 24%
Health care costs 21%
Global Warming/Environment 3%
War of Terror: 3%
Social Security: 3%
Immigration Reform: 2%
Balancing Budget: 2%
Other/Not Sure: 1%

Again, scroll up a bit and compare with the priorities of average Hoosiers.

QUESTION: Which candidate do you feel has run the most negative campaign, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?
Clinton 48%
Obama 23%
Both Equal 21%
Not Sure 8%

No surprise here either.

It will be interesting to see the rest of this poll (since they doubtless also polled on the gubernatorial primary and the gubernatorial race at large while polling for the presidential races).

Big Oil Loves the Obamassiah

Hat tip to Hot Air for this interesting article in the Los Angeles Times.

Sen. Barack Obama continued accepting donations from oil company executives and employees last month even as he aired ads in which he stated he took no oil company money, his campaign finance reports show.

Obama has taken at least $263,000 from oil company executives, family members and employees since entering the presidential race last year, including $46,000 last month. At least $140,000 has come in chunks of between $1,000 and $2,300, the maximum permitted under federal law.

Texas oil executive Robert L. Cavnar of Milagro Exploration and his wife, Gracie, have helped the Illinois Democrat raise at least another $50,000 by helping host a fundraiser earlier in the campaign.

Other oil industry donors have included Sinclair Oil President Ross Matthews of Texas and John B. Hess, chairman of Hess Corp., a New York-based oil producer and retailer with operations worldwide. Hess, who has given to other presidential candidates, including Sen. John McCain, gave $2,300 to Obama last year, as did his wife, Susan. Hess gave $14,000 to Obama’s Senate run in 2003. The oil executives did not return phone calls.

Barack Obama: transcending politics by descending to new levels of spin and untruthiness.

As gas prices reach record levels in Indiana, I wonder if Baron Hill will denounce the Obamassiah's ties to the oil companies as he did with much more flimsy evidence with regard to Mike Sodrel in 2006.

I've noted before, but it bears repeating:

Gas prices have gone up more under Baron Hill than they ever did under Mike Sodrel.

According to the Department of Energy (Excel file warning), the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the Midwest was $0.88 when Baron Hill entered office in January of 1999.

When he was voted out, in early November of 2004, gasoline cost $1.97 a gallon, a net increase of 124%.

When he returned to office, in January of 2007, gasoline cost $2.26 a gallon.

That means that, for the time Mike Sodrel was in office, from November of 2004 to January of 2007, gasoline prices went up all of 14% or so.

Today, gasoline is averaging $3.63 around New Albany, an increase of 61% since Baron Hill returned to office.

In all, gasoline prices went up $0.29 while Sodrel was in office, about 14%.

While Baron Hill was in office overall, however, gasoline prices have seen a net increase of $2.46.

That is a net increase of 380%.

It is also over seven times, 848% to be exact, of the increase seen while Sodrel was in office, despite Hill attacking Sodrel for being in the pocket of the big oil companies.

In the sixteen months since Baron took office again, gas prices have seen an increase almost four times the size that seen while Sodrel was in Congress.

If you use Baron's own 2006 reasoning, you can draw no other conclusion but that Baron Hill is good for the oil companies.

Now the evidence is clear that the Obamassiah is taking big bucks from the big oil companies, and Baron Hill has attended at least three Obama campaign events, too.

When will Baron Hill denounce Barack Obama for being a tool of Big Oil?

Or is Baron, like the Obamassiah, merely spinning to cover his ties to Big Oil?

The Tortoise and the Hare

Not a Flag Person

Mrs. Strangelove

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prayer for the Bottorff Family

This is just terrible.

No parent should be faced with burying one of their children.

JASPER, Ind. — The 4-year-old daughter of a 9th District congressional candidate was struck by a car and killed in a department store parking lot, police said.

Demiah S. Bottorff is the daughter of John Bottorff, one of three challengers to incumbent Democratic Rep. Baron Hill in the May 6 primary.

Jasper police say she was with her mother and three siblings in the parking lot of a K-mart Tuesday afternoon when she was struck by a car. The Dubois County Coroner said she died at a hospital of head injuries.

Police say the driver of the car, 89-year-old Jerome H. Klein, apparently became confused and stepped on the car’s accelerator instead of the brake pedal.

No charges have been filed, but police are continuing to investigate.

The district includes parts of 20 counties in Southern Indiana.

My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Bottorff and his family at this awful time.


Brian Jessen, a contributor to Circle City Pundit, has struck out on his own and has started a new blog, Indy Hardball Conservative. Good read so far, and good luck to Brian.

"Disneyland" comes to Baghdad

Well, sort of.

From the Times of London:

Llewellyn Werner admits he is facing obstacles most amusement park developers never have to deal with – insurgent attacks and looting.

When you are building an amusement park in downtown Baghdad, those risks come with the territory.

Mr Werner, chairman of C3, a Los Angeles-based holding company for private equity firms, is pouring millions of dollars into developing the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, a massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum. It is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland. “The people need this kind of positive influence. It’s going to have a huge psychological impact,” Mr Werner said.

Mr Werner, who has been sold a 50-year lease on the site by the Mayor of Baghdad for an undisclosed sum, says that the time is ripe for the amusement park. “I think people will embrace it. They’ll see it as an opportunity for their children regardless if they’re Shia or Sunni. They’ll say their kids deserve a place to play and they’ll leave it alone.”

Ali al-Dabbagh, a spokesman for the Government, is equally optimistic: “There is a shortage of entertainment in the city. Cinemas can’t open. Playgrounds can’t open. The fun park is badly needed for Baghdad. Children don’t have any opportunities to enjoy their childhood.” Mr al-Dabbagh added that entry to the park would be strictly controlled.

The project will cost $500 million (£250 million) and will be managed by Iraqis. Under the terms of the lease, Mr Werner will retain exclusive rights to housing and hotel developments, which he says will be both culturally sensitive and enormously profitable. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t making money,” he said. “I also have this wonderful sense that we’re doing the right thing – we’re going to employ thousands of Iraqis. But mostly everything here is for profit.”

A $1 million skateboard park, the first phase of the development, will open in July. Parts for 200,000 skateboards and materials to build ramps will be shipped from America to Iraq for assembly at state-owned factories and distributed free to Iraqi children along with helmets and knee pads.

Some part of me thinks (tragically) that this will be as big of a magnet for Al Qaeda as the Green Zone, and probably a much softer target.

But She Worked Out So Well for Rudy...

From Jim Shella:

Jennifer Hallowell continues to move up the ladder in Republican political circles.

She is about to become one of 11 regional directors of the John McCain campaign. She will oversee campaign efforts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana.

Hallowell is the former executive director of the Indiana GOP and headed up the Guiliani effort in New Hampshire.

Heaven help him now.

Yet More Pointless Baron Speculation

This time from you-know-who:

Look for Baron Hill to endorse sooner than later. Many a pundit believe CD9's constituency would lead him to back Clinton. His primary candidate Gretchen Clearwater has somewhat of a following with progressive regressives in Bloomington (note: Bloomington does not equal CD9) and may be the chief reason for Hill to lean Obama although it would be presumptuous to assume Clearwater could improve upon her 2006 numbers: 6208 votes to Hill’s 33441.

And the Clinton-Bayh hardball tactics are only just beginning:

All four remaining Indiana superdelegates (Donnelly, Visclosky, Ellsworth and Hill) will respect the will of their constituents and back whomever wins their respective Congressional districts. However, the fact that Evan Bayh has made direct contact with each of these men, in person and over the phone, asked them to get on the Clinton team and all four have decided to remain neutral should speak volumes. Other than the incredible grassroots energy that has brought in so many young voters and newly registered voters, the one thing that could push our Democratic Congressmen to Obama is the behind the scenes effort to get them to back Clinton. Rumor has it that all have been told that their fundraising from certain high dollar donors will suffer if they fail to back Clinton. Maybe they have not been told in so many words but the message was clear. That is no way to build a base of support.

As I have said earlier, the pressure on Baron is not just from above, but also from below.

And it is this pressure, more than anything, that he ignores at his own peril.

This commenter (though right about endorsement timing) probably dramatically misunderstands the 9th District Democratic primary electorate:

I don’t look for any of our remaining uncommitted Congressmen to move anywhere until after the election.

I also think Obama might do better in the 9th than Clinton. Didn’t Mikey Sodrel basically admit he’s hoping for a Clinton nomination because of an anti-Clinton vote in the 9th? I'm not sure why, but I do think there's a certain anti-Clinton motivation among rural GOP voters.

Let's not forget the gratuitous "this is all Rush Limbaugh's fault" mention:

Will the Rush Limbaugh "Operation Chaos" do much here? He was on the radio today advising folks that in Indiana, one cannot wear their Operation Chaos T-shirts and hats. I wonder how much of a factor this has been in the primary? She is only winning these states by slim margins, not 25%+ of the vote.

I can't help but wonder how many of the "newly-registered Democrats" or "Republican counties turned Democrat" touted by the likes of Doug Masson fit into the Operation Chaos category.

Obama carried only seven counties in Pennsylvania, and the counties Masson touts as evidence of a ground shift in Pennsylvania (already a pretty reliably blue state) all went for Clinton (Montgomery County, a yuppie county similar to Hamilton, probably would have been carried by Obama given the margin but for crossovers from changed registrations by Republicans).

That sort of undermines the notion that Obama is bringing vast numbers of people to the process; it seems more likely that Republicans, egged on by Limbaugh and others, are attracted to the amusement of meddling in the Democrat playground.

At the very least, the numbers of Republicans to this process are matching (if not exceeding) the numbers of "new voters" Obama is supposedly introducing.

And in Indiana, where crossover-voting is much easier than in Pennsylvania (the Keystone State required advance party-change paperwork, which many Republicans filed at Limbaugh's urging), the impact of Operation Chaos could be significant, particularly in Indiana's four heavily Republican Congressional districts and about sixty or so heavily Republican counties.

Barone on Popular Vote and Delegate Totals

From Michael Barone's blog:

Clinton now leads in the popular vote, if you include the Florida and Michigan results, by 121,943 votes. And even if you include the imputed totals for the Iowa, Nevada, Washington, and Maine caucuses, she's ahead by 11,721 votes. It seems to me that this provides the Clinton campaign with an important talking point, though one they're probably reluctant to use over the next two weeks. Reluctant, because the likely Obama victory in North Carolina could erase this popular-vote lead, and) an offsetting Clinton margin in Indiana seems unlikely (or at least risky to project from current polling). But looking ahead from May 6, Clinton is likely to regain that popular-vote lead (including Florida and Michigan) and quite possibly could gain a popular-vote lead counting just Florida and not the more problematic (because Obama was not on the ballot there) Michigan. She'll get big margins in West Virginia on May 13 and Kentucky on May 20, and it's not clear Obama will get a big margin in Oregon on May 20; Obama won the nonbinding February 19 primary in Washington only narrowly. If Clinton wins big in Puerto Rico on June 1, as the one poll I've seen there suggests, that will far outshadow in popular votes any Obama margins in South Dakota and Montana on June 3.

And there's this delightful tidbit:

As it happens, something like three quarters of Obama's current advantage in pledged delegates comes from delegates elected in caucuses. The Clinton people might argue that these aren't as legitimate as delegates selected in primaries because they were chosen by so few people (perhaps 1.5 million as against 30-some million in primaries). But the Obama people have a perfectly good reply when they say that the Clinton people knew the rules and that if they didn't play competently, the side that did shouldn't be penalized. The problem is, the same argument could be deployed in favor of superdelegates' supporting Clinton. The Obama people could have lobbied these superdelegates better or, back when they were selected, acted to choose different superdelegates more amenable to Obama.

Things are a long way from over, particularly if Obama's general election numbers continue to poll so poorly (McCain vs. Obama makes Massachusetts a swing state, for goshsakes).


The Democrat majority has voted for measures that will result in:

Hundreds of billions in new taxes.

Six million new taxpayers (and they won't be the super-rich, but those who can least afford it).

$500 more that parents will have to pay, per child, per year.

156% increase in taxes on senior citizens.

$1000 more that will have to be paid, each, by more than twelve million single moms.

$3000 more that will have to be paid, each, by more than thirty million married couples.


More Delightful Baron Speculation

From "Porch Dog":

The voters in Indiana don’t matter. Superdelegates in Indiana matter. For example, some of the talk today is whether Baron Hill will endorse Clinton (because that’s who his district seems to support) or whether he will go for Obama to undercut the progressive vote that currently supports one of his three competitors in the primary.

Well, first of all, I am glad that us Hoosier voters are so important.

Second, this doesn't seem to square with Baron's three appearances at Obama campaign events, video of Baron himself, or recent commentary by a former staffer.

Memo to Diamond Jim: When You Hire Those Who Dwell in the Gutter, Your Campaign Will Be Waged In It

From Howey:

After repeatedly vowing not to run a negative TV ad campaign, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Schellinger is doing just that. In an ad that began Wednesday, Schellinger called Jill Long Thompson "a Washington politician" who cut Social Security and Medicare and worked for "unfair trade deals that ship our jobs overseas."

Thompson campaign media consultant Chris Sautter said, "Jill voted against NAFTA and has consistently opposed bad trade deals. Schellinger’s reversal of his promise not to attack, made as recently as Sunday in an e-mail, is one of the fastest flip flops on record." The Schellinger campaign was angered at a Thompson ad that began running Sunday accusing the Indianapolis architect of being a "lobbyists" who sought to raise taxes via school construction projects.

"Congresswoman Thompson wants to smear my reputation as a businessperson by slinging falsehoods about my role as an architect and by mischaracterizing policy positions,” Schellinger said. “Honestly, that’s the kind of thing I expected out of Mitch Daniels in November, but she has invited a discussion about public records, so we’re going to have a discussion about all the time she spent in Washington."

Honestly, Jimbo, what did you expect when you hired "the nastiest woman in Indiana politics"? That sort of bad karma will cause all manner of collateral damage.

Of course, JLT's accusations have the interesting virtue of being, well, true (and are all things that I pointed out on this very blog within days of Schellinger's candidacy first being announced).

New Slogan: "F#&% It: McCain '08"

Red State Update for the win.

Content warning.

Hat tip: Hot Air.

Clawing Her Way Back

Baron Has Endorsed Obama?

So says this blog by one of his former staffers:

Speaking of voters: Congrats to Senator Clinton, winner of the PA primary. Senator Obama speaks tomorrow blocks away from where Stephanie teaches, in New Albany, IN. With the KY and IN primaries approaching, we're starting to see ads. The Congressman I worked for, Baron Hill, in Southern IN, has endorsed Obama, as has the Louisville Congressman whose staff helped me get my replacement passport last summer. Indiana is apparently very close, but KY - featuring lots of the older, blue-collar whites who are Clinton's base - is apparently Hillary country - at least until the general election, when some of those Reagan Democrats may defect to Senator McCain.

Oh boy; there's going to be hell to pay for Baron if that's true...

Greenpeace Attacks Baron Hill

From the Seymour Tribune:

To the Editor:

In his April 15 blog, "Greenpeace joins uberconservatives," and article, "Greenpeace targets Hill," The Tribune Editor Dan Davis found it ironic that an environmental organization has placed billboards across Indiana calling on 9th District Rep. Baron Hill to strengthen his commitment to end global warming.

Davis seemed surprised to learn that environmentalists might say anything critical of a Democrat in a hotly contested congressional race. But Greenpeace's call to action on global warming will not endorse any candidates running for office, Republican or Democrat.

The impacts from global warming are so urgent and so far-reaching - from the melting glaciers and rising sea levels we see on television to the unpredictable weather we're feeling here in Indiana - there is no time to be distracted by partisan bickering or political stereotypes.

In fact, Rep. Hill commented in the article about his fuel efficiency bill last fall, but Rep. Hill proposed fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks that were considerably weaker than the mark proposed even by President Bush. Rep. Hill has given himself a pat on the back for increasing fuel efficiency, but he fails to mention that he suggested the weakest possible increase. Fortunately, the fuel standards passed by Congress last year were much stronger, but no thanks to Rep. Hill.

Hill also supports a plan to use millions of taxpayer dollars on an unproven technology that seeks to capture global warming pollution from coal-burning power plants and bury it in the ground. He was quoted on April 15 saying, "If we can burn (coal) cleanly, why not do it, and we can do it. That technology exists."

In reality, the technology is unproven on a large-scale, incredibly expensive and, according to experts, is still decades away. In the meantime, coal continues to be the single largest producer of global warming pollution. If we spend our money on clean, renewable sources of energy like wind and solar instead, we can stop global warming and create thousands of new jobs for Hoosiers. Greenpeace International will soon release a report outlining the false promises offered by burying carbon.

Today, ordinary people across the country are working to end global warming by changing light bulbs, driving less and buying more efficient appliances. But, while Hoosiers are taking these important steps, our government is doing little to nothing. We need action from our leaders in Congress, whether Democrat or Republican, but they won't do anything until they hear from enough of us.

We are calling on Rep. Hill to become a real leader on global warming.

The first step he can take is to support the Safe Climate Act, the strongest global warming bill in the House. Hill can also protect Indiana's way of life by supporting policies that help the country achieve three goals:

We need to use energy more efficiently.

Our government needs to put a limit on how much global warming pollution gets dumped into the air.

We need to stop building dirty, dangerous coal and nuclear plants and invest in clean energy like wind and solar instead.

Citizens across the country and Indiana are ready to end global warming.

It's time for Rep. Hill to get on the right path to stop global warming.

Edyta Sitko
Global Warming Field Organizer
Greenpeace USA
Bloomington, Ind.

I've been calling Baron on his fuel economy farce for a long time, and I'm glad that others have noted the absurdity of his position, and the weakness of the standards he has advocated.

Climate Change Consensus

Coffee with Mahmoud

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Presidential Impact in the 9th District

From WIBC comes a look at the impact in Indiana, post-primary, of the presidential race (particularly looking at the contentious 9th District race):

The Democratic nominee could have the biggest Indiana influence in the hotly contested 9th Congressional District - where Democrat Baron Hill and Republican Mike Sodrel are likely to face each other for the fourth consecutive election.

Sodrel won the seat in 2004 as President Bush carried the district in a landslide but lost it during the 2006 Bush backlash. Sodrel says, though, that he doesn't agree with those who believe a Clinton nomination would bring out conservatives in droves to vote against her.

"I tend to believe that there's not much difference," Sodrel said. "I know a lot of people would argue that position, but I just don't think there's a lot of difference in which candidate is nominated on the Democratic side."

If Obama is atop the Democratic ticket in November, that could spark greater turnout in Monroe County, which is home to Bloomington and Indiana University's main campus, and hurt Sodrel's prospects, said former state Republican chairman Rex Early.

"When Monroe County has a big vote, Mike loses. When they have a smaller vote, he wins," Early said. "Obama's going to have a strong showing around the university, with the professors and the students. I think Hillary would be a much better candidate as far as Sodrel running."

I don't think that Hillary is a better candidate to be leading the Democrat ticket, at least from Mike Sodrel's perspective.

Whatever the Obamassiah gains in Bloomington is going to be more, much more, than lost everywhere else in the 9th (moreso with the elitist and radical Obama than with the merely liberal and disliked Hillary Clinton), and Baron has already made himself so close with the Obamassiah that he will get the worse end of that balance.

Outside of Bloomington, the Obamassiah will be a millstone that will weigh heavily around Baron's neck, and more than offset the fickle college students that may or may not turn out for the Obamassiah and might not even bother to vote down-ticket at all; there is evidence in earlier primaries that these new voters have not even bothered to vote in down-ticket races.

Monday, April 21, 2008

President Bush Salutes Iraq War Vet Army Captain on "Deal or No Deal"

From Hot Air:

Not that anyone would expect him to be booed under the circumstances but it’s still a bit of a shock to hear what a warm reception he gets. When was the last time he was greeted this enthusiastically? The 2004 convention?

Kobes just re-enlisted for a three-year term, by the way — after having already served three tours in Iraq. Exit question: Are there any major politicians who won’t be on prime time television tonight?

The President is a class act (and he cut some good jokes, too).

View the video here.

Political Uses of the IU Logo

From a Hoosierpundit reader comes this interesting article from the Bloomington Herald-Times:

When Bill Clinton stepped to the podium inside Assembly Hall last week, he did so behind an Indiana University nameplate and underneath an IU flag.

A few days later, Dave Matthews rocked the same venue with his acoustic guitar in front of a giant IU logo positioned just a few feet above a Barack Obama campaign sign.

With Indiana at the epicenter of the national political scene, and with IU hosting a wide array of election-related events, campus officials want to ensure the university logo isn’t being unfairly associated with any one candidate or campaign.

They’re in a predicament when it comes to such events: they want to offer up their facilities without appearing to back any particular political stance.

“We welcome these political campaigns and we’re glad IU can be a forum for campaign appearances,” university spokesman Larry MacIntyre said. “We don’t discriminate, and we certainly don’t endorse any candidate.”

“We think it’s good for our students to have the opportunity to go to these events and see these speakers.”

Though none of the current presidential candidates have made their way to Bloomington yet, that is expected to change as early as Friday.

Clinton filled half of Assembly Hall for his appearance on behalf of his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, while Matthews and guitarist Tim Reynolds packed nearly 14,000 in for their concert in support of Obama. Some entire classes went to hear Clinton speak.

MacIntyre said the use of the IU logo hasn’t been a problem yet.

In fact, one Indiana candidate asked to film a campaign commercial on the IUPUI campus recently. Campus officials agreed, on the condition that the commercial not use any IU logos or campus signage.

Though IU’s trademark policy doesn’t specifically address use in a political context, it does prohibit usage in any commercial or endorsement endeavor without prior permission.

“Let’s say that one of the candidates did a campaign commercial with the IU logo,” MacIntyre hypothesized. “We’d ask them to withdraw that, because it’d violate our policy.”

MacIntyre said he wished the giant IU logo behind Matthews and Reynolds had been covered up — several photographs taken by the news media captured the musicians performing in front of the Obama banner with the IU logo right above it — but said there was little that could be done.

“It sort of took me by surprise seeing that big IU logo with the Obama campaign banner,” he said. “I kind of wished that hadn’t happened, but it did. I don’t know how we can stop that. We’re not endorsing Obama; we’re not endorsing any candidate. Any IU facility is open on an equal basis.”

School Yard Fight

Maybe Chairman Dean needs to unleash his trademark campaign-ending scream upon them; it worked well for ending his own campaign, after all.

Baron's Non-Endorsement Endorsement Tour for the Obamassiah Continues

My illustrious congressman was in New Albany Friday with Senator Dick Durban for a town meeting, according to the blog of LEO (Louisville's alternative newspaper, owned by their illustrious Congressman John Yarmuth)

Baron Hill, Dick Durbin town hall in New Albany Friday

U.S. Rep. Baron Hill (D-Indiana 9) and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will be at Barack Obama's New Albany headquarters for a town hall meeting on Friday. Doors open at 11:30 and the event is set for 11:50. Obama won't be there.

New Albany is in Indiana, y'all, which finally gets to have a say in a presidential primary. In fact, Indiana could be the last primary that matters. Or maybe Kentucky's will fill that role.

To get there, take the Sherman Minton Bridge (Interstate 64 west) and exit like you're going to Caesars. But turn right on Main Street instead of left, and you'll see the HQ on the left, a few blocks past Pearl Street.

The event is open to the public. (CS)

Eric Schansberg was there, and found the contrast between Durbin's effusive praise of the Obamassiah's opposition to the war from the start and attacks on Hillary's vote for it to be ironic and amusing.

Like Hillary Clinton, Baron, too you see, voted for the war.

New Albany Confidential has more about Baron at the Durbin's town hall for Barack Obama:

Senator Richard "Dick" Durbin (D-IL) and our own Representative Baron Hill (D-IN) spoke at Barack Obama's New Albany headquarters earlier today.

Sen. Durbin made a strong case for his colleague, while Rep. Hill was conspicuously careful not to say anything that might be construed as an endorsement either Obama or his opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton.

NAC also has this delightful photo of Baron speaking at the Obama event.

You can now find video of Baron Hill with Barack Obama on YouTube (courtsey of this blog):

Baron's a tad more than three minutes in over on the left.

The audio is poor, but the exchange unfolds roughly like this.

Baron gets into the touchy-feely embrace thing with Obama, who then moves on through the crowd.

The cameraman, an Obama supporter, then approaches Baron and asks, "How's that superdelegate pledge coming?"

"Fine," Baron responds.

"Just fine," he goes on to mutter, "and now you've got it on tape."

Howey finally (I blogged about it last Monday) picked up on Baron introducing the Obamassiah at the Columbus rally:

HILL ATTENDED OBAMA RALLY: The appearance of U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, D-Ind., in Columbus for Friday’s speech by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., caught people’s attention (Columbus Republic). Hill is one of Indiana’s 12 Democratic superdelegates but also one of five who have not publicly stated which candidate they are backing for president: Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. Members of the local and state Republican parties, and the National Republican Congressional Committee, believe Hill should announce now which candidate he supports. However, the local Democratic party chairman believes Hill should wait, and Hill is remaining tight-lipped. "We really don’t have any comment on this story," said Katie Moreau, his press secretary. Gary Bell, Bartholomew County Democratic Party chairman, believes Hill should wait until after Indiana’s primary on May 6 to declare his support.

Right below, interestingly, a story blurb about Michelle Obama (who was never proud of this country until her hubby was running for president) saying that the Obamassiah isn't elitist for saying that people in the Midwest "cling to religion and guns" out of "bitterness."

Baron, of course, hasn't exactly been seen in public much with Hillary Clinton.

He doesn't introduce her at her rallies. He doesn't appear at the visits being made in the area by former President Bill Clinton.

So far, Baron Hill's campaign has taken more than $12,500 from Barack Obama.

Baron Hill has now made appearances at three (and possibly more) Obamassiah campaign events, and not one Hillary Clinton event.

Baron's wife wore Obama t-shirts on a Congressional junket to the Pacific back earlier this year.

How much longer will this campaign two-step, this edging ever-closer to the Obamassiah continue before Baron Hill finally bites the bullet and endorses him?

And how long will it be before Baron Hill has to answer for his increasing support for, and campaign contributions from, someone that has a snobbish and elitist contempt for everyone in the Midwest, because we are all "bitter" and "cling to our guns and religion"?

Baron doesn't seem to think that such statements matter; if he did he wouldn't be showing up at practically every Obamassiah campaign event in the 9th District:

Superdelegates from states voting next in the Democratic primary say that Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) controversial comments on guns and religion will not cause much damage to his political standing despite an intensifying assault from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Republicans.

“I don’t sense a lot of frustration,” said Rep. Baron Hill, an uncommitted Democrat who represents a rural district in Indiana, which will hold its primary on May 6.

“People say, ‘What’s the big deal? Where’s the beef?’ ” said Hill, who added that the strongest reaction has come from members of the press. “Rank-and-file people aren’t that hyped up about it.”

Such statements reveal the shocking extent to which Baron is out of touch with the district, and even with his fellow Democrats.

In the Democrat primary on the 6th, the 9th District will almost certainly be carried by Hillary Clinton.

If you take out Bloomington and Monroe County, it will probably be carried by her two, or perhaps even three, to one.

Hoosierpundit sources inform me that various Democratic officials across the district are privately furious with Baron for his increasing support for the Obamassiah, and have told him as much.

Many have even threatened to withhold supporting him in the primary and in November if he were to endorse the Senator from Illinois.

Conversely, folks in Bloomington can't seem to understand why Baron hasn't already endorsed the Obamassiah; to them his continued dithering and dilatoriness borders on some sort of pro-Bush treason.

All of the 9th District awaits Baron's decision.

Will he side with the Obamassiah (as his actions and financial contribution reports, though not yet his official words, have so strongly and repeatedly indicated), and send the entire district outside of Bloomington into a frothing rage (to say nothing of pissing off Evan Bayh, who he will need to campaign with him in his reelection bid)?

Or will he side with Hillary Clinton, thus turning volcanic anger upon him from Bloomington, depriving him of vital volunteers and contributions, and angering Lee Hamilton (who has also endorsed the Obamassiah)?

Or will he continue to sit upon the fence, inasmuch as participating in three or more Obamassiah campaign events and taking $12,500 in contributions can be construed as remaining undecided, and leave everybody mad at him?

Hoosiers want to know.

Democrat Gubernatorial Candidates Asphyxiated by Presidential Race?

Lesley Stedman Weidenbener has an interesting column Sunday about how the presidential race is sucking the air out of the proverbial lungs Democratic gubernatorial campaigns.

INDIANAPOLIS -- There was a time when we thought the most interesting thing happening in this primary election season was the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Of course now the party's presidential nomination has taken center stage, all but crowding out news about Democrats Jill Long Thompson and Jim Schellinger, who are vying for the opportunity to run against incumbent Republican Mitch Daniels.

"The presidential candidates have been in the state an inordinate amount of times and the impact of that is that people are just focused on that race and the gubernatorial race comes second," said Robin Winston, former chairman of Indiana's Democratic Party.

First there's the advertising. Because Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are buying up so much television time, the ad rates for other races become more expensive.

Volunteer staffing is another issue. The Democratic presidential candidates are not only stealing attention away from the gubernatorial candidates, they're taking away potential contributors and campaign workers.

And toward the end, with an almost plaintive bleating, Weidenbener urges people to please, pretty please, give some attention, just a little, maybe only a tiny bit, to the execrable Democrat gubernatorial eunuchs.

Maybe, with their lackluster campaigns devoid of message or real ideas, they haven't done anything to deserve attention or support?

Birch's Boy "All In" for Hillary Clinton

From the Indy Star:

WASHINGTON -- It was no surprise that Hillary Rodham Clinton's first television ad in Indiana was a testimonial from Sen. Evan Bayh, who praised his Senate colleague's "spine of steel."

Or that Bayh warned on national TV that Barack Obama's comments about small-town Midwesterners being "bitter" could be the political issue Republicans need to win in November.

Or that Bayh got much of the Indiana Democratic establishment behind Clinton early and has been glued to Clinton's side during her visits to Indiana.

Indiana's top elected Democrat is one of Clinton's staunchest supporters nationally and Clinton's biggest asset in Indiana, one of only eight states left to vote in the tight race for the Democratic nomination.

A Clinton win also could influence Bayh's political future...

Andrew said Bayh's support for Clinton is an even bigger help in Indiana than the backing she got from Strickland or Rendell because Bayh "is a much larger fish in a much smaller pond."

"It's hard to identify an individual state," [former Indiana Democratic Party head Joe] Andrew said, "where an individual's support is probably more important in this entire campaign."

At this point, there is no upside for Evan Bayh's support for Hillary Clinton.

He is vapid and plastic, a nonentity who brings so little to the ticket that he is highly unlikely to be named as a vice presidential pick by anyone.

And, if he can't carry--or can barely carry, as it will likely be--the Indiana Democratic Party's own primary for Hillary Clinton (his chosen candidate), then what would make anyone think that he could carry the entire state for someone in November?

If Hillary Clinton loses in Indiana, or wins only narrowly, then it will be the political future of Evan Bayh that will be the first casualty of that primary outcome.

Birch and his son had better be campaigning now like they have never campaigned before if they want to keep alive the fictive family dream that Birch Evans Bayh III has a future in national politics.

Gotta Love the Amish

Joke sent to me via email:

A southern Indiana Amish farmer walking, notices a man drinking from his pond, with his hand.

The Amish man shouts: "Trink das wasser nicht. Die kuhen haben dahin gesheissen." Which means: "Don't drink the water, the cows have pooped in it."

The man shouts back: "I'm from Bloomington and just down here campaigning for Barack Obama, I can't understand you. Please speak in English."

The Amish man says: "Use two hands, you'll get more."

Baron to Hold "Summit" on Flooding

From the Bedford Times Mail:

Ninth Dist. Rep. Baron Hill will make good Monday on his pledge to come to Orange County’s Springs Valley community to help look for solutions to the flooding that plagues the area.

Hill has scheduled what’s called a flood summit. Invited participants will gather at 10 a.m. A press conference and a public discussion of flooding issues is scheduled to follow from 12:15-1 p.m. in the Habig Conference Room at the French Lick Springs Hotel.

An advisory from Hill’s office reports, “The summit will allow participants to come together to work toward a comprehensive plan of action to address the flooding.”

I can't help but wondering how much gambling at the casino Baron will be doing before (or after) his "flood summit," and whether taxpayer dollars will be paying for him to say at one of those fancy French Lick hotels.

Another Blogger Election Complaint

From Jacob Perry over at Circle City Pundit:

A complaint was mailed to the Federal Election Commission's General Counsel's office charging the Congressional Primary campaign of current State Representative David Orentlicher (D) of Indianapolis with soliciting and accepting individual donations of $9200 each from three contributors in 2007, in violation of 2 U.S.C. § 441a, the provision of the Act limiting individual contributions to $2300 per election.

Seems straightforward enough; if only the FEC had a functional majority with which to address the point...

Baggage Debate

Small Town Campaigning

Anatomy of a Democrat

Jimmy Carter will never forgive the United States and the American people for voting him out of office and turning their backs on him, everything he did, and everything his administration stood for and failed to do when it was in office.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Deja Do-Over

The American Spectator has an article about Congressional rematches this year.

Of course, the 9th District rematch--the rematch of rematches--leads the story.

For voters in Southern Indiana's 9th Congressional District, Election Day might feel a bit like Groundhog Day. For the fourth straight election cycle Democratic Rep. Baron Hill will face off against Republican Mike Sodrel in this rural, culturally conservative Ohio River-region district.

Hill has won two out of the three matches so far. First elected in 1998 to replace Hoosier State Democratic icon Lee Hamilton, the former high school basketball star narrowly beat back a spirited 2002 challenge from Sodrel, a millionaire trucking company owner. Helped by President George W. Bush's 60 percent winning percentage in Indiana, Sodrel in 2004 knocked out incumbent Hill in their hard-fought rematch by 1,425 votes.

But Hill wasn't through running for the seat. After briefly working for a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm, he ran against freshman lawmaker Sodrel in 2006 -- and won in the best Democratic year in a generation.

Now it's Sodrel in the role of former lawmaker trying to come in from the political cold, and the 2008 re-re-rematch promises to be as bruising and closely contested as the previous three slugfests.

The Hill-Sodrel grudge match is only the most extreme versions of a common thread in the 2008 election cycle: former House members seeking to extract political revenge from the lawmakers to whom they lost two year ago.


PREVIOUS ELECTION CYCLES have seen dozens of attempted comeback bids by former members but only a handful has been successful. Once voters decide they've had enough of a politician, they don't usual change their minds...

Then, of course, there's Hill, who successfully beat his old foe in 2006. Given the district's recent history, it's quite possible that come this time in the 2010 election cycle, Mike Sodrel will be awaiting a challenge from former Rep. Hill.

There's also a brief blurb about John Yarmuth and Anne Northup:

The same goes for Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.). His defeat of GOP Rep. Anne M. Northup was among the first announced on Election Night 2006, and presaged Democrats' capture of the House for the first time in a dozen years. The Louisville-based 3rd District has lots of urban Democrats, who may not look on Northup's conservative voting with nostalgia.

Iraqis Pray for a McCain Victory

From Time Magazine:

For Sunnis, al-Sadr’s continued clout is a warning and a provocation. In the district of Adhamiyah, a Sahwa [i.e. Awakening] fighter named Mahmoud (like his Mahdi Army counterpart, he gave only his first name) tells me there can be no reconciliation between the sects “as long as Muqtada is alive.” Then he makes a grim prediction: “Right now, the Americans want us to fight against al-Qaeda, and that’s fine. But we know the real fight will be in the future, with the Mahdi Army. We are getting ready for it.” Fattah, in Sadr City, is preparing for the same fight. “The Americans protect the [Sahwa] for the moment, but we know who they are; we have lists,” he says. “When the time comes, we will know what to do with them.”

The Baghdadis caught between these extremes know that the only thing standing in the way of another sectarian conflagration is the U.S. military. This may explain why every Iraqi who offers me a view on American politics seems to be praying for a McCain victory. A 100-year American military presence, of which McCain once spoke, may seem a bit much; I suspect most Iraqis would be happy with five.

Imagine the liberal hand wringing when there is ethnic cleansing going on in Iraq of the the sort that happened in Rwanda or Bosnia or Kosovo, and is happening right now in Darfur.

Of course, I am sure it will all just be George Bush's fault, even if an Obama or Clinton retreat will be the act that will open the door to an orgy of bloodletting and mass murder.

Judge: Putting National Motto on Plates OK

The horror! The horror!

From the Indy Star:

A judge has halted a lawsuit over Indiana's popular "In God We Trust" license plate, ruling the state can sell it without charging an extra $15 fee.

Marion Superior Court Judge Gary Miller's ruling, issued Wednesday, says the plate is different from special group recognition plates that carry the administrative fee. Those often require a contribution to a group or university and require special handling by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

The "In God We Trust" plate, the ruling says, "was designed by a process similar to the Standard Plate, mass-produced like the Standard Plate, and widely distributed like the Standard Plate based on consistently high sales."

Miller granted the BMV's motion for summary judgment against the ACLU and plaintiff Mark E. Studler, Allen County. ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said the organization planned to appeal the ruling.

Well, I somehow suspect that this isn't going to be opening the door to some sort of evil theocracy in Indiana.

I also suspect that the Indiana ACLU could find better things to spend its time and money on than pursuing frivolous and unsubstantiated lawsuits about license plates and voter ID laws.

Harrison County Primaries

Scroll past this if Harrison County politics just aren't your thing.

From the Courier-Journal:

Harrison County commissioner races offer strong candidates
Three Republicans vie for District 2 post

By Grace Schneider

Republicans in Harrison County will choose from three strong candidates for District 2 commissioner in the May 6 primary -- and that's a rarity.

The county's Republican candidates traditionally have had no primary opponents, but this year GOP incumbent J.R. Eckart faces two well-known challengers -- Rhonda Rhoads, a County Council member and retired teacher, and Kenneth Saulman, a former commissioner and former county councilman.

None of the three would speculate about why the primary drew such a lineup this year.

But Scott Fluhr, the county's new Republican chairman, said he believes the competition in that and other local GOP primaries is a "positive sign. Primaries are a competitive process, and competition fosters improvement."

District 2 Republicans

Who can beat Buck?

That's the question the three Republican candidates mentioned about the challenge in November for their primary winner, since they expect Mathes to emerge among the Democrats.

Eckart, 52, said he can defeat Mathes, while Rhoads and Saulman each gave themselves the edge, having bested Mathes in races for council and township trustee, respectively.

"I don't think it's any mountain to climb," Saulman said.

Winning a three-way primary is another matter.

Eckart said he will spend $2,500 reaching out to voters. The owner of a custom manufacturing business in Corydon, he mentioned his support for building an animal shelter, renovating the county courthouse and backing plans for the new county hospital.

Saulman, 65, a retired right-of-way utility company supervisor who left the board of commissioners 16 years ago, has also served as Harrison Township trustee and most recently a county councilman.

Saulman said he favors quickly selling or renovating the former county hospital building and moving county offices from the annex on Mulberry Street, where flooding is a problem.

Rhoads, 57, focused on spending county tax money more conservatively. She said she'd reduce the amount that county government pays to provide health insurance for employees.

She also supports trying to restart a long-range planning effort to guide spending of casino tax money.

"The bottom is going to fall out one day, and we're going to be left holding the bag," said Rhoads, who retired last year from teaching kindergarten in North Harrison schools.

It's an embarrassment of riches to have three strong candidates like J.R. Eckart, Rhonda Rhoads, and Kenny Saulman all running for the same position at the same time.

In the past, Republicans in Harrison County have had difficulty fielding full slates of candidates.

This year, we have an essentially full slate already (before the primary) and three contested primaries on top of that.

It might be enough to cause a lot of Republicans in the county to depart from a strategy that Rush Limbaugh made popular, but a lot of folks who vote Republican in November have been practicing in Harrison County for generations: namely voting in the Democratic primary to cause confusion (and because Republican primaries here seldom mattered until now), and voting Republican in the fall.

And, for the record, I don't think that Buck Mathes will be that hard to beat.

Someone who used to tell racist and offensive jokes over the loud speaker at the County Fair just isn't the sort of person Harrison County needs to be representing us, making important decisions, and being a public face of the county to the rest of Indiana and the region.

Howey: Dem Primary Leans JLT

Ruh roh.

Looks like adding more rats to a sinking ship doesn't stop it from sinking, after all.

Obamassiah Has Trouble with Softball Questions; Nutroots Howl with Rage

From the AP:

Ratings, criticism big for ABC presidential debate
ABC's Gibson, Stephanopoulos sharply criticized on debate performance

NEW YORK (AP) -- ABC News drew both record ratings and a heap of complaints about how Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos moderated the Democratic presidential debate, criticism that Stephanopoulos on Thursday called a sign of how much people care.

By midafternoon Thursday, more than 15,600 comments were posted on ABC News' Web site, the tone overwhelmingly negative. A prominent TV critic, Tom Shales of The Washington Post, said Gibson and Stephanopoulos "turned in shoddy, despicable performances."

There was some positive feedback, with columnist David Brooks of The New York Times giving ABC News' performance an "A."

The prime-time debate from Philadelphia on Wednesday was seen by 10.7 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's the most of any debate this election cycle -- topping the 9.3 million who watched the Democrats on ABC Jan. 5 -- and proving that the lull in primaries before Tuesday's in Pennsylvania hasn't dulled interest in the contest between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

"The questions were tough and fair and appropriate and relevant," Stephanopoulos told The Associated Press. "We wanted to focus at first on the issues that were not focused on during the last debates."

My gosh. Breaking news! ABC's website got negative comments from the lefty nutroots for daring to pose questions to the Obamassiah.

Of course, these were supposedly irrelevant questions of little import (at least according to the nutroots commentariat), which also makes one wonder why someone supposedly as enlightened and transcendent of politics as the Obamassiah had such difficulty in answering them.