Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Hair Upset Over Paying Walkout Fines

The Speaker in full 'Wrath of God' ModeI don't think he's upset about the fines being paid, per se.

The cynic in me can't help but think that he (and his caucus) are upset about having to pay the fines themselves via payroll deduction (as opposed to some union cutting them a check and paying them that way, or them paying the fines out of their campaign committees or whatever else they might cook up to avoid the money coming out of their own wallets).


Bauer met with GOP leaders for hours because they are upset about fines and procedures related to the five week walkout that ended Monday. Bauer says they will pay the fines but don’t the fact that they are being deducted from paychecks.

Basically, they were willing to pay the fines so long as they could find a way to get someone else to pay it for them. Now that they have to spend their own money, they're upset. Sounds like a Democrat to me.

Mourdock Campaign Finance Questions Much Ado About Nothing

There's been some push from Lugar partisans on Twitter and on various blogs to advance a notion that Richard Mourdock, as Indiana's State Treasurer, can't raise money for a Senate campaign against Dick Lugar because Indiana campaign finance law forbids fundraising during a legislative session.

Such opinions don't have any basis in fact or law (and some of those advancing that argument are lawyers and ought to know better). Federal campaign finance law trumps state campaign finance law, and there are two advisory opinions from the Federal Election Commission (advisory opinions are when the FEC answers questions campaigns have about campaign finance law issues) to that effect. Prohibitions on fundraising at a state level do not apply at the Federal level.

Those opinions are 1995-48 and 1993-25, which are available by going here and typing in the opinion numbers.

Both opinions are variations on the same theme. And their conclusions are basically the same. Mourdock can raise money for a Senate bid. State law cannot regulate or restrict fundraising for a Federal campaign.

So much for that argument.

Perhaps Lugar's defenders should go back to explaining to us why, after 35 years, their man still hasn't managed to accomplish anything in his never-ending campaign against "Big Sugar."

Obama Secretly Accepts Transparency Award

Yes, really.

Hillary Clinton to Congress on Authorization for Obama's War in Libya: Drop Dead

At what point do all of Obama and Biden's comments about their theory of war and their very circumscribed stated notions of when to authorize it come back to bite them in the rear, if not after this?

[Members of Congress] said one dynamic was very clear: The administration doesn’t much care what Congress thinks about the actions it’s taken so far.

Challenged on whether Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in attacking Libya without congressional approval, Clinton told lawmakers that White House lawyers were OK with it and that Obama has no plans to seek an endorsement from Congress, attendees told POLITICO…

“If they didn’t need congressional authorization here in these circumstances, can you tell me under what circumstances you’d ever need congressional authorization if we’re going into a war? Nobody answered [that] question,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). “The administration and its lawyers believed they had the authority under the War Powers Act.”…

Without a vote, it’s impossible to tell whether a majority of members would support more intense action in Libya, but it’s clear the administration has done little to assuage its critics. Lawmakers expressed skepticism that they’d even be consulted if the administration were to take such action.

“Now he wants people like me to support him,” said one moderate Democrat. “Quite frankly, I can’t.”

This President has shown a demonstrated habit of lawlessness on everything he has done since being elected; I don't know why anyone would think that it would be any different in a war.

Democrats Make Cuts

To the number of Republican seats they think they can win in 2012.

Study: Tea Party Not As Important As You Think

This is interesting:

THE tea-party movement galvanised conservative voters and helped Republicans take the House and weaken the Democratic majority in the Senate last Fall. Right? Well, maybe not.

In the latest edition of The Boston Review, a pair of Harvard political scientists, Stephen Ansolabehere and James M. Snyder, cast doubt on the conventional wisdom about the tea-party movement. Digging into the data from the 2010 mid-term elections, Messrs Ansolabahere and Snyder find that the tea-party movement largely threw its weight behind conservative candidates in conservative districts who were likely to win anyway.

"The penchant for endorsing candidates in Republican-leaning areas almost completely explains the Tea Party’s success rate," they write. This applies to candidates for the House, at least. What about a tea-party bump for Senate hopefuls? Noting that the relative paucity of senatorial contests makes it hard to draw firm statistical lessons, Messrs Ansolabahere and Snyder nevertheless observe that "Tea Party endorsees ran three percentage points behind non-endorsed Republicans running in similar states."

Read the whole thing.

GOP Says Budget Deal with Dems Not Close

Curiouser and curiouser.

National Review:

I have it from a very knowledgeable Hill insider that it might be a bait-and-switch.

“They are setting us up by saying there is a deal,” the source says, “so when there isn’t one by 4/8, they can claim they had a deal but we backed out.”

Power Line adds:

$33 billion in cuts represents a trivial amount. If we use the Big Mac extra value meal analogy, a $33 billion cut in the federal budget represents the equivalent of ordering the meal; eating the Big Mac; drinking the Coke; and eating 85 out of 87 french fries. Then you take the 86th fry, bite off one sixth of it, and put the remaining 5/6 of one fry back in the box, along with the 87th fry. Is that a substantial cut? No.

Feeling the Squeeze


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Joe Donnelly on Possible Senate Run: I Want to Continue to Focus on Helping Obama and Destroying Jobs in Indiana

I know that's not exactly what he said. But that's his record of what he's done in Washington, and he says that he wants to find the best way to continue doing it.

Indiana would be better served by depriving Joe Donnelly of a seat in the Senate or a seat in Congress, so he can't continue helping Obama destroy Hoosier jobs.

The Indy Star:

U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly spoke at the Hamilton County Democrat's annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner Monday evening. With potential redistricting threatening his congressional seat, Donnelly is setting his sites on a run for either governor or the Senate next year.

"Although I can help the state in either role, I feel my experience is best served in the Senate," Donnelly said in an interview before the event. "I want to continue focusing on helping the economy and bringing jobs to Indiana."

I also find this line interesting:

Donnelly claimed the Republican primary's ultimate victor won't impact his potential campaign, saying he plans to run on a "shared Hoosier values" platform of jobs, education and energy independence.

At some point, the Democrats are going to need to realize that you don't achieve energy independence by requiring people to use poisonous light bulbs that are made in China or by building zillion-dollar bullet trains that nobody uses or by buying Chevy Volts when nobody else will, but instead by taking concrete steps now to tap America's own energy resources.

National Review on Wisconsin Judge Race: “It is important that conservatives nationwide make this campaign their own.”

Leftists in Wisconsin are pushing hard to elect one of their own to the state's Supreme Court in an election next Tuesday (April 5), in hopes of tilting the balance on the court and enabling judges to undo the law passed by the Wisconsin legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker.

National Review explains why this race is so important to conservatives everywhere:

When you’ve lost the election, lost the vote in the legislature, and don’t have the law on your side, lies, invective, and blunt force — the Left’s main weapons in Wisconsin — are what you have left. Expect to see a lot more of them deployed.

The Greater Wisconsin Committee is preparing to throw $3 million into the judicial election to defeat Prosser — not because it is feared that he will fail to administer the law impartially, but because it is feared that he will. To that end, Wisconsin Democrats are working to install one of their own on the court and, if the GWC ad is any indicator, they are prepared to do just about anything to win. Because of legal restrictions, Prosser cannot solicit contributions to aid his campaign under this onslaught. But you can help his campaign by helping the Wisconsin Club for Growth (donate here) or donating to Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (donate online here; fax donation form here).

It is important that conservatives nationwide make this campaign their own. What is at stake in Wisconsin is not just one piece of legislation or one bill restoring a measure of sanity to the state budgeting process. The question to be answered in Wisconsin is: Who works for whom? Do the public employees work for the citizens, or are the citizens mere cattle to be disposed of at the pleasure of the bureaucrats and their union bosses? Every arrow in the quiver — court cases, judicial elections, recall, lawsuits, lies, libels, and brute thuggery — will be thrown at this case, along with lots of money derived from the union dues that state and local governments helpfully deduct from their employees’ paychecks on the unions’ behalf. Wisconsin may seem an unlikely battleground, but a line must be drawn, and this is the place to draw it.

That which succeeds is repeated. If liberals succeed in undoing Scott Walker's recent victory, they will look to wrest control of judiciaries in other states to do the same.

Conservatives cannot stand by while they do so.

Tea Party Express is running this ad in Wisconsin:

It's a good ad (though it would be better if it emphasized Prosser more and Tea Party Express' website less, but that may be just the online version of the ad). They're seeking donations here to keep it on the air.

Sarah Palin's (Subsidized) Alaska

Jim Geraghty doesn't care for Sarah Palin's Alaska getting subsized by the government of the state of Alaska in the form of tax credits. I can't say that I disagree.

In short, tax credits for TV and movie productions strike me as comparable to tax credits or taxpayer support for sports stadiums and arenas — a frivolous luxury that doesn’t fit the vision of “limited government.” I know 45 states currently offer these incentives; their commonality doesn’t make them any better or wiser a policy choice. There were/are a lot of earmarks, too.

Palin’s in a unique spot in that she’s a supporter of these subsidies/tax credits and an indirect beneficiary of them; it is her unfortunate luck that the tax credit and her (reported but not verified) salary are in roughly the same seven-figure range. The traditional argument is that, “if we didn’t offer these incentives, the production company would just film the show elsewhere,” and in many cases that’s true. But I doubt even the most shameless producer would film “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” in California.

At some point (I expect and hope) Sarah Palin is going to go out before the American people as a presidential candidate and argue that government can and must do less and spend less. I just grind my teeth knowing that she’s now set up for the easy snickering response: “Yes, that way government can stick to its core duties, which is providing tax incentives to television programs.”

Oh Great: GOP Negotiates $33 Billion in Cuts

I don't know what this smells like, but it doesn't smell like victory.

So much for cutting $100 billion. It will be interesting to see which Indiana members of Congress vote which way on this. Last time was both surprising and discouraging.

Harrison County Pays Off Jail Bond Issue Early


The Harrison County Council has agreed to pay off revenue bonds used to finance its county jail and justice center in Corydon.

And during the same meeting Monday night, another bond issue — for Harrison County Hospital — was the focus of a separate request.

On the jail bonds, council members voted unanimously to pay off about $1.4 million in remaining debt two years early. The move is expected to save $45,000 in interest charges.

The council authorized county Auditor Karan Engleman to contact a New York bank handling the bonds to start a redemption process that could be completed in late May.

The county’s original debt of $6.9 million from 16 years ago has been funded from a County Economic Development Income Tax. Council chairman Gary Davis said that the panel may eventually consider dropping the tax, but that council members are reluctant to do it now before they can examine tax receipts and spending in the county budget over the next year.

Back Home Again

The Indianapolis Star editorializes:

So what was the point of all that drama?

For five weeks, Democrats in the Indiana House based their ill-conceived walkout on the sentimental and self-serving premise that by holing up in a Central Illinois hotel they were somehow standing in solidarity with working-class Hoosiers. That claim might have had more credibility if House Democrats had returned to the Statehouse a month ago, right after Republicans pulled right-to-work legislation off the table.

But the extended boycott, with no recent victories of substance, has served only to further undermine the wayward Democrats' relevance in the Statehouse. Republicans, after giving up on Democrats' imminent return, moved forward with the budget bill and other legislative priorities. The message from the GOP's leadership was clear, and largely accurate: We don't really need the minority party to push ahead with the people's work.

Now that they've limped back home after their lengthy out-of-state boycott, House Minority Leader Pat Bauer and his caucus have virtually no leverage left to reshape bills they don't like, including legislation that will affect millions of Hoosiers for years to come. Want to change parts of the budget bill? Want to fight for fair-minded reworking of legislative and congressional maps? By staying out for so long, and gaining so little in return, Democrats forfeited their ability to speak credibly on those issues and others.

Bauer, in short, badly miscalculated the long-term consequences of staging a five-week walkout. If Democrats had returned shortly after the right-to-work proposal was killed, then they could have legitimately declared victory. And they would have been in a good position to influence how the rest of the session unfolded, despite their relatively small number of seats.

Bauer, however, appears to have rushed into the walkout without a well-defined exit strategy. That lack of foresight eventually left his caucus with only two weak options: give up and return to Indianapolis with little to show in return for the walkout; or stick it out for another month and gamble that Republicans would finally cave in order to gain the quorum needed to end the session.

On Monday, House Democrats gave up. They're now back at the Statehouse, their misadventure in Illinois behind them.

Who was served by their five-week detour to Urbana? It's truly hard to say.

Red State adds:

Well, the Democrats are now back, and they are more unpopular than ever. And they are in the unenviable position of having to explain to the voters why, in these economically troubled times, with Hoosiers everywhere fighting for their jobs, the Indiana taxpayers had to foot the massive bill for their out-of-state jaunt, with absolutely nothing to show for it in return. In this fight, the IN GOP has scored a near-total victory.

John Stewart on Libya


I'd like to have a copy of that poster...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quick Thoughts on Obama's Incoherent Speech

Legal Insurrection gives a shorter version:

"Did you say Iran, sorry I didn't hear you, what was that, we can't dictate the terms of change for others, except when we do, and did, but only with a coalition, My Fellow Americans, Bush bad in Iraq, me good in Libya, because I did not declare war in that country, Libya."


In the end, Obama's speech amounted to, "Look, I realize none of you understand my decision making, but at the end of the day, you can rest easy knowing I'm right."

He thinks he's reassuring us.

I am not reassured. In fact, I'm more worried than I was before Obama made the speech.

The Hair, House Democrats Return from Illinois

And they don't appear to have gotten anything but token concessions (aside from having the right-to-work bill pulled, which was yanked right after they left, rendering folly and counterproductive their extended stay in the Land of Lincoln).

Abdul lists the trivial concessions that the Democrats claim as the fruits of their "Pyrrhic victory."

Side thought... Is it still a Pyrrhic victory when you didn't really win anything, your poll numbers have cratered, and you're being eviscerated in the arena of public opinion?

At least Pyrrhus of Epirus claimed a victory against the Romans on the field of battle at Heraclea, though a costly one. It's not clear to me that the Democrats have any sort of meaningful net victory out of this at all. And the one victory they did get, on right-to-work, came easily and was followed by a month of self-inflicted political wounding by staying in Illinois long after their point had been made (effectively hurting them far more than helping).

Of course, if you read the leftist spin over at Talking Points Memo, you'd think that the Democrats have returned to Indiana in triumph, their heads topped by the golden laurels of glorious victory. The reality here is nothing of the sort. The Democrats have inflicted, largely by their own actions, deep wounds to their party and its image within the state. The Republicans have emerged not merely unscathed, but strengthened.

Wisconsin this is not. Mitch Daniels is not as confrontational as Scott Walker, but he was patient; he knew Pat Bauer would return, and The Hair did. Mitch's poll numbers remain strong and the Democrats' have deteriorated. The Democrats have been roundly criticized statewide, even from editorial pages that typically defend them and give them support.

Where this does not help Mitch, as noted by the Washington Examiner, is with those (significant) elements of the base of the Republican Party that oppose his sort of patient "wait them out" kind of strategy in favor of a more confrontational "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" or "Walker" way of doing things.

But then, Scott Walker emerged from his standoff with the Wisconsin Democrat fleebaggers victorious, but politically damaged.

Mitch Daniels, by any measure, has emerged from his standoff with the Hoosier Democrat fleebaggers having given a few token concessions (including ones that he may have had to give to appease skittish Republicans in the legislature anyway), but politically strengthened.

Mourdock Raises $125K in a Month

Not bad for a campaign that got started at the end of February (as amazing as it seems, since time flies when Democrats flee to Illinois, it's only the end of March).

Not a bad haul for such a short period and for a campaign just now getting off the ground, but Mourdock seems to think with good reason that there's a lot more where this came from (and he'll need it, since Lugar has $2.4 million).

It's interesting to note that Mourdock seems poised to begin plucking off Lugar donors. His opinion of Joe Donnelly running is pretty measured, too.


Republican Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock expects to report raising around $125,000 during the first month of his Senate campaign and is promising to roll out support in the coming weeks from deep-pocketed donors who were previously backing Dick Lugar.

Mourdock previewed his first quarter fundraising numbers and coming additions to his campaign finance team in an interview with POLITICO Monday.

He framed the $125,000 he'll report next month as a respectable figure that will allow his start-up campaign to meet its initial operational goals, while signaling that he'll soon reveal a list of notable endorsements from major Hoosier donors.

"What I need to do is to keep our heads above water raising money, keep the thing going at this base level until Feb. 20 of next year," he said, referring to the candidate filing deadline. "That's when the real campaign begins."

Mourdock, who unveiled the backing of three-quarters of state county chairs when he announced his candidacy on Feb. 22, said additional endorsements from state committeemen would soon be on the way.

"People who annually give to the state party $50,000 a year have called me to say, 'I want to help you, I want to be on your finance committee.' And these are people who wrote Sen. Lugar a check as recently as January," he said, declining to provide names.

During the 30-minute interview, Mourdock reiterated his case against the six-term Lugar, portraying him as a senator who has been estranged from party regulars for years in order to pursue a focus on foreign policy issues.

Mourdock is betting that his candidacy will build enough credibility and momentum in the off-year to attract the support from Washington-based conservative groups that are itching to send a message to the 79-year-old Lugar, who has irked them by his support for President Obama's Supreme Court nominees and nuclear arms policy.

But he seemed to leave open the possibility that his presence alone could force Lugar to ponder retirement.

"I don't think any Hoosier, and this includes myself, wants to see the last image of Sen. Lugar's career being a concession speech in a microphone. We really do have great respect for him. But I hear it 500 times a day, people come up and say, 'Thank you for running', and two words, 'It's time.,'" he said.

Conservative groups have been working behind the scenes to try to avoid a multi-candidate field opposing Lugar, and therefore diminishing the chances of knocking off the incumbent.

State Sen. Mike Delph recently told POLITICO there is "no change from my position statement in December," continuing to keep the option of running for Senate on the table.

While Mourdock said he had no idea what Delph would choose to do, he signaled he may have the option of running for Congress if 15-term Rep. Dan Burton retires,

"There's a lot of other things that I think he's got some balls in the air on. There's a lot of talk that Congressman Burton won't run for reelection. He lives in that district. I note that when he's out attending Lincoln Day dinners it's usually in those counties, in that district," Mourdock said, referring to Delph.

Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly is also considering the contest and Mourdock was candid when explaining why the congressman is now exploring the venture more seriously.

"He's not doing it because he thinks he might be running against Dick Lugar. He's doing it because he thinks he can be running against me. Am I concerned about that? Not at all, because his voting record largely mirrors that of Brad Ellsworth, who got crushed by Dan Coats," he said.

I have one quibble with what Mourdock says. I think that the better part of the campaign will be over before February 20 of next year.

FreedomWorks Leader: Mitch for President

That's right. Mitch Daniels. Tea Party candidate for President.

Or so says Freedomworks leader Dick Armey.

Lots of heads exploding out there right now in Tea Party Town.

The Indy Star:

Gov. Mitch Daniels: the tea party pick for president?

That could happen, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said Thursday.

Armey, now the leader of the tea party group FreedomWorks, was in Indiana to begin a three-day campaign-training seminar his group is conducting along with the Indiana-based tea party group America ReFocused.

He met with Daniels privately before a Statehouse ceremony honoring the governor with a "legislative entrepreneur award" and told reporters he encouraged Daniels to "think about the service he could do for this nation as president."

Daniels said he has not decided whether to seek the Republican nomination in 2012 and stressed he is not being coy about his plans.

"I've tried never to play games with you guys," he told reporters. "I think it's fair to say I haven't and I'm not playing any now. If I had made up my mind, I'd have told you -- if I'd made up my mind either aye or nay, and I haven't."

For now, he said, his focus has to be on the legislature, which is embroiled in an impasse that's shut down the House for more than a month.

But, he added, "I do owe some people an answer, and I know I can't wait too much longer."

Armey, who served in Congress from 1983 to 2005, said that if Daniels does get in the race, he might be just what the tea party is looking for.

"Tea party activists are very practical-minded people who are looking for results," Armey said. "This governor's got an outstanding track record. He's not one of these show horses that historically have been winning elections. But we've got an electorate in America today with a much more serious and adult choice configuration than they've had in past elections.

"So they're choosing substance over ceremony, character over charisma, and Governor Daniels fits the bill."

Asked whether he would endorse Daniels, Armey said: "Oh, absolutely."

One tea party favorite exploring a presidential run is Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. CNN reported Thursday that she will form an exploratory committee in early June, or perhaps sooner so she could participate in early GOP debates. One is set for May 2 in California and another for May 5 in South Carolina.

Armey acknowledged Bachmann's appeal to many in the tea party.

"She has one thing in common with Mitch Daniels that makes her attractive to the serious people in this movement, and that is she's an authentic person. Sort of a Popeye thing: 'I am who I am,' " he said.

Daniels has said he will not announce his decision until after the legislative session is finished. It's scheduled to end April 29, but if a special session is needed, that could affect Daniels' timetable.

On Thursday, Daniels said the possibility of a delay "certainly complicates making a decision."

But, he repeated, his focus will stay on the job he has, even if that means putting off a decision about his next one.

Armey and FreedomWorks are also looking to unseat Dick Lugar. You know, the guy Mitch Daniels endorsed (but won't campaign for).

Focusing on the Important News

Rolling Stone feels it's important for you to know that a U.S. Army soldier that killed Afghan civilians grew up a few miles from Sarah Palin.

Before the military found itself short of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, Morlock was the kind of bad-news kid who the Army might have passed on. He grew up not far from Sarah Palin in Wasilla, Alaska; his sister hung out with Bristol, and Morlock played hockey against Track.

They also thought Palin had something to do with a deranged leftist wacko that attacked that Congresswoman in Arizona.

Suffice to say, he's not the only one that's deranged.

Quote of the Day: Sore Losers

"If someone wants to be a sore loser, that's their right. But no one has the right to be a sore loser at taxpayer expense."
- Then State Rep. Mark Kruzan, D-Bloomington, the House majority leader, April 2001, in response to the GOP walkout. (Senate Democrats also walked out in 2001.)

Iowahawk on Libya


In trying to explain himself when bombing foreign lands,
It behooves a modern president to keep his prose in hand.
One little slip in lexicon accounting for the rubble
Will end up in congressional investigative trouble.

I must admit the messaging is really quite atrocious
But if you say it soft enough, you'll always sound precocious,


In olden days they called this thing a stale three-letter word
But in this new millenium I find that quite absurd.
My unabridge-ed thesaurus is dog-eared through and through,
One syllable seems pitiful when thirteen more will do!

When you put it in that way it won't seem so ferocious.
Gargle first with Listerine in case of halitosis,

Um-twiddle-diddle-um-twiddle dee
Um-twiddle-diddle-um-twiddle dum

Unlike Bush adventurism, there's no "war" to fear
It's um... it's er... it's uh... it's mmm... let me be crystal clear
In days not weeks we cease it all, for "peace," or as you know,

A neologic tailor-made for media hypnosis
If you hear it long enough you'll drink until cirrhosis,

They Bought a Bridge

It's All About Us

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Democrats in Illinois Working Hard for Hoosiers... By Checking Their Email

Seriously. That's the spin now from the fleebaggers in Illinois. They're working hard for Hoosiers by checking their email.

Who knows?

If the emails agree with their fleebaggery (and polling indicates that only ?% of Hoosiers agree with them), they might work even harder and type up a response.

Lesley Stedman Weidenbener:

URBANA, Ill. -- In his room at a Comfort Suites -- 110 miles from the Indiana Statehouse -- boycotting Rep. Terry Goodin has fashioned an office out of a purple couch and a low, dark coffee table, where his laptop shares space with a bag of Fritos and a 2-liter bottle of Coke.

It's the place where Goodin, D-Austin, reads dozens of emails daily from constituents urging him and other Democrats to stand their ground against a Republican majority in the House that is pushing for education and labor bills that critics say will hurt the middle class.

He gets emails, too, from others who say Democrats should end their 32-day boycott and get back to work.

This is a Gary Varvel cartoon that could write itself.

Gone Fishin' for Attention

Before you know it, the sign hanging on the door is going to say "Gone on a tour sellin' my book."

Indy Star:

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has a book deal, but that doesn't mean he's running for president.

Daniels, often mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for 2012, has signed with Sentinel, a conservative imprint of Penguin Group (USA). His greatest concern having long been fiscal policy, the book, by intention, is no more glamorous than its tentative title: "Keeping the Republic: Limited Government, Unlimited Citizens."

The book is scheduled to come out in September and is being billed by Sentinel as a reminder of "America's urgent need for limited but more effective government, fiscal discipline at all levels, increased liberty for individuals, and a restoration of our national greatness."

The book's financial terms were not disclosed. Daniels, who served as the first budget director under President George W. Bush, said he expected to donate "much of the net proceeds" to charity.

Many potential GOP contenders have released books, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Daniels has made notable appearances in Washington lately, including a well-received address to the Conservative Political Action Committee Conference and a featured speech at the annual Gridiron Club dinner. His literary representative, Washington attorney Robert Barnett, has also handled book deals for Palin, Bush, President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton.

Daniels, who turns 62 next month, said he has not made up his mind about running, but Democrats have certainly noticed him.

Friends and colleagues have been suggesting for more than a year that he write a book, but the governor said he needed time to figure out what kind. He decided against a memoir because he hadn't "led that interesting a life." He also rejected the idea of writing about being governor of Indiana, believing that the federal debt and the size of the federal government were more important.

"This is ... a way of trying to contribute some constructive thought to what I consider a very grim situation," he said.

Daniels has a mixed record on budgets. First elected Indiana's governor in 2004, he made enough cuts to change a $600 million deficit to a $370 million surplus. He used cuts again to wipe out a deficit caused by the 2008 financial crisis and create another surplus. But during his 29-month tenure under Bush, a $236 billion annual surplus turned into a growing $400 billion deficit.

Daniels said the book would include anecdotes and examples from his time in Washington and in Indiana to "make a larger point." He said major changes are needed and that his book will advocate a bipartisan agreement to address such entitlement programs as Medicare and Social Security.

"The premise of the book, which maybe some don't accept, is that we're at a moment of real peril, not just to our economy, but to our freedom," he said.

Much of the book was written last fall and by Daniels himself.

"For those who don't like it, I won't be able to blame it on anybody else," he said.

That's another box checked on the "running for president" to-do list.

And the book, it seems, has been written for a while now:

Governor Mitch Daniels disclosed this afternoon that his book deal, reported this morning, actually took place a year ago.

I wonder if he'll add a chapter on how to deal with (or in his case not do anything at all about) fleebagger Democrat state representatives.

Obama's Libya Plan Is Very Clear

They have no plan. They can't agree on an objective. They don't know how long it will last. They haven't gotten Congressional approval. They don't have a strategy, let alone an exit strategy.

They're not even consistent. Libya was attacked because its leader was cracking down on protesters. Syria? Not attacked, but doing the same thing.

ABC News on how long it might last:

The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for almost ten years, at war in Iraq for almost eight years and at war in Libya for nine days.

On “This Week,” ABC News’ Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper asked Secretary of Defense Gates how much longer we might be there.

“Some NATO officials say this could be three months, but people in the Pentagon think it could be far longer than that. Do you think we'll be gone by the end of the year? Will the mission be over by the end of the year?” Tapper asked

“I don't think anybody knows the answer to that,” Gates said.

And then there's Obama's hilarious effort to redefine the meaning of "exit strategy", since he doesn't have one but attacked Bush over the same thing:

In an interview with Univision Tuesday, President Obama re-defined the term “exit strategy,” and said our exit strategy in Libya would begin this week.

“The exit strategy will be executed this week,” President Obama said, “in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment. We will still be in a support role. We will be supplying jamming, intelligence and other assets unique to us."

Planes in the air? Ships in the Mediterranean? Intelligence being provided? Doesn’t sound like an exit strategy at all.

What it does recall is Lewis Carroll.

"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

From the beginning of this suddenly-announced military campaign, the White House has been making great efforts to under-sell the US role and emphasize the participation of European allies and Arab partners. Even those Arab partners like the UAE that ultimately didn’t contribute military assets as White House officials say they had been led to believe.

Last week the President said “the United States will contribute our unique capabilities at the front end of the mission to protect Libyan civilians, and enable the enforcement of a no-fly zone that will be led by our international partners.”

Yesterday, Defense Secretary Gates, talking about who would take over for the US and when, said, "this command and control business is complicated. We haven’t done something like this, kind of on the fly before. And so it’s not surprising to me that it would take a few days to get it all sorted out."

Again, that's ABC News. Yeah, I'm as surprised as you are.

But Obama isn't just redefining "exit strategy". He's redefining "war", too. This isn't a war. It's a "kinetic military action":

In the last few days, Obama administration officials have frequently faced the question: Is the fighting in Libya a war? From military officers to White House spokesmen up to the president himself, the answer is no. But that leaves the question: What is it?

In a briefing on board Air Force One Wednesday, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes took a crack at an answer. “I think what we are doing is enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone,” Rhodes said. “Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end.”

Got that? As opposed to a non-kinetic military action, whatever that might be. (Soldiers sitting in their barracks, planes parked on the ground, and ships not firing off missiles, one might presume.)

I guess you shouldn't be surprised at this sort of disgusting linguistic sophistry; shortly after entering office, Obama renamed the War on Terrorism to "overseas contingency operations" and terrorist attacks to "man-caused disasters".

And why are we doing this? According to Obama's Secretary of Defense, it's not in our vital national interest and Libya was never a threat:

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that Libya did not pose a threat to the United States before the U.S. began its military campaign against the North African country.

On “This Week,” ABC News’ Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper asked Gates, “Do you think Libya posed an actual or imminent threat to the United States?”

“No, no,” Gates said in a joint appearance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “It was not -- it was not a vital national interest to the United States, but it was an interest and it was an interest for all of the reasons Secretary Clinton talked about. The engagement of the Arabs, the engagement of the Europeans, the general humanitarian question that was at stake,” he said.

By the threshold for action Obama appears to hold in Libya, he should have had no problem with intervention in Iraq. He should also have no problem with intervention in virtually any other country on earth where a local tin pot despot chooses to shoot his own people rather than listen to them. It's a very slippery slope, to say the least.

But it's multilateral, right?

Not so fast. According to Foreign Policy magazine, Obama's crumbling "coalition of the willing" is the smallest since the end of the Cold War; Bush "going it alone" in Iraq had more allies.

President Barack Obama has touted his emphasis on multilateralism in the U.S. military intervention in Libya, but, for political, operational, and legal reasons, Obama's "coalition of the willing" is smaller than any major multilateral operation since the end of the Cold War.

The Cable [FP magazine's blog] compiled a chart listing all the countries that contributed at least some military assets to the five major military operations in which the United States participated in a coalition during the last 20 years: the 1991 Gulf War (32 countries participating), the 1995 Bosnia mission (24 countries), the 1999 Kosovo mission (19 countries), the 2002 invasion of Afghanistan (48 countries), and the 2003 invasion of Iraq (40 countries), at the height of the size of each coalition. As of today, only 15 countries, including the United States, have committed to providing a military contribution to the Libya war.

As it is so often with Obama, you've got to laugh. Otherwise, you'd have to cry.

Fort Wayne Paper on Lugar vs Mourdock: “If parties don't periodically clear out the cobwebs, they might find they don't stand for anything.”

The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel:

While Gov. Mitch Daniels puts his election indecision on public display, Indiana senior U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar is the model of resolve. He intends to campaign vigorously for a sixth term, and he dismisses the tea party and its enthusiasm for state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the 2012 GOP primary. In a shot at the tea party, he said in January that its members are “unhappy about life in America” but traffic only “in clich├ęs” and “are not able to articulate all the specifics.”

The Indiana Democratic Party is perplexed, or at least works hard to sound that way. “You've always been willing to reach across the aisle, listen to the other side and come up with solutions that you believe reflect our Hoosier values, not the latest GOP talking points,” the party said in a release. Now, sadly, the “veteran statesman” is responding to the challenge from the right by “doing everything he can to shed his reputation for tempered, rational decision-making. Instead, he's embracing the right-wing rhetoric that everything that President Obama does is bad, and there's no room for moderates at the table.”

To observers as diverse as National Review, The Hill and MSNBC, this is evidence of the Democrats' efforts to pump up Mourdock so he has a better chance of winning the primary. The party hopes Indiana can become another Delaware, where, the party line goes, Republicans threw out one of those moderate fellows in favor of a right-wing fanatic who had no chance of winning the general election.

That may be. Democrats have never come close to beating Lugar – last time around, they didn't even put up a candidate. They have to feel as if anybody else would be more beatable, and it's a time-honored technique to “praise” someone in terms his supporters can't stomach. The reasons Democrats praise Lugar – the New START agreement, immigration moderation, support for Obama's Supreme Court nominees – are the very reasons those on the enthusiastic right dislike Lugar.

And the tactic may or may not work. This is not Delaware – Hoosiers are a tad more conservative than the residents of that state. And Mourdock is no Christine O'Donnell; he was the top vote-getter on the 2010 ballot.

Win or lose the Senate election, this is good for Republicans. Having a vigorous primary based on the clash of ideas will energize active members and convince potential recruits that the party stands for something. If parties don't periodically clear out the cobwebs, they might find they don't stand for anything.

After Historic Election Win, German Green Party Leader Says Fukushima “Dream Come True”


I don't think Fukushima is "a dream come true" for anyone in Japan, whatever its usefulness as a political football to recent state-level elections in Germany.

Joe Biden Supports Impeachment

If Bush does it, Biden thinks they should be impeached. That standard, apparently, for some reason shouldn't apply to The One, Barack Obama, Sun-King of America.


Power Line observes:

I'm beginning to understand why liberals believe so fervently in a "living" Constitution. They need it to change from year to year, depending on who is in office.

Tweet of the Day: The Bad Cop Is Coming

Advice to Boss Bauer - work with @mymanmitch, he's the good cop. Game over Jan 2013 when @RepMikePence gets in with House super-majority
- Zach Zagar

Good News: Muslim Brotherhood Now in Driver's Seat in Post-Mubarak Egypt

Surely nobody saw this coming.

The Thinker

My eyes... my eyes...

War Powers

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dick Morris Fundraising for Richard Mourdock

From the email bag:

You're invited to attend an evening with
Richard Mourdock & Fox News political analyst
Dick Morris
Friday, April 1st
(No foolin')


The Inn at Irwin Gardens
608 5th Street, Columbus, IN


Private Reception from 5pm to 6pm
Doors open at 6pm

Host - $2,500
*Includes attendance to private reception

Lead Sponsor - $1,000
*Includes attendance to private reception

Sponsor - $500

Individual Attendee - $100

Click Here to RSVP & Donate

Contact Ashlee Walls about becoming a sponsor or for more information at
(812) 989-0617 or

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gun Owners of America Endorses Mourdock

GOA gives Lugar a lifetime rating of F.

Lugar has a lifetime rating of D+ from the National Rifle Association; can they be far behind?

Mourdock's press release:

Gun Owners of America (GOA) Political Victory Fund endorsed the candidacy of State Treasurer Richard Mourdock over 6 term incumbent Senator Richard Lugar in Indiana’s 2012 Republican Primary Election. GOA gave Treasurer Mourdock an “A” rating for his commitment to the 2nd Amendment.

“I appreciate the support and the endorsement of the Gun Owners of America,” explained Treasurer Mourdock. “Responsible Americans should be allowed to enjoy hunting and target shooting and be able to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm.”

In contrast, current Senator Richard Lugar has received an “F” rating from the organization because of his past support for gun control measures.

Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund is the political arm of Gun Owners of America, a grassroots gun-rights organization founded in 1975.

The GOA announcement:

Gun Owners of America is proud to announce the endorsement of Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate.

Mr. Mourdock, who currently serves as Indiana’s State Treasurer, believes that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right. He stands in stark contrast to his liberal, anti-gun opponent, Richard Lugar.

First elected to the Senate in 1976, Richard Lugar has become the most pitiful of Washington denizens: a man who has forgotten what he stood for and who elected him.

That fact couldn’t have been more clear than when Barack Obama nominated two rabidly anti-gun women to the U.S. Supreme Court: Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Kagan could be the deciding vote upholding the constitutionality of the anti-gun ObamaCare law. Lugar jumped on her bandwagon—guaranteeing her confirmation.

Sotomayor lied under oath—claiming that she accepted a Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment was a right enjoyed by the American people. Then, at the first opportunity to rule on a Second Amendment case, she reversed herself. Lugar’s support was instrumental in getting her anti-gun nomination over the top.

Lugar was also instrumental in securing the confirmation of Obama’s regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, who believes animals have rights, but gun owners don’t. And he voted for anti-gun Attorney General Eric Holder, who advocated renewing the Clinton gun ban.

In 2009, Lugar proved to the country that he supports banning guns entirely. In February of that year, he voted against an amendment to repeal the gun ban in Washington, D.C. Also in 2009, he voted against a measure to repeal the ban on firearms in national parks.

When it comes to self-defense, Lugar would have people leave their firearms at home. He voted against legislation that would allow for interstate reciprocity for concealed carry, an amendment that failed by a mere two votes.

In 2004, Lugar voted to effectively ban gun shows, to renew the ban on semiautos, and to require all handgun purchasers to buy trigger locks.

And Lugar voted several times for so-called campaign finance reform. This law is intended to shield lawmakers—and their voting records—from the very people who sent them to Washington.

Dick Lugar is wrong on the Second Amendment and wrong for Indiana gun owners and sportsmen.

It’s time to elect a Senator who takes the oath to protect and defend the Constitution seriously. And that’s why Gun Owners of America is proud to endorse Richard Mourdock in the 2012 Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Richard Mourdock is “A” rated by GOA for his unwavering commitment to the right to keep and bear arms. When he is elected, gun owners will have a trusted friend in Washington.

GOA urges all concerned gun rights supporters to get behind the Mourdock campaign early with your volunteer efforts and financial contributions. Please visit to learn more about Richard and to find out how you can help in this campaign.

Larry Sabato on Mitch for President

From Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, a political newsletter:

Mitch Daniels: Here is another accomplished governor from a vital Midwestern swing state. Unlike Pawlenty, Daniels has not thrown his hat into the ring and may never do so. In an old-fashioned way, he has been testing the waters, dipping a toe in here and there, dropping hints and suggesting that he might, just might, try for higher office. Again, it is impossible to get into the head of a potential candidate, though the old political rule of ambition usually applies: you have to want the White House so badly that the fire in your belly can substitute for heating oil all winter long. If Daniels does run, he has an impressive record to tout. Daniels has been a very popular two-term governor in Indiana, and his earlier service as head of the Office of Management and Budget in the George W. Bush White House potentially qualifies him to make a case for reducing yawning national deficits and debt—although he can also be accused of having helped to create the debt mountain. The problem for Daniels is that he may be viewed as more of a manager than a potential president. In addition, while Daniels fits the old definition of conservative to a T, he is not much of a revolutionary from the Tea Party perspective, and he is suspected of having moderate tendencies on both about the possible need to raise taxes in order to reduce the deficit as well as the kind of priority a president should give to controversial social issues. Daniels is leaving office in 2012 since he cannot run for a third term, so the timing of a presidential campaign is perfect – if he really wants to spend his last couple of years as Indiana’s chief executive roaming the nation in an extended, humbling job interview.

DANIELS UPDATE: The notices for Daniels have been glowing—from National Review to the Gridiron Club to a host of conservative opinion leaders to Beltway high priests. But nobody can detect the early moves required to become a real contender. That doesn’t mean Daniels won’t surprise us, just that the betting right now is that he isn’t running. Daniels is good friends with Haley Barbour, so not running would solve one problem for Daniels—and Barbour.

Morgan GOP Chairman: Lugar Has “Become the Enabler of Enablers of Bad Ideas for America”

Marty Weaver, the Morgan County GOP chairman, explained his reasons for supporting Richard Mourdock in his party's email newsletter:

Why I support Richard Mourdock for the U.S. Senate
I met Richard Mourdock six years ago, at a Lincoln Day Dinner. Since then I've seen him all around the state. He is a reverent man with an uncanny respect for our gift--this Republic.

I'm not against Senator Lugar, he is an Indiana institution. However, he's become the enabler of enablers of bad ideas for America. In context of the political triad of people, ideas, and issues, Richard Mourdock is, in my opinion, more in sync with Hoosier values. I do not believe he would have voted to confirm Clinton and Obama's radical leftist Cabinet and Supreme Court nominees.

I believe Richard Mourdock would have agreed with the thirty Indiana State Senators who wrote Senator Lugar urging him to vote against the confirmation of Dawn Johnsen for a top position in the Justice Department. This nomination was so egregious that the democrats couldn't even get her name to the Senate floor for a vote, yet, Indiana's senior senator was prepared to vote for this I.U. law professor who compared pregnancy to slavery.

Finally, I've heard from Senator Lugar five times in the last six years--all within the last five weeks. We have a long campaign ahead, and when it is over I believe Hoosiers will take another look at how the 17th Amendment to the Constitution subverted the interests of the individual states by the direct election of U.S. Senators. In the Federalist Papers, James Madison explained the reasoning behind the Constitutional provision for state legislatures to elect U.S. Senators.

Until we repeal the 17th Amendment, I support Richard Mourdock for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

A Look at Crossover Voting

It's an article of faith among supporters of Senator Dick Lugar (not often mentioned aloud these days, for obvious reasons) that overwhelming numbers Democrats will cross over in the primary in May of 2012 to vote for him against a conservative challenger.

A column in the Indianapolis Star makes the case that, well, it's not that clear-cut.

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock announced he would seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2012. It is not unusual for an elected official to announce a bid to unseat an incumbent in another office. What makes this case unusual is that Mourdock will have to defeat the incumbent, Sen. Richard Lugar, in the Republican primary.

Mourdock's campaign seems to be off to a strong start. He had a good crowd at his announcement and has begun a tour of the state to continue announcing his bid for the nomination. He also has the support of 67 Republican county chairs.

In spite of this, though, he'll be in an uphill battle. Lugar has won six statewide campaigns and has high approval ratings as well as a large fundraising advantage.

Even though the election is more than a year away, it already is generating discussion. coverage of the story as well as content on other websites has attracted dozens of user comments expressing support for both candidates.

One interesting theme among the posted comments was that Democrats might vote in the Republican primary. Political scientists refer to this as crossover or strategic voting, and have been studying it for decades. They have identified two reasons voters do this. One is to try to ensure that the weakest candidate from the opposite party gets the nomination. The hope is that the weak candidate will be defeated in the general election by the strategic voter's preferred candidate. The second reason is to try to ensure that the strategic voter's second favorite candidate makes it to the fall election. As a result, the strategic voter is assured that his first or second favorite candidate will win the general election.

That may sound familiar. In 2008, Rush Limbaugh encouraged Republicans in Indiana to cross over and vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

What decades of research have taught us is that it is rare for strategic voters to be successful. There are two reasons for this.

The first is that it is difficult to identify enough voters willing to cross over to make a difference in the outcome of an election. Anyone who has worked a campaign knows it can be challenging to get people to go out and vote for their candidate. It's an even bigger challenge to convince voters that the best course of action for their candidate is for people to vote in the other party's primary.

The second is that it is difficult to get the strategic voters to agree on the appropriate strategy to pursue. Is it better to vote for the weak candidate or the second favorite candidate? Obviously, if a candidate's campaign organizes the strategic voting effort, supporters would be encouraged to support the opposition party's weaker candidate. However, if the crossover effort isn't organized by a candidate and then voting for the more preferred candidate from the opposition party may seem to be the better choice.

Indiana's primary election laws provide other barriers to successful strategic voting campaigns.

Indiana Code 3-10-1-6 says that voters are allowed to participate in a party's primary if they voted for a majority of that party's candidates in the last general election; or did not vote in the last general election, but plan to vote for a majority of that party's nominees in the next general election. In other words, crossover voters may break the law. Of course, there's no way to prove that someone has broken the law because we have a secret ballot in Indiana.

Another barrier is that Indiana primary election voters can vote only in the Republican or Democratic primary, not both. This means strategic voters forgo their chance to vote for their preferred candidates in other races in their usual primary.

A final barrier, from the Indiana Code, is that a voter's primary voting history is a matter of public record, and it is how a person's party affiliation is determined. Voters who want to run for precinct committeeperson, delegate to the state convention, or other elected office can find this to be a problem. Many strategic voters have been challenged and removed from the ballot because of their crossover vote.

Party loyalists also may live in fear that they will die one day as a registered member of the other party, a possibility that would take crossover voting to an entirely different level.

Hat tip: Mitch Harper

Quote of the Day

From the email bag (profanity warning):

An annual contest is held each year at Texas A&M University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term.

This year's term was: "Political Correctness."

The winner and a great definition by a Student who wrote:

"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end."

Deficit Cutters

As amusing as the cartoon is, and as much as it fulfills the media meme and the stereotype, it's not particularly accurate.

If you look at the Republican members of Congress that voted in favor of cutting just $6 billion, as opposed to those that favored cutting even more, in the recent continuing resolution vote, you see some interesting names.

In the "cut more than $6 billion" or "let's pick a fight" column, you'll see Marlin Stutzman, one of the newest members of Congress from Indiana. You'll also see Dan Burton, the longest serving Republican Congressman from Indiana. And you'll see Indiana's own Mike Pence, who coined the "pick a fight" phraseology and has been at the forefront on this battle, too.

You won't see three other Republican House freshmen from Indiana (Bucshon, Rokita, and Young). They're the rookies, and they're also the ones holding the toenail clippers.

Burton, Stutzman, and Pence are the ones wielding the chainsaw, and they happen to be the three most senior (Stutzman only by a few weeks) members of Congress from Indiana on the Republican side.

But hey, who's to argue with a stereotype, right?

I also came upon this statement from Travis Hankins. He's been spending some time lately noting that the 9th District's current Congressman, ah, isn't as conservative or as willing to cut the deficit as he'd like (or Mike Pence would like, for that matter).

Republicans sell us out again.(here is a list of who stood firm)

Below is a list of Patriotic Rebublicans who voted against the CR that adds debt, funds obama care, legitimizing and making permanent all of Obama's spending. Any Republican who is not on this list should be thrown out of office.(as they voted for the largest three week deficit in history)

Todd Akin (Missouri)
Justin Amash (Michigan)
Michele Bachmann (Minnesota)
Roscoe Bartlett (Maryland)
Joe Barton (Texas)
Dan Benishek (Michigan)
Dan Burton (Indiana)
John Campbell (California)
Steve Chabot (Ohio)
Jason Chaffetz (Utah)
Jeff Duncan (South Carolina)
Jeff Flake (Arizona)
John Fleming (Louisiana)
Trent Franks (Arizona)
Scott Garrett (New Jersey)
Phil Gingrey (Georgia)
Louie Gohmert (Texas)
Trey Gowdy (South Carolina)
Tom Graves (Georgia)
Ralph Hall (Texas)
Andy Harris (Maryland)
Dean Heller (Nevada)
Tim Huelskamp (Kansas)
Bill Huizenga (Michigan)
Tim Johnson (Illinois)
Walter Jones (North Carolina)
Jim Jordan (Ohio)
Steve King (Iowa)
Raul Labrador (Idaho)
Doug Lamborn (Colorado)
Jeffrey Landry (Louisiana)
Billy Long (Missouri)
Connie Mack (Florida)
Thaddeus McCotter (Michigan)
Mick Mulvaney (South Carolina)
Ron Paul (Texas)
Steve Pearce (New Mexico)
Mike Pence (Indiana)
Joseph Pitts (Pennsylvania)
Ted Poe (Texas)
Denny Rehberg (Montana)
Scott Rigell (Virginia)
Dennis Ross (Florida)
Jean Schmidt (Ohio)
Christopher Smith (New Jersey)
Steve Southerland (Florida)
Cliff Stearns (Florida)
Marlin Stutzman (Indiana)
John Sullivan (Oklahoma)
Scott Tipton (Colorado)
Tim Walberg (Michigan)
Joe Walsh (Illinois)
Allen West (Florida)
Joe Wilson (South Carolina)

Think he might be running for something sometime soon?

His Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

(...and they still are, it seems...)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mitch Endorses Lugar, Won't Campaign for Him

I don't understand a lot of the angst some conservatives and Tea Party folks have had in the past few days after learning that Mitch Daniels endorsed Dick Lugar in the Senate race.

It's not clear to me what they expected. Mitch Daniels is Dick Lugar's protege. The first campaign Daniels ever worked on was Lugar's. Mitch managed Lugar's campaign in his first successful Senate bid in 1976. He was Lugar's chief of staff for many years.

They've not had a falling out, and I've always expected that basic decency, gratitude, and friendship would lead to Mitch Daniels endorsing Lugar. It's hard to fault Mitch Daniels for being loyal to the guy that gave him his start.

This being said, with Mitch Daniels it is always a matter of degrees. He's for this and he's against that. But just how much is he for this or against that?

The answers to questions like that tell you far more about Mitch Daniels than just knowing he has a particular position.

And so, with that thinking in mind and knowing all along that Mitch Daniels would endorse Dick Lugar, I was wondering just how much Mitch was prepared to do to put his old boss over the top.

We've seen Mitch when he's in full "arm-twisting mode" (see Zoeller vs Costas in 2008). It's not pretty (and it usually isn't all that successful, either).

So the real question has never been whether Mitch would endorse Lugar or not. The question is what is Mitch prepared to do to see to it that Lugar wins.

The answer appears to be "not a whole lot."

Roll Call (emphasis mine):

Sen. Dick Lugar has at least one top state Republican on his side in his GOP primary fight against state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he’ll back Lugar, calling the Senator his political “role model.”

“If he wants another term, he ought to have it,” Daniels said. He added that Mourdock was a friend and that he won’t campaign during the primary.

This is a big deal. A far bigger deal than Mitch Daniels merely endorsing Richard Lugar.

This is pretty good news for Richard Mourdock.

Big Job for a Big Guy: John Gregg Working Hard Two Days a Week in Campaign for Governor

I wonder if anyone has told John Gregg that he might have to work more than just two days a week to get elected governor (and even harder than that were he get elected).


Gregg is working the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner circuit and measuring support for a run, working at it full-time about 2 days a week.

Deconstructing Another Lugar Email

Another week, another Lugar email. Last week, the Lugar campaign engaged in a series of negative attacks against Richard Mourdock while complaining Mourdock (who started his campaign by praising Lugar for serving thirty-six years in the Senate) was engaging in negative attacks.

Now, it seems that Indiana's seat in the United States Senate (at least the one that Lugar occupies) doesn't belong to the people of the State of Indiana. Apparently, it belongs to Dick Lugar, and don't you forget it, according to the title of an email that--from its very title onward--is dripping with arrogance and condescension:

Dem Plan to Take Lugar Senate Seat

In an attack e-mail this week, Indiana Democratic Chairman Dan Parker said Senator Lugar's recent questioning of a U.S. imposed no-fly zone over Libya was "political posturing" and "zealotry."

Presumably, Dan Parker favors an American imposed no-fly zone in Libya; he wants American taxpayers to pay for it: and he does not want Congress to debate a Declaration of War.

Note this: Dan Parker is the Chairman of the Democratic Party. He knows nothing and cares nothing about America's policy on Libya. His interests are exclusively political. And as high minded as he is attempting to sound, his motive is transparent.

Horror of horrors, the head of the Democratic Party wants to elect Democrats.

I must say, being criticized by Dan Parker is something new for Dick Lugar. It's almost certainly a disquieting and unsettling sensation for Lugar, given that for most of the past decade virtually everyone in the Indiana Democratic Party never missed the chance to praise Lugar and proclaim his greatness to anyone that would listen (and if I had a few weeks, I could catalog an extremely long list of quotes from Indiana Democrats, and even Dan Parker himself) attesting to that point.

It isn't for nothing that Lugar is called Obama's favorite Republiacn.

You might say that being criticized by Democrats is a rare and infrequent phenomenon for Lugar.

It's not something rare or infrequent for almost every other Republican in the entire country.

Dan Parker knows what every Democrat leader in Indiana knows - Beat Senator Lugar in the Primary and the Democrats will win this Senate Seat.

I sincerely doubt this. Which Democrat? One of the ones that had fled to Illinois? One of their impotent state senate minority? One of their defeated members of Congress? One of their few surviving members of Congress that has spent the past two years rubber stamping the Obama agenda?

In Indiana, Democrats are an endangered species. Hoosier Republicans don't need to settle for a liberal or moderate Republican to win here, as Republicans sometimes have done in places like Maine with Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins or in Pennsylvania with Arlen Specter.

We don't need to settle for anything but a conservative that will fight Obama, not win his praise. Who will constantly be attacked by Dan Parker (or his replacement as chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party), not cry out when mildly criticized by them for the first time in literally an entire decade.

There is NO WAY that Richard Mourdock will ever win a Senate general election.

He's won statewide twice, most recently by a particularly decisive margin and before that in a year when the Democrats were loving on Lugar so much that they didn't run anyone against him.

And, before that, he was elected twice in Vanderburgh County (Evansville) in southwestern Indiana.

Richard Mourdock doesn't curl up in a ball and cry when Democrats attack him, either.

Lugar is whining and crying this much about an email in which Dan Parker spent half of his time praising Lugar for supporting a liberal agenda:

In the past, Lugar has offered support for pro-choice Supreme Court justices, stem cell research and the New START agreement. He's opposed to a reckless House Republican proposal to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood and public broadcasting.

These bipartisan decisions and his devotion to civility in politics are why Hoosiers have elected Lugar so many times.

Lugar doesn't appear to be very used to being criticized by Democrats; it's a new thing for him.

Richard Mourdock knows how to fight liberals. Dick Lugar is now complaining because liberals don't normally criticize him.

Lugar's email continues...

Not only are his politics impossible to sell to a majority of Hoosier voters, BUT, independent voters who control the outcome of EVERY election will be so enraged by the defeat of Senator Lugar, that they will punish the man who did it.

This is absurd. By this logic, we are supposed to believe that the entire ballot in Indiana, from top to bottom, is being held hostage if folks don't vote for another six years for Obama's favorite Republican.

Obama can count on any Democratic Senator to vote for what he wants. Obama can also count on Dick Lugar. Indiana needs a Senator that Hoosiers can count on, not a Senator that Obama can count on. That's not a Democrat, and that's also not Dick Lugar.

Dan Parker may know nothing about Libya, but he is not stupid about politics...and he's attempting to take Dick Lugar's Republican Senate seat for the Democratic party so they can continue the Obama agenda.

This last sentence sort of typifies the problem. It's not Dick Lugar's Senate seat. The seat belongs to the people of Indiana, and no one that sits in it (contrary to the opinions of Senator Lugar and his staff) is indispensable. We can do better than having it occupied by Obama's favorite Republican. It's time we do better.

Blue Dogs Never Change Their Stripes

When Baron Hill got beat by Mike Sodrel in 2004, he gave huge bonuses to his staff on his way out the door.

When he got beat this past November, he did it again.

Rep. Baron Hill a Democrat, was defeated, but Legistorm records show he gave out $144,864 in bonuses to his staff in the fourth quarter of 2010, which was a 61 percent increase from the average of the first three quarters of 2010.

You really can't teach a blue dog new tricks.

Lake County Paper to Fleebaggers: Come Home

You know the Democrats are in a bad position when even newspapers in hyper-Democratic Lake County are telling them to come back from Illinois.

Times of Northwest Indiana:

The Indiana House Democrats' flee circus is now in its fourth week. This impasse needs to end.

While the Democrats continue their tantrum in Urbana, Ill., the work they were elected to do is not being done. They vow they will stay away through the end of this session ending soon or a special session the governor might call. What are they proving? Only that they are delaying their inevitable return to reality.

If they continue their walkout, it will mean state government will shut down. Parks will close, police services will be curtailed, state support checks will not make the mail. The list goes on and on.

Unlike a continuing budget resolution passed by Congress, the Democrats' absence means no budget of any type can be adopted. No government funding, no government services or programs.

In spite of an assessed $250-per-day fine, the Democrats are hijacking our democratic form of government. They must return to Indianapolis, take their lumps, and then campaign next year on standing their ground, not running away.

Minority leader Pat Bauer has led his followers astray. His brand of obstructionism must end. Come back to reality. Come back to Indiana.

Pat Bauer and his Democratic caucus are a little bit of Indiana over in Illinois. Lake County is a little bit of Illinois here in Indiana.

But, on the upside for Democrats, Al Franken is in their corner, fighting hard for them:

Indiana Democratic Chairman Dan Parker says Minnesota Senator Al Franken is helping foot the bill for absent House Democrats staying in Urbana, IL.

Franken sent an e-mail to his supporters and, so far, Parker says $10,000 dollars has come in as a result, mostly in small donations.

Now if we could just get Franken to hold the media availabilities.

At the room rate for the Urbana Comfort Inn for forty people, that $10,000 will cover the bill for about four days.

Quote of the Day: Obama on Japan Earthquake

Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, particularly those who have lost loved ones in the earthquake and tsunamis. The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy.
- Obama statement after Japanese earthquake

Tweet of the Day: Class Act

Spoke @ Monroe Co. GOP dinner & signed Lugar's petition. Hopefully he will do the same when he returns to Indiana
- Richard Mourdock

Big Decisions

And the trip to Brazil, and the golf (mustn't forget the golf).

ABC News:

President Obama just could not wait for spring weather to arrive.

For the second week in a row, the most powerful man in the world stepped away from the White House to hit the golf course.

Even as his administration and the U.S. military help Japan recover from a devastating earthquake, and as the world worries about Fukushima's nuclear reactor, the president could not resist taking advantage of the 48-degree weather in the Washington, D.C., area.

The president left the White House Saturday afternoon for a short trip to Joint Andrews Base in Camp Springs, Md.

With cloudy skies, it's not the best weather for golf, but Obama loves to spend his Saturdays on the greens. Last fall, Obama went golfing darn near every weekend.

These are never quick "work on your swing" trips; usually the president plays 18 holes, as he did last week.

Obama's New War

The Atlantic has an interesting (if typically flattering to Obama) account of how America just kind of ambled into a war with Libya.

Legal Insurrection, dripping with irony, wonders how long it will be until John Kerry is against the war that he is currently supporting:

How Long Before John Kerry Is Against The Libyan War That He Was For?

Watching the Sunday morning shows is interesting for the first time in years, if only to see John Kerry and others who have bashed Bush for years spin like out of control tops to justify intervention in Libya on humanitarian grounds.

No end game? No problem, now.

No exit strategy? Already exited stage left.

No congressional authoritzation? Congress who?

Nuance, I guess.

If it falls apart, will they forget that they were for the war before they were against it? Like with Iraq?

Will Barack Obama be accused of lying them into war?

Maybe there will be a betting pool. If so, I will take June 15.

And, over at Power Line, they're praising the French:

[I]t might be an opportune time to give heartfelt and genuine praise to the French. They have taken some very ill-considered positions since 9/11, and they have taken some serious criticism from friends in the United States, some of it warranted, some not, certainly all of it stinging, and some of it making them resentful (the Freedom Fries stuff, but also articles in the Weekly Standard. Pierre Manent canceled his subscription to the Weekly Standard over some of their positions, despite his friendly attitude to much of what they represent.)

Sarkozy is showing that he has balls. We have a president who doesn't. Let's give credit where credit is due. And let's encourage our European allies to lead in situations like this. (There are conservatives in France who need to have such shows of support from Americans, without which they are a voice in the wilderness.) In other words, the silver lining of "Brackets" Obama's dithering and absenteeism is that it permits the European right, such as it is, to stand tall. Let's show our admiration when they do so.

I'm of divided mind about this whole thing. As much as this military intervention has been under the pretext of protecting civilians, one would think that (if civilians were seriously the reason for getting involved) that the time to act would have been when the rebels controlled half the country, not when Qaddafi had taken most of their territory (and the civilians living there) back from the rebels and left them besieged inside one city.

The no-fly zone (and the likely soon-to-follow airstrikes on Libyan ground forces to protect Benghazi and perhaps attempt to roll back Qaddafi's recent gains) would have been effective a few weeks ago. I'm not sure that they can be effective now. Time for that has run out.

Obama is clearly not the sort of president who makes decisions quickly on anything (except when it involves advancing a liberal progressive socialist agenda), and the international community isn't exactly known for quickly coming to consensus either. Of course, "going to war" should never be a rush decision, and Congress hasn't apparently been much involved in this whole thing (you'd expect they would be, even if they're not voting on a war resolution or some similar measure).

What we have here are the great powers intervening in a sovereign country in support of an armed rebellion. If the concern was seriously for civilians, there should have been action sooner. Now, it's too late for that. If you're a former rebel (or rebel sympathizer, or family member of a rebel, or even just accused by disagreeable neighbors of harboring rebel thoughts) in the area that Qaddafi took back in the past couple of weeks, you're a dead man walking if you're not already dead. Military intervention came too late for those people.

Obama seems to have a particularly limited view of what he is willing to have the United States armed forces do as a part of this conflict. He also has a limited view of how long he is willing to have them be involved. Does he have a similarly limited (or at least remotely realistic) view of what he expects to accomplish out of this? A few airstrikes and a no-fly zone will not save the rebels in Libya in the long run, and they won't topple Qaddafi either.

So, with a limited mandate, limited patience, and far less limited stated goals, what are we doing here? What are the end game and the exit strategy?

John Kerry should want to know.

Dispatches from the Lincoln Day Circuit: Washington County

Your humble correspondent also attended the Washington County Lincoln Day Dinner Thursday night. The crowd wasn't as large as that in Floyd County (Washington County is a third Floyd's size) but it was nonetheless energized.

State Senator Brent Steele and State Representative Steve Davisson spoke about the session, including Davisson memorably commenting about the House Republicans having to move over into the Senate to get things done while the Democrats were in Illinois (he speculated that he might have to sit on Senator Steele's lap since the Senate has many fewer seats, which got a good laugh).

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock gave a great speech talking about the parallels between Abraham Lincoln (whose name is on the event) and Ronald Reagan (whose hundredth birthday was earlier this year). Former County Chairman Marvin Clark introduced Mourdock and presented him with a gift (a knife made by Clark) afterward for speaking.

The Washington County GOP doesn't allow its county chairs to make endorsements. I'm not sure how that applies to former county chairs, but Clark made it very clear to everyone in the room that he was supporting Mourdock (without actually having to say as much).

In an interesting reflection of the Senate race, a form letter was read on Senator Dick Lugar's behalf. A couple of volunteers were present for Jim Wallace's campaign (though one of them forgot to bring his greeting letter to the podium when offered the chance to read it, though they got a second chance to speak later when they got that sorted out).

The food was good, the evening went well, the crowd was energized (Washington County Republicans won every race in 2010), and the atmosphere was marred only by the unspoken tension between Washington County Chairman Randall Bills and Washington County Vice Chairwoman Erin Houchin (also the 9th District Chairwoman) who the day before supported a rare motion before the State Committee to hear a complaint that requests Bills' removal as County Chairman by the State Committee.

The complaint was by Rhonda Greene, a radio host in Salem (the Washington County seat), who is upset with how Bills and the county GOP handled a caucus to fill a post-election vacancy in which Bills defeated Greene.

You can find out more about her radio show here. She had a very interesting interview recently with Vern Smith (an exiled Gary Democrat currently residing in Illinois) that's available here. And her opinions of the Democrat fleebaggers (both in Wisconsin and Indiana; she thinks Republicans are "disrespecting the people") are also interesting to read.

The motion, I'm told, has gone to a hearing committee to be appointed by State Chairman Eric Holcomb (whether that will be a kangaroo court or not, as Holcomb and Houchin are close, should be interesting to see).

It wouldn't be southern Indiana politics, the old saying goes, if blood wasn't always on the floor.

Dispatches from the Lincoln Day Circuit: Floyd County

Your humble correspondent attended the Floyd County Lincoln Day Dinner Friday night (and the Washington County Lincoln Day Dinner the night before). The event was a packed house (around 270 people, a record crowd, were present) to see Congressman (and likely future Governor) Mike Pence speak.

Pence gave a great talk despite his speech being paired back (roughly half of his normal remarks were delivered, I am told) due to the length of the evening. The festivities began at around 6:30 (doors opened at 6:00). It was almost 9:00 before the last people got through the food line, and it was after 10:00 before things wrapped up.

The length of the evening didn't dilute the Congressman's remarks. Even abbreviated (the local congressman talked longer than Pence did), Pence's speech stole the show. Pence also commended State Representatives Ed Clere and Rhonda Rhoads (who were both present) for their work in Indianapolis (they're staying and doing their jobs, he said), and they received standing ovations.

Jim Wallace, who is likewise running for governor, was present (which was sort of surreal, I guess).

Lesley Stedman of the Courier-Journal was present, and has a story:

But there was little doubt among the 270 Republicans gathered at the Calumet Club Banquet Room in New Albany that his visit was as much about gubernatorial politics as it was about federal issues.

Pence, R-6th District, already has announced that he will not run for president in 2012.

“Our calling is closer to home,” Pence said as the enthusiastic crowd gave him a standing ovation. “We’re having an awful lot of fun traveling around Indiana and deciding how we can best serve.”

It’s a decision most in the crowd believe already has been made.

“He can’t announce yet” that he's running for governor next year, said Floyd County Republican Chairman Dave Matthews, referring in part to a state law that prevents Pence from raising campaign funds before the legislative session ends on April 29. “But I think we all know.”

Pence certainly has been acting the role. The Floyd event was his sixth Lincoln Day dinner – a fundraiser for Republican parties – and he plans to attend 20 more in counties across the state.

Wherever Pence goes, the crowds are large. The Calumet Club attendance helped produce the largest Lincoln Day Dinner crowd that local Republicans can remember.

“It’s huge,” Matthews said. “It’s in part the popularity of Mike Pence. He’s a great speaker.”

He joked about a Democratic boycott that has stalled legislative business in the Indiana House. He asked state Reps. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, and Rhonda Rhoads, R-Corydon, to stand.

“Thank you for being in the fight – for showing up for work and doing the people’s business,” Pence said as the crowd stood again. “They probably never knew they’d get a standing ovation just for showing up for work. That’s what (House Minority Leader) Pat Bauer has done for Indiana.”

In a quieter tone, Pence promised that Republicans were prepared to fight for tough fiscal choices against the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate. He said GOP leaders need Republicans back home to stand firm as they insist on budget cuts that may seem difficult to accept.

“Stand with those who are taking a stand for fiscal responsibly and reform,” Pence urged the crowd. “I want you to walk out of here with the benefit of the doubt in your holster.”

To become the GOP candidate for governor, Pence must first win the party primary in May 2012. So far, the field has essentially cleared for him.

Jim Wallace, a little-known businessman and former Fishers and Hamilton County Council member, appears to be Pence’s only potential competitor. But while Wallace received an introduction at Friday night’s event, Pence was the keynote speaker.

Later, after shaking hands with everyone in the room, Wallace acknowledged his underdog status. Still, he said he’s been pleased with the reception he’s received at some 20 GOP dinners he’s already attended.

“The Republican Party really does celebrate fresh ideas and fresh faces,” Wallace said. “I think I have something unique to offer in this campaign.”

Pence also is a regular on the Sunday morning talk show circuit, where he espouses a socially and fiscally conservative philosophy but with a colloquial delivery that sometimes knocks opponents off guard.

“He would be great for the state of Indiana,” said Brian Zipperle of Greenville, who was attending his first Lincoln Day dinner in a dozen years. “I think he would continue the policies of (Gov.) Mitch Daniels in controlling our state budget, debts and deficits.”

Ramona Thompson of Greenville also is rooting for Pence to run. She heard him speak several years ago at an event in Kentucky – where she and her husband own Bill’s Jewelry & Pawn Shop – and decided he was a candidate she could support.

Since then, she’s visited him in Washington and accepted his invitation to attend the White House Christmas tree lighting. She calls him a public official with “integrity, character and strong moral values.”

Thompson said she hoped he would run for president but thinks he would make a strong governor as well.

“Congressman Pence has never forgotten the people of Indiana,” she said. “His door is always open.”

Overall, it was a great evening. The food was good (though the serving line was unavoidably long due to the crowd). The environment was pleasant, the speaker was great, and the crowd was energized.