Head for the Fainting Couches!

Rep. Andre Carson said that the Tea Party is “protecting its millionaire and oil company friends while gutting critical services that they know protect the livelihood of African-Americans, as well as Latinos and other disadvantaged minorities.”

“This is the effort that we’re seeing of Jim Crow,” Carson said. “Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens.”

“Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree.”

Folks who likely never cared much for Rep. Carson in the first place are, pretty much on cue, hitting the ceiling, clutching their pearls, getting the vapors, and heading for the fainting couches.

Rep. Carson is alluding to the days of Jim Crow when, like it or not, lynching was a problem. Now, let’s start here: do Tea Partiers want to lynch black people? There might be a couple, but that’s probably about it.

So why might the allusion occur to Rep. Carson? Because he has an irrational need to tell lies about the Tea Party? I doubt it. I think it starts here: “We need to take our country back.”

Yet the speech that opened the Nashville event yesterday, an address greeted with whoops and cheers from the mainly white audience, reflects a movement that also appears to have a less attractive side to it.

Tom Tancredo, a former Republican congressman who ran for president in 2008 on an anti-illegal immigration platform, said of the voters who elected Mr Obama: “They could not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English and they put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House — Barack Hussein Obama!”

Decrying America’s multiculturalism, Mr Tancredo said that Republicans and Democrats had voted for a black man because they felt they had to. To a standing ovation, he shouted: “We really do have a culture to pass on to our children: it’s based on Judaeo-Christian values.”

“This is our country,” he declared. “Let’s take it back!” He added, to applause: “Cultures are not the same. Some are better. Ours is best!” The crowd, some wearing recently purchased T-shirts saying “Keep the change — I’ll keep my FREEDOM my GUNS and my MONEY”, loved it.

This is not isolated craziness from Tom Tancredo. “We need to take our country back” has been a drum beat. The question “back from whom” is rarely asked. But, President Obama is a committed socialist in the same universe where Tea Partiers are lynching black people. Somehow the socialism accusation doesn’t prompt the blood boiling pearl clutching that these Jim Crow allegations from Rep. Carson have.

Now, what must this “take the country back” business sound like to the part of the American population from whom the Tea Party wants to take the country back? What does “back” mean to them in historical terms? In some cases it’s lynching; in a lot of cases it’s a deprivation of civil rights.

But, when Matt Tully’s editors tell him to drop everything and go report on Rep. Carson’s “hanging from trees” comments; I’ll bet they’re not looking for a nuanced discussion. They’re looking for a story on how Rep. Carson has hurt the feelings of folks like Sen. Banks who is outraged and offended and, consequently, demanding an apology.

Perhaps it’s because I’m on the other side of the fence on (just to take an example — not seeking to describe the universe of topics where political rhetoric gets overheated) reproductive rights, but I don’t see this kind of push for political food-fight coverage every time a pro-life lawmaker refers to “baby killing.” In part, I think that’s because the Left doesn’t do outrage and taking offense nearly as effectively.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, all of this unpleasantness has left me quite unsettled.

Mike Kole on Ed Coleman, Libertarian for City-County Council

I don’t follow Indianapolis city politics very much; in fact, I make something of an effort to tune them out given how much they are covered on the blogs I happen to frequent. But, here is an item worth looking at. Mike Kole discusses Ed Coleman’s run for re-election to City-County council; this time as a Libertarian and not at-large. Since he has only his district to contend with and since the Libertarians gave him $50k, he has good prospects. Ed had apparently won as a Republican in an at-large race previously.

Mike discusses the feeling out there that the way for libertarians to win is to run as Republicans and not Libertarians. That’s a bad message for actual libertarians. There is a certain strain “I’ve got mine” economic libertarianism out there that might be a good fit; but the GOP has plenty of uses for government that more devoted libertarians might find disagreeable. (See, e.g., the War on (Some) Drugs.)

I don’t know where on the spectrum of libertarianism Ed might fit, but in this context it probably doesn’t matter. Mike is correct – the Libertarian Party ought to be focused on winning elections (particularly local ones) and not dwelling too much on minutia that ends up being a purity test. In that regard, the Libertarians (and, to be fair, other political parties too) start looking like the People’s Front of Judea. (“The only people we hate more than the Roman’s are the Judean People’s Front!”)

Charlie White Recusal

The Indy Star is reporting that Secretary of State Charlie White has recused himself from his duties as a member of the Indiana Recount Commission while the commission considers White’s case. Mighty white of him! (Sorry, couldn’t resist — I assume that expression is racist, but honestly have never fully understood it.)

White, as you might recall, is accused of various charges including those having to do with whether he was legally registered to vote at the time he filed to be a candidate for Secretary of State. There were apparently some hijinx having to do with his claimed residence, presumably related to his desire to remain on the Fishers Town Council which he would have had to give up if he’d been honest about his residency.

The Recount Commission, previously chaired by fellow Wabash College Republican, Todd Rokita, when he was Secretary of State, conducted a perfunctory hearing before tossing the Democratic challenge to White over the objection of the lone Democrat on that commission. In Marion County, a state court judge ruled that the allegations in the challenge stated a claim and, therefore, the Recount Commission erred in tossing it out at this stage. White, sworn in as Secretary of State and becoming chairman of the Recount Commission in the interim, has indicated that he would recuse himself. That’s the least he can do, I’d say.

I presume the state GOP will appoint a trustworthy party guy to step in for White, that the commission will hold slightly more elaborate hearings, and then vote 2-1 against the Democratic challenge which will then be appealed back to the state court. So, at this point, the process is still mostly for show. But, at least it will be slightly less transparent without White presiding over his own case.

BMV Commissioner Arrested for Public Indecency

Vic Ryckaert and Kevin O’Neal are reporting for the Indianapolis Star that BMV Commissioner, Andrew Miller, was arrested for public indecency. According to police allegations, he tried to pick up an undercover police officer in a public restroom in downtown Indianapolis.

While a little icky, I’m not sure this is the kind of thing that needs to be criminalized. From what little I know from the report, so far as Miller knew, the undercover police officer was up for that sort of thing. Still, it’s probably not how a married chief of a major part of Indiana state government ought to be spending his Wednesday afternoons. Some tough sledding ahead for him and his family.

Advance Indiana has more on this and notes that Miller is far from the first politician to be arrested in this particular bathroom for this sort of conduct.

Hoosier Access on the Indiana House

Hoosier Access has a post up on an area of real vulnerability for Indiana Democrats: the state’s House of Representatives. The Democrats currently hold the House by a margin of 51 to 49. The House gets lost in the excitement over the Presidential race and the Governor’s race. But, did you notice how a lot of the nuttiness died down when the House Republicans were removed from power? The Republicans still hold the upper hand in the state with the Senate and Governor’s office firmly under Republican control, but having a Democratically controlled House acts as a nice brake.

It’s obvious I’m reading too many kids books these days, but Gov. Daniels and the Senate Republicans can, at times, be Really Useful Engines while Brian Bosma and Eric Turner’s House Republicans are more like the Troublesome Trucks that are always sending the trains of Sodor off the tracks. (Incidentally, with the number of accidents, seems like Sir Topham Hat’s insurance premiums have to be through the roof.)

Just wondering

As I was driving in this morning, I heard some speculation that Indiana’s Democratic Presidential primary would “be decided by Republicans.” Given how thin the margins appear to be as between Clinton and Obama, I guess it wouldn’t take much for this to be the case. The speculation went that there would be two groups of cross-over Republicans — “Obama Republicans” who legitimately liked Obama’s policy approaches and “Limbaugh Republicans” who wanted to cross-over to vote for Clinton in order to cause mischief.

For the record, I have doubts about the number of people who are actually following Limbaugh’s lead on this thing. I suspect it’s more hype than reality. But, I’ll run with the premise. Let’s say a lot of devoted Republicans of the sort who not only listen to Limbaugh, but act on his suggestions, decide to vote in the Democratic primary. This means that such Republicans will *not* be voting in the Republican primary. So, I’m just wondering what sort of effect that would have on the resulting Republican candidates up and down the ticket. Obviously McCain and Daniels have their respective nominations locked up. But, there are plenty of state and local races remaining with closely contested primaries.

If the Limbaugh ideologues and the pragmatic Obamicans are absent from the Republican voting pool, what does the remaining Republican electorate look like? Are they more or less socially conservative? Are they more or less fiscally conservative? Are they more or less neo-conservative? (Those are, as I see it, the three main tribes of Republicans these days). Will the ideological composition of Republican nominees lower down on the ticket change as a result?

Feds impose time zone moratorium on Indiana until November 2008

After the Southwestern Counties petitioned to move from Central to Eastern time, the USDOT said they were imposing a moratorium on Indiana time zone petitions from November 2007 to November 2008. The folks in St. Joseph County wanted some flexibility to submit a petition to go from Eastern to Central. (Readers may recall that St. Joseph County had been preliminarily slated to go to Central, neighboring Elkhart County raised a fuss, Gov. Daniels violated the DST statute by going on record as opposing the St. Joseph County petition, and the USDOT kept St. Joe in eastern.)

The USDOT decided it doesn’t want to hear from St. Joseph County until November 2008 — so at least Gov. Daniels doesn’t have that to worry about during his upcoming campaign. The South Bend Tribune article is here.

Roseland, Indiana

This story from the Associated Press has a few interesting angles related to Indiana politics. In the town of Roseland, Indiana, the town marshal has asked to be laid off after working months for reduced pay.

Apparently, the Town of Roseland has been experiencing financial pressures when it failed to receive tax funds. I don’t know if these are the same tax funds, but I believe the State is withholding or has been slow to pay some tax funds from St. Joseph County (in which Roseland is located). (Upon further review, this may or may not be the case, but Roseland’s financial situation seems to go well beyond anything done to it by the State.) Roseland was unable to obtain a loan though it has received some donations. As a consequence, the town’s four paid police officers, including Town Marshal Jack Tiller, had their pay reduced to $6 per hour, and even after that, officers haven’t been receiving full paychecks and insurance coverage has been dropped.

Marshal Jack Tiller said in a letter to the town council president that he no longer could afford to work for the partial pay officers have received since this summer due to the town’s financial crunch.

“I have a family, and it is imperative that I support my children as I have a moral responsibility to them,” Tiller wrote in the letter submitted to Town Council President Charley Shields on Tuesday.

In response, Town Councilman David Snyder said Wednesday in a letter to [Town Council President Charley] Shields that Tiller “had abandoned his post and his men” and demanded Shields convene an emergency council meeting.

It is interesting to see Councilman Snyder commenting on issues related to money, family, and duty since he has previously been in the news with respect to such issues. Snyder was prosecuted by St. Joseph County Prosecutor, Michael Dvorak for about being in arrears to the tune of $90,000 for child support. Subsequently, Michael Dvorak’s son, Representative Ryan Dvorak, introduced legislation that “Requires a state or local government officeholder who has been subject to a judgment: (1) of at least $15,000 for delinquent child support payments; and (2) for more than 30 days; to be removed from office.” That bill appears to have been passed by a wide margin but died in the Senate without getting a committee hearing.

Trying to research the “expected tax funds,” I came across some other news reports that indicate that council member David Snyder and wife/(former) council member Dorothy Snyder are otherwise involved in some Roseland turmoil:

David Snyder was put in jail after David Snyder was ejected from a budget meeting Friday night, before being taken to the ground outside by a Roseland police officer.

The melee started because David Snyder protested after being given only one minute to speak by council member Charlie Shields. After a heated argument, laced with profanities, Shields kicked Snyder from the meeting.

Snyder slowly walked from the meeting, escorted by Officer Jack Tiller. When he got into the lobby, turned and said something to Tiller who appears to shove Snyder who falls hard into the glass door and outside.

NewsCenter 16′s camera then shows David Snyder on the ground outside the town hall with Officer Tiller on top of Snyder. There are calls for Snyder to stop resisting as the officer pounds Snyder’s head.

Holy, hell. Anyone in the area care to elaborate on just what the heck is going on in Roseland? (The South Bend Tribune has a Roseland archive going up to April 30, 2007, but I can’t get the linked articles to load at the moment.)

CTO of Indiana’s Office of Technology Brags About Achievements

Gerry Weaver, CTO of Indiana’s Office of Technology, is interviewed in Computer World. He asserts that he has saved the state $25 million in annual costs related to Indiana’s IT infrastructure. It’s something of a puff piece, but for all I know Weaver’s glowing assessment of his achievements may be warranted. Any commentary on the State’s revamping of the IT infrastructure out there?

IN-03: Hayhurst putting out television ads in race against Souder

TDW has a post discussing the Journal Gazette’s Political Notebook entry about Dr. Hayhurst’s purchase of ad time in his effort to unseat Mark Souder in Indiana’s Third Congressional race.

Hayhurst has purchased $300,000 worth of air time until election day. His two main messages so far appear to be, “if you want to change Washington, change the people you send there” and also, Dr. Hayhurst’s belief that every American ought to have access to affordable health care.

TDW labels the Hayhurst campaign as the “Most Likely Political Surprise of 2006.”