Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Real Men of Genius: Dick Lugar Edition

Here's another brilliant idea from the (perhaps a little rusty) steel trap mind of Indiana's senior senator... a bill that does away with the requirement that the Senate approve of hundreds of Presidential appointees.

If you thought Obama's czars were bad, just wait until he can appoint all sorts of regular government officials to positions of authority without Senate approval.

Saint Dick apparently thought this was such a good idea that he signed on the dotted line to sponsor this legislation (known as S. 679) on the very first day it was filed, alongside Dick Durbin of Illinois, Chuck Schumer of New York, and Harry Reid himself.

Abdicating the Senate's Constitutional role in advising on Presidential appointees, particularly with a President as imperial and lawless as this one, is particularly unwise.

Advise and consent is not a rubber stamp, though Dick Lugar has apparently believed for a very long time that it should be.

Saint Dick's own personal philosophy on Presidential nominees, as he has repeatedly explained it, has always been to approve whoever the President nominates regardless of how loathsome or troubling those nominations might be. This is supposedly why he voted for liberals like Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan.

So, in some sense, this particularly bad piece of legislation is just a formal codification into law of something that Lugar has already believed, and been practicing, for a very long time.

Red State disagrees:

Undoubtedly, there is a need to expedite the presidential appointee process. However, ceding more power to an administration that is overzealous to impose policy by administrative fiat, is not the way to go. Congress has slowly abjured its power to the executive branch by writing open-ended legislation, granting federal agencies wide latitude to promulgate destruction over our economy. Obama has already used radical executive appointees for the purpose of consolidating power in the executive branch. Why would any Republican sign on to such a dangerous expansion of executive power? Whom do they think Obama will appoint to these positions if there is no oversight?

Here’s a novel idea for streamlining the confirmation process of presidential appointees: shrink the size of government so there will be no need for most of these jobs. It’s high time for Congress to halt its self-immolation, and reign in the executive department behemoth.

The Heritage Foundation is opposed to the legislation, and offers a lengthy explanation (including citations from the Constitution and some historical perspective) about why it is a particularly bad idea.

When the delegates of the states gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 and wrote the Constitution, they distributed the powers of the federal government among two Houses of Congress, a President, and a judiciary, and required in many cases that two of them work together to exercise a particular constitutional power. That separation of powers protects the liberties of the American people by preventing any one officer of the government from aggregating too much power.

The Framers of the Constitution did not give the President the kingly power to appoint the senior officers of the government by himself. Instead, they allowed the President to name an individual for a senior office, but then required the President to obtain the Senate’s consent before appointing the individual to office. Thus, they required the cooperation of the President and the Senate to put someone in high office.


The Congress should not decide by law to relinquish the Senate role in filling a federal office and leave filling the office to the President alone, unless the Congress concludes for each such office that the Senate’s checking influence on the President is of no value because the office is of little or no authority or consequence. Generally, each time Congress by law removes the Senate from a role in the appointment to a federal office, the institutional influence of the Senate diminishes by a marginal amount and the influence of a President increases by a marginal amount. If the office is of little or no authority or consequence, the shift in influence may be immaterial, but if the office wields power that affects the American people, the Congress should not abdicate the Senate checking function.

It does not appear that the sponsors of S. 679 have determined that each of the offices the bill converts from appointments made by the President with Senate consent to appointments made by the President alone is an office of little or no authority or consequence. Instead, it appears that the principal sponsors simply concluded that the Senate is too slow in performing its duty to consider and consent (or not) to presidential nominations and hope to accelerate the Senate process by simply reducing the number of such nominations the President must make.
The Congress should not reduce the number of Senate-confirmed appointments as a means of dealing with its cumbersome and inefficient internal process for considering nominations. Doing so gives away Senate influence over a number of significant appointments, does nothing to improve the Senate process, and still leaves nominees whose offices require nominations mired in the Senate process. The proper solution to the problem of a slow Senate is to speed up the Senate rather than to diminish the role of the Senate. The Senate should look inward and streamline its internal procedures for considering all nominations.

Things like this are yet another important reason that Dick Lugar should be sent packing from Washington and replaced with a conservative Senator that won't be a rubber stamp for Obama.

Obama Films Illegal Campaign Video in White House

When he's ignoring the law on so many other things, what's breaking one more rule?

Economic News Still “Unexpectedly” Bad


Consumer spending unexpectedly stagnated in May as employment prospects dimmed and rising inflation caused Americans to cut back.

Purchases were little changed, the weakest outcome since June 2010, after a revised 0.3 percent gain the prior month that was smaller than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.1 percent gain. Prices excluding food and energy rose more than forecast.

Walgreen Co. (WAG) is among retailers that indicated 9.1 percent unemployment and higher gas and grocery bills have prompted shoppers to pare back purchases of less essential goods. Federal Reserve policy makers said the restraint on purchasing power may prove temporary as commodities prices start to decline, allowing the economy to pick up later this year.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shovel Ready

Chances are good that you may be seeing this ad on television sometime soon.

ABC News:

Crossroads GPS, the independent group founded in part by Karl Rove, today launched a whopping $20 million Summer TV ad campaign assailing President Obama’s economic record.

The first phase of the campaign features a TV ad called “Shovel Ready,” which will be aired on national cable news and in 10 states including battleground states Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, and Virginia.

Crossroads GPS spokesman Jonathan Collegio said the initial ad buy will be for $5 million, running for two weeks. The other $15 million in ads will be spent over the next two months.

Scott Walker: Going Where Mitch Daniels Has Gone Before

Seems like whenever you read about Scott Walker or Chris Christie doing something, it's inevitably something that Mitch Daniels has already done.

Learning that Wisconsin's new budget cuts funding to Planned Parenthood was no exception.

Poll Number Emergency

The bust of Obama, the "I *heart* ME" coffee mug, and the photo of Obama on his own desk are all nice details.

Captain Incompetence

It's pretty funny, yes. But then you realize that all of his incompetence has real consequences for real people.

Like this lady:

A northwestern Indiana woman says she has faced a lot of criticism for her decision to sell a handwritten letter she received from President Barack Obama.

Destiny Mathis received the note on White House stationary in February in response to a letter she sent Obama last year about her financial struggles. But the mother of three who was a 2008 campaign volunteer for Obama says she needs money to avoid being evicted from her Hobart apartment.

Mathis tells the Post-Tribune that she's been shocked by the negative responses she has received and that Internet blogs have been relentless.

Obama wrote in the note that he was inspired by Mathis' positive spirit and that he was rooting for her.

It's also particularly sad (though entirely unsurprising) that lefty blogs are, in effect, attacking the messenger by criticizing this woman for selling Obama's note so that she won't become homeless in the economy he has wrecked.

Mourdock Halfway to Online Fundraising Goal

He's hoping to raise $50,000 online in the last two weeks of June. With one week to go, he's a bit over halfway there.

Go over and send him a few bucks, if you haven't already (and send a few more, if you have).

Journalism Malpractice & Double Standards

The story out late last week about the homestead exemption error on Richard Mourdock's condo in Indianapolis may not be one of the worst examples of journalism malpractice I've ever seen (just look at Obama for that), but it sort of typifies the problem that Mourdock faces in his challenge to Dick Lugar.

For most Indianapolis reporters, Dick Lugar is a saint. He walks on water. His squishy voting record and elderly smiling countenance in Obama campaign ads are the sort of thing they want to see out of more Republicans. They can't bear to see him go, and certainly not to be replaced by a conservative from the provincial southern hinterlands of Indiana like Richard Mourdock.

And so when the Marion County Auditor made a mistake on Richard Mourdock's property taxes, and Richard Mourdock caught the mistake, and Richard Mourdock fixed the mistake (on the second try, since the auditor didn't fix it after he tried to get it corrected the first time), and the Marion County auditor admitted her mistake, what is the storyline?

The storyline isn't that the auditor's office screwed up and Mourdock caught it, and set it right (and paid back taxes to boot).

Heck no.

The story is somehow twisted to be that Mourdock was receiving some ill-gotten benefit and had gotten caught by intrepid investigative reporters (who worked very hard in getting the story by reading emails from Lugar's dumpster-diving campaign staff).

This sort of thing is nothing new. The establishment always protects its own, and the media will always favor Saint Dick in their coverage every time (just compare the more balanced coverage in the Evansville paper, here, with the less balanced coverage Indianapolis-based WTHR gave, here).

You have to go to the seventh paragraph of the WTHR story on Mourdock's homestead exemption mixup to find that the Marion County auditor admitted that it was her office's mistake, Mourdock did the right thing, and the whole thing is much ado about nothing.

But that's not much of a story, is it? Nope.

And it doesn't help Saint Dick either.

Which might explain why Lugar living in a hotel when he visits Indiana isn't a story, but a mistake by the Marion County auditor (one of, as the story admits towards its conclusion, countless such routine mistakes across the state of Indiana) is.

One story helps Saint Dick. One hurts him. One gets attention. One doesn't.

Dick Lugar votes from an address where he hasn't lived (or owned property) since before I was born. That isn't a story, but somehow this property tax screwup is the lead story for TV news in Indianapolis.

One story helps Saint Dick. One hurts him. One gets attention. One doesn't.

When the establishment and the media like you, they'll do anything for you and ignore anything you do. Yet another example of what Barack Obama and Dick Lugar have in common. The media will work overtime for the electoral success of them both.

When they don't like you, even virtuous acts (like Mourdock honestly reporting a mistake on his property taxes and honestly trying to get it fixed) are twisted and reported as scandal.

What a joke.

Random Thought

I wasn't aware that the Indianapolis Star had the ability to elevate county prosecuting attorneys to judgeships.

Judge rejects White's plea to investigate prosecutor

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- A prosecutor has turned down Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White's request for an investigation into whether one of the special prosecutors pursuing voter fraud charges against him committed the same offense.

Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards said Wednesday that she saw no reason to move forward after a preliminary review of White's allegations against Dan Sigler. A judge appointed Sigler last year as one of two special prosecutors for the case.

White, a Republican who took office in January, filed a complaint with Richard's office on June 10, accusing Sigler, his ex-wife and current wife of voting at incorrect polling sites.

For future reference, prosecutors very seldom (if ever) investigate other prosecutors (or special prosecutors). The complaint against Sigler (a former prosecutor) could have all of the merit in the world it wouldn't be pursued by another prosecutor.

That being said, I suspect that the Recount Commission will find in favor of Charlie White later this week, probably on the basis of the sworn testimony (which is more convincing than the circumstantial evidence cited by the Democrats). The Democrats will appeal, the partisan hack Democrat judge in Marion County (whose daughter helped write the basis for the Democrats' legal arguments on the White matter last year) will overturn it, the Republicans will appeal up the ladder, and the Supreme Court will render the ultimate decision.

The testimony, at the very least, seems to shred a lot of the circumstantial evidence around which the Democrats and the special prosecutor have built their cases. There's been something of a delayed reaction as it has taken a while for that realization to sink in among political folks in Indianapolis.

New York Times Says Bailing Out of War Hurts America's Credibility Abroad

Now they tell us.

House Republicans are gearing up to vote, likely Friday, on whether to authorize continued United States support for NATO-led military operations over Libya. There are two main proposals — and a clear choice to be made. We fear they are leaning in a wrongheaded and dangerous direction.

One measure, sponsored by Representative Thomas Rooney and apparently backed by the House leadership, would allow financing only for American surveillance, search-and-rescue missions, planning and aerial refueling. Republicans say that if it passes, the Pentagon would have to halt drone strikes and attacks on Libyan air defenses.

They claimed it would do minimal damage to the alliance and its campaign because the United States would still be providing some support. But the damage to this country’s credibility, and its leadership of NATO, would be enormous. Any sign that the United States is bailing out could lead others to follow.

Mr. Obama would have done better arguing his case for the Libyan operation. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was playing catch-up on Capitol Hill on Thursday. We are certain if NATO had not intervened, thousands more Libyans would have been slaughtered. We also believe Congress has an important role to play in this debate. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans to vote on the Kerry-McCain measure next week. The majority leader, Harry Reid, has said he has the votes in the Senate. Thankfully, some Senate Republicans also seem to understand the importance of the United States following through on its national security commitments.

One would hope that the New York Times, and various other institutional organs of the American left and the Democratic Party, could "also seem to understand the importance of the United States following through on its national security commitments."

But only when the President is a liberal Democrat from among their ranks.

Hot Air adds:

You know, in a way, I admire their shamelessness here. The NYT editorial board isn’t stupid; surely they know how preposterous it is for them to be taking a line this hawkish (especially on a war as compromised as this one is) after the past eight years. But darn if they didn’t do it to help Obama out. No pretense of consistency or neutral principles, just raw partisanship. There’s honesty in that, as hackish as it is.

Even the reliably lefty Atlantic scoffed at the NYT editorial:

The ed board is staffed by savvy rhetoricians, so they'd never put it this way, but what they're saying, in effect, is that the response to lawbreaking by the president should be to authorize what he wants to do and is already doing extra-legally, because to do otherwise would damage American credibility.

Its as if the Washington Post, in the aftermath of Watergate, called on Congress to retroactively approve executive branch snooping in the campaign headquarters of political opponents. After all, otherwise Americans would face an unprecedented scandal that would do grave damage to our image. Of course, the Washington Post is also on record asserting that Obama is acting illegally in Libya, but encouraging him to keep it up.

These newspapers cared about process during the Bush years.

What happened?

Libya is controversial partly because our interests there are minimal. That isn't to say that ending the war wouldn't have consequences. It is only to say that once a war begins, ending it will always have consequences. And most of the time they'll be far more consequential to American interests than whatever happens in a North African nation that doesn't directly affect us.

Put another way, if Congress won't end this war after it has begun, it is signalling that it'll never force an end to any conflict - that if the president engages abroad, he'll get his way automatically.

It's a recipe for more lawless war.

Quotes of the Day, from Afghanistan


But the Times also talked to Afghans in the south who have to live with the consequences of a troop drawdown. They are not as sanguine as the president–who lives behind the large walls of his palace in Kabul and rarely ventures out.

Hajji Kala Khan, a tribal elder from Maiwand: “This drawdown will embolden the morale of the Taliban, and actually it has already emboldened them. The Taliban are saying to the elders not to support Americans or you will be killed, and now they say, ‘The Americans are leaving and your lives will not be spared.’ \”

Niaz Mohammed Sarhadi, the governor of neighboring Zhare District:. “We have a problem in Zhare District, the enemy is still around.” Once the Americans leave, he said, “things will get worse.” He added that he saw no improvement in the ability of Afghanistan’s own military to replace the Americans, “so this is not an appropriate time for withdrawal; this drawdown will send a negative message to civilians.”

These elders are right: the drawdown does send a negative message to Afghan civilians and a positive message to the Taliban.

He's Listening to Polls, Not Petraeus

National Review:

Interesting moment in General Petraeus’s CIA confirmation hearing before the Senate. Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.), I take it, wanted to establish that President Obama’s Afghanistan timeline, while not the preference of theater commanders, was reasonable and doable. So he asked Petraeus, paraphrasing, ‘Wouldn’t you resign if you felt uncomfortable executing the president’s order?’

Petraeus’s response was impassioned. “I’m not a quitter,” he said, adding that he has “thought a lot” about the question and “felt strongly about” it. “I don’t think that is the place for a commander to consider that kind of step unless you are in a very, very dire situation,” Petraeus said.

Levin quickly realized he was losing control of the rhetorical point and tried (gently) to cut Petraeus off, but the general insisted on elaborating. Petraeus said that since our troops don’t have the option of quitting, he doesn’t think he does either. It isn’t acceptable, he added, for a commander to resign “in protest” of an order he disagrees with.

Basically, Levin inadvertently got Petraeus to say that even if he hated the Obama order — even if he thought it was substantially wrong — he’d carry it out.

Good soldier, and from my novice’s point of view, I agree with what he says. But supporters of the drawdown like Levin aren’t going to be able to get Petraeus’s unvarnished imprimatur.

NB: After Petraeus yielded that the Obama timeline poses a “greater risk to the accomplishment of the various objectives” of the war than options recommended by theater commanders, Sens. Rubio and McCain both tried to get Petraeus to explain why the September 2012 date — halfway through the “fighting season” — was chosen. Was there a military or strategic significance to that date? Petraeus replied that it wasn’t military conditions, but “risks having to do with other considerations” that led to the Obama administration’s decision. But he repeatedly refused to elaborate on what those other considerations are. I’ll give you three guesses.

Reagan Joke about Democrats

I have to admit that I'd never seen this particular joke before.

Obama Tweets

Monday, June 20, 2011

John Gregg's Phony Campaign Video

A little more than four years ago, the wheels started to come off of the gubernatorial campaign of one Jim Schellinger. Diamond Jim, you might recall, made a fortune building fancy designer schools, which in turn contributed to skyrocketing property taxes in many Indiana school districts.

Schellinger's phony campaign shtick was truly amazing to behold. It was best typified by Schellinger's appearance with some working folks in this video.

Taped in Princeton at a campaign event by a reporter for the Princeton Daily Clarion, Schellinger attempted to relate to his audience by claiming that he "lived paycheck to paycheck" until only "a year or two ago." This was a laughable assertion when you consider the vast sums Schellinger had been funneling in campaign contributions to Democrats in the preceding decade.

With such phoniness and such a sham of a campaign narrative, it was in retrospect unsurprising that Schellinger went down to defeat in the primary to the ramshackle insurgent liberal campaign of former Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson. JLT, of course, went on to get shellacked by Mitch Daniels even as Barack Obama was carrying Indiana.

Now, four years later, we have the campaign of John Gregg (who, in his inestimable political wisdom, once dubbed Schellinger "the eight hundred pound gorilla" in the 2008 gubernatorial race).

Gregg's campaign is no less phony and no less contrived than Schellinger. His campaign narrative is no less a sham.

To see an example of this, one only need to look at Gregg's first campaign video. It exists in circumstances so contrived as to defy belief by ordinary Hoosiers.

Let's look at some screen shots.

This may be the most awkward, unnatural, and uncomfortable way to sit in a porch swing, EVER.

No one that has a front porch swing (and actually uses it very often) would put a pitcher of iced tea on a table next to the swing. Porch swings, after all, not only swing front and back, but can go side-to-side, bumping things too close to them (like small tables with iced tea sitting on them).

The iced tea is a convenient campaign prop. How many people put full slices of lemon (or is it an orange?) into iced tea like this? That's some fancy iced tea, but yet the glass is full and untouched.

The flowers perched on the porch railing are still in their black plastic containers that they came in from the local nursery. Maybe Gregg doesn't have much of a green thumb.

Nobody would leave flowers in planters on such narrow porch railings for very long, not with the storms we've been seeing here in southern Indiana in the past couple months.

Do many people in your neighborhood fly an Indiana flag about four or five feet up off of the ground, perfectly positioned so that it can appear in the background when they sit on their front porch swing?

Do they even make flag poles that short?

Isn't it convenient how the flag manages to flutter "in the breeze" at just the right moments in the video?

Maybe Dan Parker is hiding, just out of view, holding a fan to create the fake breeze.

No wonder Gregg has this sad puppy dog face toward the end of his video. He's desperate. Folks, particularly southern Indiana conservatives (many of them former Democrats), need to buy into this phony and contrived charade to make his campaign even close to being viable.

I don't think that they're going to be sold. It takes more than a badly-staged and awkwardly-posed campaign video filmed on a porch to create a viable gubernatorial campaign in the state of Indiana.

I'd deconstruct John Gregg's second campaign video, the one that might as well be played to Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again," but it's nothing but stock footage of places in Indiana John Gregg has probably never visited, places that have seen their local economies wrecked by the policies of Obama and the Democratic Party, places who have seen the values they hold dear shredded by liberals like Obama and the modern Democratic Party.

Such places aren't going to vote for John Gregg. To do so would be to enable the agenda being pushed by Obama and the modern Democratic Party. John Gregg, for all of his fake neighborliness, is an enabler for a destructive liberal agenda that is anathema to most Hoosiers, particularly Hoosiers in southern Indiana.

And if you don't believe me, consider two interesting data points.

First, by John Gregg's own count, 130 folks turned out in Harrison County in late May to see him at the Harrison County Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. (I've actually been reliably told by several people who were present that the crowd at the dinner was closer to about 90 people, but let's use Gregg's number to be charitable.)

Second, 325 people turned out this past Friday in Harrison County to see Mike Pence at the Harrison County Republican Party's Reagan Picnic. That's either two and a half times as many people (if you use Gregg's number) or three and a half times as many people (if you use the number I've heard from attendees) to see Mike Pence than to see John Gregg. That's in Harrison County, the home of former Governor Frank O'Bannon, the heartland of southern Indiana conservatives.

John Gregg doesn't have a chance.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

“Lugar Discovers Indiana”

They're just visiting.

It's pretty bad when even Lugar's most ardent defenders in the news media have to concede that, yeah, he hasn't exactly been paying much (if any) attention at all to Hoosiers until Richard Mourdock decided to run against him.

Between his total neglect of Indiana, his blatant disregard (if not outright contempt) for the sentiments of the base of his party, his all-too-friendly relationship with Barack Obama (particularly compared to his repeated public disagreements with the last sitting Republican president), and his record as one of the Senate's most liberal Republicans, it's no wonder that Lugar has problems.

The Evansville Courier & Press has this column, which is full of some of the most backhanded compliments for Lugar that I have ever seen.

When U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar visited Evansville about two years ago, I recall asking folks about the last time Indiana's senior senator came to town.

No one I talked to could remember.

If you ask me, that, more than anything else, explains why Lugar is being challenged in the 2012 GOP primary by state treasurer and former Vanderburgh County Commissioner Richard Mourdock.

This is not intended to diminish Lugar's accomplishments. He is a statesman among senators, playing a lead role in limiting nuclear proliferation. He has more foreign policy bona fides than the last three men elected president.

Again comes the "he's so smart he just doesn't have time for Indiana" line. People might have bought that for the first couple decades Lugar was in office, but it's getting old.

Yet the current political climate is such that the smart member of Congress spends as much time tending to business at home as he or she does dealing with matters of state. House members "go Washington" at their peril because they are elected to two-year terms. In fact, House freshman Larry Bucshon of Newburgh will host a hearing this week in Evansville on health care reform.

Members of the Senate, elected every six years, are far more likely to spend more time inside the Washington beltway than tooling around Interstate 465 in Indianapolis.

Lugar has been spending more time in the state lately, for obvious reasons. He was in Greencastle on Friday checking out an energy project supported by the Vectren Foundation. He's been busy raising money as well, both in Washington and throughout Indiana.

One cannot help but think that, were it not for big-dollar fundraisers in Carmel and in downtown Indianapolis, Dick Lugar still wouldn't be spending much time here in Indiana.

Lugar's counterpart, U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, spent the better part of the day Friday visiting flood-damaged areas of Posey County. That evening, he attended a benefit fundraiser on the Evansville riverfront for Keep Evansville Beautiful and the Evansville Parks Foundation.

Now, I've only been a Hoosier for four years, but I've spent enough time covering politics to know that Coats has the right idea.

Left unsaid here is the logical extension of this. Coats has the right idea in paying attention to Indiana. Lugar has not, and does not.

I'm not convinced that Mourdock's challenge is a tea party-driven notion that Lugar is insufficiently conservative.

Lugar is in perhaps the biggest political fight of his career because he's been insufficiently attentive to the GOP faithful — the people who play a critical role in the primary process.

And, from the rest of this column it must be noted, he is in "the biggest fight of his career" because he's been "insufficiently attentive" to the people of Indiana.

Above all, Lugar is a pragmatist. It's not that retail politics is beneath him, but that the world is becoming increasingly complex. His work on foreign affairs is important — and it is clear that he believes those issues should command a significant amount of his time.

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard Lugar defended on the grounds that he's just so busy with the weight of the world on his shoulders that he can't be bothered with the everyday concerns of ordinary Hoosiers, I would have more money than Lugar has in his campaign warchest.

This is the most arrogant argument of all those employed by Lugar's defenders. He is concerned with weighty issues. And, since he clearly has spent many years not being concerned with issues here in Indiana, one can only logically conclude that he does not consider anything back here in Indiana to be anywhere near as important or as weighty an issue.

Mourdock did Lugar a great favor by declaring his candidacy early and rounding up the support of a solid cross-section of county Republican leaders. It is giving Lugar a chance to rediscover parts of the state he hasn't visited in quite a while.

As Coats demonstrated Friday, the better part of politics is simply showing up.

That's right. Lugar is supposedly such a great man that it takes Richard Mourdock to get him to "rediscover" Indiana (and Dan Coats shows up while Dick Lugar does not).

If that isn't a backhanded compliment to Dick Lugar, then I don't know what is.

Baron Hill, Now Working Hard for... China


The National Republican Congressional Committee last year ran ads asking "Is Baron Hill running for Congress in Indiana, or China?” The background: Hill, a member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, was a big booster of renewable energy subsidies, some of which went to Chinese-owned windmill companies using Chinese labor.

The question is even more poignant today, now that Hill has cashed out to APCO Worldwide, a lobbying firm whose headline client is COSCO, a shipping company owned by the Communist government of the People's Republic of China.

Hill joins his former colleagues Bart Stupak and Earl Pomeroy in delivering key votes for health-care reform that proved fatal to his political career -- before cashing out to a lobbying firm representing those companies that profit from it, making Hill part of the Great Health-Care Cashout. APCO worldwide last year claimed powerful ObamaCare backer PhRMA as a client.

Hill was also an agressive backer of climate change regulations, which won him typical praise from the Left. Here's the Center for American Progress:

Faced with relentless attacks on his vote for clean energy legislation, Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN) slammed his critics for questioning climate science and doing the bidding of special interests who are destroying the environment. In a recent debate with challengers Republican Todd Young and Libertarian Greg Knott, Hill explained why he supported the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would have limited greenhouse pollution, put billions of dollars into a clean energy economy, and created new jobs in Indiana.

It's harder to hold that Hill-stood-up-to-the-special-interests line now that he is a top lobbyist at a firm representing Solar Trust and Dow Corning, two big corporations that stand to profit from the very legislation he backed.

Have faith, Democrats! Baron's not really a "lobbyist."

He's a "senior vice president in the company’s government relations practice." Which is to say he's a lobbyist in everything but name, just like he was after Mike Sodrel sent him packing in 2004.

Can you say revolving door?

Sure, I knew you could.

And who can forget this wonderful screen shot, replete with a quote from the chief of COSCO, the Chinese state-owned shipping company:

Hey, at least Evan Bayh only sold his fellow Democrats out to be on Fox News. Baron Hill sold them out for another country.

Generic Republican Leads Obama, 44-39

Remember the narrative, folks. Obama is invincible. INVINCIBLE!

By the way, that's a poll among registered (as opposed to likely) voters, which as a general rule of thumb tend to be much more favorable to Democrats than Republicans.

Romney, Tactless as Ever: “I’m Unemployed”

Hahahaha. Mitt Romney must be one of Barack Obama's "bumps in the road."

It's a joke, see. Laugh politely and move on.

Mitt Romney sat at the head of the table at a coffee shop here on Thursday, listening to a group of unemployed Floridians explain the challenges of looking for work. When they finished, he weighed in with a predicament of his own.

“I should tell my story,” Mr. Romney said. “I’m also unemployed.”

He chuckled. The eight people gathered around him, who had just finished talking about strategies of finding employment in a slow-to-recover economy, joined him in laughter.

“Are you on LinkedIn?” one of the men asked.

“I’m networking,” Mr. Romney replied. “I have my sight on a particular job.”

Chris Wallace Destroys Jon Stewart

Wow. Just, wow. The real fun starts about 5 minutes in, where Wallace corners Stewart over his racist impersonation of Herman Cain. And it only goes downhill for Stewart from there.

Another “Imagine If Bush Did This” Moment

Obama overruled his top lawyers at the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice when they told him that the War Powers Act requires him to go to Congress to get approval for his bungled adventure in Libya.

Instead, he deferred to the view of his in-house lawyer that the war in Libya somehow isn't really a war and he doesn't need Congressional approval to use the military to engage in combat with the forces of another country. (Isn't that the quintessential definition of a war?)

And they accused George W. Bush of being Orwellian. War is peace, etc.

The New York Times:

President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, according to officials familiar with internal administration deliberations.

Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.

But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team — including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh — who argued that the United States military’s activities fell short of “hostilities.” Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.

Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch…

The administration followed an unusual process in developing its position. Traditionally, the Office of Legal Counsel solicits views from different agencies and then decides what the best interpretation of the law is. The attorney general or the president can overrule its views, but rarely do.

In this case, however, Ms. Krass was asked to submit the Office of Legal Counsel’s thoughts in a less formal way to the White House, along with the views of lawyers at other agencies. After several meetings and phone calls, the rival legal analyses were submitted to Mr. Obama, who is a constitutional lawyer, and he made the decision.

Have no fear! Obama is a constitutional lawyer, and never you mind the absurdity of that claim.

Twenty Million Bumps in the Road

When Mitt Romney gets beat in the primaries, the eventual nominee better scoop up whoever is making these commercials.

The Sequel Nobody Wanted

Politics Makes for Strange Boatfellows

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rumor Mill: Peggy Welch for Congress?

Talk out of Hoosierpundit sources in Bloomington is that Todd Young may have his opponent for next November. And, no, it won't be former Democratic state auditor candidate Sam Locke (who has been circulating around the district and has been putting his name forward).

It appears that State Representative Peggy Welch is now saying that she intends to run against Young. Barring a primary upset, Welch would face Young next November in a dramatically different 9th District than has existed in either of their lifetimes.

Welch was handily reelected in 2010, despite the Republican wave, and has occupied a district that ought, despite including part of the People's Republic of Bloomington, to have been held by a Republican.

It's not much of a stretch to say that she would be the best candidate the Democrats could hope for to run against Young. She does a pretty good job of pretending to be a conservative while back home in her district, while voting a liberal line in Indianapolis (and joining Bauer's weeks-long legislative walkout to Illinois).

In many respects, Peggy Welch reminds me of a female version of Brad Ellsworth. She has a face for television and is a pretty good politician. She is just the sort of candidate that Hoosier Democrats would want to run (and have traditionally sought out); talking up a moderate-to-conservative game at home, toeing the liberal line in the legislative branch.

Welch, however, faces a tremendously uphill battle.

First, the new 9th District is structurally considerably more Republican and less competitive than the old one.

Second, much of the district (which includes staunchly Republican Morgan and Johnson Counties) is unlikely to be receptive to the watch-what-I-say-not-how-I-vote game played by Democrats like Welch. Indeed, that sort of game may be dead forever for Democrats throughout southern Indiana thanks to Obama.

Third, Brad Ellsworth's supposed rising star crashed quickly to earth when his pretty face and "vaunted" political skills encountered a harsh environment for the first time. Welch is not that good. A Democrat wave year like 2006 or 2008 is simply not in the offing in 2012; Obama's campaign has already indicated he will not compete in Indiana at all next year.

Welch, for her part, has few options. Republicans drew her into a very unfriendly district (even more Republican than the one she previously occupied, and one that excludes much of her previous home turf). She can face oblivion in a state rep race, or she can take her chances running for Congress.

She has apparently decided on the latter.

Even winning the nomination is not a sure thing. Welch's conservative posturing at home has frequently antagonized the People's Republic of Bloomington. The left-wing voters there are a much greater proportion of the Democratic primary electorate in the new 9th, with the western and eastern "southern Democrat" counties (Jefferson, Switzerland, Perry, Spencer, Dubois, and parts of Scott and Crawford) shunted into other districts.

A vigorous challenge from Welch's left could well keep her from the nomination, particularly if conservative former Democrats down south continue their trend of migrating to the GOP (or if many remaining Democrats decide to cross over and vote in the Lugar-Mourdock Senate primary).

The hill for any Democrat to climb in the 9th is a difficult one, but not insurmountable. In 2006, the 9th as now drawn (including all of split Scott, Crawford, and Morgan Counties for purposes of simplicity in the comparison) would have elected a Republican by about four points.

But in 2008, the Democrat would have been elected by about the same margin. However, that margin was an extremely rare circumstance (a Democrat winning Indiana, in part by holding down the Republican presidential margin, and associated coattails, in southern Indiana).

So history would indicate that it can be done, but it requires a perfect storm of an economic collapse, an unpopular war, a tenacious and skilled Democratic candidate, Democratic coattails from the Democratic presidential nominee carrying Indiana, and the Republican being outspent on television about three-to-one.

None of those stars are likely to align again any time soon, and history shows that a mere 2006-level wave is clearly not enough. Further, 2012 in Indiana is almost certainly not going to be anything like 2006. A tenacious candidate like Baron Hill or a pretty-faced politician like Brad Ellsworth might have a chance in the 9th in a much better environment, but they would fall by the wayside in virtually every other year.

So the Democrats may have their candidate against Todd Young, but she's unlikely to return the new 9th District to the status of being competitive held for so long by the old 9th District.

“Dick Lugar’s Worst Nightmare”

From Jen Rubin at the Washington Post comes an interview with Richard Mourdock, and a stinging indictment of Dick Lugar:

The conservative base’s least favorite Republican senator is arguably Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.). The Maine senators are as conservative as the state will tolerate, many grudgingly accept. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) does the best he can hailing from the bluest state. But Lugar has irked the conservative base in a generally red state on everything from START to judges. And now Indiana Republicans have a chance to dump him.

Richard Mourdock is businessman who won the race for treasurer in 2006, a tough year for Republicans, and let the GOP ticket with more than 60 percent of the vote in 2010. He navigated the state through the financial crash and drew the attention of conservatives when he filed suit to try to block the auto bailout.

In a long telephone interview, Mourdock tells me that Lugar is n longer in sync with Hoosier voters. “Everyone is concerned about our financial status,” he says. “But in the lame duck session he wouldn’t even vote for earmark reform.” Mourdock says that while it might have been a symbolic vote, even then-Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) managed to vote for it.

Mourdock is a rock-ribbed Republican who lists Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) among those with whom he identifies. He cites Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for the proposition that what Republicans need is “quality, not quantity.” They could use both actually, and the opportunity to replace Lugar with Mourdock, who stands a good chance to win in a state the Obama camp has reportedly written off, has conservatives excited.

A large part of Lugar’s problem, according to Mourdock, is that he is largely absent and out of touch with the people back home. He recalls that on the day he announced, three-quarters of the GOP country chairman signed on to support him. “The most frequent comment I heard,” he says, “was ‘I haven’t seem [Lugar] in years.’”

In fact, the Evansville local paper ran a column this month that began this way: “When U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar visited Evansville about two years ago, I recall asking folks about the last time Indiana’s senior senator came to town. No one I talked to could remember. If you ask me, that, more than anything else, explains why Lugar is being challenged in the 2012 GOP primary by state treasurer and former Vanderburgh County Commissioner Richard Mourdock.”

Mourdock ticks off a list of issues on which Lugar has upset core conservatives: the DREAM Act, the car bailout (the government “shouldn’t be picking winners and losers”), the START Treaty (“if it was such a good deal why not give new members a chance to review it”), and judges (“he claims he’s conservative yet he voted in reverse order for Kagan, Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg”). On the $61 billion spending cut for fiscal 2011, Mourdock recalls he was driving on the roads of Indiana campaigning when he heard Lugar was going to vote against it. “Fifteen minutes later he was going to vote for it.” Mourdock is amazed that Lugar could have objected to a measure by which “we’d have a balanced budget 15 days of the year” and be running up the debt on the other 350.

On foreign policy, Mourdock joins those conservatives who insist Obama hasn’t identified a vital national security interest in Libya. But Mourdock is no isolationist. He supports Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl’s efforts to impose sanctions on Iran, Syria and North Korea. In contrast to Lugar, whom Mourdock says “supports multi-lateralism,” Mourdock argues that there are times when the United States needs to act unilaterally. On Israel, he recalls that after Obama’s Arab Spring speech, in which his language on ”1967 borders with land swaps” stirred up a frenzied reaction, “Lugar said he wasn’t going to take on the president. Well, I would!”

Mourdock argues that his private sector background (he’s a geologist with 30 years in the energy industry) gives him the opposite perspective of many pols, who want nothing more than to be elected. “I didn’t grow up in politics. It’s okay if I don’t win, and I’ll be able to make tough decisions.”

On economics he characterizes himself as a “pro-growth Republican.” He says, “The next 90 days will determine our course.” He cites the debt ceiling vote, the end of “QE2, cold turkey” (he asks, “Who’s going to buy our bonds?”), inflation concerns and Fitch’s downgrading of some major financial institutions’ risk ratings.

Mourdock speaks precisely but with out much flair. He readily admits he is “charisma challenged.” But he’s proven to be an effective campaigner and Tea Party favorite. The largest Tea Party group in the state will almost certainly endorse him in September. He says, “If not for the Tea Party, the Republican Party would not be coming back to its roots” as a party of limited government and lower taxes.

Mourdock is plainly much more in tune than Lugar with the staunch fiscal conservatism advocated by Tea Partyers. Lugar will be 80 years old in 2012, not ancient by Senate standards. Nevertheless, his mushy moderation and Washington aloofness are as out of fashion as hoop skirts. If Mourdock runs a solid race and continues to point out Lugar’s endemic squishiness on issues the base holds dear, he’ll boot Lugar from the Senate, a move that would be almost as popular with the conservative base as the political demise of Sen. Arlen Specter (D/R/D-Pa.).

The comparison between Dick Lugar and party-switching Snarlin' Arlen Specter is particularly apt, given that Lugar's campaign chief has already threatened that Lugar will campaign for reelection "with or without" the Republican Party.

McIntosh Not Running for Senate

So he tells Jim Shella:

Former GOP Congressman and former gubernatorial nominee David McIntosh is indeed considering a run for Congress. He called from Washington to help clear up the speculation surrounding his deliberations.

McIntosh is looking only at a potential run in the 5th Congressional District. That’s the one now represented by Republican Dan Burton. McIntosh’s voting address is in the 5th. He says he is no longer looking at a potential bid in the nearby 6th District and has no intention, despite reports, to run for U.S. Senate.

Which leaves us to ponder who is polling what would happen if he entered the Senate race with Lugar and Mourdock?

Mike Pence's First Campaign Video

Democrats Take Ownership of Economy

“They'll Say Anything to Save Their Own Jobs, But What Have They Done to Save Yours?”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rumor Mill: Lugar vs Mourdock vs... McIntosh?

Yes, that's right.

Someone is apparently conducting polling on a possible three-way Senate race between Dick Lugar, Richard Mourdock, and former Congressman and lobbyist David McIntosh.

This is interesting on a lot of levels.

First of all, a split in the non-Lugar vote (regardless of McIntosh's conservative challenger/outsider bona fides) will almost certainly guarantee Lugar's reelection. That's the case not just with someone like McIntosh, who has run statewide before, but with virtually any other candidate entering the race at this point.

Second, previously all speculation about McIntosh (who recently moved back to Indiana) centered around him running for Congress in either the 6th District (most of which he used to represent) or the 5th District (where his hometown ended up after redistricting). For McIntosh to be seriously considering running statewide for the Senate, one would have to think that a three-way fracas with Mourdock (who already has considerable party support) and Lugar (who has a large campaign warchest) is somehow more palatable than a Congressional run in either district.

But if running in his backyard (figuratively in the 6th or literally in the 5th) isn't that appealing, why would running statewide after a decade plus away from Indiana be moreso? It doesn't make sense. Lightning struck Dan Coats last year. I don't think it will strike again so soon.

Third, one has to wonder who paid for this sort of polling. Did McIntosh do so? You'd think so, but I've heard from folks close to him that he has no interest in a Senate campaign. Mourdock doesn't have the interest in conducting such a poll (and probably doesn't want to spare the money for it either).

Lugar, meanwhile, has money to spare and could be extremely well-served by a fishing expedition to try and lure a third candidate into the race (even if it might not be in this third candidate's best interests to run). Lugar would also be served with some muddying of the waters around the current field.

With Q2 fundraising soon wrapping up, it wouldn't do for national conservative groups to decide (as they seem to gradually be doing) to weigh in for Mourdock before the end of the quarter. Better to postpone that for as long as possible in hopes that said national groups might through their own dilatoriness and inaction come to discount the viability Mourdock's campaign.

Throwing McIntosh's name into the mix serves Lugar's ends far more than it serves anyone else, including McIntosh. Unless David McIntosh wants to reelect Dick Lugar, there's not much reason I can see for him to run for the Senate. If he wants to run for the Senate, his odds will probably be better a few years down the line (Dan Coats, after all, is not a young man).

I also wouldn't think that McIntosh should be proceeding under a false illusion that Lugar would somehow be persuaded to retire if he entered the race. Lugar didn't retire when almost three quarters of Indiana's GOP county chairmen basically gave him their opinion on that (by endorsing someone else), so it's not likely he's going to listen to David McIntosh (or anyone else, except maybe Mitch Daniels).

At any rate, someone's clearly polling this hypothetical race. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few days. The plot thickens.

Obama: What Shovel-Ready Projects?

It seems that there's no such thing.

Now he tells us.

Charles Krauthammer's destruction of Obama's stupidity on this is particularly entertaining.

Preliminary Outlines of a Perry Prez Campaign?

National Review's Rich Lowry looks at recent remarks by Texas Governor Rick Perry and finds the outlines of a campaign theme:

There are three things a presidential candidate generally needs: 1) presence (does he fill the room?); 2) a narrative (does his biography and/or record add up to something?); 3) a theme (does he have a point in running?). Based on tonight, I’d say Perry could well have all three. Let’s take them in order:

1) I’d never seen him give a speech before, but he delivered a pretty effective stem-winder. He was passionate, funny, and sincere. He got a standing ovation and as soon as he finished people began to leave the room, i.e. they were there for him.

2) The Perry narrative is that–during a crisis of unemployment in the nation at large–he has made Texas into a jobs machine with a program of commonsense conservatism. He was filling in for Donald Trump tonight and said at the beginning of his speech, “He’s known for saying, ‘You’re fired.’ We’re known [in Texas] for saying, ‘You’re hired.’” He said someone told him recently, “‘Perry, you’re jobs-obsessed.’ I said, ‘Yep.’” Later on in the speech, he noted that his “state has a sign out that says, ‘Open for Business.’”

3) His theme is that Washington needs to adopt a Texas-like program, be cut down to size, and leave the states to be “laboratories of democracy.” He referred a couple of times to the “Oz of Washington.” He sarcastically said, “Those people in Washington know everything,” before hitting the EPA, ObamaCare, and the NLRB. He complained of the “tragedy that’s happening in America, of losing our freedom.” He warned that the “entrenched powers in Washington” will be hard to fight. Left unsaid–only for now, perhaps–is that he’s the man to fight them.

Perry will inevitably draw comparisons with George W. Bush, but there’s at least one big difference: This Texas governor is not selling “compassionate conservatism.” His message is limited government, pure and simple.

As for comparing Rick Perry to George W. Bush, it's worth considering that, by next year, Perry will have been governor of Texas twice as long as Bush was (he is currently the longest-serving governor in the United States), and that Texas has unquestionably prospered relative to the rest of the country (under Bush and Obama) under his watch.

Wisconsin Union Bill Upheld by Supreme Court

A complete victory for Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans, and a rather harsh stomping on the lower court.

The Supreme Court didn't merely throw out the ruling. They refused to remand it back to the lower court, ruling. Effectively saying that the decision by the lower court was so bad that they didn't intend to remand the case back down to them for a second go-around to screw it up again.

In other words, that's all she wrote. Game. Set. Match.

John Ziegler on Why Sarah Palin Can't Win

When Ziegler, who has spent the past several years defending Sarah Palin more than any other person on the planet, doesn't think she can beat Obama, then you know she has serious problems.

Read the whole article. It's long, but it's worth it.

Quite frankly, I'm shocked at how shabbily Palin treated Ziegler. The article is replete with instances of it. The one where she forwards an email from him to her staff and says that they have to "suffer" through his emails along with her, but she forgot to remove his email address from the send line was particularly telling.

I'm also amazed that he kept defending her in the face of such behavior and never became bitter.

“Where can Romney go to defend himself on a policy decision almost all Republicans will find indefensible?”

The answer, obviously, is that he'll go nowhere.

The comparison is an apt one. Romney's shortcomings on a variety of issues, particularly Romneycare (or as Tim Pawlenty pithily dubbed it "Obamneycare" over the weekend), are a fatal flaw not unlike Rudy Giuliani's disconnect from Republican primary voters on social issues.

It's a problem that is fundamentally insoluble by even the best political consultants that money can buy.


Here’s an analogy for you. Rudy Giuliani was doing a bit better in the polls at this point in 2007 than Romney is now. Those numbers were a reflection of Giuliani’s fame and a genuine emotional connection the voters had with him. But eventually he knew, and everyone knew, that he was going to have to reckon with the enormous difficulty posed to his candidacy because he was pro-choice. His strategy was to avoid early state voters who might punish him and focus on Florida; he was chastised for it and it didn’t work, but it was an acknowledgment of a glaring weakness he couldn’t hide.

Romney has no strategy to deal with his own glaring weakness—his championing of the same individual mandate in Massachusetts that is organic to Obamacare. There are almost no Republican voters who will like Romney’s position once they understand it. All Romney can do is reinforce his own positives until he’s hit with criticism by his rivals. He’s done a very good job of that. But he’s actually in a far worse pickle in some ways than Giuliani was on abortion. Where can Romney go to defend himself on a policy decision almost all Republicans will find indefensible?

I think that most people know Mitt Romney will never win the Republican nomination, and that Romneycare (or Obamneycare) is the reason why. The only people that don't know that are Mitt Romney and the people whose paychecks he's signing.

Two More Endorsements for Mourdock

Steve Forbes and the anti-amnesty Minuteman PAC.

Bumps in the Road

I'm not normally one to praise anything about Mitt Romney, but this is a particularly good campaign video (and one that, to be frank, could have been made by any of the campaigns and has nothing to do with Romney himself as a candidate).


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pence Kicks Off Campaign: “This Is Our Challenge: To Build an Even Better Indiana.”

Mike Pence's campaign kickoff appears to have been better attended than candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney drew when they announced they were running for president.

Sort of makes you wonder what might have been.

Text of the speech:

"Thank you Michael, Charlotte and Audrey, and thank you to the love of my life and my first lady for 26 years, Karen Pence. Isn't she great?

"You know, Karen and I met at a little church across the street from the governor's residence in Indianapolis back in 1983. Honey, I think these people want us to go back to where we started!

"I am especially grateful to be joined by so many distinguished guests, party leaders, elected officials, supporters and friends who have taken the time to attend.

"Welcome to my hometown, Columbus, Indiana!

"I was born and raised in this town.

"I grew up in a small house not far from here with big dreams and a cornfield in my backyard.

"My grandfather was an Irish immigrant who came to this country in 1919. My parents came to Indiana before I was born and raised a family of four boys and two girls. I was raised to believe, 'To whom much is given, much will be required,' and our folks required a lot of us.

"At our house, we worked.

"My first job was washing dishes at Gene's Cafeteria. After that, I worked for five years as a gas station attendant up on Highway 31 to help pay my way through college.

"I went to college down on the Ohio River, went to law school in Indianapolis, met the girl of my dreams, raised a family, started a business and spent ten years traveling this state, talking with everyday Hoosiers from the airwaves to co-ops, to county fairs.

"And then I had the chance to fulfill a boyhood dream representing Indiana in our nation's capital, which brings me to today.

"On behalf of my family, here and gone, on behalf of all those who have stood with me for so many years, on behalf of conservative Hoosier values, I am here to make it official:

"I'm Mike Pence, I'm from Columbus, and I'm running for governor of Indiana.

"Next to being a husband and father, serving Indiana as governor would be the highest honor of my life but that's not why I'm running for governor. There are really three reasons.

"First, I'm running for governor because I love this state, and I believe Hoosiers are the best people in America.

"Anybody will tell you, I do love Indiana.

"I love everything about it.

"From the Ohio River to the Golden Dome, from high school basketball to the Oaken Bucket, from the steel mills to the Speedway, Indiana is special.

"But it's the people of Indiana who make it special.

"I've heard it in the wisdom of everyday Hoosiers who called me from kitchens, shop floors and tractors.

"I've seen the character of Hoosiers in the patriotism at Fourth of July parades and at quiet Memorial Day services.

"I've seen it in the eyes of Hoosier soldiers from Camp Atterbury to Kabul and Jalalabad, Baghdad and Ramadi. There's a reason Indiana has one of the largest national guards in America: Hoosiers believe in serving their country.

"And through it all I've seen the goodness, generosity, decency and wisdom of everyday Hoosiers.

"Like three years ago this week in the aftermath of a 100-year flood that devastated this hometown of mine, including my boyhood home on 31st Street.

"As I drove through one neighborhood in a squad car, the police officer told me, 'A few hours after the flood was over, the only thing you couldn't find in this neighborhood was a parking space.' I said, 'What do you mean?'

"He said, 'People just started showing up from all over with coolers full of food and water, toolboxes and pickup trucks to help families put their lives back together.'

"One man at a shelter told me, 'These fellas showed up the day of the flood, said they was from the Baptist church and were there to fix my house. I told 'em, "But I'm not a Baptist," and they said, "We don't care.""

"That's Indiana: decent, generous, modest and hardworking.

"And that's why I want to be governor.

"Because I think the people of Indiana are the heart of the heartland.

"There is nothing the people of Indiana can't accomplish if we work together with the common sense and common values that make this state great.

"Second, I'm running for governor because I believe Indiana is on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other in my lifetime, and we can't go back now.

"After 16 years of leadership at the Statehouse that left our state with record debt and higher taxes, with our state roads and bureaucracy crumbling, thanks to the leadership of Governor Mitch Daniels, Indiana has balanced budgets, lower taxes and improved state government in countless ways, including the most promising education reforms in the country.

"Because of what Hoosiers have done together, Indiana has become the fiscal envy of the nation and had the third fastest growing economy in the country in 2010.

"But despite all the progress we've made, we can't afford to stop.

"For as we gather here today, thousands of Hoosier families are hurting, struggling to find work. Some are trapped in failing schools. Others are going home on unsafe streets or to families in crisis.

"Despite some recent good news, unemployment in Indiana is still over 8 percent, and thousands have quit looking for jobs altogether.

"Food stamps and welfare rolls are swollen.

"These are hard times for too many in our state.

"So, our work is far from over.

"Everywhere I've gone in Indiana over the past six months, the message is the same: Hoosiers appreciate the progress we've made.

"But almost to a person they say, 'We gotta keep it goin'!'

"And they're right.

"We gotta keep Indiana growing, but that won't happen without a fight.

"Right now, Hoosiers are faced with an avalanche of unfunded mandates, regulations and taxes that threaten our freedom and stifle our growth.

"To keep Indiana growing, we need to be willing to put Indiana first.

"We need to be willing to say 'Yes' to Indiana and 'No' to Washington, D.C.

"Those who know me know I fight for what I believe in, and I believe in Indiana.

"As your governor, I'll fight for the freedom of every Hoosier to live, to work, to run our schools without unnecessary federal intrusion and Indiana will lead the fight against cap and trade and ObamaCare.

"To keep Indiana growing, we need a positive vision that builds on the success of the recent past, which brings me to my third and final reason.

"I'm running for governor because I have a vision for an even better Indiana.

"Good jobs, great schools, safe streets, strong families.

"And everything starts with a good-paying job.

"Some think you stimulate the economy through government borrowing, spending and bailouts.

"Hoosiers know better. The best stimulus plan is simple: less taxes, less red tape and more fiscal responsibility equals more jobs.

"To keep Indiana growing, we need to continue to live within our means, and as your governor, I'll fight to keep Indiana on the path of fiscal responsibility and reform.

"But we won't just keep taxes low, we'll fight for more tax relief for working families, small businesses and family farmers, cut red tape and encourage investment, jobs and growth in the city and on the farm, until Indiana becomes the best place in America to grow a business or start a business in the city or on the farm.

"To build an even better Indiana, we have to continue to recognize that we cannot succeed in the marketplace if we fail in the classroom.

"I believe education is a state and local function. That's why I opposed No Child Left Behind. We don't need bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. telling us how to run our local schools, but we do need to stay on the pathway to reform.

"As your governor, I'll look for ways to continue to fund excellence in education by cutting federal red tape, empowering parents and teachers, and promoting equality of opportunity for every Hoosier child through choice, more charter schools and innovation until Indiana has the best schools in America, period.

"And, to build an even better Indiana, our families and businesses have to be safe. Our prosperity depends on your security.

"As your governor, I will fight against the drugs and violence claiming Hoosier lives and give law enforcement, fire, public safety and the National Guard the tools and resources and reforms they need to protect our families and come home safe to their family. We owe them no less.

"And, finally, to build an even better Indiana, we must recognize that our present crisis is not just economic, but moral.

"At the root of these times should be the realization that people in positions of authority have walked away from the timeless truths of honesty, integrity, an honest day's work for an honest day's pay and the simple notion that you ought to treat the other person the way you want to be treated.

"To restore our economy we must reaffirm our respect for the institutions and traditions that nurture the character of our people: the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and the importance of organized religion in everyday life.

"On a day like today, I can't help but think of my dad.

"He's gone now 23 years, but his influence and example are still a guidepost for my life.

"He was like a lot of you in this room.

"Grew up in the big city, he put on the uniform, went to Korea, came home with medals that went in the drawer and were never talked about again.

"He married the daughter of immigrants, talked her into moving to Indiana to follow their dreams.

"He built everything that matters: a family, a business and a good name.

"He left me, my three brothers and two sisters too soon with a legacy of hard work, faith, patriotism and a few words to live by.

"My dad said two things more often than any other: 'Not my will but thine be done' and 'Climb your own mountain.'

"And as we face the challenge of putting Indiana first, getting Hoosiers back to work, restoring opportunity for every Hoosier child, securing our streets and strengthening our families, let's think about those who went before.

"Who, in their time, made the sacrifices, faced the hard times with faith and courage.

"Who climbed their own mountain. Now it's our turn.

"And this is not my mountain, it's ours.

"Our journey begins today.

"Our past behind us, the future before us.

"We ask you to join us.

"If you love Indiana and believe in the people of this great state, join us.

"If you see how far we've come and know we can't stop now, join us.

"If you believe we can build an even better Indiana for every Hoosier with good jobs, great schools, safe streets and strong families, join us.

"This is our challenge: to build an even better Indiana.

"And as we build an even better Indiana, I believe with all my heart, Indiana will continue to lead the way for a better and stronger America, so help us God.

"I'm Mike Pence. I'm running for governor. And I ask for your support."

Mourdock Unites Lake County

An interesting tidbit from Blue County in a Red State:

Mourdock fundraiser was attended by all Republican factions. No fights broke out and most enemies talked to each other. It looked like a community fence mending project. Poland sat for dinner at the same table with Pastore and nobody threw any objects. Janiec was cheerful and pleasant to talk to. Hero and Lutas were talking. Slayman and Michael Neal looked as if they were on their first date together.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Then Vs Now


“Maybe we can all come together and push the shock jocks and the media, who pride themselves in whipping people into a frenzy on both sides, not to do that anymore,” she said.


Wasserman Schultz’s sharpest rhetoric — such as insisting that Republicans’ move to defund Planned Parenthood and restrict abortion constitutes a “war on women” or that the Ryan plan would be a “death trap for some seniors” — may please her party’s base. But it doesn’t square with her role as a leading voice decrying that kind of over-the-top language in the wake of the January shooting in Tucson that injured her good friend, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Perry Ready to Pull Trigger on Prez Campaign

Game changer:

“Ready for launch.”

-- Adviser to Texas Gov. Rick Perry when asked by Power Play about the condition of a possible presidential run.

Sources close to Texas Gov. Rick Perry say that the events of the last week have brought America’s longest-serving governor to the cusp of an announcement.

The implosion of Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign frees up Perry’s political wingmen, Dave Carney and Rob Johnson, now said to be headed to Austin to prepare a Perry run. Also this week, sources say Perry got the thumbs up from the Texas moneymen whose support he sought before launching a campaign. A big piece in the Wall Street Journal also helped convince the team that there was East Coast interest in the Texan’s candidacy.

Gingrich’s collapse also leaves a major hole in the field: There is no viable Southerner seeking the nomination of the party of the South.

But Perry is getting ready to launch a campaign that will fill that gap and draw the sharpest contrast with Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney. The Romney campaign served chicken and white bean chili at the candidate’s announcement speech. Perry will be all spicy Texas red.

While establishment Republicans have been pining for a candidate who is ready to have a detailed policy debate about entitlement reform and regulatory uncertainty (a la Mitch Daniels) the rank and file wants someone who is ready for a throwdown. Perry has a reputation as a policy lightweight, but he knows how to fire up a crowd and give the kind of straight talk Republicans are itching for.

Those who doubt the condition of the electorate should examine the rise of Herman Cain. He’s in for some rough weather after veering into social issues -- defending his assertion that he would not include Muslims in his administration and declaring homosexuality to be a “sin” and “a choice” – but Cain’s appeal is as a straight-talking Southerner with a libertarian flair.

Perry’s rise may push some uncommitted easterners into the arms of Romney as the election becomes more geographical and more of a clear Tea Party-versus-establishment contest. But it will also tend to galvanize the 20 percent of undecided voters and rob support from Cain and other second-tier candidates.

Another challenge for Perry will be overcoming his previously prickly relationship with the political veterans who populated the Bush political organization. Perry and George W. Bush have an old rivalry, but the Bush presidency left an indelible mark on the world of political professionals, many of who have embraced former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and, to a lesser degree, Romney.

Some in the establishment, though, may decide that Perry’s potential with Hispanic voters and his stark juxtaposition with Obama – plain English versus foggy phrasing – may be the best way to win over independents fed up with Washington blather.

Oh Boy: Charlie White's Special Prosecutor Guilty of Same Vote Problems as White?

Advance Indiana has the full complaint, which White has filed requesting a special prosecutor investigate the special prosecutor on his case.

The complaint details that Sigler, the special prosecutor in the White case, has committed many of the same "voting in the wrong place" and assorted other sworn residency legal problems as Charlie White, but over a much longer period of time.

“We simply cannot continue to pile debt upon debt. Lugar seems to think otherwise. It is time for him to go.”

A letter to the editor in the Indianapolis Star:

I am looking forward to voting for Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate in the May 2012 primary. While I admire Sen. Richard Lugar for his service as mayor and U.S. senator, his voting record shows that he is out of touch with fiscal reality.

Our federal government's debt is $14 trillion (100 percent of gross domestic product); such a situation is unsustainable. This figure does not even include the unfunded Social Security or Medicare liabilities. Despite this fact, Sen. Lugar:

Voted yes on President George W. Bush's bank bailout in September 2008.

Voted yes on Bush's Big Three/UAW bailout in December 2008.

Stated that he will not vote for the House GOP budget that cuts a tiny $61 billion in spending.

We simply cannot continue to pile debt upon debt. Lugar seems to think otherwise. It is time for him to go.

Carlos F. Lam

Don't Text in This Movie Theater

Apparently, they actually play this before movies at this theater.

Obama's Answer to Every Question

The reaction of the teacher is particularly hilarious.

It's funny because, when it comes to The One, it's so true.

The Anti-Mitch

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Visit DickLugar.org

Go ahead, take a gander.

Indiana 3rd-Fastest Growing, 3rd-Most Free State in USA

Indiana's economy grew at 4.6% in 2010, the third-fastest growing state in the union:

A new report says that Indiana’s economic growth is third only to North Dakota and New York. The Bureau of Economic Analysis says the Indiana GDP grew at 4.6% in 2010.

Also, the Mercatus Center rates Indiana as the third-most free state in the United States:

#3 Overall
#13 Economic
#4 Personal

Consider for a moment that Tim Pawlenty wants, under his economic plan, to have the American economy grow at 5% a year.

Obama and company have pooh-poohed this as impossible. Indiana came pretty close to that goal in 2010, even as the rest of the country remained mired in economic hard times.

If he were still in the presidential running, this would be quite a feather in Mitch Daniels' campaign cap (and it still could be, if he ends up on the Republican ticket as a vice presidential nominee).

5% growth, or something close to it, can be done. Indiana and a few other states prove that. The question is why Obama continues to think it's not possible.

Mourdock on the Failure of the Auto Bailouts

This week is the second anniversary of the Obama bailout of the car companies.

Richard Mourdock's campaign has a new video up detailing his involvement in fighting the bailouts:

In an email, Mourdock adds:

Two years ago today, the American government spent billions in taxpayer dollars to bailout the auto industry. The AP now reports that, "Taxpayers will lose about $14 billion."

Senator Lugar voted with the majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate to support the auto bailout. Now that we know the bailout has cost taxpayers billions, I have called upon Lugar to explain why he supported it!

The auto bailout was a financial sham. I fought it all the way to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Dick Lugar continues to remain silent. He isn't demanding the Obama administration account for the $14 billion losses, and he never spoke out to defend Indiana pensioners who had their retirement fund looted.

Mourdock is not alone in his assessment about the bailouts, either.

It's a view shared by the fact checkers at the Washington Post, of all places, when they looked at the claims Obama made to defend his bailout of the car companies:

With some of the economic indicators looking a bit dicey, President Obama traveled to Ohio last week to tout what the administration considers a good-news story: the rescue of the domestic automobile industry. In fact, he also made it the subject of his weekly radio address.

What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan.

They go on to dismantle many of the supposed facts and statistics Obama and the bailout supporters cite as proof that the bailouts worked.

They conclude with a damning paragraph:

The president is straining too hard [to defend the bailouts]. If the auto industry bailout is really a success, there should be no need to resort to trumped-up rhetoric and phony accounting to make your case. Let the facts speak for themselves.

The problem, obviously, is that the facts don't speak for themselves. The facts show that the bailouts were a failure.

The Washington Post gave Obama three "Pinocchios" (out of a max of four) for his false claims.

The Washington Examiner gave an even more sharp indictment of the bailouts in a recent editorial:

President Obama and two of his biggest union allies -- the United Auto Workers and the United Steelworkers -- plan to make the automotive bailout "a central issue" in the 2012 election, Politico reports. Republicans should view this as an opportunity. No issue better illustrates the deception, cronyism, disregard for the rule of law, and bad economic decisions of this White House than the auto bailouts.

On Tuesday, Obama announced that Chrysler had paid back all "outstanding loans to the U.S. Treasury and American taxpayers." This is highly misleading. American taxpayers still own a 6.6 percent stake in Chrysler, which cost them nearly $2 billion. Chrysler would have to be worth six times its current value ($5 billion) for the government to break even.

Obama's statement also conveniently forgets the $1.9 billion loan that was erased when Chrysler declared bankruptcy in 2009, and the additional $1.5 billion loaned to Chrysler's suppliers. And don't forget that the only way Chrysler could secure the money to pay off the Treasury loan was by getting Obama Energy Secretary Steven Chu to promise the company an additional $3.5 billion for energy-efficient vehicles. In reality, Chrysler is simply in the process of substituting one government loan for another.

The story is no better at General Motors, which supposedly just posted its biggest profit in a decade this quarter. But GM did not make that money selling cars -- rather, it came from the one-time sale of a subsidiary company. GM had bought Delphi, one of its troubled suppliers, for $2.5 billion in 2009. Then Delphi dumped $6.25 billion worth of its pension obligations onto the federal government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. With those debts gone, GM sold Delphi for $3.8 billion this quarter. Voila -- huge profits for GM, all at the expense of the pensioners who fund and could someday depend on the PBGC (and possibly the taxpayers, too).

Despite these shady deals and accounting shell games, and despite the effective suspension of the rule of law that made the auto bailout possible, the Obama administration still hasn't made this deal worth the investment. According to the Government Accountability Office, U.S. taxpayers have spent $49.5 billion bailing out GM. They will likely never recoup the full $27 billion still tied up in the deal, especially considering that the entire company is only worth $46 billion. And the Chrysler situation is far worse: The government has spent $12.5 billion so far to bail out a $5 billion company. To whatever extent Americans understand the real story behind the auto bailouts, they will be an albatross around the neck of Obama's re-election prospects, not a political asset.

Three Pinocchios doesn't begin to cover it.