Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review: Keeping the Republic

I've spent the past few days deliberately avoiding other reviews of Mitch Daniels' new book, Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans, while I read it for myself and wrote this review.

First off, I want to say that the book itself is very interesting, extremely readable, and is written in an almost conversational tone. Complex problems and concepts are boiled down with simple, easy to understand prose. This sort of ability to distill the complex into something that ordinary folks can comprehend has been the hallmark of Mitch Daniels' time in politics. His book is no different.

As someone that has read more than a few books written by politicians, I can attest that political books like this are generally not terribly readable or interesting, even if they are ghost-written. This book (which as far as I am aware was not ghost-written) manages to be both readable and interesting.

It's a good thing, too, because the subject matter is very depressing. The book has essentially two parts. The first is basically a discussion of the situation our country is now in. Most of Mitch's focus is on the national debt (which Mitch acknowledges was built over a long time, but he also at length discusses how the policies of the Obama administration have managed to make that problem immeasurably worse).

The second part is an outline of what George Will calls in the foreword of the book, "the Daniels Doctrine, or conservatism for grown-ups." As much as the first part of the book is depressing in laying out the challenges we face as a country, the second part is even more depressing because it's basically the platform for the presidential campaign that never was. I can't see any of the current Republican candidates for president supporting this platform, and I don't think that any of them could communicate it as effectively or implement it as competently as Mitch Daniels.

Mitch dedicates his book to "Cheri and the girls." The next line of the dedication reads "Like everything else," which struck me as an odd addition. In the context of the book, and of the challenges of our times, I read it almost as a lament. Their gain is America's loss.

The book isn't about Mitch, though it contains the occasional Hoosier anecdote and Mitch finds (unsurprisingly for a book intended as a component of a presidential campaign) plenty of answers in his policies in Indiana to problems in America more broadly. The book's third paragraph makes it clear that this is not a biography by any means: "If you're looking for a book full of self-revelation and tales of a tormented childhood, try the next shelf. What follows is most determinedly not about me because, frankly, I'm not that interesting. I've led a boringly typical postwar American life, which is to say I'm among the luckiest people who ever walked the earth."

The book isn't about him. It's about how to ensure that future generations of Americans can have the same boringly typical and lucky lives that he did.

Observers of Indiana politics won't find names dropped in the book. In fact, the only Republican elected official mentioned by name in the entire book is Richard Mourdock, who appears in the context of his lawsuit over the Chrysler bailout, a move Daniels explains and defends (perhaps the most concise explanation and succinct defense of the Chrysler case I have seen). Dick Lugar, Mitch's mentor, didn't even get mentioned (there's a photo of Mitch with Lugar in the photo insert in the middle of the book, but nothing else). Evan Bayh and Pat Bauer each merit only a single mention each.

That's not to say that the book doesn't recount a lot that happened under Mitch's time in Indiana or tell interesting political stories from that time. It does.

For example, at one point Mitch recounts a story about a Republican candidate for the legislature who was a pharmacist. First, the Democrats attacked him (a pharmacist, not the pharmacy owner) for sending jobs to China. Then they smeared him for preparing prescriptions for the morning-after pill (which he didn't do) and attacking him by extension as an abortionist (remember, the attack came from Democrats, who vigorously defend abortion at virtually every level of government). Mitch notes that the Republican candidate for the legislature won the election anyway.

I happen to know that candidate was Steve Davisson of Salem, who is now State Representative for District 73 (which includes part of Harrison County). Mitch didn't mention him by name, but he didn't need to. Name-dropping is incidental to the points he is trying to get across, so he didn't do it. It's very rare for books by politicians to not "name names" (which, I suppose, makes his mention of Richard Mourdock that much more interesting, but I digress).

The book is pithy and full of the wit and wry humor Hoosiers have seen from their governor for the past six and a half years. It's also full of a healthy dose of good Hoosier conservative common sense. The second portion of the book includes a program of ideas for setting America's fiscal house and economy back to rights as innovative as anything we've come to expect in Mitch's time as Governor of Indiana.

The slogan for the presidential campaign that never was would have been "change that believes in you," and the underlying theme of the campaign would have been a simple one. Liberals, Mitch notes (he calls them "our Betters" and Better is always capitalized), think people are stupid. They can't be trusted to make wise decisions about their individual well-being. Mitch proposes a program that trusts people to make decisions for themselves, with their own money.

We are left to ponder the campaign and presidency that would have been had Mitch run, won, and this program been implemented. The result would almost certainly have been a better, more prosperous, more conservative America.

As much as the first part of the book is depressing for its detailed discussion of the challenges we now face as a country, the second portion of the book is not much of a counterpoint, since there is no one in the current Republican field I see as capable of carrying this message or advancing a similarly innovative program to fix our problems.

Early in the book, Mitch observes that the challenge with our problems is not that they cannot be solved. It has more to do with our politicians believing that they cannot do what everyone knows needs to be done and still get reelected. Thus the American republic is imperiled, and its fortunes even still worsened.

Mitch has a record of seeing what needs to be done and doing it regardless of the political consequences (and getting reelected anyway, because people decided they agreed with him doing what needed to be done). I am not certain anyone cut from similar cloth is currently running for president. I hope so. We're going to need them.

At one point in the book, Mitch notes that early American currency used to bear the Latin motto "Exitus in dubio est," which translates as "The outcome is in doubt."

In both its message and as a sad reminder of the absence of a messenger, Keeping the Republic is a voice in the wilderness of modern American politics warning us that today, it very much still is.

Disclosure: I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher for the purposes of writing this review.

“We're All Going Downhill! Everything Is Hopeless!”

This Peanuts strip ran on December 31, 1979.

How hopeless were things a few years later?

Perhaps that's a bit of optimism for folks feeling pessimistic about our country right now.

Or maybe not.

Obama Lectures Europe: Why Don't You... Germany Responds: Why Don't You Shut Up

This, folks, is the state of American leadership in the world under Obama.

From Britain's Daily Telegraph:

German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said it would be a folly to boost the EU's bail-out machinery (EFSF) beyond its €440bn lending limit by deploying leverage to up to €2 trillion, perhaps by raising funds from the European Central Bank.

"I don't understand how anyone in the European Commission can have such a stupid idea. The result would be to endanger the AAA sovereign debt ratings of other member states. It makes no sense," he said.

Mr Schauble told Washington to mind its own businesss after President Barack Obama rebuked EU leaders for failing to recapitalise banks and allowing the debt crisis to escalate to the point where it is "scaring the world".

"It's always much easier to give advice to others than to decide for yourself. I am well prepared to give advice to the US government," he said.

Granted, Germany still does have its AAA credit rating. The United States, not so much.

“Words Have Meaning”

More on Romneycare

Red State has a pretty interesting look at Romneycare and its shredding of conservative principles.

“Lugar Either Promotes Such Gutless Behavior or Winks at It.”

A letter to the editor in the Indianapolis Star:

In this state, Sen. Richard Lugar has been revered. Now, as he faces his first serious intra-party challenge since the days when, as mayor, he ran into Gov. Otis Bowen, he will not personally confront his opponent, Richard Mourdock. That, however, doesn't stop his surrogates from attacking Mourdock. As Lugar appears to be above the fray, he either promotes such gutless behavior or winks at it.

Recently, Peter Rusthoven stated that Mourdock made gains in his personal financial portfolio while losing money with state investments. This is nothing but a cheap shot given that we all know that one has total personal freedom with regard to one's own investments and limited options with regard to state investments.

Lugar has been in the Senate too long. He has been a bystander as the left has commandeered our formerly free-market economy. While appearing "conservative" when facing the electorate, he routinely befriends the most radical elements in our government. It is time for him to go and it is time for "establishment, ruling-class" Republicans to wake up and support Richard Mourdock or, at least, get out of the way.

John L. Sorg

It occurs to me that Lugar and his minions, so long absent from Indiana and its concerns, have utterly no idea how much damage they are doing with the sort of campaign they've been trying to run. The damage isn't being done to Richard Mourdock.

The damage is being done to what is left of Dick Lugar's reputation, and it is driving a final stake through the heart of the electoral coalition of both conservatives and moderates that put Lugar in office for so many years. That coalition is dead. At least he's going to get beat and won't need it after the primary anyway.

Love Songs

For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo...

Red Tape

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tea Party for Mourdock Money Bomb

The website to donate to Mourdock's money bomb is

Random Thoughts on the Presidential Race

I'm sure this is going to seem depressing, but I have serious doubts about anyone in the Republican presidential field being up to the magnitude of the job at hand. And by "job at hand," I don't mean "beat Barack Obama." I mean "fix the mess that Obama has created after beating him."

I tend to agree with Mitch Daniels that our country faces monumental challenges that are existential threats to the American way of life and the standard of living that Americans have enjoyed for the past half century.

Fixing these problems, many of which predated Obama but virtually all of which Obama has through his action and inaction made incalculably worse, will require a person of exceeding talent.

Such a person must:

1) Be willing to make hard, perhaps politically unpopular, decisions. This clearly excludes Mitt Romney from consideration. It probably also excludes Jon Huntsman. Given that Newt Gingrich was, only three months ago, critical of the Ryan Plan (which is just about the only road map out of our fiscal nightmare currently on the table), it may well exclude him too.

2) Be able to not merely manage but also bring to heel one of the largest and most unwieldy organizations on the planet. At the bear minimum, this excludes anyone that does not have executive experience including Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum. I leave Newt in because I believe that he showed sufficient knowledge of the Federal government and its workings in his time in the House to demonstrate he knows enough about the system to be a contender in this qualification. It is also hard to exclude him purely on the basis of his ability to innovate in the Federal policy arena. Gingrich's innovative streak may serve to offset the criticism of the Ryan Plan I mentioned under #1. Cain may be excluded; I'm not sure how running a pizza chain compares to running a state or similar large organization.

3) Be able to clearly communicate why they are undertaking the decisions in #1 and what they are doing as it pertains to #2. The American people will not back tough choices by their president if he cannot communicate what he is doing and why in a way that they can understand. This does not require debate skill per se, but it does require a skill at communication and back-and-forth (in press conferences, interviews, and even debates). This currently excludes Rick Perry.

4) Apply conservative and constitutional principles on the job, including the appointment of judges. This, again, excludes Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. You can debate whether Perry is excluded here due to his positions on illegal immigration or HPV vaccinations.

5) Be electable by the American people at large. This would excludes Gary Johnson (legalizing marijuana is probably a nonstarter) and Ron Paul (sorry Paul-pods).

So who, by process of elimination, are we left with?

Of the nine on the stage in Florida...

Michele Bachmann... Nope.
Herman Cain... Maybe nope.
Newt Gingrich... Maybe nope.
Jon Huntsman... Nope.
Gary Johnson... Nope.
Ron Paul... Nope.
Rick Perry... Nope (barring a new-found ability to communicate).
Mitt Romney... Nope.
Rick Santorum... Nope.

Of those still pondering a run...

Sarah Palin... Nope (disqualified on 1, 2, 3, and 5).
Chris Christie... Nope (disqualified on 4 until proven otherwise).

Other people that may meet most, if not all, of the above criteria are declared as not being interested in running (Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, etc).

So, as I said, it's depressing.

Sharron Angle Endorses Mourdock

From Politico:

Sharron Angle may not be on the ballot in 2012, but she's still aiming to be part of the debate.

The 2010 Nevada Senate candidate and tea party hero issued her first endorsement of the cycle Friday morning, backing Richard Mourdock's bid to unseat Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana's GOP Senate primary.

"Guts – that’s what my friend Richard Mourdock has in spades for putting it all on the line to primary Indiana Senator Dick Lugar (R – In Name Only)," Angle writes to supporters of her Our Voice PAC. "Senator Lugar is a 35-year career politician who represents dark red Indiana, but who recently told the Tea Party to 'get real.'"

Angle then lays out Lugar's "liberal" voting record, pointing out his support for the auto and bank bailouts, President Obama's Supreme Court nominees and the DREAM Act.

"The 2012 election will only transform America if we elect Constitutional conservatives. That’s why I am endorsing Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate, and I urge you to consider backing him financially," Angle writes.

Angle's full endorsement is available at the above link.

Last year, Angle (who came up short against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Nevada Senate race) boasted one of the largest campaign fundraising hauls in American political history (at least for a Senate challenger). She raised over $14 million in Q3 of 2010. The Washington Post noted at the time:

Ninety four percent of the money raised in the third quarter by Angle came in the form of donation of $100 or less. Ninety six percent of the contributions were $200 or less.

That's a lot of grassroots small-dollar donors. Angle's endorsement may open for Mourdock the possibility of tapping into those grassroots conservative donors.

Indiana Tea Parties Unite, Endorse Mourdock

This is important insofar as it decreases the likelihood of a third spoiler candidate entering the Republican Senate primary and is a further illustration of the unity of Indiana tea parties in getting behind a single candidate in order to replace Dick Lugar with a conservative.

The Courier-Journal:

GREENFIELD, Ind. — Indiana tea party groups have overwhelmingly endorsed state treasurer Richard Mourdock in his bid to unseat six-term U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar in next year’s Senate race.

During a straw vote held Saturday in Greenfield by Hoosiers for Conservative Senate, 96 of the 97 votes cast went to tea party favorite Mourdock. One vote cast in the secret ballot went to Lugar, who did not attend the meeting.

Co-chair Monica Boyer says tea party activists left the gathering, which included members of 55 Indiana tea party groups, resolved to work hard to ensure that Mourdock defeats Lugar in next May’s GOP primary.

She said Lugar may have millions of dollars in his war chest, but tea party activists have the grass-roots support and the votes to ensure a Mourdock primary win.

Mike Delph Passes Bar Exam

State Senator Mike Delph took the bar exam last spring during the legislative session, and failed.

He came back for a second go this fall, and passed.

Congratulations are most definitely in order.

Obama & Planned Parenthood Won't Stop

Don't Bring a Knife to a Gunfight? How about Don't Bring Perry to a Debate?

Rick Perry's team says that debates don't matter. They may be right; the current ones for Republican primary candidates might not and modern presidential elections have not hinged on debate performances in quite some time.

This being said, there's something more than a little unsettling about Perry's inability to articulate a conservative message and defend his positions in a format where he has to interact with other people, be those people other candidates or reporters.

Debates might not matter, but being able to articulate a message and defend your positions in an interview or a press conference is exceedingly important. George W. Bush couldn't do it well. Neither, it appears, can Rick Perry. Another thing they have in common, I suppose.

Voodoo Economics

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dick Lugar's New Jobs Plan: Campaign Shirts Made Overseas


A Republican in Indiana passes along this shot of Dick Lugar's 2012 campaign t-shirts — made in El Salvador.

The GOPer who picked it up at the state fair and is no Lugar fan emails, "I guess when Senator Lugar discusses the need to create jobs and increase foreign trade, he is talking about trading American jobs off to a South American country so they can make his campaign shirts at a cheaper price."

A spokesman for State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who is contesting Lugar for the GOP nomination, said its campaign shirts are made in the USA.

It occurs to me that the shirts made in El Salvador might just be cheaper for a campaign operating on a shoestring budget. But Dick Lugar, who has mountains of money, has the foreign-made shirts. Mourdock, who isn't running a big money campaign, has the American-made shirts.

Three Stories about Lake County Corruption

Mitch Daniels is critical of Lake County in his new book:

Gov. Mitch Daniels criticizes Northwest Indiana's business climate and political culture in his new book out Tuesday that otherwise calls on Americans to unite to stop runaway federal debt.

In a chapter detailing his work to overcome environmental objections to the $4 billion expansion of BP's Whiting refinery, Daniels said he was "thrilled" to bring new jobs to a region that "has been the hardest part of the state to attract jobs to."

"Culturally close to Chicago in both economics and politics, and with a reputation for governmental corruption and labor union aggression, our northwest corner is a place employers are more likely to flee than invest in," Daniels wrote in "Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans."

John Gregg rushed to Lake County's defense Tuesday:

Gov. Mitch Daniels is attacking the political and business climate of northwest Indiana while Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg is defending his party's political stronghold.

Daniels writes in his new book of his frustrations trying to win approval for a $4 billion expansion of BP's Whiting refinery. The Times of Munster reports ( ) that Daniels stood by his comments this week.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg lashed back at Daniels' comments Tuesday. The former speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives called Daniels' comments divisive.

Northwest Indiana is a key stronghold for Indiana Democrats.

And now the latest news from Lake County:

The U.S. attorney's office announced several indictments Thursday afternoon, charging the Lake County coroner and three Lake County sheriff's officers with public corruption-related crimes.

U.S. Attorney David Capp first told a crowded room of media officials that a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment against Lake County Coroner Thomas Philpot, alleging mail fraud and theft of federal funds from the state's child support program. Philpot allegedly took about $24,700 in unauthorized incentive payments between 2004 and 2009 while serving as the county clerk.

Philpot could not be reached for comment Thursday night, but officials said arrangements were being made for his surrender next week.

Later in the news conference, Capp explained an alleged scheme that led to a separate six-count indictment against and the resignations of Lake County Sgt. Joe Kumstar and Officers Ronald Slusser and Edward Kabella. He said the men used their positions at the Sheriff's Department to buy machine guns and laser sights that are restricted for use by the military and law enforcement -- and sold the parts online for thousands of dollars in personal profits.

John Gregg sure has the gift of timing, I'll give him that.

Lugargeddon: Convention of Indiana Tea Parties on the Brink of Mourdock Endorsement

Great story in the Washington Times about the Indiana Republican Senate primary:

He has served six terms in the Senate and won his last race with 87 percent of the vote, but that hasn’t prevented Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar from emerging as perhaps the most vulnerable Republican senator of the 2012 election cycle. And the big danger is coming from Mr. Lugar’s right flank.

In a replay of several marquee Senate primary battles from two years ago, the moderate Mr. Lugar finds himself in the crosshairs of the state’s growing and increasingly restive tea party factions. They question his conservative credentials and have made his ouster a top priority., one of the group’s gunning for Mr. Lugar, slams his record, citing his stand on gun control (he earned a D+ from the National Rifle Association), his refusal to sign a legal brief challenging the constitutionality of the Obama health care law, his backing for the TARP Wall Street bailout in 2008 and what they claim is a poor track record on such issues as government spending, immigration and support for “liberal-minded” judges.

And not only do they want Mr. Lugar out, Indiana conservatives know who they want in.

Even though longtime libertarian candidate Andrew Horning signaled this week that he will enter the race, most see state Treasurer Richard Mourdock as the clear Republican challenger for Mr. Lugar in the primary after state Sen. Mike Delph announced last month that he would not run.

While Mr. Delph’s withdrawal is a major break for Mr. Mourdock, he still faces a substantial disadvantage in money and name recognition. According to Federal Election Commission reports through the second quarter of the year, Mr. Mourdock had $215,000 cash on hand compared with $3.5 million for Mr. Lugar.

“Defeating Sen. Lugar is and has been a priority for tea party activists,” said Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes Senate races for the Cook Political Report in Washington.

“Tea party activists in Indiana are very united against Lugar, allowing Mourdock to consolidate that vote. But this race isnt over because independents can vote in the GOP primary.”

Unlike fellow GOP incumbent Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, who has moved to shore up his right flank to head off a primary challenge in Utah, Mr. Lugar has tried to float above the fray, touting his record and clout in Washington in recent trips around the state.

“I respect the right of anyone to want to run for the United States Senate,” is about the most provocative comment he has made in recent weeks.

Mr. Mourdock, a geologist, has long had his eye on Washington. He lost the Republican primary for a U.S. House seat in 1988 and then lost two general election races for the same seat in 1990 and 1992.

He turned to state politics and was elected state treasurer in 2006 and re-elected in 2010, announcing plans to challenge Mr. Lugar just two months later. He is perhaps best known nationally for mounting a legal challenge to the Obama administrations Chrysler bankruptcy plan.

Mr. Mourdock has been endorsed by GOP presidential contender Herman Cain as well as Steve Forbes, radio pundit Mark Levin and influential conservative blogger Erick Erickson of Other leading tea party and fiscal conservative groups are said to be considering an endorsement if Mr. Mourdock’s campaign proves to be viable.

A July poll by the conservative Club for Growth showed a tight race, with Mr. Mourdock leading Mr. Lugar 34 percent to 32 percent among likely GOP voters, but with 34 percent undecided. The senators own internal polling of 600 likely GOP primary voters, however, found him leading his challenger 45 percent to 31 percent.

Interesting Facts about America's Poor

Robert Rector, architect of welfare reform, has an extremely interesting post over at National Review with some interesting statistics about poverty in America.

● Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

● Fully 92 percent of poor households have a microwave; two-thirds have at least one DVD player and 70 percent have a VCR.

● Nearly 75 percent have a car or truck; 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.

● Four out of five poor adults assert they were never hungry at any time in the prior year due to lack of money for food.

● Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television.

● Half have a personal computer; one in seven have two or more computers.

● More than half of poor families with children have a video game system such as Xbox or PlayStation.

● Just under half — 43 percent — have Internet access.

● A third have a widescreen plasma or LCD TV.

● One in every four has a digital video recorder such as TiVo.

And there's more:

● At a single point in time, only one in 70 poor persons is homeless.

● The vast majority of the houses or apartments of the poor are in good repair; only 6 percent are over-crowded.

● The average poor American has more living space than the average non-poor individual living in Sweden, France, Germany or the United Kingdom.

● Only 10 percent of the poor live in mobile homes or trailers; half live in detached single-family houses or townhouses, while 40 percent live in apartments.

● Forty-two percent of all poor households own their home; on average, it’s a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Read the whole thing.

Newt: Americans Are Scared of Obama

With zingers like this, it's no wonder that he's ticking up in the polling (even if he remains in fourth place or something).

Interesting Ad from Texas

Given how little time Dick Lugar has spent in Indiana in the past thirty-five years, this could have been an ad about him.

A Tale of Two Governors

Jim Geraghty:

This morning the Republican Governors Association is chuckling over the newest sharp contrast between their chairman and the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association (and governor of a neighboring state).

Just days after Virginia governor Bob McDonnell announced a $544 million surplus, Maryland governor Martin O’Malley told county leaders Saturday that Maryland may need to increase taxes to solve a $1 billion budget gap next year.

What makes the contrast even more striking is the fact that McDonnell previously balanced an inherited $4.2 billion budget deficit that Gov. Tim Kaine had said could only be closed with a $2 billion tax increase, while O’Malley has already signed the largest tax increase in Maryland history during his first term.

Both states benefit from the hiring spree and rare layoffs in the federal government, but the unemployment rate in Virginia is 6.1 percent, while the unemployment rate in Maryland is 7.2 percent.

Kind of reminds me of Indiana and Illinois.

Darth Vader's Fantasy Football Draft

Crony Socialism

Falling Dow

From the Rumor Mill: Jean Leising for Congress?

The grapevine says that State Senator Jean Leising is considering jumping into the Republican primary in the 6th Congressional district.

It's a particularly interesting rumor, if true. Leising ran for Congress twice in the 1990s in what was then the 9th District and came close to beating Lee Hamilton and later Baron Hill. She is a tenacious campaigner; it was not easy to run against either of them in 1996 or 1998 (not exactly Republican years).

Between the areas of the old 9th in which she ran for Congress and her current and former state senate districts, Leising has campaigned over a large chunk of the new 6th District (and represented a significant chunk of it as well).

Leising was last elected in 2008, so if she ran she wouldn't be able to "run safe" and still hold her state senate seat (some leaders in the state senate, who tend not to like her much, might see this as an added bonus of a potential candidacy).

Currently, there are no candidates running in the 6th District from south of Columbus. Former state representative and lobbyist Luke Messer is from Shelbyville (just southeast of Indianapolis). Activist and former Congressional candidate Travis Hankins is from Columbus. Businessman and 2010 Senate candidate Don Bates lives in Winchester (east of Muncie).

There is no candidate from the southern part of the district. The only current candidate with a connection there is Hankins (or Bates, if you count his Senate campaign). Geography could favor Leising in that regard, along with her prior campaign experience, time representing much of the district, and existing name ID. Messer, though he has money, does not have any of those things.

When the district was first drawn, Leising's name was mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Mike Pence (who is running for governor and is avowedly neutral in the primary to replace him). Until now, I had not heard much more about her running.

It would be quite a shakeup to the race if she decided to throw her hat in.

Quote of the Day: Horning, Again

Every fall the trees are filled with underwear, every spring the toilets explode, and generally come November, Andy Horning will be on the ballot.
- Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb paraphrasing Animal House on last week's Indiana Week in Review

This may be the funniest line spoken by any chairman of the Indiana Republican Party since, well, Rex Early was party chairman and said just about anything.

Game the Electoral College for Political Advantage? Who Would Think of Such a Thing?

How about two of the three authors of the Federalist Papers?

National Review:

Pernsylvania Republicans are talking about shifting Pennsylvania’s electoral votes to a district system, like Maine’s and Nebraska’s, in hopes of reaping GOP votes from the God and gun clingers between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Gaming the Electoral College for partisan advantage — who would think of such a thing?

James Madison, for one. One of his tasks in the election of 1800 was to push Virginia, where he served in the legislature, to a winner-take-all system. In the election of 1796, Madison’s friend Thomas Jefferson had lost one Virginia electoral vote, from a hillbilly district in the west, to John Adams. Under winner-take-all, Jefferson would suffer no such attrition.

Alexander Hamilton, for another. New York’s legislature picked the state’s presidential electors. After the Jeffersonians swept the New York legislative elections early in 1800, Hamilton wrote governor John Jay urging him to change New York’s system to popular vote by electoral districts (rather like the Pennsylvania Republicans today). With voting by districts, Jefferson would only split the state’s electoral votes. Jay would not go along.

So Publius divided, 2–1, for gaming the system.

That's not to say that the Republican proposal in Pennsylvania is a good idea, though the argument I have seen made that somehow Republicans would be depriving themselves of the rest of Pennsylvania's electoral votes by doing this seems to be putting a bit too much hope on overcoming traditionally high and overwhelming Democratic turnout in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; that hope seems to spring eternal every four years and never bears fruit.

The setback to the overall Democratic electoral math would be enormous (and even worse if something like this was implemented in another traditionally Democratic state that now has a Republican-dominated state government, Michigan). Without being able to count on huge blocks of electoral votes out of states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, Democratic hopes for retaining the White House quickly run into very difficult electoral college math.

Essentially, Republicans would be forsaking the same sort of grab for political advantage that two notable founding fathers (Hamilton and Madison) did not hesitate to pursue (and a third, Jefferson, benefited from) on the potentially ephemeral hope that Obama's electoral fortunes will remain so low in November of next year that such an effort would be harmful rather than helpful. That seems like wishful thinking.

Lugar's Shameful Campaign

A letter to the editor in the NWI Times:

2012 is proving to be an important election for our state and country. Some candidates, including our own senior U.S. senator, are getting scared.

Recently, Dick Lugar had accused his opponent, Richard Mourdock, of taking two homestead exemptions. Lugar should be ashamed!

After becoming our state treasurer, Mourdock bought a condo in Indianapolis to use during the week while still keeping his home near Evansville. Through a mistake from Marion County in processing the paperwork, Mourdock was given a homestead exemption though he never applied for it or signed for it. When he discovered this error, he made immediate restitution.

Maybe our senior senator could take some points from Mourdock and learn a little character building instead of going negative skewing the truth.

- Suzy Barnhart, Merrillville

Dick Lugar's name was supposedly once the gold standard in Hoosier politics. Now, it's a name vulnerable, tarnished, and caked with dirt.

New Rick Perry Video: President Zero

He Blamed Everyone, Man

Obama does, doesn't he?

Great parody song.

More on HPV & Gardasil

From Red State:

Though the kerfuffle concerning Michele Bachmann and the HPV vaccine from the Republican candidate debate in Tampa is about over, during the course of that debate I repeatedly encountered an argument that, in my view, belongs much more in Saudi Arabia than America.

Fact: there is no such thing as a virtuous disease.

Fact: no behavior or lifestyle choice merits death by cancer.

Without getting into the merits or process of Perry’s Gardasil decision the fact that the target of that vaccine is primarily spread via sexual activity should strike the average person, particularly a parent, as irrelevant. We should all be able to agree on is that no one deserves cancer. Period. End of discussion. We should also be able to agree that limiting the spread of any disease is, in the main, a worthy undertaking. If those two points can’t receive a resounding Amen, I’d submit that there is a real problem.

The side issue here is some people believe that giving their virginal tween daughter a series of shots that will protect her from a cancer that is primarily spread via sexual activity will turn her into a slut. That risk exists in same proportion that giving a child a Hepatitis B vaccine will make them either sexually promiscuous or an intravenous drug user. Why one vaccine should cause the heebie-jeebies and the other a yawn is beyond me.

The fact is that it takes a minimum of two people to have sex. Your child’s embrace or rejection of abstinence until marriage is irrelevant, you also have to take into consideration the possible pre-marital behavior of the future spouse of your child. His or her parents may not have done as good a job inculcating values as you have. Nevertheless, it is your child who is at risk, too.

The underlying premise in this argument is that a teen or young adult, who are notorious both for lack of impulse control and feeling immortal, will be deterred from having sex by the possibility of developing cancer two or three decades hence but they won’t be deterred by pregnancy, herpes, syphillis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, Hepatitis C, etc. in the near term, drags common sense out of its car and beats it silly. Unstated is the idea that exposing your child to the risk of cancer for the sake of making a debating point is not only acceptable but praiseworthy.

Parents protect their children. That is what parenthood is about. We should give no more respect to the argument that cervical or throat cancer is just desserts for sexual promiscuity than we should accept virtually the same argument from Westboro Baptist Church that AIDS is punishment for homosexuality.

Photo of the Day: What an Idiot

No, that's not a Photoshop; it came from MSNBC.

Annual GOP Dinner to Feature Paul Ryan

Should be an interesting evening.

Political Rage


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lugar: Enough about the Economy, Let Me Tell You about the Time I Met Muammar Qaddafi

So Dick Lugar, on one of his rare (but strangely of late increasing in number) visits to Indiana, visited a solar energy company in northern Indiana and gave us all a reminder of just how out-of-touch he is with Hoosiers.

Setting aside the whole "green jobs" hokum that has been the hallmark of Obama's "stimulus" plan and the new Obama economy, one can't help but be struck by Lugar's curious priorities.

When the folks at this green energy company started talking, Lugar interrupted them. In particularly surreal moment, he started telling a story about the time he met with recently-deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi (who apparently wanted to buy solar cells to desalinate water).

An Elkart newspaper relates the story:

MIDDLEBURY — Of all the topics that could come up at a meeting between a major politician, his staff and the owners of an advanced energy company, Moammar Gadhafi had to rank pretty low on the list.

Yet, during U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar’s private visit Wednesday to Solar America Solutions, an anecdote about the disputed ruler of Libya came to his mind.

Midway through a presentation to Lugar about SAS’s primary product, solar thermal collector panels used to heat buildings and water, the company’s vice president of research and development, Don Crawmer, discussed another venture it is working on.

The company soon hopes to develop a way to use the panels’ energy-harnessing ability to aid desalinization, the process of removing salt from water.

That reminded Lugar, R-Ind., of the time he met with Gadhafi, who has recently been forced out of his nation’s capital by a rebel uprising.

Lugar, Indiana’s senior senator and the longest-serving member of Congress in the state’s history, was asked by then-President George W. Bush to visit Libya. At the time, the U.S. was considering sending an ambassador to the controversial nation, and Bush asked for Lugar’s diplomatic assessment.

Gadhafi decided to meet with Lugar in the desert, and when the senator arrived, the Libyan ruler was seated under a tent, surrounded by sand. The two met one-on-one, along with a translator who facilitated conversation.

The dictator was seeking just two things, Lugar said. First, he wanted assurances of military protection from either the U.S. or the United Kingdom.

“His second request,” Lugar said, “was some kind of desalinization of sea water.”

Lugar’s first visit to Elkhart County in several years was part of a 10-day tour through northern Indiana, which concludes Friday.

Of course, being clueless about the economy and detached from ordinary Hoosiers is nothing new.

In early August, Lugar proclaimed, "The US economy is still strong... we're making progress."

Later last month, he told folks worried about what a weak economy means for America to "get real."

And now, at a presentation about "green jobs", Lugar was to talk about the time he met the former dicator of Libya.

Out of touch doesn't begin to cover it.

Joe Donnelly to U.S. Businesses: Drop Dead

Joe Donnelly is well on his way down the beaten path of recent Democratic Senate candidates in Indiana.

Unfortunately, that's a path first trod by Brad Ellsworth, who got beat in a landslide last year.

The key element of going down that path? Voting to support Obama's economy-killing agenda.

The NRSC has a press release about the latest example of Donnelly's support for Obama:

liberal U.S. Congressman Joe Donnelly (D-IN) voted against the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act, which would prevent the powerful and unelected bureaucrats of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from ordering any job-creator to close, relocate, or transfer employment under any circumstance.

Recently, in an effort to appease liberal special interests in advance of President Obama’s uphill reelection bid, the NLRB blocked Boeing from creating new jobs in South Carolina. The Associated Press reports:

Boeing says it opened the South Carolina plant specifically to build 787 airplanes. It contends the lawsuit would effectively require the company to close the $750 million plant and lay off thousands of new workers there.

This prompted General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt – the Chair of President Obama’s own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness – to express his disgust with the NLRB’s job-killing agenda. Fox Business reports:

On a visit to a GE facility in South Carolina, Immelt told that he was “way in support of the Boeing team on this one.” “You’ve got a world-class, high-tech, job-creating force that’s coming into South Carolina. I just can’t think of one reason why we’d want to slow that down, not one,” Immelt said. The NLRB has been accused of playing politics with the Boeing complaint, using it to court union support for President Obama’s re-election bid.

“It’s remarkable that Joe Donnelly is so committed to the Obama agenda that he would vote to let a cabal of unelected Washington bureaucrats kill jobs,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Chris Bond. “Our nation is in its 31st consecutive month with above-8-percent unemployment, but Joe Donnelly would rather play politics to appease his friends in the Obama Administration than stand up for Indiana workers who need jobs right now.”

History is well on its way to repeating itself.

The photo is just so fitting:

Racism: Leadership of Congressional Black Caucus Admits They'd March on White House over Bad Economy If President Was White

From the Miami Herald:

As chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, [Cleaver] has been at odds with President Barack Obama over his administration’s response to the soaring unemployment rate in the African-American community.

Nearing 17 percent, joblessness among blacks is at a three-decade high and almost twice the size of the overall unemployment rate. The black caucus wants the president to do more.

But the group’s efforts are freighted with political sensitivities, given Obama’s unique role as the first African-American occupant of the White House and the sometimes untethered animosity that his election has triggered.

“If (former President) Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House,” Cleaver said. “There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president.”

Hat tip: Hot Air.

Romneycare Cost Massachusetts 18,000 Jobs

Rick Perry's latest criticism of Mitt Romney has some teeth.

More on Lugar in Kokomo

A while back, I blogged about Dick Lugar's lack of concern for Republican municipal candidates in Kokomo when scheduling fundraisers for his campaign.

Politico has since picked up the story, as has the Kokomo Tribune:

It’s been several years since U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., has made a stop in Kokomo, but he’ll mend that Thursday. The problem is, he won’t be the most welcome guest, as Republican Party Chairman Craig Dunn said he is upset about the visit coming before municipal elections.

Lugar will make a 3:30 p.m. stop at the new Subway restaurant on Markland Avenue. After presenting an energy award there, he will then attend a fundraiser at The Quarry restaurant on the city’s westside.

“[Lugar’s] fundraiser is taking money away from the municipal candidates,” Dunn said. “In contrast, Richard Mourdock’s campaign called and asked about a date for a fundraiser in Kokomo. I told them Nov. 28, after the municipal elections.”

He’s upset that Lugar didn’t extend the local party the same courtesy. In addition, Dunn argues, Lugar’s visit has forced him to cancel an event planned for this year’s municipal candidates.

Kern said he understands party officials try to differentiate between municipal, state and federal campaigns.

“I understand why Craig is upset, it will hurt our fundraising,” Kern said.


Dunn said, “He doesn’t come to Kokomo for six years, and his first visit is for a fundraiser.”

Dunn said Mourdock has visited Howard County numerous times in the past four years. Earlier this year, area GOP leaders — including Dunn and party chairmen in Miami and Tipton counties — voiced support for Mourdock.

And then there's this line in the article, from the wonderful David Willkie:

“Craig Dunn endorsed Dick Lugar’s opponent a long time ago,” Wilkie said. “He has made his choice and has to live with it.”

You can almost hear the villainous laughter or the snarled "and his little dog, too!"

How dare Craig Dunn speak up for his candidates? How dare he?

Yet again, Dick Lugar has his priorities.

Indiana isn't one of them.

Fixing the economy isn't one of them.

Electing Republicans isn't even one of them.

Dick Lugar cares only about Dick Lugar.

Differing Perspectives on Perry & Gardasil

Presented for your consideration are two recent posts about Rick Perry's Gardasil executive order that I found worth reading.

Derek Pillie, over at Hoosier Access, is critical of Perry's decision.

Matthew Knee, at Legal Insurrection, cites two defenses of it.

Rick Perry to Campaign in Indiana

He'll be the fourth candidate to accept an invitation to speak at the Indiana Republican Party's candidate forum.

Let's see... How often did John McCain come to Indiana in 2007?


From the Indy Star:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest Republican presidential candidate to accept Indiana's invitation to campaign here.

Perry will be in Indianapolis on Oct. 12 for an afternoon event. Time and location details were still being worked out.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will campaign here Sept. 23.

Perry and Romney are widely considered the front-runners for the GOP nomination in a crowded field of eight.

Two other candidates, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Godfather's Pizza Chief Executive Officer Herman Cain, were the first to accept the invitation of Indiana GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb to campaign in Indiana.

The visits are unusual, as Indiana's late primary election has usually meant that candidates skipped Indiana. That changed in 2008, when Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton made numerous visits to Indiana, while they were locked in a long battle for their party's presidential nomination.

Photo of the Day: Jim & Joe, Together at Last

Jim Wallace's campaign vehicle now has a twin with Joe Donnelly's name on it:

Wallace's vehicle, for those that missed the original post:

The Sick Man of Europe... Is Europe

Quote of the Day: “I long for a triple-A president to run a triple-A country.”

Clearly the president will have to raise his game to win a second term, especially if the Republicans find a real candidate. Will voters be willing to give him another four years? Like many Americans who supported him, I long for a triple-A president to run a triple-A country.
- Mort Zuckerman

Sadly, campaigning is all Obama knows. It's the only game he knows how to raise. Governing is not a skill Obama is familiar with.

Great New Ford Ad

America's Most Unwanted

I am discouraged that Snooki rates as high as #266.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mike Delph Declines to Reelect Dick Lugar, Will Not Enter Senate Primary

Good news here for conservatives; bad news for Dick Lugar and company.

From Delph's blog:

“After much prayer and family consultation in addition to discussions with friends and supporters here in Indiana and in Washington, DC, I have determined that my duty is here in Indiana raising my family and serving my current constituents. My wife and daughters need me here in Indiana helping with homework, assisting with carpooling, and just being Dad. That is my number one obligation. My oldest turned 17 this month while my youngest turned five. I don’t want to miss a moment of time with any of my five daughters. The pressures of campaigning along with the ultimate sacrifices of serving in DC while my family remains in Indiana, would place too much stress on those who I love the most in life. Perhaps one day I will be better situated to bring my state legislative record of success to the national level. Until that time, I will cherish every moment with my family here in my home State of Indiana while continuing to serve as a conservative leader in the Indiana State Senate. I would like to thank those who have encouraged me to seek higher office over the last nine months. I hope you will understand that this is the best decision for my family at this time. I will continue fighting for traditional conservative values and supporting solid conservatives for public service opportunities across all levels of government.”

I was very hard on Senator Delph for his delay in coming to this decision; I'm glad he made the right choice. The chances of Dick Lugar's reelection just took another massive body blow with this announcement. That would not be possible without Mike's selflessness in making this decision.

But as I have also noted, I'm quite certain that some new name will shortly be floated as a possible third candidate in the race. And, like those third candidate names floated before--McIntosh, Chocola, and Delph--rumors of such a candidacy will be greatly exaggerated and probably swiftly disproven.

But rumor is all Dick Lugar and his minions have left. With the conservatives in the Republican Party are unified behind one candidate, Lugar will not be reelected.

What Todd Young Says about Rick Perry & Ponzi Schemes

Well, not so much Todd Young personally, mind you. But his experience.

Indiana's 9th Congressional District, as it was previously drawn, was the quintessential Congressional bellweather for the United States.

When Republicans surged in the 2002 midterms, it was among the closest races they did not win.

When the Republicans expanded their majorities in 2004, it was a Republican pickup and sent Mike Sodrel to Congress, but only by the smallest margin of any Congressional race in the country.

When the Republicans lost the majority in 2006, it was a Democratic pickup and Baron Hill returned to Washington, but (again) only by a small margin.

When the Democrats expanded their majorities in 2008, Baron Hill was reelected by a significant margin.

When the Republicans retook the majority in 2010, Baron Hill was defeated by a significant margin by Todd Young.

And not only was Baron defeated, he was defeated despite running an intensely negative campaign centered in large measure around a video clip of Todd Young referring to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme:

Let's be clear here. If Todd Young can be elected in the 9th Congressional District in Indiana against a tenacious and experienced campaigner like Baron Hill while referring to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme, then that probably says a lot about the political viability of such a strategy elsewhere in the country (and particularly among Rick Perry's opponents for the Republican Presidential nomination).

Todd Young's experience finds an echo in Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who said similar things during his 2010 campaign and nevertheless was elected.

From National Review:

Johnson, in an interview with National Review Online, says that Perry’s use of the term should not be denounced by fellow Republicans. He points out that in 2010, in a swing state no less, he not only called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme,” but did it in a television ad — and won a Senate seat, toppling progressive hero and Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold.

“Certainly, my approach was not to go out of my way to say things that scare people,” Johnson says. “When you just calmly and coolly lay out the facts and the figures, people kind of come to the conclusion that, yeah, I understand why he’s calling it a Ponzi scheme.”

The way Beltway politicians have “raided the funds,” he adds, “looks an awful lot like what Bernie Madoff had done to his investors. … When you have an unfunded liability of $17.9 trillion dollars, when you’ve taken $2.5 trillion from the trust fund and basically spent the money, it’s gone, that falls in line with the definition of a ‘Ponzi scheme’: You lure investors in and pay those folks off in return with the new investors’ money.”

Of course, Johnson recognizes that the Perry–Romney spat is more about politics than policy. And on that front, Republicans, he says, should not shy from tough language. But he advises them to remember that, in his own race, he also championed Social Security’s merits, even as he derided Washington’s management of its finances.

“The point is, we want to preserve it for future generations,” Johnson says. “My approach to anything in this town is to speak the truth, don’t hide it, don’t demagogue an issue. To say something is fine and dandy when it’s not? Folks on the other side are very guilty of that. They say Social Security is solvent to this year or that year.”

Johnson notes that he does not know Perry’s full position on Social Security, but when it comes to using the phrase “Ponzi scheme,” the Texan has a friend in the Badger State. “I have no fear discussing it,” he says. “In the end, it’s not ideology; it’s actuarial math.”

Ron Johnson's ad:

In the late 1990s, mind you, even liberal economists like Paul Krugman were acknowledging that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

Johnson's campaign led to Rasmussen polling about Social Security last fall, and they found:

Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson made waves with his recent description of the Social Security system as a Ponzi scheme, but new Rasmussen Reports polling finds that just 27% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with him. A nationwide telephone survey shows that 36% disagree and don’t believe Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

However, a plurality of 37% aren’t sure. It is likely that many are not sure what a Ponzi scheme is.

That last bit probably explains why Johnson's ad was so effective, and why Baron Hill's was not. A third of people apparently don't know what a Ponzi scheme is. And when it is explained to them, as Johnson did, they generally agree with the sentiment. When it's just referred to as a "scheme" (with the inherent assumption that schemes are bad), that's not enough for them to vote en masse against someone.

The ultimate example of criticizing Social Security and being elected, as National Review reminds us, was Ronald Reagan:

Democrats may hope that Rick Perry’s comments on Social Security would ensure his defeat in a general election. If so, they should ponder the fellow in whose library the debate took place. By the 1980 campaign, liberals had long been confident about beating Ronald Reagan. In a May 8, 1979 Esquire article titled “Why Reagan Won’t Make It,” Richard Reeves wrote: “Reagan seems like a nostalgia figure whose time has passed; he looks like the past; he talks about the past. It is hard to imagine America turning to a candidate whose standard pitch is `I told you so.’” In September 1980, the DNC circulated old newspaper clippings quoting Reagan as saying that the program should be voluntary. During his debate with Reagan, President Carter zeroed in on the issue, saying that such approaches “are very dangerous to the security, the well being and the peace of mind of the retired people of this country and those approaching retirement age.” And Democrats thought that one of the Gipper’s debate comments provided them with even more material: “The Social Security system was based on a false premise, with regard to how fast the number of workers would increase and how fast the number of retirees would increase.”

Reagan, of course, won big. And he carried the over-60 vote by a 13-point margin.

Photo of the Day: Lugar & Obama, Buddy-Buddy Before Obama's Campaign Speech

Quote of the Day

Class warfare is not pretty, and I see little evidence that it works politically, but there is a more fundamental issue that arises in the wake of the president’s ongoing demonization of millionaires, billionaires, oil companies, owners of private jets, ad infinitum. To wit: The constitution — the basis for the preservation of American liberty — is antidemocratic, that is, it is structured to defend unpopular minorities against the whims and passions of political majorities. No public official, far less the president of the United States, can campaign against unpopular groups that have broken no law, without undermining the fundamental principle that the rule of law shall prevail over political lynch mobs, and that the rights of the least popular or powerful are an essential component of the rights of all. This general point seems rather obvious, and I am surely not the first to make it. But I have not seen it elsewhere, perhaps because I have failed to look in the right places.
- Benjamin Zycher

I haven't seen it expressed quite so succinctly either, so I think it's worthwhile to mention it here.

Mourdock Slams Howey's Biased “Reporting”

John Hostettler used to say that he would be a rich man if he could buy Brian Howey for his actual worth and sell him for what Howey thought he was worth. Problem is, Howey's value is becoming less and less every day that this farce of campaigning for Lugar masquerading as "reporting" continues.

Howey's advocacy of Dick Lugar and his one-sided reporting (including a data dump of Lugar opposition research on Mourdock in his last weekly newsletter no less) prompted this from Richard Mourdock, which has got to leave a mark.

Read the whole thing after the jump.

Well, Obama Clearly Wasn't In Any Hurry

If he was, a Republican Congressman wouldn't have just been able to grab the title "American Jobs Act" almost a full week after Obama's speech and apply it to a separate package of jobs creation measures.

"My bill is not the president's bill, it's a real job creator," Gohmert told The Hill, shortly after filing his two-page alternative to the president's plan, under the same title.

Gohmert said that he read the president's 155-page jobs plan, when it was emailed to lawmakers on Monday afternoon.

Calling the president's plan a "disaster," Gohmert said that he checked to see "who filed the 'American Jobs Act' for the president, here in the House, since we had to do it 'now, right away," but discovered that the plan had not been officially introduced in the House.

So, at 1:20pm Gohmert filed his own version of a jobs bill, under the title included on the president's legislation distributed to members of Congress two-days prior.

The Texan lawmaker's measure would eliminate the 35 percent corporate tax to spur job creation in the private sector.

Obama: Love Me, Scum, and Pass My Bill

This man is more desperate than I think I've ever seen a president before.

Duct Tron

Beware of Falling Polls

This tidbit in The Hill caught my eye:

Polling leading up to the race indicated Obama was dragging down the Democratic candidate. Democratic pollster Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling said that a Turner win would be “largely due to the incredible unpopularity of Barack Obama dragging his party down in the district” after PPP’s polling found Obama with just 31 percent approval in a district he won with 55 percent of the vote in 2008.

A Democratic strategist said Obama has become such a problem for down-ticket Democrats that he was wary of encouraging candidates to run next year. “I’m warning my clients — ‘Don’t run in 2012.’ I don’t want to see good candidates lose by 12 to 15 points because of the president,” said the strategist.

National Democrats expected early on that they would have no problems holding the district, even though it has trended Republican over the last decade. But when the race tightened the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee decided to spend $500,000 on television ads in the highly expensive media market, while the Democratic outside group House Majority PAC has spent an additional $100,000. Republicans were badly outspent in the race, but it didn’t matter.

Read that middle paragraph again:

A Democratic strategist said Obama has become such a problem for down-ticket Democrats that he was wary of encouraging candidates to run next year. “I’m warning my clients — ‘Don’t run in 2012.’ I don’t want to see good candidates lose by 12 to 15 points because of the president,” said the strategist.

Do you think that John Gregg and Joe Donnelly are going to regret running in 2012? I suspect so. I also suspect that they won't be lonely. There are going to be a whole lot of Hoosier Democrats that either will decide that discretion and patience are the better part of choosing to run for office, or will get wiped out.

Let Him Be Clear...

Mike Pence Remembers September 11

Bush at Ground Zero

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11 Chronology

I originally posted this a couple of years back over at Hoosier Access.

For a long time, I subscribed to CNN's breaking news email alerts (at least I did until they started considering Paris Hilton breaking news but not things that were happening in Washington or on Wall Street, so I unsubscribed).

Ten years ago today, I got a great many breaking news emails.

I have them saved, and rereading them is a chilling and haunting account of that day.

I have every email saved from September 11 to the fall of Kabul, but I will repost the September 11 ones and those for the immediately following days.

I repost them today, because I think that we should all read and remember. It is too easy to forget and too simple to exploit.

Think back to that day.

Remember what you were doing.

What you saw.

What you felt.

What you thought in those chaotic early hours when nothing was clear and everything was surreal and the fog of war obscured for the first time in almost two centuries three locations on American soil.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 06:55:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Iraq claims U.S. spy plane shot down; Pentagon confirms losing contact with unmanned craft. Details to come.

I include this only out of a sense of irony; Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks, but it was the first breaking news email I got that day.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 08:52:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- World trade center damaged; unconfirmed reports say a plane has crashed into tower. Details to come.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:21:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Second plane crashes into World Trade Center.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:23:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- FBI investigating reports of foul play in World Trade Center plane crashes, according to the Associated Press. Details to come.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:32:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Sources tell CNN one of two planes that crashed into World Trade Center was an American Airlines 767.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:42:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- President Bush calls plane crashes at World Trade Center a terrorist act.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:46:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- White House evactuated. Details to come.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:47:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Fire reported on National Mall in Washington

The cameras that the networks use are all mounted on a single building, and from their perspective the smoke coming from where the plane had struck the Pentagon appeared to either be coming from the National Mall or from the State Department.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:55:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- CNN confirms a plane hit the Pentagon.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:45:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Significant fire at the Pentagon. Details to come.

A personal insert here. I woke up sometime between the time that I received the above email and the time that I received the next one. I had left my computer on overnight with Outlook Express open. I had hit the snooze button on the alarm several times that morning, as is the habit of college students, and was interrupted frequently by the bleeping noise that Outlook made when I got emails. When I woke up, I found that I had received no less than forty emails in my inbox. (These include other breaking news alerts from other sites that I have sadly since lost since then.)

When I saw the number of waiting messages, I was first convinced that someone was spamming the university email system again, as had happened in the past. When I realized that the messages waiting were breaking news, I thought perhaps that the bottom had fallen out of the stock market. When I started to read them, I started to think that someone had hacked into the CNN Breaking News email system and was playing a cruel joke. This was ruled out when I started to read the same breaking news messages from other sources.

I turned the television in my dorm room on just in time to see the first tower fall, and the world change, as mentioned below.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:03:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- One of World Trade Center towers collapses; fire forces evacuation of State Department

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:13:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- United Nations evacuated.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:38:01 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Car bombing at the State Department, The Associated Press reports.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:44:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Pentagon monitoring second suspected hijacked plane.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:50:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Fighter scrambled amid reports of second plane headed for Pentagon.

They wouldn't make it in time.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:26:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- FAA diverting all U.S.-bound international flights to Canada.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:39:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Part of Pentagon collapses

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:30:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Second World Trade Center tower collapses in Manhattan

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 11:18:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- NTSB confirms plane crashes near Pittsburgh

I'll take this opportunity to say that if you haven't seen the movie United 93, you should.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 12:37:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Government sources tell CNN President Bush is not returning to Washington.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 13:27:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Terrorists struck the United States Tuesday morning in harrowing, widespread attacks that included at least three commercial jet crashes into significant buildings.

In the first attack, a plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan shortly before 9 a.m., followed by another plane into the second tower about 20 minutes later. Both towers later collapsed.

About an hour later, a plane crashed into the Pentagon, part of which later collapsed.

American Airlines told CNN that it lost two planes in "tragic accidents:" Flight 11 from Boston with 81 passengers and 11 crew aboard and Flight 77 from Washington Dulles airport with 58 passengers and six crew aboard. Both planes were en route to Los Angeles.

United Airlines Flight 93 airliner headed from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, crashed near Somerset, Pennsylvania -- police said initial reports indicated no survivors. United also confirmed the crash of Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles.

The Pentagon, the White House, the State Department, the Justice Department, the Capitol, the CIA and all other government buildings in Washington evacuated.

President Bush cancelled an appearance in Florida to return to Washington, calling the crashes "apparent terrorist attacks" and "a national tragedy."

In the first ever national ground stop of aircraft, all flights nationwide have been stopped at their departure airports. All international flights were diverted to Canada.

Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, said in reaction to the news of the terror attacks that "we want to tell the American children that Afghanistan feels your pain and we hope that the courts find justice."

In New York, more than 10,000 rescue personnel rushed to the scene. The entire downtown area of Manhattan was evacuated as far north as Rockefeller Center, according to an official at an emergency command post.

When you read the statement of the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan above, I want you to think for a moment about the prior American responses to terrorist attacks. How they were treated as matters for the courts and for law enforcement. An unusual coincidence that he should urge that the courts find justice, I should think.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 14:23:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- In what appeared to be coordinated acts of
terrorism, two jets crashed into the twin towers of the World
Trade Center, collapsing them Tuesday while another aircraft
crashed into the Pentagon. Hundreds were injured or killed, if
not more.

A fourth aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania with 45 people on

President Bush said the United States would "hunt down and
punish" the terrorists responsible. U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell cut short a trip to Peru to return to the United
States. He also vowed, "The U.S. government will find out who
is responsible."

The U.S. military went on full alert. Two aircraft carriers
left the Naval base in Norfolk, Va., in response to the
attacks. At the Pentagon, witnesses said a plane crashed into
what is known as the "Army Corridor," the building collapsed
and there wase an undetermined number of casualties.

Bush, who wound up an tour in Florida that was to focus on
education, did not return to Washington out of concerns for his
safety but flew to an Air Force base in Louisiana. Later, Air
Force One took from Barksdale Air Force Base, its destination

Officials in Washington said a "Continuation of Government"
plan had been activated. The activation involves a fortified
facility at Mount Weather, Va. There was no word whether any of
the U.S. leadership or ranking military officers had been taken
to the facility, but Congressional leaders were said to be
assembling outside Washington.

The city of Washington declared a state of emergency.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 14:36:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- FAA says no commercial air traffic in U.S. until at least noon EDT tomorrow.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 15:28:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Public transportation in all five of New York
City's boroughs has been restored, Mayor Rudy Giuliani said

Operation had been halted after the apparent terrorist attacks
on the city's World Trade Center buildings.

It took less than six hours to restore public transport.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 15:59:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy is sending ships to sea to
protect the U.S. East Coast from further attack and to reduce
the number of ships in port.

Two aircraft carriers -- the USS George Washington and the USS
John F. Kennedy -- are headed for the coast off New York.

Five other ships -- guided missile destroyers and frigates --
are also headed to sea.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 16:38:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The New York Stock Exchange will be closed
Wednesday, officials said.

The American Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and the New York Stock
Exchange will all be closed.

Trading never began Tuesday after a terrorist attack on the
World Trade Center.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 16:59:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The National Guard is mobilizing all troops
in the New York City area.

Maj. Jose Obregon of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry told CNN
that soldiers are being called to their home bases, where they
are to stand by until they receive further orders.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 17:32:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Third World Trade Center tower, 47-story building 7, collapses. Details soon.

This incident, of course, is the central point upon which so many of the September 11 conspiracy theories rest.

All of eight and a half hours after the first plane struck the first tower.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 17:51:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator
and lawyer, alerted her husband, Solicitor General Ted Olson,
that the plane she was on was being hijacked Tuesday morning,
Ted Olson told CNN.

A short time later the plane crashed into the Pentagon. Barbara
Olson is presumed to have died in the crash.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 18:02:04 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Explosions rock Kabul, Afghanistan, CNN's Nic Robertson reports. Details soon.

Given the time between the attacks and these explosions, the talking heads on television began to immediately speculate that these were B-2 bomber strikes on Afghanistan.

It did not take long at all for people to draw the conclusion that the most powerful nation on Earth had been attacked by a group being harbored by the world's worst hellhole.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 18:07:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The first-ever grounding of all flights in
the United States will remain in effect until at least noon EDT
Wednesday due to security concerns following Tuesday's
hijackings of airliners that were then crashed into buildings,
the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 18:36:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- White House spokesman says President Bush did not order strike on Afghanistan. Details soon.

The talking heads chattering about air strikes all looked foolish right about here.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 19:07:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Afghanistan opposition claims responsibility for Kabul explosions. Details soon.

This would be the Northern Alliance, which we would soon ally with to overthrow the Taliban.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 19:45:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. General Service Administration
will reopen its federal buildings in Washington and all other
regions -- except those in the New York City area -- on
Wednesday, said Hap Connors, an agency spokesman.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 19:50:04 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- New York City reports at least 78 police officers missing, 200 firefighters presumed dead.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 20:23:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The nation's first-ever groundstop will
remain in effect until at least noon EDT Wednesday due to
security concerns following Tuesday's hijackings of airliners
that were then crashed into buildings, the Federal Aviation
Administration said.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 20:36:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Bush: "Search is under way" for attackers.

Most people seemed to find Bush's speech on that night to be disappointing; he more than made up for it with the bullhorn at Ground Zero and in the Joint Session before Congress the next week.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 20:55:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The identities of some of the victims of the worst
terrorist attack on American soil began to emerge Tuesday
evening, including the top executives of a California optical
networks company, a Boston-based technology company, a top NBC
executive producer and the wife of the United States' solicitor
general.As the day drew to a close, it was still horribly
unclear exactly how many people had died, but the number was
clearly in the thousands.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 21:53:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Secretary of State Colin Powell, returning
to Washington from his aborted trip to Peru and Colombia
Tuesday, said there were "no specific warnings" to herald the
multiple terrorist attacks earlier in the day against the
financial and military nerve centers of the United States, but
he promised those responsible would be caught."You can be sure
the U.S. government will do everything it can to find the
perpetrators of this cowardly attack against innocent people
and bring them to justice," he told reporters.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 22:53:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Several Arab and Muslim groups in
California received threatening phone calls Tuesday in response
to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon. Maha Elgenaidi, executive director of the Islamic
Networks Group in San Jose, said "a lot of Islamic Centers have
shut Web sites down because of the amount of hate mail they
were getting." Her organization received two "hate" calls after
the attacks. Elgenaidi said the first caller told her to "get
the hell out of this country. You people have done nothing but
ruin this country. You don't belong here. Your religion is
vile and evil."

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 00:04:04 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (CNN) -- In parts of the country,
motorists lined up at gas pumps Tuesday following rumors of
shortages that fueled skyrocketing gas prices in the aftermath
of terror attacks in Washington and New York. Fears that tanker
trucks wouldn't make it from refineries to gas stations put a
premium on fuel. In Oklahoma City, prices reached the
two-dollar mark.

Back then, two dollars for gas was a lot.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 00:45:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

NEW YORK (CNN) -- At least 265 New York City firefighters were
feared dead as a result of the attack on the World Trade
Center, according to Andrew White, spokesman for the
International Association of Firechiefs. IAFC Executive
Director Gary Briese told CNN earlier the specialized city
rescue companies who went into the fiery twin towers of the
World Trade Center are unaccounted for and it is believed they
were in the buildings conducting search-and-rescue missions
when structures collapsed after two airliners slammed into
them. New York City's fire chief, deputy fire chief, the fire
department chaplain, and the chief of special operations were
all killed in the collapse, White said.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 02:03:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Government sources say senior administration
officials told members of Congress that they believe the
hijacked airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania was headed for
another government target, possibly the White House, the
Capitol or the Camp David presidential retreat.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 05:20:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

RAMSTEIN, Germany (CNN)-- Frankfurt's Messeturm, Germany's
equivalent of the World Trade Center, was evacuated briefly
Wednesday morning following a bomb threat. An anonymous caller
at 9 a.m. said a device would explode at 9:20 A.M. Authorities
quickly led employees out of the building.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 07:36:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- Rescuers find 6 survivors in New York: 1 police officer, 5 firefighters. Details soon.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 08:56:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An aide to Senate Democratic Leader Tom
Daschle said Wednesday that both House and Senate are trying to
schedule closed-door security briefings between members and
officials from the CIA and the FBI.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 10:03:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The director of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency has sent rescue teams known for pulling
survivors from earthquake rubble to the terrorist-disaster
sites at the Pentagon and in New York City.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 10:33:03 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- NATO considering guarantee of military, intelligence support if U.S. responds to terror attack, sources tell CNN.

They would eventually invoke Article V, the mutual defense provision of the Washington Treaty that established NATO.

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 10:54:02 -0400
From: BreakingNews@CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News

-- President Bush calls attacks 'acts of war;' asks Congress for emergency funding. Details to come.