The gubernatorial candidates debated and, apparently, didn’t agree on things. Go figure. Jill Long Thompson wants to suspend the gasoline tax. Horning and Daniels do not. Per Horning: “the state should not artificially make fuel cheaper if it wants to emphasize conservation and a shift to alternative energy.” Point Horning and, by extension, Daniels.
On education, Long Thompson doesn’t want to privatize the Lottery to pay for things. Daniels does. Point Long Thompson. Selling off money making assets seems like a long-term loser. Daniels wants to immunize teachers so they can deal with unruly students. Having transitioned from an anti-government hooligan in my youth to legal defender of the government as I get deeper into middle age, I’m in favor of a good immunity law, but I don’t think allowing teachers to beat sass-mouths with impunity, or whatever the plan is, will do a heck of a lot to improve things.
The main bone of contention is on the economy and jobs. Jill Long Thompson characterizes Daniels’ performance as disastrous with lots of Hoosiers losing their jobs. Daniels responds, in effect, “hey, we’re doing better than Ohio and Michigan.” And, in fact, we are. But, not so well as Illinois and Kentucky. At the end of the day, I suspect that Daniels isn’t the reason for the tough economy, but he hasn’t done much to help either. If Long Thompson has articulated what she would do differently to keep or increase jobs, I’m not sure I’ve heard it expressed with much clarity.
In any event, I don’t think voters are moved a whole lot by particular policy initiatives and providing them with a list of particulars is probably necessary but insufficient to win a big campaign. The particulars have to fit into a narrative; a story where the candidate is a protagonist for whom the voters want to root. Hearing on numerous occasions that Long Thompson has a Ph.D. and a Masters degree doesn’t exactly scream “I am Indiana, and if you vote for me, Indiana and your life get better.” And, to be honest, I’m not sure what that narrative ought to be — that’s why I rant on the Internet and don’t get paid for political consultations.