Friday, October 31, 2008

Legal Newsline: Zoeller Favored to Win

Zoeller favored:

Of the five open state attorney general seats up for election Tuesday, Democrats are expected to win all of the races but one -- the one seat currently held by a Republican, polls indicate.

Democratic candidates for attorney general are expected to win in Missouri, Montana and Ohio. In Oregon, where no Republican ran for the seat being vacated by Attorney General Hardy Myers, the Democratic candidate is all but guaranteed a win.

The one open seat where the Republican candidate is favored to win is in Indiana, where Greg Zoeller, the chief deputy to Attorney General Steve Carter is vying to succeed his boss.

Zoeller is running against Democrat Linda Pence, a high-profile Indianapolis attorney. Zoeller leads Pence 30 percent to 24 percent in a recent Howey-Gauge Poll.

Interestingly, Zoeller leads Pence by six points in a state where Republican presidential nominee John McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by just two points, according to the same poll.

The Howey-Gauge Poll of 600 likely voters was conducted October 23 and 24, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.

Good news, even if the site has an awful photo of Zoeller (his campaign website really needs a downloadable press kit with a good photo in it).

Vote Fraud in Jennings County

Frugal Hoosiers has a great post on some Democrat shadiness in North Vernon in Jennings County. I've been following the situation there also, and I hope to be able to add some more information in a post later on Friday (it's too late to type it up right now).

Needless to say, the plot thickens and there are ties to Indiana's sleaziest member of Congress.

Palin Rally Pictures

I have uploaded photos of the Sarah Palin rallies to my Flickr account.

Noblesville photos are available here (I didn't take these; they were taken by a friend that was up close to whom I gave my camera).

Jeffersonville photos are available here (I took these; they didn't turn out so good... I am going to get myself one of those more expensive cameras that will compensate for my lack of photography fu).

I also have photos of Mitch Daniels, Mike Sodrel, Greg Zoeller, Tony Bennett, Becky Skillman, Aaron Tippin, Murray Clark, Luke Messer, and (of course) Hank Williams, Jr.

Yes, Mitch Daniels did speak at the Sarah Palin rally in Jeffersonville.

Yet More on Early Voting

In Nevada, a slender lead for Obama in early voting when he expected to be garnering a significant edge; those who have not yet voted are disproportionately Republican.

As expected, the share of minority turnout in early voting in Georgia and North Carolina is beginning to decline.

In Florida, McCain is leading in early voting (Kerry led last time at this point).

Geraghty also has some interesting statistics about new voter registrations in Virginia. Hint: They're not where you'd think they would be.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Uh Oh...

The government of Turkey is moving to shut down opposition television stations that have reported on corruption in the ruling political party.

Z Knows Best

From the Journal-Gazette:

The recent political advertisements on behalf of Democratic attorney general candidate Linda Pence leave voters with an inaccurate impression of the job duties of the attorney general.

If voters are to make an informed decision with regard to the candidates they choose, it is vitally important to understand what the job duties consist of for the positions that they are voting for.

It is easy to claim that you want to protect children and pursue predators, but the office of attorney general is not an office of a prosecuting attorney. With the exception of environmental crimes, the attorney general has no ability to go into individual counties to prosecute criminal cases, whether those criminal cases include children victimized by violence or any other criminal offense. The office of attorney general is not a “super prosecutor.”

The attorney general has no statutory authority to initiate these criminal cases. The office of attorney general instead represents the state of Indiana in the following way: When a local prosecutor achieves a conviction in a criminal case, that conviction may be appealed by the defendant. It is then up to the attorney general’s office to represent the state and the local prosecution at the appellate level to preserve the conviction.

I wholeheartedly endorse Greg Zoeller for the office of attorney general because of his experience with the attorney general’s office. Steve Carter has been an exemplary attorney general. His chief deputy has been Greg Zoeller, who is well aware of how the office functions and how to best serve Hoosiers.

The fact that Pence continues to run an ad that allows Hoosier voters to reach an inaccurate conclusion as to the job duties that she seeks to fill, especially her inaccurate focus on protection of children from predators when she has no statutory authority to file or try these types of criminal cases, makes the choice for attorney general and the vote for Zoeller even more important.

Zoeller’s statement that local prosecutors put defendants in jail, and it’s his office’s duty to keep them there is an accurate description of what the office of attorney general is supposed to do, and his clear understanding of his mission merits our support.

KAREN E. RICHARDS Prosecuting Attorney 38th Judicial Circuit State of Indiana

Wise words from someone that knows what the attorney general actually does (unlike) Linda Pence.

Good Doggie

Good Doggie.

That's the Point

That's the Point.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Mitch Misses Sarah Palin Nothingburger

Mitch DanielsThe Chicago Tribune observes that Mitch Daniels won't be at the Sarah Palin rally in Jeffersonville today, but that he might try to stop by outside to say hello and talk to some folks as they stand in line.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. - Gov. Mitch Daniels will skip a Sarah Palin campaign rally in Indiana for the third time in 12 days when she visits Jeffersonville on Wednesday, but he'll make an appearance in the parking lot before the event.

Daniels, who supports the John McCain-Palin ticket, said he has a scheduling conflict while he campaigns for a second term. The Republican governor will be in vicinity of Palin's rally at a Jeffersonville warehouse, but at another site.

"When they only give us 48 hours' notice ... we plan a little further out than that. I've not been willing to cancel on people who have made plans in preparation for our coming," Daniels said at a news conference in Indianapolis on Tuesday to kick off a southern Indiana campaign swing.

Palin's appearance in Jeffersonville was announced on Sunday.

The Alaska governor spoke to about 20,000 people in Noblesville on Oct. 17 and then drew about 12,000 people on Saturday in Fort Wayne. Both times, she was introduced by Daniels' running mate, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman.

That just fine with the McCain-Palin campaign, said Jennifer Hallowell, its regional campaign manager for Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

"The governor and lieutenant governor obviously are a team," Hallowell said. "Six days before an election, campaign schedules are tough. He's made arrangements."

When asked if Daniels was invited to participate in Wednesday's rally, Hallowell dodged the question: "I'm not going to answer it. He had a scheduling commitment."

The Palin rally, expected to draw as many as 10,000 people, begins at 6:30 p.m. Daniels will campaign in the parking lot from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Hallowell said.

"I'm going by" the Palin rally, Daniels said. "I've got another event scheduled at the same time, but it is close by, so I'm going to go by and spend as long as I can there and hang out in the parking lot and spend some time with the folks standing in line or patiently waiting to get in."

As I said when Daniels was absent at Noblesville, sometimes a scheduling conflict is just a scheduling conflict (and I'm not the Governor's favorite conservative blog or his favorite county chairman, and I still think this). Becky Skillman, for what it is worth, won't be at the Jeffersonville rally either; she introduced Sarah Palin and the rallies in both Noblesville and Fort Wayne.

Mitch Daniels, quite some time ago, decided that he wanted to spend a goodly chunk of this last week campaigning in RV1 across the southern portion of the state, harkening back to his first campaign in 2004. Jim Shella notes that the guy that drove RV1 in 2004 took time off from his job to come back and drive it again for Mitch during this tour:

Canididates win elections but the people who do the behind the scenes work win my admiration.

Take, for example... Ben Ledo.

Four years ago Mitch Daniels was on the road continuously in RV-1 as he campaigned for a first term as governor. He was almost always accompanied by Ledo.

It was duty that required long days and nights, little rest and much aggravation, though it led to a job in the governor’s office for Ledo. Now, Daniels will head out tomorrow on his longest trip of the year in RV-1 and Ledo took vacation time to go along.

Trust me, it takes more than nostalgia to make that decision.

This trip was a long time in the making, and a lot of people planned well ahead to participate and make it happen. And they're supposed to drop everything at the last minute just because Sarah Palin is visiting southern Indiana for all of about an hour?

Mitch wouldn't be introducing her; that honor will go to Congressman and candidate Mike Sodrel. Becky Skillman won't be there either. It will be Mike Sodrel, Tony Bennett, and Greg Zoeller on stage with Palin and Hank Williams, Jr.

Those first three, as far as I can tell, need the campaign exposure and the benefits of that rally far more than Mitch Daniels does (and he could have pushed his way to the front of the line and onto the stage, but only to their likely detriment in terms of time before the crowd, on stage, speaking, on television, etc).

I'm glad Mitch is going to stop by and say hello outside the rally, and I'm also glad that he didn't cancel his tour of southern Indiana because Palin came to the area.

And, no, that opinion has nothing to do with the fact that Mitch will be in Corydon (in my county) early this afternoon.

The whole "Mitch spurns Sarah" thing is a gigantic nothingburger. He's not missing Sarah Palin as much as he's letting people that need more exposure get more exposure, and at the same time he's maintaining commitments to some people to whom they were made much earlier (and, at least in my case, he could have broken probably without a second thought).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Linda Pence Takes Fire for Corruption Ties


INDIANAPOLIS - A Statehouse scandal is now an issue in the race for attorney general. Democrat Linda Pence is under fire from Republicans for her role in an old case.

When State Senator Sam Smith went to court six years ago accused of tax evasion, Linda Pence was his defense attorney. Smith eventually made a plea deal and paid his back taxes, but the case is back in a campaign commercial purchased by Indiana Republicans that criticizes Pence's choice of clients.

Both the Pence and Greg Zoeller (R) campaigns have traded attack ads. The Pence campaign said it welcomes comparisons.

"People come to Linda Pence because she's good and she's effective and she's a fighter and she wins. So we're not surprised at all that they're gonna attack Linda's clients. Her shoulders are broad, she can take that," said Joel Miller of the Pence campaign.

Meantime Republicans believe Sam Smith could be a deciding factor in a close race.

"She said early on in her campaign that she had no tolerance for corrupt politicians. But yet there's an example right here of her defending a guy, not only defending a guy but allowing him to keep his office by pleading to a lesser charge," said GOP spokesman Jay Kenworthy.

Polls show Greg Zoeller leading the race for attorney general but the new attack ad indicates that Linda Pence's negative campaign produced momentum for her. Pence's campaign manager said that, so far, there is no decision on whether to run a response ad.

See the video at the link above. The whole ad isn't on YouTube; I'm trying to get ahold of it via TiVo.

I first blogged about Pence's ties to State Senator Sam Smith and his ties to corruption with Build Indiana money way back in July. I should go into business doing opposition research or something, really I should.

Whenever there is corruption in Indiana (at least corrupt Democrats), particularly in Lake County, Linda Pence is never far behind. She is always rushing to defend such shadiness. We need an attorney general that will always be rushing to go after these crooked politicians, not protect or defend them.

Zoeller also leads in the latest polling:

In an election for Attorney General held today, who would you favor between (ROTATE ORDER) Greg Zoeller and Linda Pence? (IF UNDECIDED, ASK…) Even though you are uncertain about your vote, which candidate would it be if you just had to say (ROTATE ORDER) Greg Zoeller or Linda Pence?

Vote Greg Zoeller 24%
Lean Greg Zoeller 6%
Undecided 46%
Lean Linda Pence 6%
Vote Linda Pence 18%
Total Greg Zoeller 30%
Total Linda Pence 24%

The partisan breakdown in that poll (a subject about which I blogged earlier) is 47% Republican to 41% Democrat. That six percent gap would represent a dramatic collapse of the prior 14% partisan advantage in favor of Republicans, but not one so substantial as to give Linda Pence much hope among those undecideds, particularly as her record is now blaring across the state airwaves.

Obama on Income Taxes


Ogden offers his election predictions. I think it's too soon to offer many such prognostications.

I might offer predictions on Sunday or Monday. Though I will say that the Republicans are going to pick up a couple of Democratic seats in the state legislature (the Crooks seat being a prime example).

A Flawed Document

A flawed document.

If You Judge The One, You're Racist

If You Judge The One, You're Racist

The Cavalry Arrives: High Demand for Tickets to Palin & Sodrel Victory Rally in Jeff

Mike SodrelBack during the summer, Sarah Palin invited some Congressional candidates to meet with her in Alaska during their trip to ANWR. Mike Sodrel was among those candidates, and invited Governor Palin to come to southern Indiana sometime to return the favor of hospitality.

Little did he know that Sarah Palin would become the Republican vice presidential nominee, and she would visit Indiana with less than a week to go before the election. And yet here comes Sarah Palin, leading the proverbial cavalry.

The rally being put on by the staff from the McCain-Palin and Sodrel campaigns will be the largest yet seen in southern Indiana for either political party. It will certainly dwarf the couple of hundred people that turned out to see Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential pick, when he visited Jeffersonville last month. During that event, Baron Hill ran and hid.

Harrison County went through 700 tickets in one day (I deliberately held back about 300 for the second day; they'll be gone by tomorrow afternoon, I suspect, if Monday's demand was any indication). That's more people in one county alone than turned out to see Joe Biden.

In Clark County, lines jammed the headquarters and parking around the building was difficult to find. I have had reports of similar scenes from the other ticket distribution centers across the 9th District.

It's hard to say that this rally--where thousands will pack a building to campaign against the very candidate Baron Hill hitched himself to with his unpopular endorsement in the spring--won't have a significant impact on the outcome on election day.

Ever since his stand-alone campaign in 2002 highlighted the unexpected vulnerability (at least to national observers) of Baron Hill, Mike Sodrel has always received help from national Republican organizations.

This time, the RNC is consumed with a presidential campaign and the NRCC is broke. But things always seem to work out for Mike Sodrel. Even as the national organizations cannot spend money to defend Mike Sodrel, fate has conspired to make southern Indiana important for the national campaign.

The visit by Sarah Palin will probably generate more earned media, motivate more volunteers, and generate more positive energy (to say nothing of highlighting the Obama-Baron linkage that much more) than anything Sodrel could manage even by spending loads of his own money.

Mike Sodrel's grassroots organization is probably stronger than it has ever been, even if his fundraising numbers have lagged behind those of Baron Hill. Democrats are more upset with Baron than they have ever been. The Palin visit is only going to strengthen that, and will help to surge turnout and motivate efforts for the final week.

Mike Sodrel's visit to ANWR was good politics at the time. It was better still for what it means for Sarah Palin's visit to the 9th District.

Who knew that caribou made for good cavalry?

UPDATE: The demand for tickets has been high enough that they are now allowing people to print them online, rather than have to go to the distribution centers. Harrison County has only a handful of tickets left.

Rokita Pursues ACORN

And gets digital ink from big-name national bloggers:

Rokita wants criminal investigations begun at the federal, state, and county levels. The FBI has already started a national probe into ACORN’s activities. The mention of racketeering makes this a much more interesting case to follow. If the feds can prove that ACORN execs systematically conspired to break election laws, then the RICO statutes allows the Department of Justice to charge the entire organization’s leadership with a multitude of crimes, which could put them away for a very long time.

If the DoJ wants to see this through to the end, they’d better act quick. If former ACORN attorney and now-client Barack Obama gets elected President, I doubt that the ACORN probe will survive past January 21st, 2009, at Justice.

History Shows Zoeller Is the Better Lawyer


But the truth is, even if Linda Pence had NO new ideas for the office, you'll notice that NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY has said Greg Zoeller is a better lawyer than Linda Pence. Because they can't. They just can't.

They can. I can. I have.

Greg Zoeller and Linda Pence have a history. They have encountered each other in the legal arena before. Linda Pence's client was the paving firm Rieth-Riley, which was a codefendant in the largest corruption case in Indiana history.

Rieth-Riley settled out of that case. Greg Zoeller and Steve Carter won. Linda Pence lost.

History tells us who got the better of that encounter; I think it says a lot about who will make a better attorney general.

And, no, don't feed me some line about it being expedient for Rieth-Riley to settle out. Linda Pence was unable to defend her clients or to prevail on their behalf. That Rieth-Riley may have caved because Carter and Zoeller squeezed them over their other state contracts is icing on that cake (and rapidly disspells any notion that Zoeller is insufficiently zealous).

Regardless, Linda Pence can be as zealous as she wants in her defense of drug dealers, convicted murderers, corrupt CEOs, corrupt politicians, and so forth. She's an Indianapolis trial lawyer (and a liberal trial lawyer at that). It's expected. That doesn't make her qualified to be attorney general; it makes her qualified as the lawyer of choice of Hoosier criminals, not as someone tasked with keeping them in jail or bringing them to justice.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

From We The People:

The great Ronald Reagan once joked in Washington about the liberals view of taxation and spending, "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it." Barack Obama has taken those words to heart and will see them through if he is elected.

The Return of Jeremiah Wright

The New National Anthem

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Denny Crane on Gun Control


More on Early Voting

The partisan divide appears unexpectedly even in Colorado.

Why Did You Donate to Obama?

From Treacher:

"I donated because America is ready for a change." -- Spider Mann

"Anything I can do to help. He's handsome and he makes me feel happy inside." -- Paul Bunyan

"You mean you haven't seen him dance?" -- Al J. Zira

"McCain is super-old. Why isn't he young? I like 'em young." -- Cruella De Vil

"I've always been a fan of slogans I don't need to think about too much." -- P.W. Herman

"If my $199 donation under a different name every 10 minutes can't save our country, I don't know what can." -- Hugh G. Rection

"What's wrong with being social? Besides: Social Security. Hello?" -- K. Powers

"It is least I can do for nation I am loving so much, my longtimes home since to be, ehhhhh, birth: the America." -- V. Putin

"I feel guilty about not paying enough taxes." -- Arthur Fonzarelli

"Did you see the shoes that c*** was wearing?" -- Dora T. Explorer

"I'm sick of being called a racist." -- Auric Goldfinger

"Thees keed's got the goods!" -- Fidel C.

"After 8 long years, it's finally time for some transparency in government." -- Captain Silly Ppppbbhht

Change we can believe in.

New McCain Ad: "Mark My Words"

Photo of the Day

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter landing.
From Strategy Page.

Quote of the Day

From The Corner:

The news that Scott McClellan has endorsed Obama reminded me of the stinging jibe originally aimed I believe at John Connolly. "By this act he has simultaneously raised the mean IQ of both parties."

The Obama-Chicago Way: Joe the Plumber's Private Information Illegally Accessed in Ohio

A new kind of politics:

"State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about "Joe the Plumber."

Public records requested by The Dispatch disclose that information on Wurzelbacher's driver's license or his sport-utility vehicle was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times shortly after the debate.

Information on Wurzelbacher was accessed by accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department.

It has not been determined who checked on Wurzelbacher, or why. Direct access to driver's license and vehicle registration information from BMV computers is restricted to legitimate law enforcement and government business.

Paul Lindsay, Ohio spokesman for the McCain campaign, attempted to portray the inquiries as politically motivated. "It's outrageous to see how quickly Barack Obama's allies would abuse government power in an attempt to smear a private citizen who dared to ask a legitimate question," he said.

The attorney general's office is investigating if the access of Wuzelbacher's BMV information through the office's Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway computer system was unauthorized, said spokeswoman Jennifer Brindisi.

"We're trying to pinpoint where it came from," she said. The investigation could become "criminal in nature," she said. Brindisi would not identify the account that pulled the information on Oct. 16.

From the most ethical Congress *evah* comes the most ethical presidential administration *evah*.

New RNC Ad: "Storm"

Sex and the Democrats

Fred Speaks, Advocates for McCain & Palin

Rumors Afoot...

I have now heard rumors from multiple people that Sarah Palin will visit southern Indiana sometime in the middle of this coming week. I cannot get anyone with the campaigns (McCain and Sodrel) or with the state party to confirm them; they say they haven't heard anything about a visit.

I'll post more later.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Baron's Interesting Ethics Problem or: How I Learned to Like Personal Financial Disclosure Forms

Money BagA while back, I blogged about the interesting pile of money Baron Hill seemed to come into according to his 2007 personal financial disclosure statement.

Recently, with all of the talk about millionaires in the campaign ads, I went back to look again at Baron's financial disclosures and his tax returns. Credit where due; Baron has disclosed his tax returns for the time he has been in Congress (Sodrel has not, but that's immaterial here).

I started out intending to nitpick one of the DCCC ads attacking Mike Sodrel and somehow ended up looking at personal finance reports and then tax returns for Baron Hill instead.

What's interesting, though, is when you place Baron's tax returns side-by-side with his personal financial disclosure statements for those same years.

They don't match up.

That's a big problem, because it means that one or the other would have to have been falsified by very definition for them not to match. Assuming that the personal financial disclosure statements were falsified (because I doubt that Baron would put the wrong information on his tax returns), that subjects him to all manner of penalties under the House ethics rules and various laws.

The forms themselves, signed by Baron Hill, note that a violation of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 results in a fine of more than $10,000 (likely) or even jail time (unlikely).

Anyway, onward to the issue at hand.

Baron's tax returns are available for download from here on his campaign website. His personal financial disclosures are available for download here.

Baron reported interest income on his tax returns from an account with Home Federal Bank. In 1999, when Baron entered Congress, this interest income was all of $91. The amount varied a bit over time. But by 2004, when the voters of the 9th District sent Baron packing, it was earning $23 in interest.

But the next year, 2005, it rose to $944. In 2006, it ballooned to $3,812. Last year, it was $3,610. That's an awful lot of money for interest on a savings account at any time, let alone times like these when interest rates on those sorts of accounts are nothing to write home about.

So Baron is getting a lot of money in interest or "ordinary dividends" from Home Federal Bank. Okay. That's easy enough to establish.

But where is the money that is generating that income? The principle on which the interest is earned?

In 2007, Baron disclosed that he had somewhere between $100,001 and $250,000 in a bank account. At going interest rates for savings accounts, you'd need that kind of money in the bank (the higher end of that range, really) to generate interest income of around $3,500.

And, in 2007, Baron reported on his personal financial disclosures that he had that sort of money in the bank.

But remember what I said above? Baron had that sort of interest income for multiple years. He had even more interest income on his tax returns in 2006 than he had in 2007.

But nowhere, on his personal financial disclosure forms for 2006, do you find records of the asset or income source necessary to generate that sort of interest. Nothing shows up in Baron's 2006 personal financial disclosure statements to generate that interest income. Nothing.

Baron presumably isn't lying to the IRS, nor is his CPA. So where is the asset or income on his 2006 personal financial disclosure form? For that matter, where is the asset or income on his 2005 personal financial disclosure form that generated the almost a thousand dollars in interest income he had that year?

It is clear that there is a serious mismatch here that merits further investigation and examination. The tax forms that Baron filled out and signed don't match the personal financial disclosure forms that he filled out and signed.

They must match up. The fact that they don't means that Baron has lied somewhere. One of his forms has been falsified. I'm inclined to think it wasn't his tax forms; a CPA filled those out for him and probably wouldn't omit or misstate anything.

That leaves the personal financial disclosure forms, the falsification of which is a violation of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 and means that Baron Hill could be subject to a complaint before the House Ethics Committee.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Early Voting Yields Unexpected & Mixed Signals

Ballot BoxIn North Carolina, the early African-American turnout is presently large enough to give Obama a narrow edge in the state, but at a percentage that cannot be sustained as more and more of the population votes (heavy early minority turnout will be offset by even normal white turnout on election day). Obama's margin among whites, at least if current exit poll trends in that demographic continue.

In rural Ohio, where Hillary Clinton built up a crushing margin against Barack Obama in the Democratic primary in the Buckeye State, exit polling indicates that McCain is outperforming George W. Bush's 2004 result. This is probably a result of "bitter" rural white Democrats moving over to McCain moreso than they did for Bush (Kerry apparently being more palatable to such voters than Obama). As Geraghty notes elsewhere, "If you had to name a state where Obama is going to underperform his margin in the final polls, Ohio would seem like a pretty good guess."

In Georgia, Obama faces the same challenge mentioned above with regard to North Carolina. Early voting is disproportionately African American and they are voting at a proportion that their population overall cannot sustain even with absurdly high minority turnout. As the vote sample becomes "whiter", Obama's thin lead in exit polls evaporates in favor of McCain.

Zoeller Endorsed by Indy Star & NWI Times; Linda Pence Resorts to Smears & Rumors

Z4AGFrom the Indy Star:

Zoeller's style and approach to the job are less dramatic than Pence's. But, as mentioned, he has a record of quiet and effective service on his side.

Zoeller promises to target sexual predators and root out public corruption. He also wants to expand an existing identify-theft program and protect teachers from nuisance lawsuits.

Both candidates are clearly qualified. The choice comes down to whether Pence's vision of a much larger influence of the attorney general on the local level is a better approach than Zoeller's strategy of continuing but enhancing the office's traditional functions.

The Star favors Zoeller in part because of his record of success. But also because his understanding of the attorney general's role appears more realistic than Pence's.

From the NWI Times:

Under Carter's administration, the attorney general also has entered the field of investigating public corruption and vote fraud cases. Steve Carter and Lake County Prosecutor Bernie Carter (no relation) brought in Indiana State Police resources and state lawyers to dig deep into East Chicago operations after the botched 2003 mayoral primary.

The attorney general could not prosecute anyone in the resulting vote fraud lawsuits because the office doesn't have prosecutorial powers, so it assisted Lake County's prosecutor in obtaining 46 vote fraud convictions. The attorney general's office also filed a civil racketeering lawsuit against former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick's administration in the wake of the 1999 Sidewalk Six scandal. That suit accuses the city government under Pastrick's rule of being a corrupt organization.

One of the architects of the attorney general's attack on public corruption has been Zoeller. He remains committed to attacking corruption.

Pence is an aggressive candidate, but she should have been more up-front about her role in the racketeering case, in which she represented Rieth-Riley. The contractor paid $625,000 to settle the claims against it and agreed to cooperate against the remaining defendants.

Attorney-client privilege must be protected, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't have made it clear right away that she represented one of the major contractors in that case.

Pence's negative edge is troublesome. She says Zoeller's references to the racketeering lawsuit against the Pastrick administration is a political maneuver, perhaps because Pastrick is a powerhouse in her own Democratic Party. But Zoeller's zeal for the racketeering lawsuit speaks to his commitment to attacking public corruption.

Carter's administration has worked well. We endorse Zoeller, who has been an important contributor to Carter's successes, for Indiana's next attorney general.

And the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, too:

The incumbent in the attorney general's office isn't on the ballot this year, either. But the chief deputy - Republican Greg Zoeller - is, and that's almost as good. Attorney General Steve Carter gives Zoeller his enthusiastic endorsement, and so do we. (Zoeller was not the choice of Gov. Daniels, so he already has one good fight under his belt.)

Zoeller knows what the office's duties and limits are, and he would act accordingly. He also has a good sense of what his priorities should be. Stopping sexual predators online, for example, is near the top of his list. He would mediate more often than not but would not be afraid to litigate when that is called for.

His opponent, Democrat Linda Pence, is currently a litigator and would bring that sense of purpose to the office.

All of this comes as Linda Pence airs a scurilous negative ad smear about Greg Zoeller and continues to blatantly distort the role and function of the attorney general's office.

Greg Zoeller has spent his life serving other people; the people of Indiana, the people of his church, and the people of his community. The idea put forward by Linda Pence in her advertisement, namely that Greg Zoeller doesn't care about the most vulnerable among us, is not merely risible. It is a disgusting insult to one of the finest public servants and certainly the nicest and most genuine person I have ever encountered in Indiana politics.

But, for just a moment, let's assume that Linda Pence and her supporters know more about the functions and authority of the attorney general's office than the folks that have served in it for eight years (especially the guy that was the #2 there for that time).

Let's assume that the position of attorney general is really that powerful (something that I do not concede in the slightest, but merely put forward here for the sake of argument). Do Hoosiers want someone with the shady background and questionable inclinations of Linda Pence in that office? Someone that has defended corrupt CEOs, codefendants in the biggest corruption case in Indiana history, convicted murderers, the biggest drug ring in Indiana History, and corrupt politicians of her own political party?

I think not.

Oh, and that rumor that Zoeller is pulling his television time? It's not true (though people misinformed or ignorant about the mechanics and internal nuances of media buys could be tricked into thinking that it could be). But hey, such distortions and lies are par for the course for Linda Pence and company.

Sources have confirmed to me that Greg Zoeller will stay on the air, and (more importantly still) he will have a powerful new ad early next week. I'm told that it will talk to Hoosiers about some of the very issues I have spent recent months first blogging about here.

Baron Compares Obama to Biblical Prophet Destined to Lead Indiana Out of "Wilderness"

Obamassiah, indeed:

At a Barack Obama rally in Indianapolis today, U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, D-9th, called Indiana the “Moses of national politics.”

“We’ve been wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years,” he told a crowd of more than 20,000 people. “Now is our time. Now is our place. Barack Obama will be the United States president and Indiana will take him over the top.”

Hill also said it was the biggest crowd he’d ever spoken to and it made him “a little nervous.”

What a wonderful, and very public, way to help roll out Mike Sodrel's newest ad:

I'm sure video of Baron's remarks about his own personal prophet will show up on YouTube before long.

I'll post them when they do.

NRA Slams Obama in New Ad

Any minute now, the Obama people are going to start crying that it's racist.

Hottest Woman on Daytime Television to Campaign with Hottest Woman in Politics

Yeah, yeah. Save your whining about sexism.

From NRO's Media Blog:

ABC News’ Rick Klein Reports: The McCain-Palin campaign’s efforts to reach women is about to get a celebrity boost: Elisabeth Hasselbeck is set to join Gov. Sarah Palin on the campaign trail.

“The View” co-host said Thursday the McCain campaign contacted her a day earlier, to convey an invitation from Palin to introduce her at rallies Sunday in Florida.

“I am more than honored to be there, so I will be flying there to travel with her and meet some pretty interesting people, I have a feeling,” Hasselbeck said. “That’s an honor, I’m excited to do it, and I’ll have some stories I’m sure on Monday.”

Two Polls, Two Opposite Results

McCain - 41%
Obama - 51%

McCain-Palin - 52.8%
Obama-Biden - 42.3%

The Battleground poll gives party identification as being even. As I have said earlier, I doubt that this is the case.

Oxley Senior Fighting Hard to Let His Son Have a Political Future after November 4

The Courier-Journal reports on the race.

Bill Ayers & The Weathermen Planned Genocide of Twenty-Five Million Americans

Just a guy from the neighborhood, right?

I'm sure that's not the Bill Ayers that Barack Obama thought he knew.

Obama's Fraudulent Fundraising

His website, it seems, will take donations regardless how false the information being provided.

Geraghty, Allah, and Ace all have posts about the shadiness. They are even accepting contributions from obviously foreign donors.

Patrick Ruffini, who knows a thing or two about internet political fundraising (he ran Bush's web operation in 2004), explains how Team Barry is playing fast and loose not just with election law but with credit card restrictions.

On the positive side, maybe Obama will get these foreign or fraudulent donors to pay taxes; that would have a wonderful impact on the deficit...

Daily Funnies

Meet big government.
Ramirez: Meet big government.

Protecting Obama.
Varvel: Protecting Obama.

The Powell Endorsement.
Filibuster: The Powell Endorsement.

Don't stop now, Mitch.
Varvel: Don't stop now, Mitch.

Biden's Test
Ramirez: Biden's Test.

Stimulus Plan
Varvel: Stimulus Plan.

Angry White Boy: Obamaween.

9th District Debate in Jasper

Baron Hill, Mike Sodrel, and Eric Schansberg met in Jasper at the Vincennes University campus there on Tuesday evening to face off. There were plenty of cameras, but no non-media recording and no lie detectors.

The debate was impactful and revealing, at least for those that saw it (which is probably a distinct minority of voters; likely Baron's intention from the start).

Your humble correspondent was present, and I liveblogged the entire thing. I didn't have a chance to post it until now, because I typed it into a Word file rather than attempt to post and continually update that post live (too big a chance for an error or something resulting in the browser or the internet eating my work).

The debate had two segments. For the first (televised) hour, the candidates were each on stage individually for twenty minutes with a panel of three questioners. During the second hour, the candidates shared the stage and took questions from the audience. The audience was not friendly to Baron Hill; the questions were not to his liking (which was a distinct change from a number of the panel questions, which were frequently dainty softballs).

I have four posts below about this (one for each candidate's segment and one for the audience question period).

Baron Hill Panel Q&A

Mike Sodrel Panel Q&A

Eric Schansberg Panel Q&A

Audience Q&A (all candidates)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jasper Debate: Audience Q&A Liveblog

Fundamentals of the economy?

Hill – Not strong, but we’re not going into a depression. We are going to have to do things that I don’t like doing, but they will be necessary to save retirements and so forth. Hang on to your investments. Eventually, it will all come back.

Schansberg – We have real reason to be worried with bank nationalization and so forth. Commends Baron for voting against the bailout; hopes that he will vote against the stimulus package.

Sodrel – References DCCC ad; slams Baron’s many different opinions about the economy. We need long-term changes, instead of short-term stimulus. Investments in the future cannot be made on the basis of short-term stimulus plans. We can’t continue borrowing money for things like the bailout, and we can’t raise taxes.

Hill Rebuttal – Economy here is not as in trouble as at the national level. Says he talks to lots of people and they tell him this. He couldn’t name anyone specifically, though. Repeats that the questioner should just “hang in there” for four or five years and everything will be okay.

Schansberg Rebuttal – That’s not nearly the worst ad run against Mike. Others are worse. Sodrel nods his head in agreement.

Is drilling really a solution?

Sodrel – We can convert from fossil fuels in ten years, according to experts. Long-term, we need to move to another form of energy. In the short-term, however, such forms of energy are not affordable or practical. We need to incentivize the long-term (prizes) and develop all sources of energy. In the short-term, we are still going to need more natural gas, coal, and oil.

Schansberg – Devalued dollar is to blame. We should lift the tariff on Brazilian ethanol.

Hill – Baron feels your pain. This is like health care; we are dealing with it and have not found a solution. The technology is very close. We shouldn’t drill because it’s so close. “We’re right there” (or so the experts tell him).

Solution to gridlock in Washington?

Schansberg – I’m the answer.

Hill – Talks about his bipartisan efforts to improve fuel economy for cars. Bipartisanship is important; it’s why Baron votes with Nancy Pelosi more than 90% of the time.

Sodrel – Frequently, these bipartisan maneuverings are just that. Empty maneuverings. We need real change. We need our lives to be less complex. I would like to make your life simpler. Advocates for the Fair Tax.

Schansberg Rebuttal – The bailout was bipartisan. How did you like that? Applause. References Social Security.

Hill Rebuttal – Gridlock was the question, and I think it’s a bad thing.

Sodrel Rebuttal – You can’t even say the words Social Security without them getting negative ads run against you. I’m not going to cut Social Security. My mother and mother-in-law get Social Security. I’m not going to cut it, because then they’d be living with me. Laughter. Perhaps the best line of the night. Pops the privatization balloon.

Stop vote fraud? (Asked by an Air Force veteran.)

Hill – Says that he doesn’t understand the question. Claims to have never heard of ACORN. Says he can’t answer until he gets the facts. Doesn’t want to comment. “You’re hearing a lot of things in this election, and most of it you can’t believe.” Ain’t that the truth, especially in Baron’s case.

Schansberg – I don’t know what to make of it. I would not take your money to give to ACORN, which is what is happening currently. Neither should we give money to Planned Parenthood.

Sodrel – It’s not a matter of alleged or conjecture. Some of the ACORN people have already pled guilty. We’re the one country that’s held elections longer than any other, yet some days you get up and feel like this is a third world country. Let’s have an election in accordance with the law. I want to win an honest election, not one with stuffed ballot boxes. Baron is smirking.

Bud Bernitt from Bloomington, Roe v. Wade? How many times have you voted for legislation that allows abortions?

Schansberg – One of two pro-life candidates in this race. Science and religion agree when life begins. I would support political changes to deal with the issue. Pro-life must be pro-life, not just anti-abortion. That’s important for people that are pro-life. References his own adoptions. Only candidate that hasn’t given your money to Planned Parenthood.

Hill – Complains that the question has already been asked. Repeats that he is personally opposed to abortions. Says he will never vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Again uses his daughter as a political prop. Attacks Schansberg for being inconsistent on pro-life. Bernitt presses; Baron repeats that he doesn’t know how many votes he has cast. Bernitt presses further, says it’s ten times. Baron says he supports abortions in military facilities. Baron Hill and Bud Bernitt have history; Baron looked like he was about to die when Bernitt got called on to ask a question.

Sodrel – I’m pro-life. I have a 100% voting record for Indiana Right to Life and National Right to Life. Says he would support defunding Planned Parenthood. Notes that Baron voted for funding Planned Parenthood and against a the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. Notes broad support for pro-life groups in the 9th District.

Schansberg Rebuttal – Decries that Pence Amendment didn’t come until after Republicans lost the majority. If life begins in the womb, then life must be defended. Libertarians on this must be clear.

Hill Rebuttal – Says it is the law that abortions can’t be used by Planned Parenthood to fund abortions (huh?).

Immigration? Why are politicians letting us lose our country? (Another question by a vet.)

Sodrel – English is the tie that binds us together. There is nowhere else in the world where you can go such distances and everybody still speaks the same language. Europeans learn several languages because they have to, not because they are cosmopolitan.

Schansberg – High fences and broad gates. Immigrants built this country. They should be welcome so long as they come here to work and not mooch off of welfare. Immigration benefits us.

Hill – Says he voted for English-only as a member of the legislature and would as a member of Congress. Diversity mandates English as the tie that binds. Says he agrees with “Mr. Sodrel.”

Why do you want this job?

Sodrel – This election isn’t about me or you. It’s about the next generation and generations yet unborn. It’s for my grandchildren and their grandchildren. In 1776, 56 men pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the cause of liberty. The question is not why we want the job, but why more folks don’t want to get involved.

Schansberg – Because I am the most qualified.

Hill – There are days when I wonder why I want this job. But most days, it’s an honor and a privilege. I don’t get hung up on philosophy. I want to get things done, and I think that I have. Cites property tax, fuel economy standards, child internet protections. The business of legislating has become less important, but it is the most important thing we can do.

Flat tax?

Schansberg – I would support a flat tax or a “fair tax.” Taxes take money and our time.

Hill – I don’t support the Fair Tax. Doesn’t mention the flat tax. Says he is opposed to it. He doesn’t seem to understand the difference between the flat tax and the Fair Tax. Says he believes in tax reform. Says the code is too complex, which is why he was making it more complex with his property tax measure.

Sodrel – Advocates for the Fair Tax as a measure that will level the playing field.

Schansberg Rebuttal – Speaks in favor of the Fair Tax also; notes the prebate that would prevent it from being regressive (a charge leveled by Baron Hill).

Another language question (Sharia Law and Islamization, too)

Sodrel – Being an American is not a state of birth, it is a state of mind. This being said, immigration is important. We’re all immigrants.

Schansberg – Agrees with the questioner’s concern about Sharia Law. How much time will you invest in your decision on Election Day? One-issue voters are a problem. The electorate needs to become more engaged. People want change, but are they going to vote for change?

Hill – Says he has faith and trust in people in southern Indiana to make the right decisions “by and large” most of the time (apparently just when they are voting for him).

Presidential candidate endorsement?

Hill – I have endorsed Barack Obama. A great man. The future. Great judgment. You can’t rattle him. He has dignity. He is smart. He is well-balanced. People in southern Indiana are going to elect him as the next president of the United States. There are lots of mean and nasty rumors about him, but he’s an honorable and decent man who will do well for this country. People disagree, but that’s America. People just shouldn’t be disagreeable. He’s too good. He’s too kind-hearted. Denounces rumors against Obama.

Sodrel – I didn’t make a primary endorsement, but I am glad to endorse John McCain and Sarah Palin (mentions that he met her in Alaska). References Obama apparently wanting to cut taxes on 95% of people, when 95% of people don’t pay taxes. Gets applause. Says taxes shouldn’t be raised on anybody, not in this economy.

Schansberg – Mike Sodrel is right. Everybody, however, pays payroll taxes. Is unimpressed by both candidates.

What will you do for small business?

Schansberg – Libertarians are the party of small business. Less taxes, less regulation.

Sodrel – Agrees with Schansberg. Simpler taxes, less regulation. Small business should focus on what they do best, rather than how they comply with tax laws. Life needs to be simpler. The bigger the government, the more the taxes and the more the regulation. We need to make your life simpler.

Hill – Says he was a small business owner. Just like he was drafted by the New York Giants and holds a state track record. Says he voted for tax cuts for small businesses. Speaks about support for elimination of the estate tax in limited circumstances.

Jasper Debate: Baron Hill Panel Q&A Liveblog

Baron HillEnergy Independence? Dropped some gratuitous references to the committees he is on, as if that is so important. We need bridges, Baron says, except we just can’t drill for oil to power the cars that would drive on them. Talks about expensive hydrogen cars that he got to drive because he’s a member of Congress.

Lobbyists? Baron says he doesn’t take a whole lot of lobbying money. Says he wants public financing; because taxpayer dollars should bankroll his reelection campaign.

Trade policy? Baron says our trade agreements need to be changed, despite the fact that he voted for almost every free trade agreement that came before him for a vote. “There’s nothing wrong with trading with a communist country so long as you make money.” No mention of all of the jobs Indiana has lost because of Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. Some empty rhetoric about fair trade provisions.

Education? Take a shot if he says No Child Left Behind. Wait for it... Wait for it... [insert gratuitous reference to irrelevant committee assignments here] Education, Baron says, is important. Duh. He made it through without an NCLB reference. I am amazed.

Change? Baron says he is a better person. This was obviously reflected in the negative campaign he and his allies have waged, and the way he treated his constituents in town halls like the one in Sellersburg. Baron says he is a better listener; I don’t see much example of that. He wasn’t listening to members of his own party when he endorsed Barack Obama.

Bailout? Baron voted against it twice. Wow. He’s so brave.

Immigration? Baron wants to increase penalties for people for smugglers of illegal immigrants, but he couldn’t get his measure through the Senate, despite his own party controlling it.

Term limits? Baron opposes term limits; they would be a crimp on his career. They would, he says, mean “losing your power.” Experience and seniority are power, he says, and he wants lots of power. He fears lobbyists and special interests then having all of the experience and power. It’s not clear to me how that would be any different than the current situation.

Wild forests? Natural ecosystems? Baron loves “Mother Earth, God’s green earth.” He’s glad to be endorsed by green special interest and lobbying groups (though he decried special interests and lobbyists earlier).

Roe v. Wade? Baron opposes the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Baron says he personally opposes abortion. He just doesn’t have the convictions to vote that way. Uses his own daughter as a political prop to explain his position; shameless.

How is this year’s election different than last year? Positive campaign? Baron claims that his campaign has been positive. The audience snickers. Baron claims that he has heard rumors of a negative ad in the field against him.

Joe the Plumber? Baron supports the progressive income tax and speaks about it historically. He doesn’t answer the question about why hard-work should be punished with higher taxes.

College education? Everybody, Baron says, should have access to college education. Nevermind their qualifications for college, everybody should be able to go. Again uses his daughter as a political prop.

Wrapup? We aren’t doing enough to balance the budget. Apparently, we are not taxing enough, because Baron didn’t say a word about cutting spending in the entire time he was on stage.

Baron clearly suffers in any format that requires him to actually open his mouth in a place where someone might actually hear him. Thirty-second ads, scripted speeches, and press releases written by somebody else are his prefered methods of campaigning.

Jasper Debate: Mike Sodrel Panel Q&A Liveblog

Mike SodrelEnergy? All-of-the-above plan. We can’t drill our way out of this problem, but we can’t get out of it if we don’t drill. We should utilize every opportunity to generate energy. Uses an example of only four of twenty-one dams on the Ohio River presently being used to generate electricity. Says he favors prizes, such as the X-Prize, to develop new technologies. Boone Pickens, Sodrel says, is right. Biggest transfer of wealth in human history. We can become energy independent; we just need to pursue every option.

Lobbyists? There are lobbyists like Farm Bureau; doesn’t have much of an impact. All they get for their money is good government. If they want something else, they should keep their dollars. Campaigns are expensive, and that’s unfortunate.

Trade policy? Notes that he voted for CAFTA, supports free trade. The CAFTA countries already had access to American markets, but we did not have access to theirs. We can’t have fair trade between a communist country and a capitalist country; opposed free trade with Vietnam and China. Every trade agreement must be examined on its merits.

Education? Federal government has a minor role in education; the real role should be at the state level. We cannot make Congress into a 535-member school board. Local control is imperative, even if Federal dollars are involved.

Change? Change is not enough; we must have positive change. This Congress has heaped a breathtaking amount of debt onto our children in just the past year. In one year alone, we have accumulated over a trillion dollars in debt, and Congress is now talking about another stimulus package. Supports raising FDIC caps. Suspend the capital gains tax. Have a tax amnesty for repatriated capital (dollars outside of the United States).

Bailout? Would have voted against it; you can’t borrow your way out of debt. I can’t heap that debt on my grandchildren. What would happen if nobody wants to loan us the money? There are more responsible ways to get the economy going again.

Iraq War? This replaced the earlier immigration question (both were asked by the student from the university, Erin Hochgesang. Sodrel says he supports troop withdrawals as soon as Generals Petraeus and Odierno find them to be practical. The peace now present in Iraq is tenuous, but all they need is the ability to maintain it. We should be coming home.

Costs of the war? Iraq should bear a larger burden and should now be picking up part of the tab. Providing fuel for our troops and funding for reconstruction, etc.

Term limits? That would require a constitutional amendment. I would rather fight for term limits than for longer terms. There are three parties in Washington, the Republican Party, the Democrat Party, and the incumbent party.

Environment? Gives some good examples of how his trucking company has taken measures to be environmentally-friendly. At the same time, people need jobs. We have to reach a balance between a clean environment and a prosperous people. Our air and water are cleaner now than they were thirty years ago, and Sodrel would like to see them cleaner still in another thirty years.

Much longer and more thoughtful and detailed answers than Baron gave, and thus he was asked fewer questions. The format mandated a fixed and limited period of time; Sodrel was given no opportunity for a wrap-up, though Schansberg and Hill were.

Jasper Debate: Eric Schansberg Panel Q&A Liveblog

Eric SchansbergEnergy? Sodrel leaned forward in the seat, Schansberg is sitting on the edge of his seat. Supports drilling, but the big problem is the value of the dollar. Alternative energy is great, but it should not be subsidized. If you want a congressman that will take your money and give it to alternative energy, vote for Baron Hill. If you want a congressman that will take your money and give it to alternative energy and oil companies, vote for Mike Sodrel. If you want to keep your money, vote for me.

Lobbyists? Baron has received $800,000 from the financial sector (Sodrel $400,000). A subtle slam on Baron. A smaller government with a reduced scope would see less lobbying and special interest involvement.

Trade policy? Free trade is great. Trade agreements are not free trade and are not great. Restrictions on trade that involves slave labor or non-voluntary trade or work would be prudent.

Health Care? Interesting that Schansberg was the only candidate to be asked about health care. He talks about libertarian theory. Implies that he supports socialized medicine (experiment in all fifty states with universally-available health care). He doesn’t seem to care what states do with regard to health care; just that the Federal government stays out of it. I suspect that Andy Horning would disagree; perhaps I misheard or misunderstood some nuance of Schansberg’s position on this.

How would you change the Constitution or get us back to the Constitution? Big fan of just returning to the Constitution. Schansberg suddenly transitioned this to a discussion of change. We need true change, he says.

Wild forests again? A dissertation on pollution and libertarian theory.

This debate has now officially become worse than the Brokaw presidential town hall. It is boring and the format makes it lifeless and vapid.

Education? Schansberg sees no formal Federal role in education. No Child Left Behind (shot; first mention of the night) is not helping things. Why should people in Indiana pay for education in Wyoming? Why should people in Vermont pay for a program in Indiana?

Term limits? He has done academic studies on this, and term limits change nothing. Goes back to the earlier question about campaign financing. It goes back to the sort of things we want Congress and government to do. The type of people we are currently sending are just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. Supports term limits, but sees them as window-dressing and a secondary issue.

Bailout? Would have voted against it. Banking systems require faith and trust, and that faith and trust has been grossly violated. There are things we could have done, but giving $700 billion to the people that caused the problem is not one of them.

Immigration? We have to do two things. 1) Enforce borders, and 2) enforce things against business. We must do both things. Easier said than done. Not as easy as mass deportation or putting up fences.

Back to the bailout; should we have seen it coming? Absolutely. We should not expect that the government should have handled this well. The government should not be in the business of bailing businesses out. Example of a car speeding toward a cliff.

Wrap-up: Check his website. Consider his candidacy. Vote for him.

Professorial and thoughtful, but ultimately probably not that convincing on the broader electorate. Libertarians, by their nature, incur free earned media benefits from these debates out of all proportion to their normal influence.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama Tax Hike Calculator

Figure out how much your taxes will go up when Barack Obama allows the Bush tax cuts to expire.

Hat tip: The Campaign Spot.

Every Dog Has Its Day

The Indy Star gives the AG race some ink and finds that Linda Pence is, well, not exactly of the sort of even-handed temperament you'd want to have in an attorney general:

Zoeller praised [Pence] as "a very passionate advocate."

When asked to name one of Zoeller's strengths during a separate interview in her office looking out from a high floor of the Indiana Square tower in Downtown Indianapolis, however, Pence paused -- then said she couldn't think of one.

Linda Pence's answer does not surprise me, and Greg Zoeller is too kind.

Pence is a liberal trial lawyer that has made her career in the defense of convicted murderers, drug dealers, crooked Lake County Democrats, co-defendants in the biggest corruption suit in Indiana history, and corporate crooks of all sorts.

Her lone great achievement in defense of the public interest is the White River fish incident, for which she was paid almost half a million dollars in legal fees. Pence obtained the role of outside counsel as a part of a no-bid contract by the O'Bannon administration; no other legal counsels were considered.

Pence's legal fees were originally not to exceed $200,000. She ended up being paid two and a half times that amount; hardly a shining example of her stewardship of taxpayer dollars or of her efficiency in obtaining a favorable result, either.

Linda Pence's shady record is, in and of itself, exceedingly troubling. What is more troubling still is her unabashed ignorance about the role of the attorney general's office in the state of Indiana.

We're supposed to accept that a long-time defender of corrupt members of her own party and of other sordid criminals and shady characters, whose lone defense of Hoosiers involved taking them to the cleaners in a no-bid contract for 250% of her original fee, is going to suddenly going to turn around and become a fierce advocate for integrity, honesty, and justice? After she has spent her career fighting against these very things time and time again? By running for an office whose functions and roles she doesn't even understand?

That's a bit hard believe.

If you do believe it, I have a bridge that I want to sell you.

A rampaging defend-anything liberal trial lawyer does not have the qualifications, judgment, experience, or temperament to be attorney general. Greg Zoeller does.

Quote of the Day

From Treacher:

Here's how to answer "Did you know the Annenberg Challenge was funded by a Republican and included many Republican leaders?"

"Well, how about that. Did you know the planes used on 9/11 weren't built by terrorists?"

The evoking of September 11 is over the top, obviously. The point, however, is one that needs to be made. Regardless of the origins of the Annenberg Challenge and the nobility of its original aims, that does not explain or justify the perversion of its funds by a washed-up unrepentant terrorist seeking to fund left-wing nuttery in Chicago schools.

Becky & Sarah

Prosper Group Think has some interesting musings about the presence of Becky Skillman (and the absence of Mitch Daniels) at the Sarah Palin rally last Friday in Noblesville. Whatever the reason for Mitch's absence (and I don't buy the conspiracy theories voiced by certain folks on Indiana Week in Review; sometimes a scheduling conflict is just a scheduling conflict), Becky Skillman stood tall at the event. If Mitch Daniels wins reelection, she will have already carved out a significant position for herself and a big advantage toward a campaign in 2012.

Imagine a Becky Skillman primary campaign in 2012 with Sarah Palin (regardless fo the 2008 national outcome) showing up to do fundraisers or lending her endorsement. Whatever the outcome on November 4, Sarah Palin is likely to be a significant force in the conservative movement and Republican politics for a good long time to come. And the rally in Noblesville showed that Becky Skillman is likely to be a significant force in Indiana politics for a good long time to come, too.

I have a lot of photos (very good photos; the benefits of being among the first people to arrive at the venue) from the rally that I'm going to try to post in the coming days. I have a lot of video (very bad video; the cost of not bringing a tripod) from the rally that I'm probably not going to post at all.

New 527 Ad: "Concerned About Obama?"

Mitt Romney for RNC Chairman

The game is afoot, it seems.


Varvel: Crisis

The Ad You'll Never See

Monday, October 20, 2008

News Flash: Polls Overstate Obama's Support

From Politico:

In theory, exit polls should match election results. But for all the care that goes into conducting accurate exit polls, errant results aren’t completely uncommon. Respected polling analyst Mark Blumenthal found that during the Democratic primaries this year, preliminary exit polls overestimated Obama's strength in 18 of 20 states, by an average error of 7 percentage points, based on leaked early results.

The reason? Obama’s supporters were younger, better educated and often more enthusiastic than Hillary Clinton's, meaning they were more likely to participate in exit polls.

[In 2004, John] Kerry’s vote was overstated in 26 states. The same was true for Bush in four states, according to a detailed post election analysis by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International, who administer the exit poll for the NEP.

This is the essence of selection bias; certain types of people just don't like to talk to pollsters, whether those pollsters are standing outside of a polling place or calling them on the telephone.

Ace puts it memorably:

See, Politico has finally figured out that in polling, there is this thing called "selection bias". There is also the related variable called "get the hell out of my face and leave me alone you nosy bastards." And exit pollsters, God love 'em, just don't seem to be able to figure out how to quantify this.

Funny how these errors almost always seem to overstate Democratic support all over the place, isn't it?

Now, this raises a question that Politico doesn't address. If an "enthusiasm gap" is responsible for skewing exit polls, why isn't an "enthusiasm gap" responsible for skewing pre-election day polling?

And if there were ever a year when one would be looking at polls and pondering "enthusiasm" doesn't it seem like that would be a metric that would be favoring Obama right now? After all, your own article says his voters have a history of getting all up in peoples face and "bragging" about their vote.

I'm just askin' questions, here. You know. Like journalists are supposed to do.

Anyway, make of this what you will. An average error of 7 points for the One is amazingly high, though, given that usually the margin of error is around 3.5%.

It would seem that there are lies, damned lies, statistics, and polls.

Harrison County Farm Bureau Candidate Forum

Every election year, the Harrison County Farm Bureau hosts a forum for candidates running for office in the county. Usually, there are two forums. One in the spring for primary candidates and one in the fall for general election candidates. This year was no different. What was different was that your humble correspondent taped the forum and put it on YouTube.

I won't embed the videos here; it would take too much space, but here are the videos.

A coin toss at the event determined that the Republican candidates would go first.

Mike Sodrel (R) & Eric Schansberg (L)
Baron Hill (D) was not present.

Indiana House District 70
Tim Hunt (R) & Paul Robertson (D)

Indiana House District 73
Steve Davisson (R)
Dennie Ray Oxley I (D) was not present.

Superior Court Judge
John Evans (R) & Roger Davis (D)

Circuit Court Clerk
Sherry Brown (R) & Barbara Mathes (D)

County Recorder
Barbara Best (R) & Carole Gaither (D)

County Surveyor
Tom Bube (R) & Carl Duley (D)

County Coroner
Ray Saylor (R) & Rusty Sizemore (D)

Commissioner District 1
Phil Smith (R) & James Goldman (D)

Commissioner District 2
Rhonda Rhoads (R) & Carl "Buck" Mathes (D), Part I & Part II

Council At-Large
Jim Heitkemper (R) & Marion Wallace (R), Steve Hagard (D)
Richard Gerdon (D) & Chris Timberlake (D) were not present.

The candidates just completed a forum at Frenchtown on October 16, and will come together again at a candidate forum hosted by the Jaycees in Lanesville on October 22.

I taped the one in Frenchtown (and am in the process of uploading the video), and expect to tape the one in Lanesville also.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Debategate Continues

Baron Hill continues to avoid being put in a position where he might have to tell voters in the 9th District the truth about his record and his liberal positions.

McCain's Use of Joe the Plumber so Desperate that Obama Is Copying It

So if McCain's reference to Joe the Plumber is desperation, what is this?

From a reader in Lynchburg, Virginia:

FYI—just a few moments ago I received an automated call at home from “Joe the Plumber” asking me to vote for O’Bama. He referred to the talk about Joe the Plumber in the debate—obviously trying to have me link “Joe Sellers (I think that’s the name), a plumber from Falls Church, Virginia” with the Joe the Plumber everyone is talking about. Easy to think ‘Hey, Joe the Plumber wants us to vote for O’Bama.’

Dishonest? Yes. But about what you’d expect out of Washington.

Sounds like desperation to me.

Just desperation from a different campaign than McCain's.

Flashback: Kerry Leading in Swing States

From Hillbuzz:

Poll suggests Kerry has lead in swing states
Last Updated: Sunday, October 17, 2004 | 9:15 PM ET

John Kerry appealed to African-American voters on Sunday, as he pushed ahead with his campaign to unseat George W. Bush.

Kerry promised the voters, many of whom feel the Republicans are trying to keep them off the voter lists, “We’re not going to let this be just a repeat of 2000. We’re not going to see a million African-Americans deprived of their votes in America,” he said.

With just 16 days to go until the vote, the race couldn’t be tighter.

Polls suggest a dead heat. Even Republican organizers concede the Democratic senator has benefited from his performance in the three presidential debates.

And a Washington Post poll shows Kerry with a significant lead in important states that could decide the outcome of the election. The poll found Kerry held a 53 per cent to 43 per cent lead among likely voters in 13 such states.

Barack Obama's Tax & Ethics Violations

From the Volokh Conspiracy:

I was stunned to see some document showing Joe the Plumbers' tax problems on my 10pm (CT)newscast on the local NBC affiliate in Chicago on Thursday night. They have very little time for any national news and they actually spent time on Joe the Plumbers' tax problems. Amazing!

But when an actual candidate — Barack Obama — released his tax returns, which on their face seemed to show an ethics violation of Illinois law, the press couldn't care less.

Just to remind you, Illinois prohibits state legislators from taking speaking fees, and Barack reported "speaking fees."

I really don't blame Obama for not addressing this; he released his tax returns after all. The problem is the press, which seems to be having more trouble than usual doing its job this season.

As I've said before, the best solution to the problem is integrating the newsrooms politically.

A tax lien by a citizen that dared to question That One is big news.

Ethics violations revealed in Obama's tax returns? Not so much.

AG Race Musings

A bit over a week ago, WISH TV put out a poll on the AG race indicating a ten point Greg Zoeller lead over shady Democratic candidate Linda Pence. Coverage of the race has been relatively sparse, despite it supposedly going to be "one to watch" and one of the few seriously contested statewide races (the presidential race now takes that prize, and the gubernatorial race hasn't exactly been exciting or captivating in a news reporting sense).

The extent of media advertising in the campaign has been that both candidates have each run a warm and fuzzy ad about how great they are. Zoeller's ad has run statewide in every media market. Linda Pence's ad has not; it is not running in Terre Haute, Evansville, or Louisville. That would seem to indicate that Pence is ceding the entire southern and southwestern regions of the state to Greg Zoeller.

WISH doesn't provide crosstabs on its polling, so we don't know the regional breakdowns, party identification numbers, ideological ratios, name identification numbers, or anything else. In the southern part of the state, Zoeller benefits from his famous last name, shared with a popular local golfer who happens to be his cousin. In the eastern part of the state, Linda Pence benefits from sharing the name of a popular conservative congressman who has absolutely nothing in common with her and probably finds her defense of shady characters and corrupt Democrats to be abhorent.

So what does a poll asking voters their preference tell us? Presumably, the question was something like this: "In the race for attorney general, will you vote for Republican Greg Zoeller or Democrat Linda Pence?"

The most distinguishing things in that question are not the names of the candidates. Their name ID is probably still relatively low, their media buys have done little to distinguish them, and there are regional considerations that are probably a wash.

The most distinguishing things in that question are the political parties of the candidates. I would contend that the WISH poll tells us less about the race for AG than it tells us about the current breakdown in partisan identification in Indiana.

In their most recent presidential poll, Survey USA (which is the only poll taken in Indiana that makes crosstabs publicly available) places party identification in Indiana at being 38% Republican, 37% Democrat, and 18% independent. That'd be a shocking collapse of historic Republican party identification (previously at around 15% in favor of the Republicans) if true.

That poll gave John McCain an advantage of about three percent at the end of September, ten days before the AG race poll was taken.

But what would that polling look like if you assumed that the most distinguishing thing about the WISH TV poll was its breakdown of the AG race not by the candidates but more as a reflection of genuine and more "sticky" partisan identification? If you assumed that party identification in Indiana was 42% to 32% to 26% (the Zoeller-Pence-undecided divide), and weighted the Survey USA poll results accordingly, McCain would lead Obama by 51.4% to 42.9%.

That would reflect a 10% party identification level, a decline of a third since 2004, but probably more representative of the surge in Democratic party identification, particularly via voter registration.

It's an imperfect comparison, to be sure, but an interesting one nevertheless.

And as for the AG race? Linda Pence would (according to the WISH poll) have to win 70% of all undecided voters in order to beat Greg Zoeller. Something tells me that's a very steep mountain to climb, even in a Democratic year.