Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rumor Has It: Parker Out as State Dem Chief

Rumor has it that Dan Parker will be stepping down early this week (perhaps as early as tomorrow) as chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. Supposedly, he will be taking a job someplace else. It's not yet clear who his replacement will be. John Gregg, the anointed Democratic candidate for governor, will surely want to have a say in that.

Parker's departure has to be compared to the "leave on a high note" departure of Murray Clark as chief of the Indiana Republican Party in late December of last year. Clark left on an unquestionably high note, in the wake of sweeping Republican victories in the 2010 elections.

Parker, in contrast, leaves a party that has been eviscerated. The past two elections (and in some ways three) have seen the ranks of Indiana Democrats decimated. The once-solid south in southern Indiana has abandoned them because of Obama, they now hold weak minorities in both houses of the legislature, they hold no statewide offices at the state or Federal level, they lost two Congressional seats in 2010 (nearly losing a third), weaknesses redistricting will likely push further, their traditional allies are besieged by the Republican legislature, they failed to elect a mayor in Indianapolis this past November, and the bleeding in southern Indiana continued with defeats for their mayoral standard-bearers in Madison, Jeffersonville, and Terre Haute (among other places). And this is to say nothing of mounting allegations of voter fraud against Democrats in everything from Obama's campaign signatures to absentee ballots in Jennings County.

Parker was among the last of Evan Bayh's men, and the situation he leaves behind as he departs is a telling picture of the Indiana Democratic Party in the post-Bayh era.

UPDATE: I am now hearing two separate (and not necessarily conflicting) stories about Parker's departure.

One says that the unions seek a "fighter" as chair to pursue the battle against right-to-work in the upcoming legislative session, a prospect that leaves many Democrats wringing their hands in lieu of favorable polling for right-to-work and the bad polling and press Democrats got after Bauer's walkout last year.

The other thing I'm hearing is that "chosen" gubernatorial candidate John Gregg seeks to install Tim Jeffers (who was Gregg's chief of staff when he was speaker) as state party boss. Parker either found a new job or wants to spend time with his family or something similar (pick your reason).

The two stories are not necessarily exclusive of each other, but it should be interesting to see what happens this week as events unfold.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Greetings from Kokomo County

Mitt Romney has a press release out this evening touting endorsements from Indiana (in addition to the supposedly huge endorsement of former Vice President Dan Quayle, who now lives in Arizona).

From the press release:

MITT ROMNEY ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL INDIANA ENDORSEMENTS

Boston, MA – Mitt Romney today announced additional endorsements in Indiana.

“This election is the most important in a generation,” said Mitt Romney. “Indiana has not been served well by President Obama. He has failed on his promise to fix the economy and must be held accountable. With the help of these men and women, we will put our country on the right path again.”

Indiana Elected Officials And Leaders Endorsing Mitt Romney:

· Jim Merritt; State Senator
· Ryan Mishler; State Senator
· Heath Van Natter; State Representative
· Mike Karickhoff; State Representative
· Ed Soliday; State Representative
· Tim Neese; State Representative
· Tim Fesko; Former State Representative
· Matt Bell; Executive Director Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana and Former State Representative
· Randy Borror; Former State Representative
· Dan Dumezich; Former State Representative
· Frankfort Mayor-elect Chris McBarnes
· Deborah Adams; Rush County Auditor
· Hal Slager; Schererville Town Councilman
· Jim Kittle; Former Indiana Republican Party Chairman
· John Hammond; Chairman of the 7th District
· Craig Dunn; Kokomo County Republican Chairman
· Bill Treadway; Vigo County Republican Chairman
· Tom John; Former Marion County Republican Chairman
· Mary Moses Cochran; Former Aide to Vice President Dan Quayle

I'm new to Indiana (only been here since I was born), but I don't remember a Kokomo County. Maybe someone can find it for me on a map.

It's probably next to the nonexistent Lee County, which was mentioned in a recent endorsement of Richard Mourdock by Freedomworks.

I'm reminded of criticism leveled at Mourdock and Freedomworks over that typo that would apply similarly to this situation:

It’s always amusing when national PACs and others with a casual interest in Indiana politics do a hit-and-run endorsement for a candidate. There’s always some screw up, like when they call us “Indianans” or when they visit HunTington and pronounce “Dubois” County using a French root... Who proofs this stuff? Most of the time it’s just an intern at a desk, kicking out boiler-plate pressers and moving on to the next thing.

Mitt Romney's already moving on to the next thing.

Like planning to run for President in 2016 or 2020, when his hair will look even more presidential. After all, Romney's been running for office (and failing with one exception where he had zero chance of getting reelected) for decades.