Thursday, April 29, 2010

Senate Race Poll Coming Soon

From Fox News:

In recent days, the blog buzz in the Indiana Senate race has been about a poll nobody's seen. Erick Erickson of Redstate described it this way:

"There is a rumor of a poll that went out in Indiana that was then not made public. Well, heck, I only call it a rumor because it happened but nobody wants to talk about it. My guess is, based on the Coats campaign’s behavior, the poll was either done for them or the results then given to them, making it an NRSC poll. That it has not been leaked means it could not be good news for Dan Coats."

It turns out there IS a poll. It IS coming out tomorrow (April 29th). It IS a Survey USA poll (as many speculated/guessed/reported). But it IS NOT a Dan Coats internal poll. It was commissioned by the (take a deep breath before saying this aloud) Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Ft. Wayne.

The release of the poll is scheduled for Thursday "morning". When I get it. I WILL post it.

This poll will be out just five-days before Primary Day (May 4th).

I suspect that this poll will be a clarifying moment for a lot of conservatives.

If it indicates one particular conservative (whether Hostettler or Stutzman) pulling away or close in with Dan Coats, I think that many conservative Republican primary voters will engage in strategic voting and will rally to whichever of the two conservatives (Stutzman or Hostettler) is seen as having the best chance of beating Coats.

Of course, there have also been rumors (unsubstantiated, as far as I can tell) in the Twitter-verse that the poll shows Coats in third behind Hostettler and Stutzman.

Marine Corps Demands Pull Down of Campaign Ad Containing USMC Uniform

Interesting.

So, where have I seen an ad lately containing a Marine Corps uniform?

Dan Coats Is In the Money

Both in terms of giving money to his campaign:

GOP Senate candidate Dan Coats loaned his campaign $200,000 last week. Coats earlier loaned it $25,000, money he promised to provide as start-up funds.

State Democratic Chairman Dan Parker sees the new loan as a sign of trouble for the presumed frontrunner in the GOP primary. Coats spokesman Pete Seat, meantime, says it’s a bridge between pledges and deposits.

And in terms of the money he made last year from lobbying:

$821,887

That’s the amount of earned income Dan Coats reports in his Senate ethics filing.

That's not a bad haul. Nothing compared to what Susan Bayh probably made last year with stock options as a "professional board member" though.

But the first item begs a simple question, I suppose.

If donations were coming in at a rapid pace, why would any loan be really that necessary at all?

Hankins Denies Involvement in Push Polling

Responding to a recent column in the Courier-Journal noting him as the last remaining suspect for the push polling that has targeted Mike Sodrel and Todd Young, Travis Hankins denies any involvement:

Today Travis Hankins condemns push polling and reverse push polling. A single supporter of Travis Hankins emailed the campaign with the message that he has received a "push poll."

Hankins since has had two inquiries from reporters asking if he is aware of this “polling” and if he is aware of “Central Research of New York” and here is Travis Hankins’ response:

”I have no knowledge of that poll or that company.“ Hankins continues “My campaign has never hired a pollster nor would we do so. No one on the campaign or any volunteer has ever conducted any survey-related calls to any voter, ever.”

Hankins continues, “Polling in primaries is for political establishment campaigns that don’t have the presence on the ground and want to take shortcuts. We don’t do that. “Push polling” is for campaigns who are simply losers and deceitful. We do not do that. Reverse push polling is something that makes those doing a push poll look like angels. We obviously do not do reverse push polling.”

Hankins continues, “Again, I, my campaign, my volunteers and my whole team had nothing to do with this reverse push polling. If it is to be found out that I or my team, had anything to do with this then I will withdraw from the race and never run for office again. I urge the other candidates to take the same pledge.”

Since the initial media inquiries, one column was published in the Courier Journal newspaper hinting that it was very possible that the Hankins campaign was behind this reverse push polling.

Hankins comments “I would urge the good people at the Courier Journal to get to the bottom of these dirty tricks . Since they brought this issue out into the public, and at the same time named me as a ‘suspect,’ then I believe they are obligated to see this thing through to the end.”

“As for my opponents, after the primary we are all to be a “team” again and after the primary we are all going to get together to find out who made these push calls. Unless someone comes clean then I will never work with, or support, any of the campaigns on their future political endeavors until we get this solved. Nor will I accept their help as I beat Baron Hill.”

To repeat the applicable part of the aforementioned Courier-Journal article:

[O]ne of the emails the Young campaign received about the push polls claims that Sodrel also was being smeared.

“As the survey progressed it became clear to me that this person was clearly against Todd Young and Mike Sodrel,” the voter writes. “They also seemed to have a highly favorable opinion of Travis Hankins.”

One can accept Hankins' denial at face value, I suppose, and I'll do so.

But Sodrel and Young are unlikely to have done push polling smearing themselves. And people receiving the push polling indicate that Hankins was referenced favorably.

So if Travis Hankins isn't engaging in push polling, then who is?

As Sherlock Holmes once said, when you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains--however improbable--must be the truth. There are three actors here. Two were targets (and neither would target themselves because it is not in their interest to lose voters). The third denies involvement.

If we take Hankins' denial as sincere and honest, where does that leave us?

Who else would have an interest in the outcome of the Republican primary in the 9th Congressional District of Indiana?

Who could such a person be...

Baron Hill at Bloomington Town Hall
Yeah, him.

And we do know that there are rumors that the Democrats are quietly encouraging their own version of Operation Chaos to get a favorable (i.e. more easily defeated) candidate in the 9th District race to make Baron Hill's chances of retaining "his Congressional office" a bit better.

There's no evidence, of course. Just a theory that happens to fit the facts:

There has apparently been push polling.

Both Mike Sodrel and Todd Young have been targeted by this push polling.

Mike Sodrel and Todd Young are not going to push poll against themselves.

Travis Hankins, another candidate, denies engaging in push polling and the fourth candidate is unemployed and has no resources to do so.

There is talk that the Democrats want to impact the Republican primary to get a nominee to emerge that will be more beatable in the current hostile political environment by doing a reverse Operation Chaos.

Hankins is potentially such a candidate, as the district has handed crushing defeats to similar candidates before.

Baron Hill, thus, has both the means and the motive to engage in such a thing. He also gets the added benefit of it causing the Republicans to engage in sniping at each other over it, even getting some threats about potential post-primary divisiveness out of one particular candidate (Hankins).

Did he? We'll probably never know. But that's the scenario that is left if you accept Hankins' denial and logically look at who might be engaging in push polling.

Conservatives in the People's Republic

The Indiana Daily Student has a great article about the College Republicans (a growing group, it seems) up at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Interesting Primary Comment

From the comments section on an article from the Courier-Journal about Baron Hill's (rather minor) primary challengers:

The Democratic party and/or Baron Hill's campaign are calling on democrat voters to vote Republican in the May primary and for a certain candidate that they are sure they could win against. Doesn't this seem like a play out of the Reid/Pelosi playbook? Come November Baron I will be glad to purchase some moving boxes for you to pack your stuff up and get out of Washington. I only hope you run for Governor of Indiana with the same arrogant mentality you have now.

Let's see.

Who is this "certain candidate that they are sure they could win against"?

Mike Sodrel? He's beaten Baron before and leads him by eight in recent polling.

Todd Young? He's raised a respectable total of money during the primary and presumably would raise enough after the election to be viable in November.

Travis Hankins? Why on earth would Baron Hill be sure that he could win against a candidate that looks to all the world like the second coming of Michael Bailey? Oh, wait.

Red Ink Hypocrites

Red Ink Hypocrites

Health Care Costs

Health Care Costs

Big Government Cloud

Big Government Cloud

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sodrel Hits Back at Young's Negative Attacks

When your opponent doesn't have his facts straight, it's really easy to answer a negative smear:

Todd Young Deceiving Voters about Sodrel's Record

In recent television advertisements and e-mails, Todd Young, Republican candidate for Indiana's 9th District Congressional Seat, has taken a page out of the "Typical Politician" handbook by misleading voters about the facts. Young's ads and e-mails mislead voters to believe that Mike Sodrel increased the number of earmarks to all time highs, but the facts just don't support Mr. Young's outrageous claims.

Two separate conservative watchdog groups show evidence that during Mike Sodrel's term he and the Republican Congress actually reduced the number of earmarks and "pork barrel projects." In fact, in the FY2007 budget, Mike Sodrel voted in favor of reduced pork projects by seventy-three percent! Those two groups are Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Heritage Foundation. Don't just take our word for it; search for the FY2006 and FY2007 budgets for yourselves on either website (www.cagw.org or www.heritage.org).

Mike Sodrel has pledged to keep Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment to "not speak ill of fellow Republicans." We believe that Mr. Reagan would have added a 12th Commandment, "Thou shalt not lie about fellow Republicans' voting records or any others for that matter." Mr. Young was asked to revisit facts but just made excuses and walked away. It is, moreover, Young's ignorance of the budgetary process or consciously misleading voters about the facts, which has led to these erroneous statements. Regardless, it is disappointing.

CAGW keeps a watchful eye on careless "pork barrel" projects. They recognized Mike Sodrel as "Friendly" to the taxpayer for his efforts in the FY2007 budget. In fact, Mr. Sodrel authored and garnered support for an amendment that carved $25 million out of the budget for the Federal Boxing Commission. Then-Congressman Mike Sodrel said, "If the Boxing world wants a commission, they should fund it themselves. Certainly the taxpayer should not be burdened with a $25 million tax bill."

In addition to CAGW's (www.cagw.org) award to Mike Sodrel, the American Conservative Union (www.conservative.org) gave Mike Sodrel a lifetime rating of ninety percent for his watchful eye. National Journal (www.nationaljournal.com) ranked Mike Sodrel with the eleventh-most conservative voting record in the country and the most conservative of the Indiana delegation. Americans for Tax Reform (www.atr.org) scored Mike at ninety-two percent. You don't need to take our word for it. "Trust but verify." Go see for yourself.

How could all of these respected "watchdog" groups get it wrong? They didn't. Unfortunately, Mr. Young has put his own ambitions in front of the truth. Tell Mr. Young the truth is what we want to hear. The voters deserve truthful ads from their Republican candidates, and they don't appreciate politicians like Todd Young misrepresenting facts.

But wait!

There's more!

You Asked About Specifics: Here are a few examples of Mr. Young's inaccurate quotes in his ads.

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters." Albert Einstein

Todd Young's TV ad claims:
"I am the only one who will stand up to Nancy Pelosi and Washington's reckless spending"

The Truth:
I have and will continue to fight "Washington's reckless spending". While in office as your Congressman, I voted for legislation that cut "Pork Barrel" spending over $15 billion dollars-- I was recognized by the National Journal as having the 11th most conservative voting record in the country.


Young's Radio ad claims:
"Mike Sodrel not only voted for 23,000 earmarks in one term alone..."

The Truth:
I did NOT vote for 23,000 earmarks in one term. In fact, I voted to decrease the number of earmarks in both years I served. In the FY2007 budget that we voted for, the number of earmarks decreased by seventy-three percent! I am sure Mr. Young would not intentionally misrepresent the truth; he is probably not aware that the FY2005 budget was passed in 2004, prior to me taking office. He is correct that FY2005 budget contained almost 14,000 earmarks, but it was voted on by my predecessor.


Young's Radio ad claims:
"...he also opposed a balanced budget."
Young also makes the accusation in an email and cites 4 balanced budget bills he accuses me of "not supporting."

The Truth:
Maybe Mr. Young doesn't realize that NONE of these bills were brought to the floor for a vote. In fact three of these bills proposed a massive tax increase to balance the budget-- maybe that is how Todd Young proposes to balance the budget. Mike Pence and I, along with many of our conservative colleagues, support measures to curb and limit spending to balance the budget-- not burden our economy with more taxes.


Young's E-mail claims:
"Mike opposed spending cuts"
Young states that Mike voted against H.Con.Res. 376, which would have limited deficit spending.

The Truth:
I voted in favor of this bill and deficits decreased significantly in both budgets (FY2006 & FY2007) while in office. I guess Mr. Young must not be aware of this service to check votes. Don't take our word for it verify for yourself:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2006/roll158.xml

Young's response was typical.

He threw his "volunteer staff" under the bus in an email to his distribution list in which he admitted that the ads were wrong, while making yet more factual errors:

You are correct that I was wrong when I publicly stated you had voted for almost 14,000 wasteful earmarks in 2005.

Please accept my sincere apology. I had my volunteer staff go back and recheck all our research and they discovered that they had been a bit too overzealous in their initial analysis of your voting record...

Again, I apologize for my exaggerated statement. I should have been more precise.

You are also correct that I was wrong when I stated the deficit had gone up under your watch as a result of spending bills you voted for. I misspoke.

"I was wrong when I publicly stated you had voted for almost 14,000 wasteful earmarks in 2005." Yet the ad accused Mike Sodrel of voting for 23,000 earmarks. Even in admitting he is wrong, Young continues to be either inaccurate or deceptive.

What's also interesting about this "apology," of course, is that Todd has essentially no volunteer staff.

He has a bunch of hirelings on the payroll, but that hasn't given him pause in blaming them for the errors and inaccuracies in his attack ads.

Those ads do not say "I'm one of Todd Young's volunteer staffers, and I approve this message."

No, they say, "I'm Todd Young, and I approve this message."

He approved the message, and the message was wrong.

And, apparently, he still approves the message (despite admitting that it was wrong), because he is still running the same ads.

This is the same guy that has the worst campaign finance disclosure record of any candidate or campaign in the entire country.

The same guy that has taken money from an executive with TARP-loving, bailed-out banking firm Goldman Sachs.

And now he's airing ads that he has now admitted are wrong (though he blames his "volunteer staff" for the mistake and takes no responsibility himself despite approving the ads).

It's not even like he didn't know what was in the ad; he was reading the script.

He can't even get basic facts about when the Federal budget is approved correct, and that's the budget he wants to be able to vote on.

Why would you trust this guy on anything? He's misleading, deceptive, and he treats his own "volunteer staff" like crap.

The 9th District already has a Congressman that's misleading, deceptive, and treats people like crap.

We don't need to replace him with more of the same.

Right to Life Withdraws Endorsement of Behney

Apparently, they don't like being attacked in Senate debates.

Indiana Right to Life's statement:

Indiana Right to Life PAC rescinds endorsement of Richard Behney in U.S. Senate race

Indianapolis, IN - The Indiana Right to Life Political Action Committee today rescinded its endorsement previously granted to Republican senate candidate Richard Behney for comments made by Behney on Saturday.

Speaking to an Indianapolis Tea Party event for candidates, Behney stated, "One of the things I'm most disappointed about in running for the United States Senate - I've met many people here - I've met many of these leaders - pro-life leaders - here in our state. And I'm convinced as sure as I'm standing here that they are more concerned with their egos and with their jobs than with saving lives."

"Mr. Behney's comment reveals an uninformed and cynical view of what drives Indiana's pro-life leaders to invest their lives in the most selfless of causes by speaking on behalf of unborn children," states IRTL-PAC chairman Mike Fichter. "Indiana's pro-life leaders are mostly volunteers who give sacrificially of their time and money so that children they will never meet might be given a chance at life. This is the heartbeat of Indiana's pro-life movement."

Fichter, who has never met Behney, is not aware of Behney ever meeting with any member of the Indiana Right to Life board of directors or any president of one of Indiana Right to Life's 38 county affiliates.

"An error of perception and judgment of this magnitude, and concerning allies in the fight for the unborn, has caused us to lose confidence in him and his reliability, so much so that we cannot recommend him to voters," says Fichter.

I blogged video of Behney's comments here.

Abdul notes:

Abortion is a heated issue, particularly in a Republican primary, and with every candidate trying be more pro-life than the next, this news may officially kill whatever chance Behney had left winning his party’s nomination.

Behney appears, like so many emotional and relatively inexperienced candidates, to not appreciate the beauty of the unspoken thought on this and other issues (the role of violence in American political discourse, for example).

Push Polling in the 9th District?

Lesley Stedman Weidenbener of the Courier-Journal examines accusations of push polling in her Sunday column:

Gov. Mitch Daniels last week issued a challenge to GOP candidates running in next month’s primary: Be kind to your fellow Republicans.

“Keeping it clean and keeping it positive has been a winning formula for Indiana Republicans,” Daniels said in a missive sent out by the Indiana Republican Party.

“Even in the heat of the most active primary season in memory, leave the negativism to others and let's maintain our position as Indiana's party of high standards both in public office and on the way there,” he said.

He might have had Indiana’s 9th Congressional District in mind.

Readers who’ve been following this column for years know that I don’t mind some tough competition in political races — be they inter-party or intra-party contests.

I don’t think a candidate who compares his or her record with an opponent’s is necessarily being negative. I don’t mind a candidate who points out ways that he or she would be a different public servant. I think tough talk is part of the process.

But there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, and someone jumped right over one recently in the 9th District. I just don’t know who it was.

There’s been a so-called “push-poll” in the district.

That’s a phone call to voters that initially appears to be a typical poll, a survey measuring support for different candidates in the race.

But a push poll then veers in a new direction — often, and in this case, a deceitful one.

The questions become ways to give voters new information meant to tarnish the voter’s image of a candidate.

In this case, for example, the caller asks the voter (and I’m paraphrasing here) if he or she could support Republican Todd Young knowing that he misrepresented his years in the military.

Before I go on, let me say that I have no reason to believe Young has done so. He has said repeatedly that he spent 10 years in the military. That includes five years as a Marine Corps officer, four years as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy and one year as an enlisted sailor in the Navy.

“That's 10 years,” Young said recently. “That's not a lie.”

There's no doubt that Young served honorably for ten years, though he seems to imply very strongly in his campaign communications that he did more in the Marine Corps than fly drones over the Caribbean and serve as a recruiting officer (language about "fighting" being said while showing his photo in the uniform very strongly implies some sort of combat experience).

Maybe he did do more than what his own website bio indicates. If he didn't, then he is making a misleading implication. Even so, that doesn't make it right to do a push poll on it or make it a campaign issue.

Young is blaming Republican Mike Sodrel’s campaign for the calls, primarily because Sodrel is using a pollster that has been connected to some push polls in the past.

Young needed something to point back at Sodrel. Young went negative with wrong and misleading information, got called on it, and had to apologize. He accompanied his apology with finger-pointing back at Sodrel that isn't substantiated by facts.

Weidenbener doesn't buy Young's finger-pointing either:

But I’m not convinced it was the Sodrel campaign. First, campaign aid Jeff Canada denies it and relayed to me a story about once using a push poll in a mayor’s race, losing and then vowing never to do so again. He also read to me some emails he’d received from Sodrel supporters complaining about calls they’d received trashing him.

Second, even one of the emails the Young campaign received about the push polls claims that Sodrel also was being smeared.

“As the survey progressed it became clear to me that this person was clearly against Todd Young and Mike Sodrel,” the voter writes. “They also seemed to have a highly favorable opinion of Travis Hankins.”

I would have thought that the Hankins campaign would have been better than something like this.

So I asked Hankins directly if his campaign was responsible for the push polls.

He also denied any knowledge, saying his camp didn’t have the money for polling and “it wouldn’t be worth our time anyway.”

Interesting that he says he doesn't have the money for polling; no mention of push polling.

Anyway, what Hankins is saying is not entirely true. Push polling can be expensive if you get an outside firm to do it; in that case it's comparable in cost to normal polling (hiring people to do calls and all of the related expenses, etc).

But push polling, if it is done by volunteers in a phone bank, can be very cheap. In that case, it's no more or less expensive than operating a phone bank, and we already know that Hankins has been operating (and supposedly personally manning) phone banks for most of the campaign.

That's not to say that the Hankins campaign is engaging in push polling, only to say that the reasons he gives for the denial don't ring as true as they probably should.

This is one of the most insidious things about a push poll. It’s nearly impossible to discover who’s behind the deceit.

There has been some other back and forth in the 9th District GOP primary. Young has been attacking Sodrel’s record from his one term in Congress. Sodrel has been complaining about inaccuracies, and Young has been responding. But those accusations are at least traceable.

They are not secret tactics that are hard to trace and even harder to defend.

WISH TV's Jim Shella has also done a story about Young's claims that Sodrel did push polling. He didn't find any more facts suppporting Young's claim than Weidenbener did, though Shella didn't look into the Hankins angle at all.

Notably:

Sodrel campaign manager Jeff Canada says flatly, "we don't do push polling," and he says he never heard of the firm identified by Young as the culprit.

Photo of the Day: Embarrassed Yet?

Billboard: Voted Obama? Embarrassed Yet?

Random Thought

Todd YoungTodd Young in the Courier-Journal:

“As an intelligence officer, it was my job to ask tough questions about some of our most important decisions — deciding whether to declare war or send (soldiers) into battle,” he said. “I'm quite comfortable dealing with weighty issues.”

Since when do Marine G2s make decisions about war and peace?

Has Young ever served in combat? I'm asking seriously; I genuinely don't know. There is nothing indicating in his record or biography that he has been in combat, but his campaign communications have implied very strongly that he has. The implication could be misleading if he has not.

Just how weighty are issues like flying drones hunting for drug dealers or sitting in a Marine Corps recruiting office in Chicago earning a commission for every person that signs up?

Also, the President is the Commander in Chief; I thought Young was running to be in the House of Representatives, not the White House.

Threatened Critters & Their Natural Defenses

Threatened Critters & Their Natural Defenses

I Want to Show You My Shocked Face

I Want to Show You My Shocked Face

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shameless Promotion: Harrison County Lincoln Day Dinner

If you're from Harrison County, click on the image over on the right to get info about the upcoming Harrison County Lincoln Day Dinner.

Hope to see you there!

Hoosierpundit Online Senate Poll

If you haven't already done so, scroll up and vote in the online Indiana GOP Senate primary poll.

The poll will close at around midnight on the morning of May 2.

Todd Young's Bailout Money

Todd Young hunting with a Hummer.
It's nothing new that Todd Young has a problem making disclosures on his campaign finance reports.

In fact, he has the worst record of campaign finance disclosure of any campaign in the entire country.

Given that former State Auditor Connie Nass is the treasurer of his campaign, you'd expect that Todd Young's campaign finance reports would be among the best in the country.

But there might be reasons for Young's campaign having such terrible transparency when it comes to its donors.

Reasons like Carlton Hoye of North Brunswick, New Jersey, who has given Young's campaign $750 so far this cycle.

Carlton Hoye, you see, is a vice president at Goldman Sachs that has previously given primarily to Barack Obama and Democratic Congressman John Conyers. That's the same John Conyers that authored legislation for government-controlled universal health care and who wanted a "truth commission" to investigate the Bush administration.

One can't help but wonder what a donor to Obama and John Conyers would find so appealing in a candidate like Todd Young.

Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs itself is no stranger to most people. It took billions in TARP bailout money then turned around and paid out millions in bonuses to its top executives. Given Mr Hoye's position with Goldman Sachs, one would wonder if he got a bailout bonus before he gave a contribution to Todd Young.

Goldman Sachs has also recently become a target of an investigation by the Obama administration, which is interesting since the firm has favored Democrats and liberals so heavily in its contributions. Its employees gave more to Obama than any other candidate, also giving heavily to Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Arlen Specter, and Rahm Emanuel.

So what is Todd Young doing taking contributions from a guy that works for Goldman Sachs?

And, given the poor state of his campaign finance disclosure (the worst in the country, after all), what other information about his donors are we not seeing because of that lack of transparency?

Senate Race Enters Final Stretch

There are only nine days left until Hoosier Republicans will decide who will get to stomp Brad the Beautiful flat in November and occupy the seat being vacated by Birch's Boy.

National Review has a nice outside perspective on the Senate primary written by Jim Geraghty available here.

Coats, while picking up an endorsement from Focus on the Family's James Dobson and an encore of his earlier endorsement by Mike Pence, continues to draw fire for his votes for liberal judges and gun control. Coats still hasn't disclosed the lobbying records he said he would make public months ago.

Marlin Stutzman has gotten some endorsements of his own, but is drawing criticism for his taking of farm subsidies and his votes for tax increases and bad budgets in the Indiana House.

As a side anecdote, I first met Marlin Stutzman back last October. He was travelling across southern Indiana in his campaign bus and stopped in Corydon. He asked about Paul Robertson (the local Democratic state representative).

I promptly rattled off a series of recent liberal votes Robertson had made and mentioned how those votes were hurting Harrison County. The budget that bailed out the Indianapolis stadium authority at the expense of education funding. A bad education budget funding formula that hurts local schools and is now forcing the laying off of teachers. And--of course--the vote for the largest tax hike on businesses in Indiana history. Plus several other votes that I can't remember at the moment.

At the mention of some of those votes by Robertson, Marlin shifted uneasily in his seat; he had voted for some of the same things that I was criticizing my own state representative for supporting. It was momentarily awkward.

Anyway, John Hostettler, meanwhile, has gotten the endorsement of Ron Paul and is getting 400+ person crowds at his town hall meetings around the state and Richard Behney has decided that barely a week before the election is a good time to attack the leadership of the pro-life movement in Indiana.

Given the barbs that have flown back and forth in the past week or so, no wonder Mitch Daniels wants everybody to play nice. The Governor can just do an impersonation of Rodney King: "Why can't we all just get along?"

It wouldn't be Republican politics in Indiana if there wasn't blood on the floor.

Most interesting of all, in my opinion are reports coming in from various parts of the state about the very low turnout for absentee and early voting. Midterms always have lower turnout than presidential elections, and midterm turnout is always similarly much less than presidential turnout. And that's normal presidential turnout, not the abnormal presidential turnout we saw in 2008.

If I had to guess, I would wager that low turnout in the Senate primary harms Dan Coats, who is relying on his name ID to give him pull with low-information primary voters. The lower turnout benefits candidates like John Hostettler. If you can turn out 400 plus people to see you at a town hall meeting in northwestern Indiana on a weekday, you can get lots of people to the polls to vote for you.

If I had to guess, I would say that Hostettler stands to reap significant advantage from his grassroots organization in a low-turnout environment. Marlin Stutzman, who has gained considerable wind at his back with endorsements from national conservatives in the past week, also sees an advantage in this final stretch. It's not clear to me that there's currently any upside for Don Bates or Richard Behney.

Dan Coats doesn't get much new wind out of trotting out Mike Pence's endorsement for an encore, but Coats may ultimately be the beneficiary of conservatives being split between the four other candidates (and particularly being split between Stutzman and Hostettler).

Richard Behney Attacks Pro-Life Leaders



From Saturday's debate hosted by the Indianapolis Tea Party.

Presented without further comment.

More on Coats' Suspended Law License

Earlier, I blogged about the suspension of Dan Coats' law license, and asked for some perspective on how serious an issue it might be (ranging from something to nothing).

Ask and you shall receive. Mitch Harper looked into the matter, and provided some informative (and needed) context.

Short answer? It's something, but only slightly more than nothing. Many Hoosier politicians have suspended law licenses, as there's a renewal fee associated with keeping them active (or even keeping them as an inactive status). Mike Pence and Dan Quayle, for example, have suspended law licenses also.

So there's not much there. However, the suspended law license probably does lend some additional credence to those who say that Coats never intended to return to Indiana until the opportunity to run for the Senate presented itself.

Random Thought

I'm really not thinking that the state of Arizona passing a strict illegal immigration law is in any way comparable to the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939.

I mean, really?

Abdul Hakim Shabazz, meet Mike Godwin.

Oh, and it was called Danzig (hence the "Danzig Corridor" that was the pretext of the Nazi invasion) at the time Abdul is referring to, not Gdansk. But the understanding of history in the post is so deformed and distorted that I might as well not bother.

The Angry Independents

Marc Ambinder, once again, stumbles across the truth, but hastily picks himself up and hurries on as if nothing has happened:

The Pew Center for People and the Press finds that Americans have specific complaints about their government: it has the wrong priorities. It doesn't do enough for Main Street. It is growing too fast without caring about saddling future generations with debt. It isn't getting the job done. These are reasonable concerns that flow naturally from the course of events over the past year.

Republicans have created a feedback loop: every Obama accomplishment is shunted to the "Socialism" box, and every Obama failure is designated as a sign that Democrats can't govern. Within the narrow confines of this rhetoric framework, Democrats aren't going to get much political credit for their successes outside of their own base, which is exactly what we've seen: Democrats are growing more enthusiastic about the fall elections, which may help limit their party's losses, but Republicans remain as exercised and as enthusiastic as ever.

But the most interesting number in the Pew survey is that 30% of Americans now believe that government represents a serious threat to their personal freedoms. The last time this question was asked in a poll was 2003, when 18% expressed a similar sentiment to the Washington Post. This 30% includes 43% of Republicans, fully half of Republican-leaning independents, and 57% of people who identify with the Tea Party movement.

When we think of Republican-leaning independents, our binary conception of politics draws the mind to conclude that these folks tend to be more centrist than the average Republican. But that's not correct. In fact, the evidence from this poll is that they are more conservative; they reject the Republican identity not because it's too conservative, but because it did not reflect their values enough. The GOP is shrinking as a party, but the number of people who'll vote for Republican candidates is fairly constant. The tranche of Americans who occupy the space between Republican self-identifiers and the extreme reactionary right are the most politically engaged, and the most angry.

The faux media narrative is hungry. It needs to be fed, even if the polls and the statistics don't support the end conclusion.

Photos of the Day: Hear Her Roar

Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi

Another Thank You Card

Another Thank You Card

Awaiting the Call

Awaiting the Call

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thanks Baron: ObamaCare Provides Sex Offenders with Taxpayer-Funded Viagra

Roll Call:

The Congressional Research Service confirmed in a memo Wednesday that rapists and sex offenders may get federally subsidized Viagra and other sexual performance enhancing drugs under the recently passed health care reform law — information that Republicans charge will haunt Democrats in upcoming elections.

“Providing child molesters with taxpayer-funded Viagra shows the folly of government-run health care. Senators who allowed this to happen will be haunted by this vote for years to come,” said John Hart, a spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). Coburn, who requested the CRS review of the health care reforms, sought to add last-minute changes to the health care reconciliation bill that would prohibit sex offenders from receiving drugs such as Viagra under the health care law. However, that amendment was defeated during the Senate’s vote-a-rama.

According to the CRS, under existing rules there are no prohibitions against providing erectile dysfunction drugs to rapists, pedophiles or other types of sex offenders.

The new law does “not appear to prohibit a qualified health plan in a health insurance exchange from providing coverage for drugs prescribed to treat ED for a non-incarcerated beneficiary who was previously convicted of rape, child molestation, or another sex offense” the CRS said in its memo, dated April 2 but released Wednesday. The report also said that “a convicted rapist, child molester, or other sex offender who is not incarcerated would not appear to be excluded from enrolling in a qualified health plan offered through an American Health Benefit Exchange in their state solely because of that conviction.”

Pot Meets Kettle in 5th District

From the Indianapolis Star:

U.S. Rep. Dan Burton's latest television ad includes four people, portrayed as Hoosiers, talking about why they support the 28-year congressman.

But there's one catch: They're not Hoosiers. They're actors from Columbus, Ohio.

That's what challenger Luke Messer revealed Monday, as he called on Burton to pull the ad.

Messer's campaign personnel followed their suspicions and checked online, discovering that the actors in the ad were from the Heyman Talent Agency in Columbus.

In a news conference Monday in front of the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Messer displayed large poster boards with pictures of the actors and their profile pages from the talent agency's website.

I'm not sure what's worse. Burton hiring an ad shop that used actors from Ohio, or Luke Messer holding a press conference outside of the 5th District to complain about it (the Indiana Repertory Theatre is in the 7th District).

Yeah, That's Really Not Normal

Todd Young hunting sparrows with a Hummer.A while back, some blogs called attention to the poor level of disclosure in Todd Young's campaign finance reports. I blogged about that here.

It seems that things haven't improved any with his latest campaign finance report.

According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Todd Young's campaign has the worst disclosure quality (in terms of donor information disclosed) of any campaign, Democrat or Republican, House or Senate, in the entire country.

At a 61.1% disclosure rating, Young's campaign is 13% worse than the next worse campaign in terms of disclosure (14% for the next worse House campaign).

That's pretty bad.

It's definitely not normal. In fact, it's sort of disturbing.

Why He Supports John Hostettler

Carl Little, a former Hostettler staffer and current campaign chairman, on why he thinks his former boss is the best candidate for Senate:

I want to take a moment to share with you why I support John – and why I can confidently pledge to you that our campaign will be one of honesty and integrity befitting of the kind of Senator that John will be.

I have had the privilege to know John for nearly a decade now, both as a friend and as a congressional staffer during his service in the U.S. House of Representatives. I have been there with him in good times and in bad – and no matter what the circumstances, I have seen this man stand firm on principle when others wilted.

I have watched him take slings and arrows from the liberal press, from his colleagues, and even from some from his own friends who were frightened that his principled stands would not be popular. A man of John’s integrity and principle is so rare in Washington DC that he has sometimes been called ”stubborn,” “maverick” and “unorthodox”. Washington just doesn’t understand how someone could base his decisions solely on what is right.

Perhaps the most unfair slur that was thrown at John in my tenure working for him was “arrogant.” Anyone who has attended a Hostettler town hall meeting knows that he will stay until everyone’s questions have been answered. I have seen him stand in the parking lot afterward to answer questions of constituents who were having problems with federal agencies, and personally seeing to it that their concerns were answered. Arrogance? No. Conviction to his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution? Yes. A biased press can’t tell the difference.

John’s staff remained loyal through all of the name calling and attacks.

In fact our office was the envy of every staffer on Capitol Hill. Why? Because John was resolute in his passion for our Republic and in his defense of the Constitution. He spent time with staffers,treating them as equals, and taking every opportunity to educate young staffers on the constitution and the founder’s writings as to its meaning. Because of John’s humbleness and consistent nature, our office was a exciting place to work. Other staffers, visiting our office, would tell us how different our office was.

Our office was not under the constant pressure of catering to influential lobbyists and jockeying for a favored position in party leadership’s eyes. Our office was a place where substantive legislative work was accomplished by staffers dedicated to helping John keep his oath to uphold the constitution.

Lobbyists did not write John’s legislation. John, with his staff, did the hard work of hammering out the details of the legislation he introduced.

I’ll never forget the day that I made an appointment with one of the Speaker of the House’s staffers to discuss one of these pieces of legislation. The first question this staffer asked me was, “Who’s legislation is this?” ”Congressman Hostettler’s,” I replied. ”No I mean what group asked you to introduce it,” the staffer barked. “No lobbyist asked him to introduce it, we saw a problem and we wrote legislation to fix it.” I said. The staffer turned back to his computer screen as if to dismiss me and said, “Leave it on the desk, and I’ll take a look at it when I have time.” I never heard back from him.

Such are Washington’s ways and will continue to be Washington’s ways. If we continue to send politicians to Washington who will wilt under the pressure of a system that has devolved into a government of the lobbyists, by the multinational corporations, for the advancement of individual interests – we will lose the nation we love.

At this time in our nation’s history, it is popular for those running for office to claim the mantel of “anti-establishment.” But I think it is telling that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) doesn’t even list John as a candidate on their website but instead lists the two true establishment candidates. Is that what we want, those in power in Washington DC telling Hoosiers who the best candidate is?

John Hostettler’s campaigns and his tenure in government service have always been about restoring trust. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it hundreds of times. ”I may not agree with everything he says, but I can always trust him to do exactly what he says he will do.”

It’s time to elect someone who will represent the people of Indiana; it’s time to send a man to Washington who will put principle before politics, because now more than ever – it’s time for Senator John Hostettler.

There are a few things that I disagree with John Hostettler about, but I have yet to find one where the disagreement doesn't come out of some position of (what seems to me to be) sincere principle on Hostettler's part.

There's a straightforward aspect to Hostettler that's under-appreciated. It's not easy, for example, to tell a Tea Party group that he won't read every bill he votes on (in part because he says he'll stop reading if he thinks it is unconstitutional, and in part because it's simply not physically possible for one person to read, interpret, and understand all of the bills that Congress votes on). The honest (and hard) answer on that issue is to admit that you can't read everything. The easy answer to pander to the crowd is to promise to read every last word of every single bill yourself (even when it's simply not physically possible to do so because there aren't enough hours in the day, days in the week, or weeks in the year).

That sort of straight shooting is something Washington needs more of, and something that isn't always something that wins you points in politics when you say it during a campaign.

Hostettler Planning April 22 “Money Blitz”

An earlier attempt at a money bomb fizzled back in February, but that was before Hostettler had the support of Ron Paul and his nationwide fundraising network. It will be interesting to see how much money this nets.

More info is going to be put up at Hostettler's website, here.

James Dobson to Endorse Coats

Shella:

Dan Coats seeks to trump Marlin Stutzman’s David Keene endorsement ( or just maybe John Hostettler’s Ron Paul endorsement) with an endorsement of his own from a noted national conservative.

James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, calls Coats a “stalwart defender of unborn children.” His endorsement will include a radio ad.

To be fair, Coats needs Dobson's help given his votes to confirm pro-abortion judges like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

A Look at the Harrison Sheriff Primaries

Ten men are battling to take control of the sheriff's department currently controlled by indicted Democratic Sheriff Mike Deatrick.

The Courier-Journal looks at the candidates:

Ten men – seven Democrats and three Republicans – are seeking their parties’ nominations to become Harrison County’s next sheriff, and all say their top priority is to restore integrity to the office and regain the public’s trust.

Outgoing Sheriff Mike Deatrick, who is ineligible to seek re-election because of term limits, is under indictment following a lengthy sexual harassment and obstruction of justice investigation. Also charged was Deatrick’s jail commander, Capt. Nathan Simpson. Former corrections officer Dee Walden was indicted on an insurance fraud charge.

Several candidates are playing up their status as outsiders, arguing that only a wholesale house-cleaning can guarantee new leadership and confidence in the 60-employee department.

“A complete break with the past is what’s needed,” said Scott Fluhr, the county’s Republican Party chairman.

But five of the Democrats in the May 4 primary are current employees working in the department -- patrolmen Gary Gilley and Marty McClanahan, Capts. Eric Fischer and Brad Shepherd and Lt. Roy Wiseman. The other two Democrats are Bradford body shop owner Jim Slucher and Rick Minton, a Harrison reserve officer and factory worker.

The Republican field includes County Surveyor Tom Bube, Ivy Tech Community College associate professor Michael Gregory and Rodney Seelye, a retired Louisville Metro police officer now working as a narcotics detective for the Meade County, Ky., Sheriff’s Department.

Bube, 70, a retired General Electric maintenance worker and former restaurant owner serving his third term as surveyor, is one of the GOP’s most well-liked political leaders. Despite his lack of law-enforcement experience, Bube said his background as a businessman and administrator can “bring back integrity, honesty and respect.”

Gregory, 57, was fired as a reserve officer this spring in what he claimed was retaliation by Deatrick for testifying before the grand jury that subsequently indicted the sheriff. Grand jury proceedings are closed, and Gregory declined to discuss what he told the panel. But he said, “I saw something I wasn’t supposed to see.”

Gregory praises most of Deatrick’s deputies as “excellent cops.”

But fellow GOP candidate Seelye, who moved to the Corydon area four years ago, is critical of the department for relatively low drug arrest numbers and what he said is a lack of cooperation with other police agencies.

Both men pledged to tighten up spending – particularly at the jail – where Seelye, 44, said inmate meals and medical costs far exceed rates of similar-sized jails elsewhere.

Democrats Gilley, Fischer, Shepherd, Wiseman and McClanahan pointed to their law enforcement experience while insisting they would provide new leadership and work to rebuild the community’s confidence in the sheriff’s office. All five agreed the department should re-establish a detective division, which Deatrick abolished.

Each man also discussed measures to abolish or rein in corrections officers who also serve on a special-operations response team, called SORT. Its members deliver warrants and perform other tasks in the community.

“They’re corrections officers, not police officers. They need to stay in the jail,” said Wiseman, 51, a former detective who finished third in the 2006 Democratic primary for sheriff.

“There was no such team when I was a jailer,” agreed McClanahan, 46, who worked as a corrections officer for four years before becoming a patrolman 18 years ago. He spoke of revamping operations at the jail command and praised officers for their professionalism during a trying time.

“With everything going on (with Deatrick), the road officers are working hard,” said McClanahan.

Shepherd, 37, the third-shift supervisor, said he intends to stop the practice of appointing a county police chief if he becomes sheriff. He said he would use the manpower elsewhere because “police chiefs don’t make an impact.”

Fischer, 45, a former county police chief who is in the final stages of a divorce from Deatrick’s daughter Suzanne, suggested creating an ethics panel to allow the public to report incidents involving police. He said voters shouldn’t view him as an insider because of the connection to the sheriff’s family.

“I see a lot of things that can be differently. … I hope people look outside the box,” Fischer said.

Gilley, 60, also a former police chief, was demoted to patrolman over what he called “differences” with the sheriff and has attempted to distance himself from Deatrick. Gilley said he began raising money nearly four years ago to campaign for the office.

Gilley said he’s proud of a “core group” of officers who “have risen above all the turmoil” to serve the public.

Minton, 43, safety coordinator and a general laborer at Sonoco Products, a New Albany canning factory, said he would focus on tightening expenditures in the department.

Slucher, 44, is running a low-key campaign. He said he would apply his experience as a business owner because “I think we need something besides a police officer’s mentality in there.”

Even though most of his opponents are in law enforcement, Slucher said the large number of candidates and typical low turnout for primaries give him as good a chance as anyone.

“It’s a wide open race,” he said.

It's worth remembering that Mike Deatrick landslid into the Democratic nomination for sheriff in 2002 (when he was first elected) with a whopping 23.6% of the vote.

Three of Deatrick's police chiefs are currently running this year, his longtime chief (and twice running mate) Gary Gilley, his (soon-to-be former) son-in-law Eric Fischer, and his wife Joyce (the current chief, who is running in the Democratic primary for commissioner).

Here is the Courier-Journal's story about Joyce Deatrick's primary bid against incumbent Democratic commissioner Terry Miller:

Democrat Joyce Deatrick's campaign for Harrison County District 3 commissioner is a big departure from convention.

Deatrick, 64, the wife of embattled county Sheriff Mike Deatrick, hasn't planted any yard signs, bought newspaper ads or appeared at candidate forums.

But she said she's a serious candidate in the May 4 primary against Terry Miller, who's seeking re-election. The primary winner will face Republican Jim Klinstiver in the Nov. 2 general election.

In an interview, Joyce Deatrick briefly touched on the tumult of recent weeks, with her husband being indicted on 10 felony counts in a lengthy sexual misconduct and obstruction-of-justice investigation. Mike Deatrick has returned to work and is scheduled to stand trial July 20.

“I know there's a lot of things that have gone on,” said Joyce Deatrick, who serves as the county police chief. But “I want something good and positive” for the community.

She said she's eager to continue serving the public and believes it's time Harrison elected a woman as county commissioner.

Miller, 59, superintendent of the Elizabeth Water Co., served as commissioner during the 1990s but lost a re-election bid in 2002. He made a comeback in 2006, ousting Republican Jim Heitkemper.

Miller acknowledged it's difficult to avoid Mike Deatrick's indictment while campaigning, even though “people are sick and tired of hearing about it.”

He said he has tried to focus on what's going well, citing investments to convert Harrison County Hospital's former complex to government offices and the overall health of county finances thanks to casino tax revenue.

“Harrison County is in good shape compared to a lot of other places around us,” Miller said.

Although local unemployment is hovering around 10 percent, he said economic development officials are upbeat about increased interest in Harrison, so “things are going to pick up.”

Miller supports efforts by a new sewer district to install sewers in the New Salisbury area — the utility's first major project — but opposes having the county government foot the bill.

“One of these days, they're going to have to pay their own way” as other utilities do, he said.

Joyce Deatrick said she isn't pursuing the position to retaliate against Miller, who has been an outspoken critic of her husband. Instead, she said, she hopes voters examine her track record and experience in many roles — volunteer with Boone Township Fire Department, dispatcher, corrections officer, jail matron and, since last year, chief deputy.

“I've always been fair to people,” including inmates, she said.

In a written statement, she said if she's chosen to represent the party this fall, “I will attend the meetings and discuss with the citizens their opinions of our county needs.”

The Republican that Deatrick only narrowly edged to be reelected in 2006, one of the most Democratic years in recent Harrison County history, was Steve Priest.

He recently got a story in the Courier-Journal, too:

Steve Priest once stopped a driver weaving on Ind. 135 and asked the obvious question: Had something to drink?

The driver took as much time answering as if he'd been asked the meaning of life. Nineteen was his eventual calculation. He'd had 19 beers.

Nineteen is 17 or 18 more than what drunken drivers often acknowledge. Priest, then a state trooper, took the man to jail but complimented him on his candor.

“I have to respect somebody like that for his honesty,” Priest said.

Only a straight shooter might so appreciate straight shooting. For that quality, among others, Priest was promoted in February to area commander for the Indiana State Police.

Ranked a captain, Priest oversees the department in the southeastern part of the state. He guides about 220 employees in posts at Sellersburg, Versailles and Connersville, in what is known as Area Four. It is not a job he sought, yet one about which he is excited.

“The job fits me, as far as what we (state police) want to accomplish,” Priest said.

Priest, 51, of Corydon, was most recently second in command in Sellersburg and before that a supervisor of troopers. He joined the department in 1980, the same year he graduated in police administration from Eastern Kentucky University.

A Kentucky native impressed by people he knew in law enforcement, Priest was eager to be a trooper. The Kentucky State Police weren't hiring, but Indiana was.

“I've been fortunate,” Priest said. “Not everybody gets to achieve their dream.”

As a trooper, mostly in Harrison and Floyd counties, Priest handled everything from attempted murders to mailbox bashings. Early on, he worked all three shifts in the same week.

“You just went out and you worked,” he said. “That was just the way it was.”

Ways improved and Priest's career went on to include stints on the SWAT team and as a narcotics investigator. He felt fulfilled on the road yet wanted more, ambition that obviously included management. Priest embraces state police objectives that include fewer drunken drivers, fewer crashes, and fewer deaths and injuries.

Think of it this way: If you appreciate how aggressively the state police patrol Interstate 65 from Louisville north, say, to Sellersburg, you appreciate Priest's approach. Statistics head in the right direction, Priest said with pride.

“We're trying to find the bottom,” he said.

Lt. Jim Hickerson, commander of the Sellersburg post, describes Priest as very conscientious, a traditionalist dedicated to the mission.

“He gets the job done,” Hickerson said. Plus he's good-natured, friendly and quite the fisherman.

Sgt. Jerry Goodin, the public information officer in Sellersburg, calls Priest a good old country boy who knows how to treat and motivate people.

“If he tells you the sky is blue, you can best believe the sky is blue,” Goodin said.

Priest keeps copies of newspaper articles from 1982, reports from when he was hit by a car on Ind. 111 while conducting a routine safety-inspection roadblock. Unable to get out of the way, Priest was knocked into the car's windshield. His leg was broken.

“How quick things can happen,” Priest said.

Six years later, Priest battled back cancer — non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

“I am one lucky and blessed man,” he said. “I've skirted the odds twice.”

Priest considers his promotion a different type of challenge, but a challenge nonetheless.

“I guess they saw something in me,” Priest said.

He replaced Jimmie Durnil, who retired.

Priest is one of the most capable men (if not the most capable man) to have ever sought the office of sheriff in Harrison County.

It is to our county's great woe that he didn't win in 2006; it would have spared us from all of this current situation.

Photo of the Day: Dazed & Confused

Todd Young Dazed and Confused

Red October Remake

Red October Remake

The Audacity of Thanklessness

The Audacity of Thanklessness

Monday, April 19, 2010

Remember, Children, Out of State Endorsements Are EVIL, Unless They're for Candidate X

Jim Shella notes an impending likely endorsement for Marlin Stutzman:

“David Keene, Chairman of the American Conservative Union will join Marlin Stutzman for a major announcement.”

This just came in the e-mail from the Stutzman campaign. The media event is Monday at the Statehouse.

John Hostettler, meanwhile, has earned the endorsement of Congressman Ron Paul:

Congressman Ron Paul has endorsed former Congressman John Hostettler in the Republican primary for United States Senate from Indiana.

Said Dr. Paul, "I am proud to endorse Republican John Hostettler for United States Senate.

"John was a good friend and valuable ally against big government when we served together in the House of Representatives. I always knew I could count on John to vote his principles.

"John Hosteller will do the work to fight for lower taxes and spending and for more freedom in Washington. John also understands that we need to fight for a stronger national defense, where we support our troops and defend our country without policing the world or subsidizing the security of other wealthy nations.

"We need people like John voting with me in Congress.

"The American people need more than just another vote. They need a man of principle who will always stand up and fight. They need a citizen politician who will represent THEM. John Hostettler is just that kind of man."

When radio talk show host Bill Bennett endorses Dan Coats, or Coats gets support from current Senators, that's bad, or so certain supporters of certain candidates have said.

And yet when Erick Erickson sits in Georgia and pushes for Hoosiers to support a particular candidate (Stutzman) that's just fine by Stutzman's supporters. When the head of the American Conservative Union pushes Stutzman, that's fine again by Stutzman's supporters. When Stutzman goes to DC to court insiders at CPAC (as if attending a convention makes you a better candidate than some other candidate that didn't attend), that's fine by his supporters too. When Stutzman courts Jim DeMint, that's fine too. When Ron Paul pushes John Hostettler, that's fine by Hostettler's supporters.

I don't care for Dan Coats, but this hypocritical behavior is absurd and counterproductive.

There's plenty to criticize about Dan Coats' "conservative credentials" (votes on guns and judges in particular).

There's plenty to criticize about Marlin Stutzman's "conservative credentials" (he voted for the largest tax increase in business in Indiana history and on a budget that bailed out the city stadium authority that houses the Indianapolis Colts and the Pacers at the expense of funding for education).

There's plenty to criticize about John Hostettler's "conservative credentials" (votes against the Iraq War and often contrarian stands on issues that run counter to current conservative and Tea Party sentiment).

You will not find a perfect candidate in this primary. Perfect candidates do not exist, because candidates are people and there's no such thing a perfect person. There's only been one of those, and that was a long time ago.

But it's folly to attack one candidate for getting support from outside the state when trying (and sometimes getting) similar support for yourself. Let's just be clear about that.

Hoosier conservatives, and Hoosier Republicans, have an important decision to make on May 4. That's our decision, not the decision of folks outside of Indiana.

Dan Coats' Suspended Law License

Dan Coats' Suspended Law License
I wonder what the deal is with this.

Nothing? Something? Anything in between?

Obama “Amused” at Tea Parties, Thinks He Deserves Thanks for Efforts to Raise Taxes

More from President Awesome from ABC News:

Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser tonight, President Obama touted his administration’s tax cuts and said that the recent tea party rallies across the nation have “amused” him.

“You would think they should be saying thank you,” the president said to applause.

Members of the audience shouted, “Thank you.”

The talk of tax cuts is specious, coming as it does just as Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee have published a report detailing all of the tax increases Obama has enacted since coming into office.

Since January of 2009, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have enacted into law gross tax increases totaling more than $670 billion, or more than $2,100 for every man, woman and child in the United States. The list of tax increases includes at least 14 violations of the President’s pledge not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married couples.

$670 billion in new taxes, including $316 billion in new taxes that violate Obama's pledge to not raise taxes on the middle class.

Hot Air:

He seems almost to be laughing at people for being concerned about deficits. Did we or did we not learn just last night that a majority of tea partiers think their taxes are fair? They’re not some fanatic “zero tax” movement, in other words. They’re willing to pay what they’re paying now; what they want is a government small enough to make ends meet with what they’re paying. By The One’s logic, if he lowered the top marginal income tax bracket to one percent, we should expect tea partiers to fall on their knees and shout hallelujah even though it would mean annual deficits many times the trillion-dollar leviathans we’re currently saddled with. Anyone think that would happen? Anyone except Obama not yet grasp that conservatives want fiscal responsibility, not lower taxes at any and all costs?

What’s most amazing about this is that everyone understands the feds will need to raise taxes, and soon, to try to put a dent in our Everest of liabilities. That was the entire point of Paul Volcker, Obama’s own advisor, whispering about a VAT a few weeks ago. Tax hikes are simply a fait accompli, due in no small part to The One’s own unprecedented spending, and we’d probably have them already if not for his political cowardice in refusing to demand them before his reelection bid. And yet here he is, actually patting himself on the back for being a tax-cutter. Unbelievable.

A Visual Primer on the Obama Economy

A map tracking unemployment by county from January of 2007 to January of 2010.

Quote of the Day: Spinnin' His Votes Away

“I have been a leading voice on fiscal issues since coming to Congress in 1998.”

- Baron Hill, in a recent interview

Hope & Change: Rothenberg Moves 44 House Ratings in Favor of Republicans

The times, they are a changing.

No wonder the Democratic National Committee is looking to spend fifty million dollars to fight back against the tide.

The RNC might have some similar amount to spend itself, if it stops squandering money on lesbian strip clubs and lavish parties in Hawaii.

Republican Senate Primary in District 46

I haven't given a lot of coverage to the Republican barn burner going on next door, over in Floyd and Clark Counties, but it got some ink recently in the Courier-Journal:

Two experienced public officials — a school board member and a city councilman — are vying to be the Republican nominee in Senate District 46, the seat now held by retiring Democrat Connie Sipes of New Albany.

The departure of Sipes, a 13-year state Senate veteran, will mark a significant change for the chamber's minority Democrats. She has been the Senate minority caucus leader since last year.

The GOP contenders for the seat are Lee Ann Wiseheart, a one-term member of the New Albany-Floyd County school board, and Ron Grooms, who has been on the Jeffersonville City Council for 18 years. Both say job growth is the key to recovery for the state and region and therefore the most pressing issue in the race.

“Our local economy has got to have our attention,” said Grooms, 65, a pharmacist. “Companies want to go where there are shovel-ready facilities they can move into with no delay. We need communities that have infrastructure in place and a skilled, ready work force.”

Grooms proposes to accomplish that by boosting the availability of tax credits and incentives — particularly those used to retrain unemployed workers — for companies that move to Indiana.

“Will it cost the state money? Yes. It probably will,” Grooms said. “But it's an investment. The state will recoup its money from increased jobs and increased productivity.”

Wiseheart, 40, a real estate appraiser, said if elected she also would pursue more tax credits and incentives, with a special emphasis on existing companies that might expand and grow.

She's working on a proposal that would provide an extra tax break to a firm once it has been in business for a specific number of years. A company that opened or moved to Indiana five years ago might receive a tax cut in its sixth year, she said.

“We need some out-of-the-box thinking,” she said. “We have to come up with some new, fresh ideas.”

Wiseheart said Indiana also should invest more money in individuals who have good ideas that could be turned into manufacturing or other businesses with some support.

The winner of the May 4 GOP primary will face Floyd County Councilman Chuck Freiberger in November. Freiberger is unopposed for the Democratic nomination to succeed Sipes, and she endorsed him for the job.

Sipes was appointed to the Senate in 1997 to fill an unexpired term and then was elected to three consecutive four-year terms. A former school principal, she has been a crusader on education issues and funding, an advocate for projects at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, and has worked on legislation to help coordinate Indiana's work on the Ohio River Bridges project.

Her replacement will most likely come to the General Assembly in the midst of a budget quandary. Although the state's economy has shown small signs of recovery, the next two-year state budget is expected to be extremely tight.

The current $27 billion spending plan relies in part on money Congress gave states to stabilize their budgets. Even so, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels will still need to make significant cuts and spend the state's reserves to make ends meet.

Wiseheart and Grooms acknowledged the budget problems, but neither was prepared to identify areas of state government that should be cut.

“I think the places we should look last are public safety and education,” Wiseheart said. “Everything else should be looked at first.”

She doesn't blame the governor for cuts, including a $300 million reduction in funding for public schools this year. That cut, combined with other budget problems, led the New Albany-Floyd board to approve school closings.

But Wiseheart voted against the closings. She said schools statewide should be able to manage their budgets by cutting administrative expenses and pushing more dollars into the classroom.

“That's where everything happens,” Wiseheart said. “But the support staff is vital, too.”

Grooms said he opposes any additional education cuts.

“Spending more dollars doesn't necessarily increase results, but I don't believe now is the time to be cutting our funding for education,” he said. “If we have to, though, we need to do the cuts in construction and possibly administration.”

He said he also supports reducing the ranks of state employees where possible, finding more ways to use technology to save money and privatizing more services.

“We have to have a balanced budget,” he said. “We have to do whatever it takes to get there.”

Lawmakers are also expected to consider proposals next year that could allow existing casinos to rebuild on land, a proposal meant in part to help them compete with planned competition in Ohio and proposed casinos in Kentucky. It's an idea that Grooms said he can support.

“I've got no problem with that,” Grooms said. “They should have that option.”

He said he would also support letting some casinos move to other counties if they're struggling in their current locations. He said that could involve moving a casino to Clark or Floyd counties.

But both Grooms and Wiseheart oppose any increase in the number of casino licenses in Indiana.

And Wiseheart said she'll draw the line at giving casinos any tax breaks or subsidies to survive out-of-state challenges.

“What separates the gaming industry from Arni's Pizza?” she asked. “How would you decide what businesses you help?”

There are around 2,200 Republican primary voters in the Floyd County portion of Senate District #46, and only about 800 or 900 in Clark County. Grooms is a known quantity to the latter. Wiseheart is a known quantity to the former.

Looking just at those numbers, I would expect a victory by Wiseheart on primary night. However, expectation doesn't always equal outcome.

The school board Wiseheart sits on has closed several elementary schools as a part of budget cuts, and that has been very unpopular. Regardless of whether Wiseheart voted for those closings and cuts, or not, she is the vice president of the board and blame for the cuts could fall on her. It would take anger from the electorate at something like that, I would think, for Grooms to beat Wiseheart (either that or an exceptionally skilled campaign or an exceptionally bungled campaign, either of which is also possible).

Harry Reid Lives in an Imaginary World



"Everybody acknowledges with rare exception that what we did [with ObamaCare] was terrific."

Watch the whole thing. He even says that the Cornhusker Kickback is "terrific for our country."

Photo of the Day: Tea Party Protesters Bring Their Dogs For Added Intimidation

Tea Party Protesters Bring Their Dogs For Added Intimidation

Crazy People

Crazy People

The Hitchhiker's Guide to NASA Funding

The Hitchhiker's Guide to NASA Funding

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More on Baron & the “Tired Old People”

Baron Hill at Bloomington Town Hall
My post on Tuesday about Baron Hill attacking his opponents and opponents of ObamaCare as "tired old people" got picked up by two national blogs. Both made new and interesting additional points.

Jim Geraghty, at the Campaign Spot:

Baron Hill vs. the 'Tired Old People;, a.k.a. 'Most of Indiana'

The latest from Baron Hill, an endangered Indiana Democrat who is growing more endangered:

If the Republicans win big in Congress, Hill said, gains like the health care bill could be lost.

"They say they want to repeal this bill," he said. "If you feel threatened by that, it's time for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work."

Whenever there is change, he said, opposition rises from "tired old people that never want to do anything to make the country better."

According to late March polling, many Hoosiers qualify as "tired old people that never want to do anything to make the country better" under Hill's definition: "Just 35 percent of Indiana voters favor the plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats, while 63 percent oppose it. This is well above the level of opposition found nationally. These findings include 21 percent who Strongly Favor the plan and 54 percent who Strongly Oppose it."

Mary Katharine Ham, at The Weekly Standard:

Baron Hill: Man of the People (Old, Tired, Terrorist People)

From the man who called his constituents "political terrorists" twice for showing up at town hall meetings to criticize him.

From the man who told a young student trying to tape a town hall meeting, "This is my town hall meeting. I set the rules."

Comes this new hit, just in time for 2010 elections:

Whenever there is change, he said, opposition rises from "tired old people that never want to do anything to make the country better."

But the change heralded by President Obama is happening despite nay-sayers. "We are changing the world. ... That's what the president said. ... Yes we can," Hill said. "Yes, we are going to do it again in two-thousand-ten."

The "tired, old" vets, grandmas, single moms, teenagers, college students, and business people in the 9th District of Indiana would probably quibble with him.

Are Democrats sure they don't want this guy running for Senate in Indiana?

What better for an anti-incumbent, populist, possible wave year than Baron Hill: Because Old, Tired Terrorists Who Never Want to Do Anything to Make the Country Better Need a Man in Washington, and He's That Man as Long as Everyone Agrees Not to Tape Him at Public Meetings.

It's a little unwieldy for a bumper sticker perhaps, but the message mavens at the DNC can boil it down, I'm sure.

Thanks to Geraghty and MKH for the linkage, and welcome to all of the new readers.

Planned Parenthood Urges Youth with HIV to Have “Fun, Happy & Sexually Fulfilling Lives.”

There are no words.

In a guide for young people published by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the organization says it opposes laws that make it a crime for people not to tell sexual partners they have HIV. The IPPF's “Healthy, Happy and Hot” guide also tells young people who have the virus that they have a right to “fun, happy and sexually fulfilling lives.”

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

“Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else,” the guide states. “These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.”

Under the heading “Sexual Pleasure and Well-Being,” the guide declares that it is a human right and not a criminal issue as to whether a person decides if or when to disclose their HIV status, even if they engage in sexual activities.

“You know best when it is safe for you to disclose your status,” the guide states. “There are many reasons that people do not share their HIV status. They may not want people to know they are living with HIV because of the stigma and discrimination within their community.”