Thursday, May 26, 2011

Going on Offense on Medicare Scare Tactics

I don't ascribe much political prognosticating value to the Republican special election loss in upstate New York. Republicans lost a special election in a heavily GOP district very early in the 2010 cycle. It didn't have any bearing on the outcome of the general election; I don't think NY-26 will have much bearing either.

That's not to say that there isn't work to be done, as Michael Barone rightly notes:

I think it has to be said that the Medicare issue helped the Democrat win an upset victory in a district that remained Republican even in the very Democratic years of 2006 and 2008...

Republicans need to go on the offensive on Medicare. Or as the Washington Post’s Dan Balz wrote in his analysis: “Republican leaders believe in their agenda and are not likely to back away from it just because they lost one House seat, particularly one that they could very well win back in 2012. But they have not yet won the argument over how best to deal with the country’s fiscal problems. They have accepted the responsibility to propose. Now they will need to learn how to persuade.”

There's an old saying in politics. Either you're on offense, or you're on defense.

The stakes for this country, and the irresponsibility of Obama and the Democrats is too great (they've gone two years without passing an annual budget and Obama's budget proposal was so bad that not one Democrat even voted for it), for the Republicans to sit on defense when it comes to being attacked on things like Medicare.

The Democrats have already slashed over half a trillion dollars out of Medicare as a part of Obamacare, and even so the program will collapse if something isn't done. Medicare needs to be reformed. If it isn't, then it will eventually become impossible for the government to pay for it and it cease to exist.

The sick irony is that the dark future in the Democrats' scary ads will come to fruition if their current policies are allowed to continue. The only way to avoid that future is to reform Medicare, and the country's entire entitlement system.

Republicans aren't alone in recognizing this. Heck, Bill Clinton says as much, too.

ABC News:

"So anyway, I told them before you got here, I said I’m glad we won this race in New York," Clinton told Ryan, when the two met backstage at a forum on the national debt held by the Pete Peterson Foundation. But he added, “I hope Democrats don't use this as an excuse to do nothing.”

Ryan told Clinton he fears that now nothing will get done in Washington.

“My guess is it’s going to sink into paralysis is what’s going to happen. And you know the math. It’s just, I mean, we knew we were putting ourselves out there. You gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving,” Ryan said.

Clinton told Ryan that if he ever wanted to talk about it, he should “give me a call.” Ryan said he would.

So Clinton likes that Democrats won, even as he admits that the tactics that achieved the victory are destructive to the country as a whole.

The realization that Medicare is on an unsustainable course is not a new one. It's something that Democrats used to agree with.

Democrats like Barack Obama, back in spring of 2009, just two short years ago; my how things change:

"What we still haven't seen from those who would argue that we're trying to do too much is an alternative budget," Obama said. "And the reason we haven't seen an alternative budget is because they know full well that the real drivers of our deficits long-term have almost everything to do with our rising health care costs. Our problem is Medicare and Medicaid, and we can't fix that unless we fix health care as a whole."

And Paul Ryan, of course, is always ahead of the curve. He's already got a new video out on YouTube going on offense, making the case:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

“A Rebellion Inside the Walls”

National Review sat down with Richard Mourdock for an interview. It's a great read.

Of particular interest is Mourdock's highlighting of Lugar's decision in 2008 to tacitly and without disapproval allow Obama to use photos of Lugar in his 2008 campaign ads in Indiana. I think that's the first time that Mourdock has mentioned that, and I think it's a significant (and underappreciated) element in the anger that many Republicans feel toward Lugar.

Mitch: “What I decided means very little. What happens to me means nothing. What America decides and what happens to the nation in the next few years means everything.”

Some introspection, and perspective, from the Hoosier that would have been president.


Mitch Daniels made his first public appearance Tuesday since opting against a 2012 presidential run, telling reporters he doesn't "think it's very sensible to spend any time looking back."

"I think I did the right thing," Daniels said, according to the Indianapolis Star, stressing that his personal verdict was regret-free.

The Indiana governor, sporting a bandage on his forehead from the wallop to the face he took Friday when a door swung into him at the gym, was asked whether his decision came prior to the accident or after it.

"Did that knock some sense into me?" he joked.

Daniels, who some have speculated could be a runningmate for the ultimate Republican nominee, didn't explicitly rule out running for vice president, but he described that scenario as "just so far-fetched."

He left open whether he would endorse one of the Republicans who are running, with his usual self-deprecating style.

"We'll see," he said. "I'm not sure who'd care."

He also said he planned to keep talking about the fiscal concerns in the country, through speeches and a book he's writing, due in the fall.

"What I decided means very little. What happens to me means nothing," Daniels said. "What America decides and what happens to the nation in the next few years means everything."

Daniels spoke as he's set to return to Washington on Wednesday for a handful of appearances, including headlining a National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraiser.

The term-limited Daniels was vague, the Star reported, about his next act.

“Sincerely," he said, "I haven’t got a clue right now.”

Daniels also insisted the main reason behind his decision wasn't his complicated marital history, but his concern for his four grown daugters — their privacy and their safety.

"Don't forget just the total loss of privacy," Daniels said. "I've got three daughters just early in their married lives. Think about the disruption of that that it would have meant."

Forty Senators Vote for Paul Ryan's Budget; Zero Senators Vote for Obama's Budget

So, um, tell me again which budget is more radical?

Which one contains a more viable plan to restore the fiscal solvency of our country?

And which party is serious about fixing our problems and which one just wants to scare people?

All these questions and more were answered in one day on the floor of the United States Senate.

This Particular Wonk Has Obviously Never Seen Mitch on the Campaign Trail

I have a high opinion of Stanley Kurtz and his work, but he couldn't be more wrong in his dismissal of Mitch Daniels as a candidate (or rather an unrealized candidate).

Anyone that has seen Mitch Daniels campaign in Indiana knows how much the "wonk" line just doesn't hold true when the proverbial RV hits the road. Mitch is issues smart, it's true. He's a wonk in that respect. But he's people smart as well, and in a way that folks in the beltway probably do not appreciate (and now never will).


I’m as wonky as the next DC think-tanker, which is why I’m announcing today that I will not be forming a presidential exploratory committee. The presidency isn’t about wonkmanship. It’s about leadership. I never understood the notion that Mitch Daniels was going to be our savior. Is Daniels more charismatic than Pawlenty? Hardly. In addition to liking him because he was a DC think-tanker himself, Daniels’ supporters in the punditocracy wanted him because he understood the ins and outs of the federal budget. As a former OMB director, he was the ultimate wonk! Bad idea. From the early indications, anyway, Daniels has a bit of a rhetorical tin ear. It’s by no means certain that he would have swept the field before him once his bid moved from mere fantasy to reality.

He goes on to throw cold water on the idea of Paul Ryan for president, a notion that seems to exist entirely because Bill Kristol won't stop telling anyone that will listen that Ryan would make a great candidate (even if Ryan himself has repeatedly, without hedge, said no).

Ryan would probably be a good candidate and a great president. But everyone has their moment. I don't think 2012 will be Ryan's. His place is on Capitol Hill, fighting the good fight from a different foxhole.

John Lithgow Destroys Newt Gingrich

Body Language

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vi Simpson Declines Gubernatorial Run

John Gregg, it seems, will be the only southern Indiana liberal running for governor next year (barring some unexpected change in the primary field).

Of course, with Simpson in the field, the contrast would have made the budget-busting, government-expanding, abortion-funding, lifetime-perk-loving lobbyist appear more moderate (at least in the relative comparison to the state senator of the People's Republic of Bloomington).

From the Indiana Daily Student:

Indiana State Sen. Vi Simpson announced Tuesday that she will not run for governor in 2012.

“I have been deeply moved by the hundreds of people across the state who believe in our shared ideals, and I am honored that they have encouraged me to carry their banner,” Simpson said in a statement released by the Indiana Democratic Party. “However, this must be a personal decision based on what is best for my family and for me, and I feel satisfied with the decision we have made.”

Simpson, the democratic minority leader, said she hopes to continue to be a progressive voice in the Statehouse. She said she wants to help the state government shift its focus to individual rights and economic equality.

Gregg is trying mightily to pretend he is some sort of southern Indiana conservative Democrat; he would have benefited from the contrast with Simpson.

It will be interesting to see how Gregg intends to accomplish this fiction with his liberal record, his career as a lobbyist and a politician, and by winning campaign strategies like holding his campaign announcement kickoff at a flower shop in the upscale liberal yuppy Indianapolis community of Broad Ripple.

Lugargeddon: Majority of Indiana GOP State Committee Supports Richard Mourdock

Given that over two-thirds of the county chairmen support Mourdock, this shouldn't be a surprise.

Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a U.S. Senate Candidate for 2012 Republican Primary against Senator Dick Lugar, received the support of the majority of the Indiana Republican State Central Committee. Treasurer Mourdock had previously received the support of Indiana’s national committeeman and national committeewoman as well as nearly 75% of Republican county chairman across the Hoosier State.

“I am grateful for the continued support of both national committee members and the support and encouragement of the majority of the Indiana Republican State Central Committee,” stated Treasurer Mourdock. “We all share a common belief that a leadership change in the United State Senate from Indiana is needed.

National Committeeman and Committeewoman, District Chairs and Vice-Chairs:

Jim Bopp, National Committeeman
Jim Banks District 3 Vice-Chairman
Dee Dee Benkie, National Committeewoman
Barbara Knochel, District 4 Vice-Chairwoman
Mary Ann Critser, District 1 Chairwoman
Ted Ogle, District 6 Chairman
Sue Landske, District 1 Vice-Chairwoman
Marsha Carrington, District 8 Chairwoman
Sam Frain, District 2 Chairman
Richard Bramer, District 8 Vice-Chairman
W. Edward Smith, District 2 Vice-Chairman
Donald Hayes, District 9 Vice-Chairman

Many of the remaining District Chairs and Vice-Chairs not supporting Treasurer Mourdock have a personal policy of not endorsing in Primary Elections or are not taking a public position in this race.

The Indiana Republican State Central Committee has the responsibility of electing the executive officers of the Indiana Republican Party including: state chairman, state vice-chairman, state secretary, and state treasurer.

“I know we are still roughly a year away from the 2012 Primary Election, but I am pleased about the continued momentum that our campaign is gaining across Indiana and the direction we are heading,” stated Treasurer

Note also the presence of both of Indiana's Republican National Committee members (the state chairman is also automatically a member, but Bopp and Benkie were elected).

All of these state committee members are subject to election (due to redistricting) in just two weeks.

The Lugar people (who have said anyone supporting Mourdock are "dupes") have implied that every one of these ten now has almost certainly has a target on their backs for taking this stand.

In that context, I prefer to think that more than a few of the eight that aren't on this list might just have targets on their backs from the two-thirds of county chairmen that support Mourdock.

Messer Running for Congress, Again

Maybe the third time will be the charm for Luke Messer (he lost to Pence in 2000, and Burton in 2010).

I doubt it; he's never really had much luck winning Republican Congressional primaries.

From the Indy Star:

Luke Messer, a former state representative and executive director of the Indiana Republican Party, today announced he is running for Congress in the newly drawn 6th congressional district.

Messer ran for Congress in 2010 against U.S. Rep. Dan Burton in the Republican primary. Burton, though, won with only about 30 percent of the vote against a crowded field of challengers. Messer came in second.

This year’s redistricting of congressional and legislative districts have resulted in Messer’s Shelbyville home instead being in the 6th district. The current congressman representing that area, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, is giving up a sure-shot at re-election to instead run for governor in 2012.

Messer, 42, said in his announcement that “like Mike, I will stand up for the U.S. Constitution, limited government principles and a return to fiscal sanity in our federal government.”

A wide field of candidates is expected in this race, in which the primary election is virtually akin to the general election because the district is so strongly Republican.

Quote of the Day: Quit Picking on Obama!

Legal Insurrection thinks that you should quit picking on Obama. After all, being president is, like, hard work and stuff.

During a visit today, Obama signed the guest book at Westminster Abbey "24 May, 2008."

I'm impressed that he got the month and day correct.

This will be about a three hour laugh.

Had it been [insert name of random Rebublican here] it would have been a three week media blitz, followed by a three month series of skits on Saturday Night Live.

But it was the guy who stopped the seas from rising. So stop picking on him.

You hear that? Leave Barack alone!

Yet Another Diet Coke & Mentos Video

I know, I know. You've seen plenty of these videos already. Trust me. This one is great. And what happens is rather unexpected.

Another Historic Accomplishment

History Lesson

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mitch Not Running

That about sums it up.

The task of saving America from the fiscal nightmare in which we find ourselves will be left to a field that is currently populated (in my opinion) with lesser candidates.

Mitch's statement was short and sour:

Over the last year and a half, a large and diverse group of people have suggested to me an idea that I never otherwise would have considered, that I run for President. I’ve asked for time to think it over carefully, but these good people have been very patient and I owe them an answer.

The answer is that I will not be a candidate. What could have been a complicated decision was in the end very simple: on matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women’s caucus, and there is no override provision. Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more.

I am deeply concerned, for the first time in my life, about the future of our Republic. In the next few years Americans will decide two basic sets of questions: Who’s in charge here? Should the public sector protect and promote the private sector or dominate and direct it? Does the government work for the people or vice versa?

And, are we Americans still the kind of people who can successfully govern ourselves, discipline ourselves financially, put the future and our children’s interests ahead of the present and our own?

I am confident that the answers will reaffirm the liberty and vitality of our nation, and hope to play some small part in proving that view true.

He also felt compelled to provide the Star with a second statement about his relationship with his wife, which is both odd and gratuitous (speculation on all of this would only have become material had he decided to run; it's gone with him not running, which is probably a big reason why he didn't run in the first place):

It is important to correct some factually incorrect accounts about the time when our family was divided. When Cheri and I parted, the court agreed with my view that our daughters’ best interests would be served by their staying in Indiana. Cheri and I were granted joint custody. Within a short time, she purchased a residence just a few minutes from our house. Until we remarried, we shared custody fully, the girls dividing their time between the two homes.

The notion that Cheri ever did or would “abandon” her girls or parental duty is the reverse of the truth and absurd to anyone who knows her, as I do, to be the best mother any daughter ever had.

All it takes for bad men to triumph is for good men to do nothing. And good women to not let good men do anything.

I do not think that the Republican nominee exists in the current field, but I do think that the odds of defeating Obama are lessened for want of a capable one.

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Someone will fill the void being left by extremely capable men like Mitch Daniels (and Haley Barbour and Chris Christie, among others) saying no.

We just don't know who that is yet, but we'd better know soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oh Look, Another Daniels “Quote” Taken Out of Context, This Time on Health Care Mandates

Come on, Mittens. Is this really the best your thousand hired monkeys banging away at Google searches can do when it comes to oppo research on Mitch Daniels?

Back in 2003, when he was running for governor, a reporter for the South Bend Tribune (not exactly a paper friendly to Republicans, mind), said that he favored universal health care mandate. No quote was given and the only context was provided by the reporter:

The candidate [Mitch Daniels] said he favors a universal health care system that would move away from employee-based health policies and make it mandatory for all Americans to have health insurance.

Daniels envisioned one scenario in which residents could certify their coverage when paying income taxes and receive a tax exemption that would cover the cost.

“We really have to have universal coverage,” Daniels said.

Under his plan, Daniels said, the nation could get away from the inefficient and unfair way in which health care is provided to those who are uninsured, many of whom end up in emergency rooms or “at clinics like this one.”

One of the many reasons that health care in America is broken is that health insurance is expensive. Why is health insurance expensive? Because people with insurance have to effectively subsidize people that don't (who tend to not have it because it's expensive, so it's a rather nasty feedback loop).

Additionally, the Constitution of the United States does not give the government the power to compel the people to buy health care, so a mandate is out of the question. And Mitch is not saying here that he's for a mandate, merely that the system would work a whole heck of a lot better if everyone had health insurance (because everyone invariably has health care, even if they can't afford health insurance).

It's sort of the sort of wonkish observation you tend to have from Mitch Daniels. The man speaks in sentences and paragraphs, not in sound bites or short clipped quotations.

Anyway, the Governor's office did a good job of blowing apart the whole "Mitch is a closet liberal that wants to mandate you have to buy health care" thing in its cradle:

Jane Jankowski, a spokeswoman for Daniels, said that the governor does not support an individual mandate.

“Governor Daniels favors giving every American a tax credit individually so they can purchase insurance that is right for them,” Jankowski told National Review Online. “He believes nearly all would use it, so coverage would be nearly universal. He does not support a mandate.”

Jankowski added that opposition to an individual mandate “has always has been the governor’s position.”

“I don’t believe in mandates,” Daniels said in a radio interview with Michael Smerconish earlier today. “We took a very, very different approach here in Indiana, more or less health saving accounts for low income people.”

Daniels added that he didn’t agree that “as a matter of either good health care policy or, frankly, our constitutional liberties, that government at any level should be ordering Americans to buy a given product.”

Let me repeat that. Mitch Daniels is not a closet liberal that wants to mandate you have to buy health care. There's one of those in the race already.

Mitch's eight years as Governor of Indiana give us concrete policy examples that prove the absurdity of this argument, just as Mitt Romney's four years in Massachusetts (he ran away from seeking a second term because he knew they wouldn't reelect him) give us a concrete policy example (Romneycare) that proves who is the real liberal and supporter of health care mandates.

At any rate, this is nowhere near the supposed "Mitch killer" that Romney's dumpster-divers must have hoped.


In 2006, the Indiana governor even worked with the same consulting firm that crafted RomneyCare, and the plan that he eventually implemented was far less sweeping than the one in Massachusetts, and didn’t include an individual mandate. So as long as there’s no pattern of these comments, this shouldn’t be an insurmountable problem for him with fiscal conservatives.

Again, both Mitch Daniels and Mitt Romney have concrete policy examples when it comes to health care. One involved a mandate (Romney). One did not, and instead focused on market-based savings accounts (Mitch).

It doesn't get any simpler than that.

Wanted: Lugar Doctrine on Nomination Votes

Credit where due; Dick Lugar voted against the nomination of the absolutely awful Goodwin Liu to the already absolutely awful 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

But this vote raises an important question. What is the Lugar Doctrine on judicial nominations (and other presidential nominations for that matter)? Previously, we have been told ad nauseam that Lugar votes for absolutely awful left-wing radicals (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan all come to mind) simply because he believes in the President's prerogative under the Constitution to appoint whoever he wants. Recently, Lugar was the lone Republican to vote for Obama's nominee for Deputy Attorney General, James Cole, a lefty that believes that terrorists were best dealt with in courts (rather than killed with missiles from drones or shot dead in their mansions in suburban Pakistan).

For Dick Lugar, "advise and consent" has always meant and been read as "rubber stamp."

No longer. Apparently, what we once believed to be Lugar's standard on judicial nominees is no longer in effect. Lugar's vote against Goodwin Liu has proven that to us.

So there must be some other criteria for determining why Lugar votes for a nominee. Perhaps the liberalism, meager careers, and shallow records of Kagan and Sotomayor were sufficient for him whereas Goodwin Liu's was not. Who knows.

Winston Churchill supposedly once asked a woman if she would sleep with him in exchange for five million pounds. She answered that she would, pending agreement on specifics. Churchill then asked her if she would sleep with him for only five pounds. The woman became angry, and demanded to know just what sort of woman Churchill thought she was. Churchill replied that the matter of the kind of woman she was had been settled; all that remained was haggling over the price.

So it is with Dick Lugar. The fact is that he will vote against some judicial nominees, whereas he has in the past voted for others. All that remains now is the explanation of why some liberals are acceptable to him, but others are not.

And I'm sure Richard Mourdock's primary challenge had nothing to do with it.

Quote of the Day: The Waiting Game

It might have been a brilliant tactical decision by Mitch Daniels, the Governor of Indiana, to wait out the winter and spring and enter the race on the late-ish side, in June. He will have avoided the silliest of the silly season and emerge with the thanks of a grateful party. The same, by the way, was true in 2007 when Fred Thompson, the former senator, entered the race in August to great excitement and great expectations—only it became clear that his heart really wasn’t in it and except for one stunning debate performance his candidacy was stillborn. As long as Daniels is not Thompson in spirit, he can be Thompson in strategy and that would actually be a very good thing for him.
- John Podhoretz

Lots of Republicans Liked Cap-and-Trade Once Upon a Time... Except (You Guessed It) Mitch

You can almost hear the snickering from the liberals at The Atlantic as they rattle off the Republican presidential candidates that at one time or another in the past supported some sort of cap-and-trade initiative (or some initiative comparably similar to cap-and-trade).

You can also imagine the Obama staffer standing over their shoulder as they write the article.

Supporting a cap-and-trade approach to greenhouse gas regulation is basically taboo in the GOP these days, but most of the top-tier Republican presidential contenders have backed it in the past.

John McCain...
Tim Pawlenty...
Mitt Romney...
Mike Huckabee...
Sarah Palin...
Newt Gingrich...

These changed minds show that a lot has changed in the GOP when it comes to energy policy in just a few short years. In 2007 and 2008, the party's top politicians had reached a consensus that global warming existed, was probably caused by humans, and required an aggressive emissions-regulation scheme to confront it.

Today, they say the opposite.

Somebody's pushing the cap-and-trade meme all of a sudden, because there's a similar article at Slate.

But Slate's article, unlike the Atlantic's, notes that there's someone not on the above list. He hasn't been for cap-and-trade in the past and he isn't now saying the opposite of something he said just a few short years ago.

Yup. Mitch Daniels:

Want to guess which potential Republican candidate looks ready to pass the pH test on this? Mitch Daniels. In early 2009, when the issue was ill-defined, he was already arguing against it. That's a nice arrow in the quiver the next time he's asked about the "social truce."

Here's Mitch slamming cap-and-trade in 2009 in an op-ed in the pages of the Wall Street Journal:

Quite simply, it looks like imperialism. This bill would impose enormous taxes and restrictions on free commerce by wealthy but faltering powers — California, Massachusetts and New York — seeking to exploit politically weaker colonies in order to prop up their own decaying economies. Because proceeds from their new taxes, levied mostly on us, will be spent on their social programs while negatively impacting our economy, we Hoosiers decline to submit meekly.

The Waxman-Markey legislation would more than double electricity bills in Indiana. Years of reform in taxation, regulation and infrastructure-building would be largely erased at a stroke. In recent years, Indiana has led the nation in capturing international investment, repatriating dollars spent on foreign goods or oil and employing Americans with them. Waxman-Markey seems designed to reverse that flow. “Closed: Gone to China” signs would cover Indiana’s stores and factories.

Our state’s share of national income has been slipping for decades, but it is offset in part by living costs some 8% lower than the national average. Doubled utility bills for low-income Hoosiers would be an especially cruel consequence of the Waxman bill. Forgive us for not being impressed at danglings of welfare-like repayments to some of those still employed, with some fraction of the dollars extracted from our state.

And for what? No honest estimate pretends to suggest that a U.S. cap-and-trade regime will move the world’s thermometer by so much as a tenth of a degree a half century from now. My fellow citizens are being ordered to accept impoverishment for a policy that won’t save a single polar bear.

It gets better. At a time when the tea party was still merely a nascent idea, Mitch Daniels evoked the language of the American revolution in his opposition to Obama:

No one in Indiana is arguing for the status quo: Hoosiers have been eager to pursue a new energy future. We rocketed from nowhere to national leadership in biofuels production in the last four years. We were the No. 1 state in the growth of wind power in 2008. And we have embarked on an aggressive energy-conservation program, indubitably the most cost-effective means of limiting CO2.

Most importantly, we are out to be the world leader in making clean coal -- including the potential for carbon capture and sequestration. The world's first commercial-scale clean coal power plant is under construction in our state, and the first modern coal-to-natural gas plant is coming right behind it. We eagerly accept the responsibility to develop alternatives to the punitive, inequitable taxation of cap and trade.

Our president has commendably committed himself to "government that works." But his imperial climate-change policy is government that cannot work, and we humble colonials out here in the provinces have no choice but to petition for relief from the Crown's impositions.

One interesting thing about Mitch Daniels is that you can look at some of the moderate-sounding stuff he says (the truce comment as a case in point) and then compare it to the very conservative stuff he does (signs toughest anti-abortion bill in America).

Invariably, Mitch's rhetoric is nowhere near as conservative as his actions and (generally) his policies. And he's enjoyed incredible popularity and political success while doing this.

The cynic in me can't help but observe that this is the flip-side of what infuriates conservatives about liberals (they talk a moderate game and then do everything far-left when they hope that nobody is looking). It would appear that a conservative variant of this has the potential to be extremely successful (at least in Indiana, if not nationwide).

EDIT: After I wrote this post, I realized that Paul Ogden just wrote on Mitch opposing cap-and-trade. His post, here, is worth reading.

National Review & Wall Street Journal Come Out Swinging Against Mitt Romney

I think that Mitt Romney may be one of the only people in America that doesn't realize he will never be elected president. Well, him and the campaign staff whose paychecks he is signing.

National Review:

Costs are rising in Massachusetts, price controls are in the offing, and the plan is losing popularity. We understand that Romney does not feel that he can flip-flop on what he had touted as his signature accomplishment in office. But if there is one thing we would expect a successful businessman to know, it is when to walk away from a failed investment.

The Wall Street Journal:

Obama's Running Mate

As everyone knows, the health reform Mr. Romney passed in 2006 as Massachusetts Governor was the prototype for President Obama's version and gave national health care a huge political boost. Mr. Romney now claims ObamaCare should be repealed, but his failure to explain his own role or admit any errors suggests serious flaws both in his candidacy and as a potential President...

In reality, [Romney's] ostensible liberal allies like the late Ted Kennedy saw an opening to advance their own priorities, and in Mr. Romney they took advantage of a politician who still doesn't seem to understand how government works. It's no accident that RomneyCare's most vociferous defenders now are in the White House and left-wing media and think tanks. They know what happened, even if he doesn't.

For a potential President whose core argument is that he knows how to revive free market economic growth, this amounts to a fatal flaw. Presidents lead by offering a vision for the country rooted in certain principles, not by promising a technocracy that runs on "data." Mr. Romney's highest principle seems to be faith in his own expertise.

More immediately for his Republican candidacy, the debate over ObamaCare and the larger entitlement state may be the central question of the 2012 election. On that question, Mr. Romney is compromised and not credible. If he does not change his message, he might as well try to knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket.

And then there's his campaign's horribly tone deaf reply to the WSJ editorial, encapsulated best by Ramesh Ponnuru:

And what kind of response is this? “Gail Gitcho, communications director for Romney’s presidential exploratory committee, shot back that the paper ‘has been writing editorials against the Massachusetts health care plan since before the plan was actually put into place’.” Right: The Journal recognized that the plan was a bad idea from the get-go. Their question to Romney is: Why couldn’t he?

Those who stand for nothing, Alexander Hamilton once said, will fall for anything. So it is with Mitt Romney.

Gallup: Obama's bin Laden Bounce Gone

Welcome back to normal, Mr. President.

Public opinion about Obama is becoming "sticky"; even the best possible thing for Obama (killing bin Laden) cannot move his numbers in a meaningful or lasting way at this point. This doesn't exactly do much to support the meme being floated by Democrats and the media (one and the same, really) that Obama is invincible and will be easily reelected.

Mitch to Speak to Tennessee GOP

Nothing related to a presidential campaign to see here. Nope. Not at all. Move along.

Pay no attention to the campaign behind the curtain.

The Tennessee Republican Party says the keynote speaker its annual Statesmen's Dinner is Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a potential presidential candidate.

The party's annual fundraiser is scheduled for July 15 in Nashville.

Daniels said on Tuesday that it won't be long before he decides whether to run for president, but that he doesn't have a timetable for making an announcement regarding the 2012 race.

The former White House budget director is being recruited by Republicans who hope his fiscal conservatism would appeal to voters alarmed by the national debt and big government.

Lefty Wisconsin Protests Cost $8 Million

Maybe Scott Walker should send them the bill.

Obama's Hot Air Energy Policy

More on the Daniels Marriage

Real Clear Politics has an interesting article up about "Getting to Yes for Mitch and Cheri Daniels." It includes some tidbits about their marriage that I've not heard before.

The glaring reason for the family's hesitation is a 1990s gap in the couple's marriage, when Mrs. Daniels divorced the now-governor and fled to California with a doctor, who was married at the time. Mrs. Daniels returned to Indiana several years later and remarried Mitch. It has long been assumed that the experience is a painful one for the couple that they do not like speaking about publicly.

But it may be less about the questions awaiting the Danielses in a nationally televised interview, which they undoubtedly will have to do if he runs. Instead, the concern may revolve more around others who were affected by the situation.

According to those familiar with the details from more than a decade ago, Mrs. Daniels' decision to end her first marriage and leave Indiana with another woman's husband hurt several other people, some of them children. The cross-country move blindsided the doctor's then-spouse, sources said, breaking up that marriage and that family.

It's long in the past now, and those involved in this drama say they have moved on, but the intensely personal nature of that episode -- and the questions that will inevitably be asked about it if Mitch Daniels decides to run -- clearly have left him and his family torn.

He told the college students that running for president was like bungee jumping, adding, "This is one where you have to strap a bunch of people, your family and others, along with you." He called it a savage process.

That concern is -- now according to Daniels himself, on the record -- the last thing standing in his way.

I think it would be hard for anyone that saw just how friendly and down-home Cheri Daniels was last Thursday night at the Indiana GOP's spring dinner to characterize her as some sort of homewrecker.

Business Genius

Immigration Results

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mitch “Not Going to Take Much Longer”

When it comes to crapping or getting off the can, Mitch Daniels isn't going to keep us waiting for much longer.

There's also some interesting tidbits about the sort of campaign Mitch would apparently like to wage.

The Indy Star:

In an interview this morning, Gov. Mitch Daniels reiterated that he is nearing a decision on whether to run for president.

"I'm not going to take much longer," Daniels told me.

Daniels said his family has now had "a lot of time to marinate" the issue and was ready to enter the final stage of the decision-making process. In recent days, some pundits and politicos have accused the governor of being coy and stretching the decision out too far. He insisted he has stuck to his initial promise: to finish the state legislative session, which ended late last month, and then take a short period of time to dig into the issue of a White House run.

"I wish people would figure out we're not BS'ing them," Daniels said, declining to say whether he was leaning toward or against a run.

I'd gotten the governor on the phone to talk about his 2004 campaign, and whether the retail nature of it could be taken to scale in a national campaign. That column will run later in the week. For now, though, here are highlights of the interview:

>> Daniels said he would continue to sleep in voters' homes if he does run for president, as he has as governor and during his two statewide campaigns. "It not only saves money but you learn so darn much," he said.

>> He said his goal would be to "take the venom" out of national politics and to "show respect for our opponent."

>> As much as he would like to, he said the travel demands of a national campaign would rule out using an RV to travel, an approach that served him well during his Indiana campaigns. And he understands that the security constraints on presidential candidates prohibit the type of spontaneous stops - at bars and diners, for instance - that he often made during his campaigns.

>> He said he would like to, if possible, avoid the typical presidential campaign photo ops in which dozens of reporters watch the candidates as they meet with diners or other voters. "Everyone in there is just a prop," he said of such events.

Of course, your mileage on the wisdom of the whole waiting thing may vary.

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post thinks that waiting is working for Mitch, but won't work for much longer:

“I think it is smart,” said GOP strategist Mike Murphy of Daniels’ waiting game strategy. “Why have the burn rate with no voter attention?”

Under Murphy’s logic, Daniels’ hard-to-get approach to the race not only turns him into a hot commodity for those looking for a fresh face to get behind but also saves him from raising and spending money on a bid before anyone even in early voting states is paying much attention.

While the Daniels’ buzz continues to grow — witness the “Run Mitch Run” signs being waved at last week’s Indiana Republican fundraising dinner — recent electoral history suggests that simply being the last major candidate to enter the race is no guarantee of success in the nomination fight.

And, now that the race has begun in earnest it becomes more difficult for Daniels to remain on the sidelines for much longer. The clearest evidence of why waiting might not work much longer? Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s monster $10 million one-day haul, a sum that some of his rivals could struggle to equal in the entire three-month quarter.

Daniels’ wait and see strategy has served him well to this point. But the day is rapidly approaching when he needs to make up his mind or run the risk of jumping the political shark.

I've often said that Mitch Daniels (unlike Mitt Romney) understands that an important element of a successful political campaign is for people to want you to run; it is not enough to merely yourself want to run. If wanting it yourself were enough, Mitt Romney would be president right now. Mitch has, intentionally or not, reached a position where a lot of people want (and are waiting for) him to run. But they won't keep thinking that forever. Just ask Fred Thompson.

GOP County Chairman on Lugar & Mourdock: “Well, Consider Me Duped.”

Great letter in the pages of the Indianapolis Star today from Mark Wynn, Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman (that's the area around Madison, for our readers from Kentucky).

The days of Indiana county political party chairs wielding power in smoke-filled rooms are long past. The ability to influence county jobs and collect revenue from license branches is no longer part of the Indiana political scene, and for good reason. The job now largely consists of recruiting candidates and making sure they have the financial means and grassroots support they need to win.

That's why I am more than a little surprised at the attention we have been getting recently in the Indiana Republican U.S. Senate primary. It was reported recently that Sen. Richard Lugar is reaching out by telephone to county chairs. This follows an email sent by a Lugar staffer claiming that those county chairs supporting Richard Mourdock in his primary bid have been "duped."

Well, consider me duped. My decision to support Mourdock is not based on tea party politics or strict adherence to conservative dogma. My decision is based foremost on my definition of representation. I believe that our elected officials should be available, responsive and responsible to the citizens they represent.

The number of times Lugar has been to Jefferson County in the past decade can be counted on one hand with fingers to spare. This isn't about contact with party officials. I don't need a phone call or to be courted, I simply need to know that you know our county exists and that you hear the concerns of our residents.

I need to know that you have talked to our farmers, our factory workers, our small businesspeople. I need to know that you have some sense of the struggles and the challenges they face. They need to know that you are responsive; they need to know that they can expect more than a form letter to their questions and a fundraising letter every six years.

Mourdock has been to Jefferson County multiple times in the past 12 months. I've talked with several of my fellow GOP chairs (not exactly at the heart of the tea party) who express the same frustration with Lugar and the same appreciation of Mourdock.

I question the ability of an elected official to represent the people of his state when he keeps them at arm's length. The arrogance of the "duped" email is indicative of the sense of entitlement that the senator and his campaign appear to be suffering from. The Indiana Senate seat is no more Richard Lugar's seat than the Massachusetts Senate seat was Ted Kennedy's seat.

Where so called "establishment" Republicans have been defeated, the media are quick to give credit to "extreme" wings of the GOP, or the tea party. I think it is much more likely that voters in those states suffered from the same feelings of disconnect that so many in Indiana are expressing.

Mitch Doesn't Like Light Beer

Who knew?

The Economics of Business Tax Cuts

There's a lengthy discussion in the Courier-Journal of Indiana's move to reduce corporate taxes. The short version? Businesses create jobs, businesses move where taxes are low, and that's a good thing for Indiana.

Mitch in Iowa after Huckabee

FiveThirtyEight looks at Mitch Daniels' chances in Iowa with Mike Huckabee out of the race:

Though he is an evangelical and a Midwesterner, Mr. Daniels is probably less an Iowa candidate than a New Hampshire candidate. In New Hampshire, his fiscal conservatism and wonkish demeanor should go over well — after all, the state voted for Paul Tsongas. So he may be the candidate most likely to replicate what Mr. McCain did in 2008, and slingshot from a strong second- or third-place finish in Iowa to a victory in the Granite State.

But he’ll have problems if Mr. Romney finishes first in Iowa, or if Mr. Pawlenty finishes ahead of him in any order. An Iowa result like . . .

1. Bachmann 30%
2. Romney 23%
3. Daniels 19%

. . . might keep him alive; any number of other permutations might not work. Moreover, Mr. Daniels, like Ms. Palin and some other candidates, may be punished by Iowa voters for having dithered over whether to enter the race; the state rewards candidates who establish a presence there early.

Tweet of the Day: Mitt Messaging Mitch

Martin of Politico:

1 other note from vegas: Mitt money men v much want his haul ystdy to send msg to Mitch. He's the 1 they watching.

Commentary doesn't think that this "big money scare strategy" will work for Romney. After all, it didn't work for him last time.

By raising $10.25 million on Monday, Mitt Romney got his official campaign off to a lucrative official start. The one-day event surpassed the results of a similar fundraising kickoff that garnered him over $7 million back in 2007 for his disappointing 2008 presidential run. But it’s doubtful that an extra $3 million or far more than that will produce a happier ending for the former Massachusetts governor.

The strategic thrust of Romney’s 2012 campaign is that he has more cash, name recognition, and mainstream support than anyone else. By demonstrating credibility early on and amassing a huge lead in fundraising, he believes he can either scare potential opponents out of the race or swamp lesser-known rivals for the affections of the party establishment. Romney would then square off against whoever emerged from the second tier of marginal candidates and squash them in the primaries, because he would be seen as the only possible president left standing.

It might just have worked—if only Barack Obama not convulsed the nation by pushing through a national health care plan that bore a strong resemblance to the program that Romney signed in Massachusetts. But Obama did what he did, and all the king’s horses and all the cash in Las Vegas, where Romney gathered his big donors yesterday, can’t put his prospects back together again. Romney won’t be able to buy the affections of a Republican electorate that views opposition to government mandated health care plans as the focal point of their effort to defeat Obama’s reelection bid.

Romney has spent most of 2011 concentrating on putting together a war chest with help from his friends and admirers on Wall Street. But as the overwhelmingly negative reaction to his health care speech last week in which he doubled down on his RomneyCare record showed, all his cash can’t make up for the damage the issue has done to him. Right now rather than being intimidated by Romney’s supposed huge head start, Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, and the even more obscure Jon Huntsman are all convinced they could beat Romney. Even more daunting is the fact that even an outlier like Michele Bachmann is probably thinking the same thing. They are all convinced that he is nothing but a well-financed paper tiger with no more chance of getting the nomination than Herman Cain or Rick Santorum and are going ahead on the assumption that Romney’s campaign will sink swiftly as soon as we start counting votes rather than money.

Travis Hankins for Congress (Again)

Joining the ranks of Luke Messer for Congress (again) in what is soon to be the Blood-Red-But-Still-Bloody 6th District.

Travis Hankins, a Tea Party Republican who came close in the 9th Congressional District last year, will run in the 6th Congressional District next year.

Hankins, in a news release, says that not enough conservatives were elected in 2010. He says Washington politicians are out of touch.

He joins Luke Messer and others in what will be a long list of Republicans looking to succeed Mike Pence.

A guy's got to make a living, right?

A World of Change

This video was played at the Indiana Republican Party's spring dinner last week.

Go ahead and just try and tell me that the campaign ads for a Mitch for President campaign wouldn't be awesome.

Photo of the Day: Vindication

He Thinks They're Stupid

Sunday, May 15, 2011

George Will: Obama, Pawlenty, or Daniels

A bold prediction from the Sunday morning shows:

In all likelihood, one of those three individuals will be (or still be) president in 2013, George Will said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I think we know with reasonable certainty that standing up there on the West front of the Capitol on January 20th, 2013, will be one of three people: Obama, Pawlenty and Daniels,” he said. “I think that’s it.”

What about Newt Gingrich?

“[His] problems are so far beyond just his multiple marriages and all that,” Will said. “This is just not a serious candidate.”

Lugar Drops Sponsorship of DREAM Act, But Says He Will Still Vote for It

On the one hand, this has been touted as a result of Richard Mourdock's conservative primary challenge to Lugar.

On the other hand, it's a game of smoke-and-mirrors, seeing as how Lugar's spokesperson openly admits that the move is entirely symbolic, since Lugar would still vote for the bill anyway. It's not like the DREAM Act loses anything material by him no longer being a sponsor.

It just highlights that Lugar is sufficiently worried about Mourdock to attempt to pander to some element of the conservative base of the Republican Party (which runs counter to his traditional strategy of late of calling conservatives "dupes" and telling them to "get real"). Somehow, I don't think that anyone is going to be "duped" by Lugar still supporting the DREAM Act even if he isn't sponsoring it.

The Indy Star:

WASHINGTON -- As the politics of the 2012 election heat up, GOP Sen. Richard Lugar declined Wednesday to join Democrats in reintroducing an immigration measure he's long supported.

Since 2005, Lugar has co-sponsored with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., a bill to let illegal immigrants who grew up in the United States earn legal status through college or the military.

But Lugar, who faces challenges from a Republican and a moderate Democrat in his bid for a seventh term, did not sign on to the latest introduction of the bill, announced Wednesday by Durbin and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Lugar may still vote for the bill if it comes up for a vote, according to spokesman Mark Helmke. But that depends "on the circumstances in which the bill was brought to the floor and the political posturing surrounding such a vote," Helmke said.

Lugar continues to work with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., on a different bill that would help immigrant entrepreneurs get visas if the immigrant has the backing of an investor.

Lugar's spokesman said the senator did not join Democrats in reintroducing the federal legislation to help children of illegal immigrants -- known as the DREAM Act, or Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors -- because he said Democrats have politicized the issue.

The Democrats? Politicize immigration? Surely they would never do such a thing. Surely they've never done something like that before, right? This pandering must be something entirely new, not something that existed long before Lugar decided to no longer sponsor the bill. Perish the thought.

Lugar was one of three Republicans who joined most Democrats in December in a failed try to consider the House-passed DREAM Act.

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock has cited Lugar's support for the DREAM Act as one reason he's challenging Lugar in the primary.

Rep. Joe Donnelly, who announced Monday that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for the Senate race, opposed House passage of the DREAM Act last year.

Mourdock chimes in:

Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock indicated his surprise that Senator Dick Lugar has reversed himself on the DREAM Act and will not co-sponsor the legislation this session. Senator Lugar was a major proponent of the DREAM Act during last December’s lame-duck session of Congress. It is unclear whether Senator Lugar will vote for the legislation, which seeks to provide amnesty for certain illegal immigrants.

“I have opposed from the beginning legislation that would open the door to amnesty for illegal immigrants, including efforts that would provide U.S. citizenship to their children. When you reward a bad behavior, you only get more of it. We need to stop illegal immigration not encourage it,” explained Treasurer Mourdock. “While I commend Senator Lugar for rethinking his co-sponsorship of this misguided legislation, I have to question whether he would be changing his position if I had not decided to challenge him in the Republican primary.”

Earlier this year, Senator Dick Lugar received an award from the LYC, La Plaza, and the Indiana Latino Scholarship Fund for his efforts in trying to push DREAM Act legislation through the lame-duck session last December.3 Senator Lugar showed his public support for the LYC’s hunger strike against U.S. immigration laws last year according to a video of Senator Lugar posted on the group’s website.4

“The Latino Youth Collective organization is an “Obama-esque” group, which has members who promote illegal activities in Indiana. Senator Lugar should disassociate himself from this group entirely and return the award he was given by them,” stated Treasurer Mourdock.

And the more things change, the more they stay the same. Lugar is still supporting the DREAM Act. He just doesn't want to "sponsor" it. It's a distinction without a difference. It's long past time for him to go.

Indiana Supreme Court: No Resisting Police Entering Your House; Oh, & They Can Enter Without Knocking First Too

I'm not a lawyer, but this strikes me as a rather scary ruling. (Bad in the sense of its applicability to the citizenry of a free society; I don't know about the intricate legal details of it.) Maybe there's some nuance of it that I'm missing.

Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.

In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer's entry.

"We believe ... a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence," David said. "We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest."

David said a person arrested following an unlawful entry by police still can be released on bail and has plenty of opportunities to protest the illegal entry through the court system.

Justice Robert Rucker, a Gary native, and Justice Brent Dickson, a Hobart native, dissented from the ruling, saying the court's decision runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"In my view the majority sweeps with far too broad a brush by essentially telling Indiana citizens that government agents may now enter their homes illegally -- that is, without the necessity of a warrant, consent or exigent circumstances," Rucker said. "I disagree."

Rucker and Dickson suggested if the court had limited its permission for police entry to domestic violence situations they would have supported the ruling.

But Dickson said, "The wholesale abrogation of the historic right of a person to reasonably resist unlawful police entry into his dwelling is unwarranted and unnecessarily broad."

This is the second major Indiana Supreme Court ruling this week involving police entry into a home.

On Tuesday, the court said police serving a warrant may enter a home without knocking if officers decide circumstances justify it. Prior to that ruling, police serving a warrant would have to obtain a judge's permission to enter without knocking.

The court decision didn't break down along "party" lines.

Opposing the decision (which you can read online here) were justices Robert Rucker (an O'Bannon appointee) and Brent Dickson (an appointee of Governor Orr). In favor of the decision were justices Frank Sullivan (a Bayh appointee), Steven David (a Daniels appointee), and Randall Shepherd (an Orr appointee).

The no-knock opinion (online here) was unanimous.

The potential political wrinkle in all of this is that Justice David (who wrote the no-resist opinion) was a Daniels appointee, and (at least on its surface and in initial reporting) this decision appears to be a considerable expansion of government power and a reduction in individual rights (at least as seen historically).

Again, maybe I'm missing something. It's hard, for example, to see the Constitution as protecting the right of a citizen to push a police officer entering their home (with a duly-approved search warrant) up against a wall.

At the same time, it's hard to imagine this not coming up in some form should Mitch run for president.

GOP Hopefuls Pushing Dirt on Daniels Marriage

Welcome to the gutter.

Anyone want to take a guess on which campaign would be pushing out information attacking Mitch's marital history?

From the Washington Post:

The governor’s political enemies — those who are eager to box out a promising contender with a reputation for fiscal seriousness, establishment backing and intellectual heft — are taking him at his word.

A rival campaign has identified the first lady’s reticence as a pressure point before she steps fully into the limelight. The couple has a complicated personal history. They divorced in 1994, and Cheri Daniels moved to California, where she remarried. The future governor, then a senior executive at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, raised the couple’s four daughters, who at the time spanned the ages of 8 to 14. Cheri Daniels later returned, and the couple remarried in 1997.

In exchange for anonymity, an official for another GOP prospect provided contact information for the ex-wife of the man Cheri Daniels married, in the years between her divorce and remarriage to Daniels. Other officials at potential rival campaigns to Daniels disagreed about whether the personal history of Cheri Daniels would ever be a vulnerability or even germane to the race. One key adviser to a potential candidate said that the guardedness the first lady had exhibited about her past signaled a lack of enthusiasm that, more than any personal baggage, would handicap her husband’s chances over time. An official at another candidate’s campaign said the marital history wouldn’t and shouldn’t matter.

For his part, Gov. Daniels opted to shut his eyes to the less noble aspects of presidential politics.

“I talked to the governor briefly,” said Jane Jankowski, a spokeswoman for Daniels, when asked for a response to the preemptive attack. “And Governor Daniels chooses to believe that no candidate would employ such tactics, and if someone working for a candidate did such a thing, it must not have been authorized.”

Jankowski noted that when asked by reporters in the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday about the uptick in attacks against him, Daniels responded, “Exposing yourself to harsh and sometimes cruel and untrue things is not something you do lightly.”

So... Romney? Huntsman? Pawlenty? Surely Gingrich and Trump wouldn't chuck rocks from inside their marital palaces of Waterford crystal. Paul's campaign likely doesn't care. None of the others have the campaign operations or resources to be researching and shopping this sort of thing.

A List of Mitch for POTUS Supporters

There's an interesting list of support (not endorsements, mind you, but statements of support) over at Hoosier Access. There are a lot of big conservative names on there.

Pence Announcement Video

Somehow missed posting this back when it happened.

There's an App for That: iRep

Congressman Todd Young now has his own iPhone app.

Judging from iTunes, a lot of GOP members of Congress do, too.

Warning Light

Waiting for Mitch

I'm not sure that I agree with the metaphor.

Each of these candidates is being eaten by a different shark (and feeding each other to the sharks). Trump got eaten by the birther shark. Romney is being eaten by the Romneycare shark. Gingrich is being eaten by the adultery shark. Ron Paul is being eaten by the "we shouldn't have killed bin Laden" shark. And so forth.

They're not exactly in the same boat together.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Changes in Zoeller & Mourdock's Offices

Heard this while on my way up to Indianapolis to hear Cheri Daniels.

Treasurer of State Richard Mourdock, in conjunction with Attorney General Greg Zoeller, announced this afternoon that Richard M. Bramer, chief counsel to Attorney General Zoeller, will be leaving the Attorney General's office to join Treasurer Mourdock's office as Chief Deputy Treasurer and chief counsel effective Monday, June 6. Current Chief Deputy Treasurer Jim Holden will be leaving the Treasurer's office to be the campaign manager for Mourdock for Senate effective Monday, June 17.

If I remember right, Bramer is also the 8th District GOP vice chairman. He started at the AG's office under Steve Carter and was involved in Zoeller's upset convention victory over GOP establishment pick Jon Costas in the 2008 AG race.

With Jim Holden apparently moving over to take charge of Mourdock's Senate campaign, to say that both the State Treasurer's office and the Mourdock for Senate campaign will be in good hands is something of an understatement.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Obama: Mitch Is “Serious Person” (For Now)

Faint praise for Mitch Daniels from the least serious leader America has had in my lifetime.

The State:

President Obama seemed to discuss the possibility of Indiana governor Mitch Daniels entering the 2012 presidential election, saying the Indiana Republican is a “serious person.”

“You know, it’s a little early to start prognosticating. I’m going to let the Republicans sort out who they think their standard-bearer should be,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with WTHR Indianapolis. “I think Governor Daniels is a serious person. I have some significant philosophical differences with him.”

Mr. Obama’s speculation over a Daniels presidential bid comes as Mississippi governor Haley Barbour announced Monday he will not seek the Republican presidential nomination. Mr. Daniels had said he would not enter the race if Mr. Barbour decided to seek the Republican nomination.

The president denied to predict whether Mr. Daniels will enter the 2012 race, however, Mr. Daniels has said he will announce whether he plans to seek a bid for the nomination following the conclusion of the current legislative session. The Indiana General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn at the end of the month.

Mr. Daniels will head to Washington in early May for a series of major speeches. A number of political pundits say the Republican governor may offer some additional insight concerning a potential bid.

Mitch needn't be worried. Obama's characterization of his opponents as serious changes with the wind.

Don't believe me? Just look at Paul Ryan. National Review has two juxtaposed quotations from Obama about Paul Ryan (and Ryan's budget proposal). The characterizations Obama makes could not be more different.

“Now, going forward, here’s the deal. I think, Paul, for example, head of the budget committee, has looked at the budget and has made a serious proposal. I’ve read it. I can tell you what’s in it.” — President Obama, January 9, 2010.

“This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing ‘serious’ or ‘courageous’ about this plan.” — President Obama, April 13, 2011.

So don't worry, Mitch. Obama will say you're not serious soon enough.

Mitch: I Can Take Obama

In a lot of ways, this is a silly question to ask someone thinking about running for President. Of course a candidate or potential candidate thinks they can beat their opponent. They generally wouldn't be running (or seriously considering the possibility of running) if they didn't, particularly at the presidential campaign level.

The AP:

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels thinks he could beat President Barack Obama in 2012. He just hasn't decided whether he'll try.

The Republican governor said Tuesday he was confident about his chances of beating Obama, but that's not factoring into his deliberations on a White House run.

"I think the chances would actually be quite good," Daniels said, speaking to reporters after giving public service awards to state employees. "The quality and the number of people who have said they'd like to be associated is really quite awesome to me."

Daniels' comments came a week after he said he wasn't ready to debate Obama on foreign policy. They also appeared to break with a public image he's crafted of a reluctant and self-deprecating politician.

He quickly returned to form Tuesday, saying any campaign he might launch could fall short — but not because of a lack of high-quality support.

"The campaign might break down because of the candidate, but it would not break down because of a lack of very credible and highly respected people from both public and private life," Daniels said.

Daniels has said he'll decide soon whether to seek the GOP nomination.

National Republican leaders have urged Daniels to enter the fray over the last year or so — largely, they say, to stand as a more serious alternative to former Alaska Gov. and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and business mogul Donald Trump.

The nation's highest elected Republican, House Speaker John Boehner, said Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show that he would like to see Daniels bring the reforms he made in Indiana to Washington, D.C.

A fuller accounting of the context of Mitch's exact words comes from state political reporter Jim Shella:

Daniels: “We’ve got big, big issues in the country and, yeah, I think there’s a legitimate case to be made for a different way of approaching it.”

Jim Shella: “So you think you can beat Barack Obama?”

Daniels: “I don’t know the answer to that… you wouldn’t go in with the idea it’s completely hopeless and I see no grounds for doubting that a credible, positive Republican alternative can’t succeed.”

Here's an interesting recent interview Mitch gave with Al Hunt in which he talked about presidential prospects.

War Powers Act Authorization for Obama's Libyan Adventure Set to Expire in 10 Days

If a tree falls in the wood and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

If the War Powers Act authorization for Obama's Libyan fiasco runs out in a few days, and nobody in Congress speaks up, is it still authorized to go forward?

Obama Denies Wildfire Disaster Relief to Texas

It's like Obama said a while back, "Texas has always been a Republican state."

Heckuva job, Barry.

National Review:

In case you’ve missed it, Texas has seen about 3,400 square miles of land — an area about the size of Puerto Rico — destroyed by wildfires. Pres. Barack Obama hit Texas to do some political fund-raising and give some speeches about immigration; Gov. Rick Perry suggested that he take a gubernatorially guided tour of some of the damage. The president couldn’t be bothered, but asked the governor to come to El Paso to act as a prop at a political event. Governor Perry declined.

Governor Perry often complains that the federal government simultaneously fails to do its real work and involves itself in things that are not real national priorities. The last time the president visited Texas, Governor Perry greeted him with a letter in hand demanding that the federal government execute its border-security duties. (It still won’t.) The governor is asking for a federal emergency declaration that will make additional firefighting resources available. The Obama administration is not budging. Never mind that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has seen fit to declare a snowstorm — in Connecticut, in the winter — a federal disaster this year, along with “severe winter storms” in Oklahoma and Missouri.

Democrats act as though Governor Perry is being hypocritical, because he has called for less federal interference in many state affairs. But, to my knowledge, Governor Perry has not called for the dissolution of the federal government (or of FEMA), and I am certain that Texans continue to pay taxes for the maintenance of it, serve in the military defending it, etc. When federal, state, and local authorities blew it during Hurricane Katrina, Texas found homes for a great number of those evacuees — the philosophy at work is federalism, not Social Darwinism.

I am fairly confident that if 3,400 square miles of Northern Virginia or New Jersey went up in flames, a federal emergency would be proclaimed. I am 100 percent confident that if the font size is one point off on your federally mandated Hmong-language minimum-wage poster, you can be sure that the Department of Labor will be airlifting a team of federal busybodies to be on your case most pronto; if you’re on fire, you get a nice speech.

In Texas, President Obama has more important things to do, such as raising money and pandering to Hispanic voters by dangling the promise of “comprehensive” immigration reform before them, knowing that it’s a go-nowhere proposition. He’ll visit a city on a border that his government controls about as well as President Zardari controls his, and which is at times about as dangerous.

To its credit, the Obama administration has dispatched aircraft to help with the firefighting . . . in Mexico.

Heckuva job, etc.

Hot Air adds:

Critics might be tempted to point out that Texans like their 10th-Amendment independence, but Texans also fork over a lot of tax revenue that funds federal disaster relief, too. With over 2.2 million acres destroyed already — which equates to over 3400 square miles, or roughly seven times the size of Los Angeles, 50 times the size of DC, and three times the land area of Rhode Island — a federal declaration of disaster seems warranted, and the real question is why Barack Obama hasn’t acted.

Boehner: DC Needs Guys Like Mitch

It's not exactly an endorsement, but it might be a cry for help.


House Speaker John Boehner didn’t watch last week’s Republican presidential debate, but he knows whom he wants to see in the next one: Govs. Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels.

Asked Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” if Christie would make a strong candidate, Boehner responded, “I do,” adding that the New Jersey governor “ has done a great job and he speaks English, which the American people like – English, like in plain talk.”

Then, without prompting, Boehner brought up the Indiana governor, who has been slightly warmer to a candidacy than Christie. “I think Mitch Daniels is looking at this seriously … [a] person with a track record of reform in his state, the kind of reforms we need in Washington, D.C.”

Quote of the Day: Dying Rats

While growing up on my Uncle's farm, I always marveled at how his terriers could go after rats in the corn crib. They would grab the rats by the neck and start shaking them. The rats always squealed the loudest right before their necks broke.
- Craig Dunn, Howard County Republican Party Chairman

More on Mourdock vs Donnelly

The Mourdock campaign's news release on Joe Donnelly's entrance into the race confirms something that I blogged yesterday (though without providing the numbers):

Richard Mourdock got more votes than Joe Donnelly in Donnelly's own 2nd District last November.

In the 2010 General Election, Mourdock received more votes in the 2nd Congressional District than Congressman Donnelly, (Mourdock 102,887 votes to Donnelly’s 91,341), despite the fact Donnelly reportedly spent $1.9 million in the ’09 & ‘10 election cycle in his district campaign, while Mourdock reportedly spent a little over $457,000 in his statewide effort.

Obama Calls for “Civil & Constructive Debate” on Immigration, Then Accuses Opponents of Wanting Moats with Alligators on the Border

All in the same day.

It's pathetic.

But, on top of that absurdity, ABC News actually fact checked Obama's speech on immigration and found his claims to be entirely untrue.

That's nothing new, really. Earlier this week, the Washington Post did a fact check on claims by Kathleen Sebelius, Obama's Health and Human Services Secretary, that Republican efforts to save Medicare would cause seniors to "die sooner." Their conclusion? It was so untrue that "She should be ashamed."

Commentary adds:

There he goes again, reassuring us that he, the president, wants to have a “civil and constructive debate” on yet another issue. Of course he does. Obama would have us believe he is always and forever in search of a civil and constructive debate on the issues.

Except when he’s not.

For example, in his George Washington University budget speech a few weeks ago, Obama’s civility took the form of accusing Republicans of wanting the elderly, autistic children, and Down Syndrome children to fend for themselves. It was a presidential speech that was uncommonly ugly and dishonest, even by today’s standards. On that occasion civility was set aside—but for a perfectly justified reason, of course. The president needed to score cheap partisan points.

Once again a “civil and constructive debate” on the issues is getting in the way of Obama’s political ambitions. Which is the more likely to prevail when the two are in conflict? And which is the more likely to be tossed aside like used tissue? Obama is set in his ways.

The game that the president is playing is almost comical at this point. Portraying himself as the American Socrates—the only responsible and thoughtful adult in a country full of rancorous children—Obama incessantly lectures us about the quality of our public discourse, even as he, his administration and political aides, and members of his own party routinely employ arguments that are dishonest and language that is sulfurous.

The president believes he can get away with this bait-and-switch. It is the job of the opposition party to make sure he doesn’t.

One would think it is also the job of the media to call attention it when the President and his administration are lying to people. The Washington Post and ABC News are making a good start on what is, it must be said, far from a new phenomenon on the part of Obama (and one they have previously largely ignored).

Photo of the Day: Yoho, Lugar, & Prow

No, it's not the name of a law firm staffed by pirates.

Finally, a county chairman (and vice chair) willing to have their picture taken with Dick Lugar. They may be the only ones in the entire state.

From left to right, Greene County GOP Vice Chairwoman Pam Yoho, Senator Dick Lugar, and Green County GOP Chairman Otto Prow. Photo from Lugar's campaign email newsletter.

Obama Now Using Osama Killing on the Stump

It's to be expected, I suppose, but I seem to recall that Obama appealed for his death to be a moment of national unity.

Right. A moment of national unity in getting behind his reelection campaign.


Nine days after American commandos killed Osama bin Laden, President Obama has added the event to the rundown of administration achievements in his political stump speech. Even so, a supporter beat him to it.

At a fundraiser in Austin on Tuesday evening, Mr. Obama ticked off the familiar list to the applause of the estimated 750 attendees – ending the recession, expanding health-care coverage, tightening financial regulation, rescuing the auto industry, naming two women to the Supreme Court, repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law against openly gay soldiers, bringing combat troops home from Iraq. Then came the new line.

“And because of the extraordinary bravery of the men and women who wear this nation’s uniform and the outstanding work of our intelligence agencies, Osama Bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America,” Mr. Obama said, provoking cheers and more applause. “We couldn’t be prouder of them.”

While Mr. Obama gave credit to others, his implicit share in that credit now seems likely to be a staple of his political message into the 2012 election season.

Sadly, and perhaps ironically, that campaign speech probably contains more credit for the military than the I-fest that was Obama's speech announcing bin Laden's death.

Soaring High

Spending Tsunami

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lugar Campaign Email Threatens Independent Bid, Calls Pro-Mourdock Republicans “Dupes”

It's come to this.

Lugar's campaign emails have always been amazingly tone-deaf, needlessly negative, and incredibly arrogant (just read some of the past ones here and here).

The latest email takes the cake.

It's one thing to be critical of your opponent; that's nothing new in campaign emails.

It's even more strange for Lugar's supporters to start attacking individual Tea Party leaders (because they're desperate to caricature Richard Mourdock, a very electable and proven vote-getting conservative Republican, as an unelectable quack). They've now done that too.

The Lugar campaign's latest email, written by David Willkie (grandson of Hoosier Republican* presidential nominee Wendell Willkie) haughtily tells Republicans "you have been led down a wrong path and it's time to come home."

You can all but see the sneer through the text.

Apparently, we can't make decisions for ourselves; we need to rely on Lugar and his staff of well-heeled intellectual wonders for that.

The email goes on to urge Republicans, particularly county chairs that have overwhelmingly endorsed Mourdock, to "rally" to Lugar.

And if they don't, it lays out clear consequences.

If the conservative base of the party doesn't listen to its betters and do as it's told, Lugar will run without them.

The email implicitly threatens an independent Lugar candidacy.

I don't think I have ever read a campaign email like this before.

"Support me, or I'll just run without you."

How deluded and arrogant is that?

In the email, Willkie, the political director for the campaign of a supposedly popular incumbent Senator, accuses over two-thirds of his party's county chairmen of being "duped." Coupled with the implicit threat to leave the party (the whole we'll-do-it-without-you-if-we-have-to-line), the email is sure to go over great.

The entire email is just dripping with the usual contempt not merely for the Tea Party, but for conservatives and the base of the Republican Party that seems to be the sine qua non of the Lugar campaign these days.

And, of course, the email goes on to say that the very fact that a Democrat is running in this race at all is somehow Richard Mourdock's fault. (After all, one could return, Democrats would have no reason to run someone against Lugar, since he supports them so often.)

Joe Donnelly's desire to find a place to land in the Senate to continue his political career after his district was drawn to be inhospitable to a Democrat is, apparently, Mourdock's fault and not the fault of Republican cartographers in the Indiana General Assembly.

Then we get to the usual rote phony and baseless comparisons to failed Tea Party candidates elsewhere. Richard Mourdock is no Sharron Angle (you won't find him threatening "Second Amendment "remedies" should he lose the election), and he is no Christine O'Donnell (there are no tapes of him out there talking about his prior experiences with witchcraft). Mourdock is not a beltway establishment Republican or a moderate or a RINO (or whatever term you want to give to it), like Lugar, either.

Mourdock is a proven vote-getter in Indiana, and a mainstream conservative. In fact, he got considerably more votes in Joe Donnelly's district in 2010 than Joe Donnelly did (and that was on the home turf of Mourdock's opponent, who was from South Bend). Probably no person on the ballot in either party campaigned as hard in 2010 as Richard Mourdock did (efforts that benefited the rest of the Republican ticket, which Mourdock led).

The last time Lugar was on the ballot, in 2006, he made virtually no effort (since he was unopposed) to help the rest of the Republican ticket. 2006 was a very bad year to be a Republican in Indiana; we lost 3 members of Congress (one of whom, Chris Chocola, is now head of the Club for Growth) and a majority in the lower house of the legislature. Lugar barely lifted a finger to help any of them.

But he knows better than everyone else. We're all dupes. We should rally to his banner.

And if we don't? He'll run without us, presumably as an independent.

The email itself is after the leap: