Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Few More Looks at the Gregg Kickoff Tour

Or, rather, his particularly sorry campaign kickoff tour.

If John Gregg campaigns, and nobody comes to see him, is he really campaigning?

Last time, I noted that Gregg had about two hundred people at his campaign kickoff in his home town of Sandborn. Mike Pence, by comparison, had a thousand plus at his earlier this year.

Heck, Mike Pence came to Harrison County the Friday evening before the 2010 election for a campaign rally and more people came out with two days' notice than came to Gregg's gubernatorial campaign kickoff last week.

But the Gregg train rolls on.

It went to Tippecanoe County (which went for Obama in 2008). The crowds were not exactly awe-inspiring.

It went to Fort Wayne (which just reelected a Democratic mayor last week). Nobody showed up.

Hoosier Access noted:

Democrat candidate for Indiana Governor John Gregg [made] a stop in Fort Wayne at Coney Island to kickoff his gubernatorial campaign. The only problem? No one showed.

Not only did Coney Island not know about the event, but Gregg arrived 15 minutes late with only three local democrat elected officials.

It always sucks when you throw a party and no one shows. The picture below looks like a happening kickoff today, or just random guests at Coney Island.

In Gregg's defense, there are only about three Democratic elected officials in all of Allen County (and one of them is the mayor of Fort Wayne). They couldn't turn out a crowd for him.

But that's blood-red Allen County. Surely things would be better in the Democratic stronghold of Lake County, right?

Nope. Gregg held an event in Gary. Nobody came there either. The campaign staff and the reporters lining the back wall far outnumber the actual attendees.

And then there was Gregg's confidence-inspiring visit to New Albany on Tuesday.

Scarce few people came to see that event either. But among the attendees were the two most powerful Democrats in this corner of Indiana, Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan and New Albany Mayor Doug England:

With local Democratic officials including Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan and New Albany Mayor Doug England in attendance, Gregg declared jobs and education to be his top two priorities.

Only problem?

Both Galligan and England got beat last Tuesday. England couldn't even manage to finish in the top three to get an at-large council seat in the city he helmed as mayor for several terms.

I've already outlined the massive imbalance between the Pence campaign and the Gregg campaign, in fundraising, in organization, and in results from involvement in the 2011 election. Gregg's kickoff tour adds additional weight to that imbalance.

The Gregg campaign isn't a train. It's a train wreck.

Yeah, It's Another Scary Graph

Basically, the benefit we see in the present from deficit spending (spending future dollars today) is declining. At one time, the benefit in the present from deficit spending was significant. It isn't anymore. Currently there is (or will soon be) no present benefit. Only present harm.

From Red State:

Christopher Rupe and Nathan Martin of EconomicEdge.Com have examined the marginal utility of America’s continued deficit spending over time. Quite simply put, each year’s deficit spending produces less present value per dollar spent.

In 1966, we got about $0.75 per dollar of debt in present benefits. By 2010, the average trend was down to about $0.10. We lose $0.014 per year in present value from deficit spending. Even pulling the “inverted hockey-stick” year of 2010 out of the data would do little to improve that present trend.

Extrapolating this out seven more years gives us a zero marginal productivity for deficit spending. That would be the point at which every dollar of deficit spending no longer had a positive impact on GDP. Is that what literally has to happen before people realize that our current levels of national government spending will lead us to national suicide?

The End of Herman Cain?

I'm sure he's joking. Or maybe he was taken out of context. Or maybe he misspoke.

I just can't seem to be bothered to care, or to believe such excuses anymore.

Herman Cain on public employee unions:

The article about the interview:

In the Journal Sentinel meeting, Cain also appeared to be unclear on the issue of collective bargaining as it involves federal employees.

Asked if he thought federal employees should have the ability to bargain collectively, Cain said: "They already have it, don't they?"

Told they didn't, he said, "They have unions."

The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 600,000 federal government workers in 65 agencies, says that most federal employees don't have collective bargaining over pay and benefits. They do have collective bargaining power over working conditions.

There are some exemptions to unions in federal government. Air traffic controllers can bargain over wages under a 1996 law that granted full bargaining power to a number of federal workers covered under the Federal Aviation Administration. The U.S. Postal Service, which has hundreds of thousands of employees, has collective bargaining for pay and benefits. But the Postal Service is technically an independent agency of the U.S. government.

Cain's comments came after he was asked about the battles in Ohio and Wisconsin over public employee unions. Cain was asked whether he thinks public employees should be able to collectively bargain.

"Yes," he said, "but not collective hijacking. What I mean by that, if they have gotten so much for so many years and it's going to bankrupt the state, I don't think that's good. It appears that in some instances, they really don't care."

The bottom line, he stressed, was not creating an undue burden on taxpayers.

Asked about last week's vote in Ohio, in which the state's new collective bargaining law was rejected by voters, Cain said that "maybe they tried to get too much and as a result it failed."

Asked if the Ohio Legislature had gone too far in stripping collective bargaining power for public employees, including fire and police personnel, Cain said Ohio legislators "may have tried to get too much in one bill."

Ohio's collective bargaining law differed from Wisconsin in at least one key aspect: Wisconsin exempted police and fire personnel from the law.

In an interview with the Journal Sentinel last month, Cain said he was "right in the corner of Gov. Scott Walker 100%" in Walker's battle with public employee unions.

On Libya:

The silence is horribly painful, let alone the awful answer.

Again, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article:

Cain paused for some time, then wanted to clarify that Obama had supported the uprising. Clearly struggling to articulate a response, Cain paused again, saying, "Got all of this stuff twirling around in my head."

Finally, Cain said: "I would have done a better job of determining who the opposition is. And I'm sure that our intelligence people had some of that information. Based upon who made up that opposition . . . might have caused me to make some different decisions about how we participated. Secondly, no I did not agree with (Moammar) Gadhafi killing his citizens. Absolutely not. . . . I would have supported many of the things that they did to help stop that."

Cain said the question of America's involvement in Libya was not a simple yes or no question. "I would have gone about assessing the situation differently. It might have caused us to end up in the same place."

Told that a number of Republican leaders had praised Obama for his handling of the situation, Cain said he wasn't criticizing the president, "I just don't think enough was done relative to assessing the opposition before everything exploded."

Musings on Newt

Two different columns by Ed Morrisey.

From Hot Air:

Gingrich may not be a conservative dream candidate, but he has worked with grassroots conservatives far more than Mitt Romney has over the last several years, and he shows a much greater tendency to fight than Romney does as well. If there are no reliable conservatives whom voters can trust not to make fools of themselves in a long campaign, Gingrich at least fills that bill. And compared to Mitt Romney, Gingrich may well be conservative enough to become a rally point — much like Romney himself was in 2008, albeit too late to stop John McCain from winning the nomination.

And The Week:

Gingrich, on the other hand, is not just a fighter, but a brilliant fighter. He has used the debates to put his encyclopedic knowledge on display in every aspect of policy. Instead of trying to scale the polling heights by fighting his fellow Republicans, Gingrich has aimed his rhetorical guns at Barack Obama and the national media, the two biggest targets for the Republican grassroots. He dressed down CBS moderator Scott Pelley in Saturday's debate on a question about killing Americans who join terrorist networks against whom Congress has already authorized military action. Those who want a fighter know that they can trust Gingrich not to embarrass them through incoherence or ignorance, and that he has a more natural inclination to confrontation than Romney.

That doesn't mean that all conservatives will cheer Gingrich's rise. The Washington Examiner gives a preview of what the rest of the field will do to Gingrich as a frontrunner, highlighting all of his heterodoxies over the years. However, unlike those who previously experienced polling bubbles, Gingrich will have little problem defending himself. And if it comes down to Gingrich and Romney, the Tea Party contingent may well put its shoulders behind a man who they know will outfight Barack Obama if a more consistently conservative alternative fails to emerge.

My own suspicion is that conservatives are too obsessed about the minor flaws of the various conservative candidates to accept any of them for their major virtues.

As a consequence, Gingrich will probably be torn down like every surging conservative candidate before him, which will ultimately pave the way for Mitt Romney, a candidate with major flaws and only minor virtues from a conservative point of view.

Honoring a Lifetime of Public Service

In Harrison County, few people have spent as much time in public service as Pete Shickel.

In my time as county chairman, I've met many people. Pete may be among the the nicest and most civic-minded of all of them.

The two state awards he received at a recent meeting of the Harrison County Council were very much deserved:

In other business, the council took a few minutes at the start of the meeting to salute former county Councilman Pete Schickel of Lanesville, who received two awards for his decades of service to the community.

State Sen. Richard Young, a Milltown Democrat, presented a surprised Schickel with the Partners in Progress Award from Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman. Then state Rep. Rhonda Rhoads, R-Corydon, presented the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Service. Both awards recognized Schickel’s contributions to Harrison and the state.

Schickel, 88, served on the council from 1958 to 1988, and mentioned that he missed one meeting in those 30 years.

“It’s always a privilege and an obligation to served your community,” and giving back is what’s important, he said.

Second Opinion


Obama protests too much. He's not exactly working hard, what with all of his vacations and rounds of golf. It's not the American people that are lazy. It's him.

Human Events:

We have a lazy and incompetent government. The belief that piles of taxpayer money can solve any problem, by purchasing a first-class bureaucracy to generate a blizzard of official paperwork, is inherently lazy. The childish belief that America is pockmarked with problems only government can address, and only spending from Washington counts as “caring” about an issue, is the laziest belief a person could possibly have. Supplication is easy: just open your mouth and wait for it to be filled.

Obamanomics is based on the ironclad belief that government knows best, and has a sacred responsibility to strike down incorrect judgments from the free market. Of course someone who thinks that way won’t be much of a “cheerleader” for the economic liberty his hapless people cannot be entrusted with. On the other hand, someone who holds the health opposite of Obama’s beliefs can’t help but have stars in their eyes when they look upon their marvelous nation.

It will be great to shove Obama and his government out of the way next year, and teach him just how wrong he is about the United States of America.

Monday, November 14, 2011

As Gregg Announces, A Look at the Gov Race

This past Saturday, former House Speaker, lifetime-health-care-for-state-legislators architect, and budget-gimmickry artist John Gregg held his formal gubernatorial campaign kickoff.

He's even got an interesting campaign logo (it's one of the logos on the right; you guess which one).

From the Courier-Journal:

Former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg kicked off his campaign for governor Saturday with a rally in his hometown, telling supporters that if elected his priorities would be helping the state’s schools and businesses.

About 200 people braved chilly, windy conditions to attend Saturday morning’s rally in a park in Sandborn, about 40 miles south of Terre Haute.

The Democrat said in prepared remarks that he was officially launching his campaign for governor because he was concerned about the state’s business climate and the state of its schools.

Because, of course, Obama and the Democratic Party have just done wonders for the business climate everywhere (including Indiana, despite the best efforts of Republicans to make the state job and business friendly).

And whenever a Democrat speaks about the state of schools, they're speaking in code. What they're really talking about is the state of the Indiana State Teachers' Association, which in large measure bankrolls their party. Whether anyone gets educated in the schools Gregg is mentioning is incidental to Gregg and to Indiana Democrats, so long as the ISTA is taken care of.

But Gregg's phony rhetoric aside, it's worth at this juncture to turn a critical eye to the race for Indiana's top job and give it serious look.

Barring a liberal insurgent candidacy a la Jill Long Thompson (not entirely out of the question even with the state party's endorsement of Gregg right out of the box), Gregg will be the Democratic nominee.

Mike Pence will similarly be the Republican nominee; Jim Wallace's attempt to run as a moderate alternative has found zero traction. The biggest proof of that is the absence of moderate or establishment Lugar supporters favoring Wallace over Pence. Regardless of who they support in the Senate primary, Republicans of all stripes are behind Mike Pence.

So where do things stand between Mike Pence and John Gregg?

Well, the campaign announcement gives us an indication of organizational strength.

Gregg's announcement, as noted in the quote above, had 200 supporters present (this despite all the establishment machinery behind him and the event being in Gregg's best turf, in his home town and the area he represented as state rep for over a decade).

There were "thousands" (so an order of magnitude more people) at Mike Pence's campaign kickoff this past summer.

Brian Howey:

Mike Pence commenced his first statewide campaign on a spiritual note akin almost to a religious revival on Saturday as thousands from across the state joined he and his family here in his hometown.

Saying "Everything starts with a good paying job," Pence vowed to build on the foundation of Gov. Mitch Daniels to create more jobs as well as fight the "federal intrusion" that would lead to a repeal of "Obamacare."

Then there were the recent municipal election results.

A few days before the vote, John Gregg was straightforward about how 2011 matters for 2012:

Municipal wins mean establishing fundraising power and volunteer armies next year as the two parties battle it out for an open governor's seat and a contested U.S. Senate seat.

"The road to the Statehouse goes through all those city halls," said John Gregg, a former Indiana House speaker and a Democratic candidate for governor. Like the Republican gubernatorial candidates, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence and Jim Wallace, Gregg has spent much of the last few months campaigning for mayoral candidates.

And the results? Well, let's just look at this election night press release from the state GOP:

Indiana Republicans now hold a majority of mayoral offices in the state after retaining Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Mishawaka, West Lafayette, Valparaiso, Marion and others, and picking up seats in Columbus, Jeffersonville, Evansville, Logansport, LaPorte and Portage, among others.

Democrats had a 68 to 48 majority, with 3 Independents, after the 2007 election. Today, with 2 races outstanding, Republicans hold a 61 to 54 majority with 2 Independents.

Now, let's be clear for a moment. Some of the most favorable turf left for Democrats in Indiana (particularly after the south left them) are in urban areas and cities. This is the case nationwide, and it's also the case in Indiana.

So Democrats in Indiana last Tuesday got beat in some of the most friendly territory they have left. That doesn't bode well for their future next November. Then they'll be playing on territory statewide that is much less friendly by and large, and they'll have Obama atop their party's ticket weighing them down.

This, by the way, isn't just my view. It's also one shared by John Gregg himself:

Tuesday night was a big night for Republicans here in Indianapolis and across Indiana as the GOP gained 17 seats in Mayor’s offices including Evansville and Anderson. They held onto important seats in Democratic cities including Indianapolis and Terre Haute. It will be a factor in the 2012 Election.

A mayor can help a candidate for governor, both when it comes to raising money and getting out the vote, and Republicans now control the majority of city halls in Indiana.

It’s a concern for his candidate for governor, John Gregg. “I’m disappointed we lost,” says Gregg, “we lost a lot of seats, we lost a lot friends.”

Gregg donated $30,000 to Melina Kennedy’s campaign because he knows how helpful a mayor can be especially in major cities. “It’s always great to have a mayor that’s of the same party that you can go in and you can call on,” he says, “and can introduce you to people, not just the party faithful.”

And then there's the fundraising imbalance.

Since filing his campaign paperwork in May, Mike Pence's campaign committee has had to file thirty-seven "large contribution reports", which Indiana law requires for any contribution received over $10,000.

Gregg has had just four. Again, a difference of an entire order of magnitude.

Most of Gregg's filings aren't for much more than $10,000. Many of Pence's are for considerably more than that amount. Mitch Daniels, by way of comparison, had 59 $10K supplemental filings for the whole of 2007 (and he was an incumbent governor). Pence has racked up two-thirds as many in half the time.

We won't see the next set of full campaign finance numbers and filings until the middle of January, but what we've seen already gives us a telling comparison.

And the large contributions are only a part of the story, at least for Pence. He has an existing grassroots fundraising base from his time as a conservative leader in Congress that gives him access to a large number of smaller-dollar donors. So Gregg definitely isn't matching Pence in large contributions and almost certainly isn't matching Pence in small donors either. His first campaign finance report, back in July (for the first half of the year, really the two months of his campaign), showed Pence raised over half of his contributions ($800K small to $600K large) from small-dollar donors.

So whether you want to compare grassroots operations, 2011 election implications, or fundraising, Mike Pence seems to have a pretty big lead on John Gregg. He also doesn't seem to be the sort to take anything for granted, so he's unlikely to let his foot off the gas heading into next year.

It's Mourdock Time

This is probably the best Mourdock campaign video I've seen yet.

The Gingrich Surge Begins

So says Nate Silver of Five-Thirty-Eight.

And thus begins another roller coaster. After Newt has risen and fallen (probably by Thanksgiving or so), who will be left? Huntsman? Santorum?

Gingrich Schools Reporter

Dog bites man. News at eleven.

This was probably one of the best moments in the debate on Saturday night.

I know, I know. Who watches a presidential debate on Saturday night? Well, now you know.

Scared Mittless

Don't Give Up, Charlie Brown!

Monday, November 7, 2011


If you live in a city (or some small towns) in Indiana, Tuesday is election day. It's also election day in Kentucky, and there's a referendum on the ballot in Ohio.

So be sure to get out and vote.

My predictions:

Indiana Municipal Elections
Indianapolis: Kennedy (D) narrowly over Ballard (R)
Fort Wayne: Hughes (R) narrowly over Henry (D)
Evansville: Winnecke (R) over Davis (D)
New Albany: Bagshaw (R) narrowly over Gahan (D) and Messer (I)
Jeffersonville: Galligan (D) narrowly over Moore (R); oh, for honest elections
Terre Haute: Bennnett (R) over Nation (D)

Kentucky Statewides
Governor: Beshear (D) huge over Williams (R)
Secretary of State: Grimes (D) over Johnson (R)
Attorney General: Conway (D, dirtbag) over P'Pool (R)

Ohio Referendum
Kasich's public sector union reforms will be handily undone.

Inspiring Obama Campaign Video

"One year from now," this Obama campaign video says, "all our progress could be erased."

We sure hope so.

I sure am inspired.

To work to get Obama defeated.

Politico Has Its Priorities

From Legal Insurrection comes an interesting comparison of scandals.

Herman Cain's sexual harassment allegations compared to some of Obama's scandals and problems.

Just the stats:

Days as of 8 p.m. Eastern today since Politico broke the story - 7
Politico news stories about or mentioning "Herman Cain": 138
Politico news stories about or mentioning "sexual harassment": 91
Politico news stories about or mentioning "sexual harassment" not involving Herman Cain: 0
Politico news stories showing what Herman Cain actually did: 0
Politico news stories showing specifically what Herman Cain was accused of: 0
Percentage drop in Herman Cain favorability rating as reported by Politico: 9
Politico news stories about or mentioning "Solyndra": 9
Politico news stories about or mentioning "Fast and Furious": 3
Politico news stories about or mentioning "unemployment": 17
Politico news stories about or mentioning "recession": 14
Politico’s credibility self-destruction: Priceless

More on Lugar & the Liberal Roosevelt Institute

From a reader comes an interesting observation about the liberal Roosevelt Institute, where Lugar was on the board until Mourdock called him out.

One of the "political advisors" to the Institute listed on their website is Tom Manatos.

Manatos, interestingly enough, was a "Senior Advisor" to Nancy Pelosi.

His bio:

Tom Manatos, 28, serves as adviser to [current House Minority Leader and previously] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Manatos's blood is rich in executiveness. His father worked for Jimmy Carter, and his father's father, a Senate liaison for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, was the first Greek American to work in the White House. A native of Montgomery County, Manatos took time off from his communications studies at Cornell in 2000 to be the second-youngest paid staffer at Gore-Lieberman headquarters in Nashville. He started working with Pelosi (D-Calif.) as an intern shortly after she became minority whip and has been with her since.

Legistorm lists Manatos most recently as "Senior Advisor for Member Services" for Pelosi. Since July of this year, he has been a "Senior Advisor to the Chair" of the Democratic National Committee.

Just another example of the fine sorts on the left with whom Senator Lugar has been associated of late in Washington.

Herman Cain Says China “Trying to Develop Nuclear Capability”

China has had "nuclear capability" for half a century.

George Will on Mitt Romney

Let's just say he's not a fan:

The Republican presidential dynamic — various candidates rise and recede; Mitt Romney remains at about 25 percent support — is peculiar because conservatives correctly believe that it is important to defeat Barack Obama but unimportant that Romney be president. This is not cognitive dissonance.

Obama, a floundering naif who thinks ATMs aggravate unemployment, is bewildered by a national tragedy of shattered dreams, decaying workforce skills and forgone wealth creation. Romney cannot enunciate a defensible, or even decipherable, ethanol policy.

Life poses difficult choices, but not about ethanol. Government subsidizes ethanol production, imposes tariffs to protect manufacturers of it and mandates the use of it — and it injures the nation’s and the world’s economic, environmental, and social (it raises food prices) well-being.

In May, in corn-growing Iowa, Romney said, “I support” — present tense — “the subsidy of ethanol.” And: “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.” But in October he told Iowans he is “a business guy,” so as president he would review this bipartisan — the last Republican president was an ethanol enthusiast — folly. Romney said that he once favored (past tense) subsidies to get the ethanol industry “on its feet.” (In the 19th century, Republican “business guys” justified high tariffs for protecting “infant industries”). But Romney added, “I’ve indicated I didn’t think the subsidy had to go on forever.” Ethanol subsidies expire in December, but “I might have looked at more of a decline over time” because of “the importance of ethanol as a domestic fuel.” Besides, “ethanol is part of national security.” However, “I don’t want to say” I will propose new subsidies. Still, ethanol has “become an important source of amplifying our energy capacity.” Anyway, ethanol should “continue to have prospects of growing its share of” transportation fuels. Got it?

Every day, 10,000 baby boomers become eligible for Social Security and Medicare, from which they will receive, on average, $1 million of benefits ($550,000 from the former, $450,000 from the latter). Who expects difficult reforms from Romney, whose twists on ethanol make a policy pretzel?

A straddle is not a political philosophy; it is what you do when you do not have one. It is what Romney did when he said that using Troubled Assets Relief Program funds for the General Motors and Chrysler bailouts “was the wrong source for that funding.” Oh, so the source was the bailouts’ defect.

Last week in Ohio, Romney straddled the issue of the ballot initiative by which liberals and unions hope to repeal the law that Republican Gov. John Kasich got enacted to limit public employees’ collective bargaining rights. Kasich, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is under siege. Romney was asked, at a Republican phone bank rallying support for Kasich’s measure, to oppose repeal of it and to endorse another measure exempting Ohioans from Obamacare’s insurance mandate (a cousin of Romneycare’s Massachusetts mandate). He refused.

His campaign called his refusal principled: “Citizens of states should be able to make decisions . . . on their own.” Got it? People cannot make “their own” decisions if Romney expresses an opinion. His flinch from leadership looks ludicrous after his endorsement three months ago of a right-to-work bill that the New Hampshire legislature was considering. So, the rule in New England expires across the Appalachian Mountains?

A day after refusing to oppose repeal of Kasich’s measure, Romney waffled about his straddle, saying he opposed repeal “110 percent.” He did not, however, endorse the anti-mandate measure, remaining semi-faithful to the trans-Appalachian codicil pertaining to principles, thereby seeming to lack the courage of his absence of convictions.

Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate. Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the Tea Party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming.

Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from “data” (although there is precious little to support Romney’s idea that in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants is a powerful magnet for such immigrants) and who believes elections should be about (in Dukakis’s words) “competence,” not “ideology.” But what would President Romney competently do when not pondering ethanol subsidies that he forthrightly says should stop sometime before “forever”? Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for this?

The Truth about that Newt Gingrich Wife-Had-Cancer-and-He-Wanted-a-Divorce Story

It's not true.

You learn something new every day.

...But the Theory Is Still Sound!

Hat tip: Greg Mankiw.

He's Holding the Drill Wrong

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Washington Post Looks at the 9th District

Apparently, according to the Washington Post, the situation in Washington is entirely southern Indiana's fault:

Meet the people of Indiana’s 9th Congressional District. If you want to blame somebody for what Washington has become, blame them.

In the past decade, as mounting voter disaffection created an angry cycle of “wave elections” in American politics, nobody rode the waves harder than the people of the district south of Indianapolis.

They sent a Democrat to Congress. Then a Republican. Then a Democrat. Then a Republican again. All in very quick succcession.

Among 435 congressional districts, this is the only one that has flipped three times since 2000. That makes it the epicenter of a national indecision that has helped wipe out Washington’s centrists and filled the Capitol with fractious partisans and frustrating gridlock.

Now, they’re already talking about another election.

But people here have wave fatigue. How many times can you be persuaded to throw the bums out before you decide that they’re all bums, every one?

It goes on to recount the history of the district and interview a few folks from within the district (including a Democratic elected official that lost in 2010 by 50 votes after having been in office for 20 years).

Then it looks at the Obama staffer that is among the Democrats seeking to be the ballot filler opposite Todd Young next November. Curiously, the other Democratic candidates didn't even get mentioned.

Now, both parties are hoping for a new wave to cure the ugly results of the last one. Republicans have recruited more than 40 candidates to run for Democrat-controlled seats they’re targeting in 2012. Democrats have recruited candidates for 60 seats that are either open or in GOP hands.

On one recent day, one of those Democratic candidates was standing at the edge of a cliff near Oolitic, Ind.

Jonathan D. George, a retired Air Force general who is running against Young, looked out from the cliff over the remains of a limestone quarry: broken rocks, scrubby weeds, a large gray-sided pit filled with rainwater.

“Fifty years ago, the southern part of the state had something of value to bring to America,” George said. A lot of it was right here, at a quarry that supplied stone for the Empire State Building. Now, locals call it “Empire Hole.” “You look out there now, it’s like a moonscape,” George said.

George, 54, is a former U-2 spy plane pilot and a member of President Obama’s national security team. He says Young is out of step with this region: unwilling to invest in roads, bridges and other infrastructure. George wants to use that kind of investment to create jobs in education and defense.

So why should voters trust him to deliver that, when they’ve soured on so many politicians before?

“People always say, ‘That’s a good question,’ when they don’t have an immediate answer,” George said. “That’s a good question.” His best answer is that he will work very hard, and that he turned down an Air Force promotion to come back and help people here.

Don't worry. He doesn't have the answers, but he'll work hard. Heck, Obama (when he isn't golfing or taking vacations) is probably working hard. But he's working hard on failed ideas and policies that are making (and will make) everything worse.

[George] will have it harder than past insurgents. Young has won fans with his opposition to Obama, who is deeply unpopular here. The Indiana legislature has also redrawn the 9th District to make it more conservative.

There's an understatement. It's now one of the most Republican districts in the state. And, even so, Todd Young isn't likely to take his reelection for granted. The bigger he wins, the faster people in the district (particularly potential future opponents) disabuse themselves of the notion that the 9th District is competitive anymore.

“Everybody’s sick of people [in Congress] fighting, you know, and not doing what’s good for the country,” said Everett Hammons, 68, a retired worker for a school-bus company that’s now defunct. “I think the people have realized that, look, it’s a no-win situation.”

In Paoli, the incumbent — the man whom George wants to kick out — was building to the big finish of his speech to the county Republicans. Young said voters would face a choice in 2012. One path led to freedom. The other led to greater government control, down to “the ant-heap of totalitarianism.”

Then, in his final line, the representative of America’s most indecisive congressional district made a Freudian slip.

“May we choose widely,” Young said. Then he caught himself. “Wisely.”

Pence Pushes Local Candidates

The Pence campaign's press release provides a bit of insight into just how important Mike Pence thinks these elections are.

In recent months, Pence has traveled the state lending support to municipal candidates who possess strong visions for their communities. Stops included: Anderson, Beech Grove, Columbus, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Greenwood, Huntingburg, Indianapolis, Jeffersonville, Kokomo, Lawrence, Muncie, Portage and Schererville.

The footage shown illustrates a sample of Pence's efforts to encourage principled leadership at all levels of government in Indiana. In addition to traveling to 55 counties around the state, Pence also raised more than $400,000 to aid 2011 candidates, headlined 16 fundraising events for candidates, and keynoted more than 35 Lincoln and Reagan Day dinners and local party fundraising events.

That's a lot of campaign stops, a lot of fundraising events, and a lot of time to help local candidates and local party organizations for a guy that's not just campaigning statewide for governor, but is still doing his job as a full-time member of Congress.

Romney to NARAL & Liberal Groups 9 Years Ago: “You Need Someone like Me”

The Washington Post provides an interesting look into the always-evolving political philosophy (if you can call it that) of one Willard Mitt Romney:

Mitt Romney was firm and direct with the abortion rights advocates sitting in his office nine years ago, assuring the group that if elected Massachusetts governor, he would protect the state’s abortion laws.

Then, as the meeting drew to a close, the businessman offered an intriguing suggestion — that he would rise to national prominence in the Republican Party as a victor in a liberal state and could use his influence to soften the GOP’s hard-line opposition to abortion.

He would be a “good voice in the party” for their cause, and his moderation on the issue would be “widely written about,” he said, according to detailed notes taken by an officer of the group, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

“You need someone like me in Washington,” several participants recalled Romney saying that day in September 2002, an apparent reference to his future ambitions.

Romney made similar assurances to activists for gay rights and the environment, according to people familiar with the discussions, both as a candidate for governor and then in the early days of his term.

The encounters with liberal advocates offer some revealing insights into the ever-evolving ideology of Romney, who as a presidential candidate now espouses the hard-line opposition to abortion that he seemed to disparage less than a decade ago.

Some details of his interactions with liberal activists were first reported in the Los Angeles Times in 2007, when Romney was introducing himself on the national stage.

This time, Romney, focusing more on his economic expertise than his gubernatorial record, is widely viewed as the GOP’s front-runner. His past positions remain fodder for critics as polls show that he has yet to win over many conservative primary voters — and as rivals in both parties try to brand him a flip-flopper.

Now, as they watch Romney’s ascent from his old stomping grounds in Boston, many of the liberals he encountered wonder whether his transformation has been sincere or a matter of sheer politics. Not only did he espouse more liberal views at the time, but Romney presented himself as a change agent who could soften the GOP’s rough ideological edges.

Melissa Kogut, the NARAL group’s executive director in 2002, recalled Wednesday that as she and other participants in the meeting began to pack their belongings to leave after the 45-minute session, Romney became “emphatic that the Republican Party was not doing themselves a service by being so vehemently anti-choice.”

The abortion rights supporters came away from the meeting pleasantly surprised. Romney declined to label himself “pro-choice” but said he eschewed all labels, including “pro-life.” He told the group that he would “protect and preserve a woman’s right to choose under Massachusetts law” and that he thought any move to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision would be a “serious mistake for our country.”

“We felt good about the interview. He seemed genuine,” said Nicole Roos, the NARAL official who took the notes and shared them with a reporter.

The WaPo article also talks about Romney's stance on gay marriage:

Romney’s approach to reassuring the left was first evident in 1994, when he tried to unseat Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D) by offering himself as an unconventional Republican in the mold of the popular and socially liberal Gov. William Weld.

In a widely publicized letter to the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group, he touted himself as a stronger advocate on gay rights issues than the liberal lion himself.

In an Aug. 25, 1994, interview with Bay Windows, a gay newspaper in Boston, he offered this pitch, according to excerpts published on the paper’s Web site: “There’s something to be said for having a Republican who supports civil rights in this broader context, including sexual orientation. When Ted Kennedy speaks on gay rights, he’s seen as an extremist. When Mitt Romney speaks on gay rights he’s seen as a centrist and a moderate.

“It’s a little like if Eugene McCarthy was arguing in favor of recognizing China, people would have called him a nut. But when Richard Nixon does it, it becomes reasonable. When Ted says it, it’s extreme; when I say it, it’s mainstream.”

In his campaign for governor eight years later, he publicly opposed gay marriage. But he again courted Log Cabin Republicans, meeting with them at a gay bar in Boston and sitting for another interview with Bay Windows, leaving some in the community with a vaguer impression of his stance.

In that interview, he called himself the “token Republican” who could use the power of his office to push lawmakers toward supporting certain domestic-partner benefits. He singled out the speaker of the state House at the time, who opposed legislation on that issue.

“I will support and endorse efforts to provide those domestic partnership benefits to gay and lesbian couples,” Romney said.

One participant in the Log Cabin session said Romney simply seemed opposed to the word “marriage” being used for same-sex couples.

“I certainly inferred from that that he didn’t have a problem with me as long as I called it something other than the M-word,” said Boston businessman Richard Babson.

Another participant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Romney “left the impression of being friendly to the concept of some sort of same-sex union and not being vehemently opposed to gay marriage.”

See a trend here? Maybe?

How about global warming?

The article talks about that, too:

On the environment, Romney seemed interested in carving out an agenda largely in line with the state’s most fervent activists on the left.


In March 2003 he pledged to buy up to $100 million worth of electricity from renewable sources. That month, he declared, “the global warming debate is now pretty much over.”

Environmentalists were disappointed when Romney, late in his term, shifted course and pulled the state out of the regional greenhouse gas agreement.

Still, he appeared consistent on the global warming question as recently as June, when he officially launched his 2012 campaign. He said then that “the world’s getting warmer,” adding: “I believe that humans contribute to that.”

But last week, he appeared to back away from that stance, saying, “We don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.”

Romney's mercenaries, of course, have an explanation for everything:

Aide Eric Fehrnstrom referred The Washington Post to quotes he provided the Los Angeles Times four years ago in which he said that Romney had been true to his words and that activists’ recollections were colored by their political agendas.

“People’s memories change with time, and change depending on which way the political winds are blowing,” Fehrnstrom said then.

You might say that Romney changed with time, too, and changed depending on which way the political winds were blowing.

The Food Stamp Presidency

Another scary chart of the Obama economy:

Democrats in Petition Forgery Scandal: Special Prosecutors Are for You, Not for Us

If you're a Republican prosecutor in Hamilton County asked to investigate fellow Republican Charlie White, Democrats say that you need to step aside for a special prosecutor to be appointed.

But if you're a Democratic prosecutor in St. Joseph County whose signature was forged in the recent 2008 Democratic presidential primary petition forgery scandal, Democrats say that you don't need to step aside at all.

Do as they say, not as they do.

The South Bend Tribune:

Should the St. Joseph County prosecutor give up his investigation into possible ballot petition fraud? The county's Republican Party says the answer to that question is "Yes," but Mike Dvorak is not backing down.

It all started when the South Bend Tribune and Howey Politics first broke the story of possible forged signatures on 2008 gubernatorial and presidential primary petitions. Even though both state and county Republican Party leaders have asked Dvorak to appoint a special prosecutor in the matter, he's pushing on with his investigation.

"The main [concern] is he's so close to the people involved and he's been involved in the Democratic Party and a leader in the party for years and years," said St. Joseph County Republican Party Chair Deb Fleming. "It's hard to investigate your own close friends and allies impartially."

The fact that Dvorak is a victim - his name was apparently forged on at least one petition - should also prompt him to request a special prosecutor, Fleming added.

In a statement to WSBT, Prosecutor Dvorak said he initiated a criminal investigation into the primary petition fraud allegations October 5. He later asked the United States attorney for the Northern District of Indiana if that office had resources to complete the investigation.

On October 18, the U.S. attorney declined to accept jurisdiction of the investigation and prosecution of the matter. He also responded, in writing, to the state chairman of the Indiana Republican Party as to why his office would not undertake the investigation. On the same date, Dvorak said he formally contacted the Indiana State Police and asked for their assistance in continuing the investigation.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Trent Smith told WSBT anytime a case is government-related, investigators must get an "OK" from their superintendent before accepting the case. Last week, the superintendent agreed to provide three detectives to work the case full time. One of those detectives is from the Toll Road post, the other from the Bremen post and the third is from the organized crime and corruption unit.

Dvorak said he'll continue to investigate the alleged 2008 primary petition fraud with Indiana State Police and where warranted, prosecute those responsible.

In North Vernon's absentee vote fraud investigation, a special prosecutor was appointed only because the guy being investigated was the cousin of the prosecutor.

Were that not the case, it seems likely that there would have been no special prosecutor (and likely no investigation or indictments) there either.

Jeffersonville Election Update

The Clark County GOP is challenging more ballots in the Jeffersonville mayoral election:

The Clark County Republican Party has filed challenges against four voters who’ve applied to vote by absentee ballot in the Nov. 8 municipal election.

So far, only one of the four has actually voted, according to the Clark County Voter Registration office. In order for that vote to count — and the other three, if the ballots are ever received — the Clark County Election Board will have to consider them as provisional ballots.

A hearing on that is scheduled for Nov. 19.

The registration office sends out a public list of absentee ballots that were mailed daily. Campaigns routinely send out campaign literature via the U.S. Postal Service to the same address that absentee ballots were mailed, said Jamey Noel, Republican Party chairman.

“During the past week, 11 pieces of campaign literature were returned to sender from the U.S. Postal Service. This immediately raised concerns because if someone recently requested an absentee ballot to their address and a ballot was mailed to that address, then why did the piece of campaign literature come back ‘return to sender’ from the U.S. Postal Service,” he said.

The four ballots being officially challenged are:

• Lois Partipilo, 2131 Fountain Crest. The challenge said no such person lives at the address and the current resident doesn’t know them.

• Dorothy Bennett, 7 Hawthorn Lane. The challenge said Bennett does not live there.

• James Ross, 1306 Wall St., Apt. No. 119. The challenge said the apartment could not be found.

• Corey Conley, 824 E. Market St. The complaint says no such address exists. The south side of that block is occupied by Jeffboat, a manufacturer.

Democratic Party Chairman Rod Pate was unfamiliar with the complaints at the time a reporter called. He said it could have been caused by human error — for instance a transposed address number. Further, he said, if a ballot was sent to a nonexistent address and it was returned to sender, then obviously the person couldn’t vote.

“Some people are spending a lot of energy and they’re not really getting anywhere,” he said.

Phil McCauley, campaign manager for Democratic Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan, who is running for re-election against Libertarian Bob Isgrigg and Republican Mike Moore, looked into the four voters and said he was only familiar with one of them — James Ross.

Their campaign records show that two of the challenged voters — those belonging to Lois Partipilo and Dorothy Bennett — had voted in Republican primaries in past elections. Because of that, he said, Galligan’s campaign wouldn’t have targeted them in an absentee vote drive. He had no records for Conley.

The main thrust of their absentee voter drive is aimed at people who'd voted in Democratic primaries in past elections, McCauley said. That information is public record. Workers don’t go blindly from door-to-door, but instead focuses on the lists of potential voters they generate from registration and primary election information, he said.

“Going door-to-door is suicide. There’s only so many hours in the day.”

He said Galligan volunteers generally go to the door with an absentee ballot application that already has the voter’s name, address and ID number on it. They ask the voter if they plan to vote for Galligan.

“They say ‘no’ — we say, ‘thank you’” and walk away,” he said.

If they do plan to vote their way, they are presented with the application. The voter has to sign and check a box indicating their reason for voting absentee.

Matt Chinn, another Galligan campaign worker, said he’s turned in applications even for those who planned to vote for Moore, a Clark County Commissioner. He attributes the irregularities to people not changing their voter registration information.

Absentee voting fraud has been a frequent criticism this election season, especially since former Galligan campaign aide Mike Marshall was indicted on voter fraud charges in Jennings County just a few weeks ago.

Noel said the indictment raises questions as to the integrity of the election.

“I have requested that the Clark County Election Board immediately investigate these challenges,” he said. “We want to ensure Jeffersonville and Clarksville voters receive the fair election that is deserved and will continue to check into these expanding discrepancies.”

McCauley accused the GOP of trying to discredit the Galligan campaign.

“What they’re trying to do is throw dirt and muck at our campaign,” he said. “We don’t want anybody to vote who’s not suppose to vote.”

The challenges were filed by Ida Callahan, a Jeffersonville Republican. It’s not the first time she’s filed a challenge. In February, she challenged the residency of a former Jeffersonville City Council candidate, Kathy Kennedy Bupp.

Election day is Nov. 8.

Navy SEALS Upset Obama Taking Credit for Killing Osama bin Laden

From Britain's Daily Telegraph (you'd never get to read this in a newspaper in the United States; the media wouldn't hear of it):

US NAVY Seals have revealed for the first time that they killed Osama Bin Laden within 90 seconds of entering his fortress-like home in Pakistan.

The men who killed the al-Qaeda chief have decided to speak out because they are tired of their "shabby treatment" by politicians who claim they were on a "kill mission".

They insisted there was no lengthy gun-fight in the compound and claimed they would have captured Bin Laden if he had surrendered, The Sunday Times in the UK reports (behind a paywall).

They were not on a "kill mission", they said, and fired only 12 bullets in the entire operation.

The details of the mission, which was codenamed Operation Neptune’s Spear, are revealed in a book by the Seals' former commander, Chuck Pfarrer.

"I've been a Seal for 30 years and I never heard the words 'kill mission'. It's a fantasy word. If it was a kill mission you don’t need Seal Team 6; you need a box of hand grenades."

He said the men were angry with President Barack Obama for announcing Bin Laden’s death on TV just hours after they completed the mission on May 1.

"There isn't a politician in the world who could resist trying to take credit for getting Bin Laden but it devalued the 'intel' and gave time for every other Al-Qaeda leader to scurry to another bolthole," he said.

"The men who did this and their valorous act deserve better. It's a pretty shabby way to treat these guys."

Romney the Weather Vane

Photo of the Day: “Playoffs?! I just hope we can win a game!”

Of course, do the Colts really even want to win a game? Or, as the only winless team left in the NFL, do they seek to lose out and draft Stanford's Andrew Luck as a successor to Peyton Manning?

What a Joker

A Hands-On President