- Niki Kelly, writing for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, has an article entitled Secretary of State race poised to make, break Daniels’ agenda. The article notes that, in the event of a 50/50 tie in the Secretary of State race, the winner determines who will control the chamber. I can’t remember how the provision is written — whether the Secretary of State casts the vote, or whether the party holding the Secretary’s office is the party that will control the House. If it’s the latter, things could get very interesting if Libertarian Mike Kole were to win. Obviously Libertarians have a tough road in any campaign, but Mr. Kole has probably put forth the most credible challenge in a statewide race of any Libertarian in recent memory. Meanwhile, the Journal Gazette’s editorial board endorses Democratic challenger Joe Pearson for the position.
- The Indianapolis Star issues endorsements for the 9 Congressional Districts. IN-01: Pete Visclosky, incumbent; IN-02: Joe Donnelly, challenger; IN-03: Mark Souder; IN-04: Steve Buyer, incumbent; IN-05: Dan Burton, incumbent; IN-06: Mike Pence, incumbent; IN-07: Julia Carson; IN-08: Brad Ellsworth; IN-09: Mike Sodrel. For those keeping score, that’s an endorsement of 7 incumbents versus two challengers. So, let’s not hear any future wailing and moaning by the Star about how it’s gerrymandering that keeps incumbent retention at a ridiculously high rate. (Particularly galling in my quick read was this: “it’s Buyer’s work on veterans issues, along with his fiscal conservatism, that wins The Star’s endorsement.” Had the Star editorial board actually been following that race, they’d know that Buyer’s record on veteran’s issues is sketchy. If they’d been looking at the federal deficit while Buyer and friends have been in control, they’d know his fiscal conservatism is sketchy as well. But, I’m sure there are other gems in that string of endorsements that deserve my abuse as well.)
- Thomas Langhorne, writing for the Evansville Courier Press has an article entitled Ellsworth widens lead in poll. An Indiana State University follow up poll commissioned by the Courier Press showed Ellsworth with 55% compared to Hostettler’s 32%. Langhorne also reports that 2/3 of likely voters supporting Ellsworth are motivated by a desire to see Democrats control the House or to see Hostettler defeated.
- The Courier Press also has an editorial digging into the byzantine mechanics of Congressional pay raises and concludes that the waters are muddy but Hostettler had a chance to get at the pay raise for an up or down vote and declined the chance.
- The Lafayette Journal and Courier has an editorial entitled “Democrats look to gain seats, control.” The paper does not take any particular position but describes the issues that have voters in a bad mood with respect to Republicans and have Democrats apparently in a better electoral position than they have been in years past.
- Lesley Stedman Weidenbener has an article looking at attack mail flooding mailboxes in Indiana’s 9th District.
- Steve Walsh, writing for the Gary Post Tribune has an article on Indiana’s Second Congressional District entitled “District election a dead heat.” I guess it’s true, the media wants a horse race, not a blow out. Because, the “dead heat” headline seems to come from the Chocola campaign’s statement that they had polls showing the race to be a dead heat, as opposed to a recent South Bend Tribune poll showing Donnelly to have a 10 point lead.
- Speaking of horse races, Sylvia Smith has an opinion column entitled “A lot can happen before election day.” Democrats, she said, should not be too confident, and Republicans should not be too discouraged.
RiShawn Biddle says
An explanation of why we endorsed in all these races can be found at http://blogs.indystar.com/expresso/archives/2006/10/picking_the_can.html#comments. You may not like the explanation, Doug, but this editorial page is not here to please you, but to make you think, react and take action. Thanks.
Perhaps this is part of the Star’s effort to consider itself the voice of Indiana – but in case they don’t hear this from anyone else, there isn’t anyone outside of the geographical (or mental/political)465 beltway who cares a hoot about their endorsements. Yes, we pay attention to their coverage and opinions regarding State government because let’s face it, what happens in Indy is simply more influential to State government than what happens in Fort Wayne or New Albany or Terre Haute. But I don’t think the Star has enough understanding of what’s going on “out here” to make a legitimate endorsement in a Congressional race, and I find it interesting that they have the hubris to think they do. Perhaps first the Star could actually cover news events from around the state beyond just stuff they get from Inside Indiana Business or some “nearly news of the weird” from the AP. Then when they cover these events they could place them in the correct part of the State. THEN they can start having an opinion that I care about.
Some may take this as sour grapes because my preferred candidate missed their endorsement in the 3rd, but I think that it’s actually a good thing for Dr. Tom. If Souder uses the Star’s endorsement in any type of media I will be surprised – it just doesn’t matter to folks and for some they will feel that “here is Indianapolis telling us what to think again.”
Seems to me the Star pretty much just looked at the polls and said, “yeah, we’ll just go with the front runners.” But, I’m probably unduly skeptical.
Their endorsement of Sodrel is a mystery. The Star claims they didn’t get enough details from Hill regarding the importance of a balanced budget or how to accomplish one? Umm.. well, when Hill was in, we had one. With Sodrel impowering the current band of drunken sailors in power, we don’t have one. Why do you need specifics when you can just see that if one side (the Republicans) has been digging a hole, you take the shovel away from them. Also, Hill didn’t know enough about Mike Pence’s plans? Are you for real?Seems like Sodrel and Pence are in the majority, and so I’m not really sure what the impediment was to Pence’s wonderful “plans” becoming law. Jeez, Indy Star, just say you like one better than the other and stop with the crappy excuses. Praise Jesus the editorial page isn’t there to please me, because on average it sucks, especially come endorsement time.
It’s interesting the coverage the Indiana 9th between Sodrel and Hill is getting here in Louisville, there is almost as much interest in that race as there is in the Kentucky 3rd between Northup and Yarmuth. That may be due to the fact that both of those races are so close. Northup and Yarmuth have already had 2 debates, one which was broadcast and are scheduled for 3 more, one of which will be broadcast on KET I think. I am not sure if Northup has committed yet to the KET debate.
I would also note that the entire endorsement article did not contain one reference to our president. As much as some would like to think our representatives only are concerned about bringing pork home, most of what they vote on are national issues that don’t specifically concern Indiana to the exclusion of the other states. There are a few references in the article to the “national Republican party” and its stances. But let’s face it: The president have driven the legislative agenda, and these elections will to a great extent be a referendum on his leadership. Sorry Ken Mehlman, and sorry Indy Star editorial board, but these races don’t exist in a vacuum separate from Mr. Bush’s agenda. To have a rundown of nine races and not have the words “president” or “Bush” in it at all seems to not recognize reality. I can tell you that people down here in the ninth are going with the “D”‘s because of Bush, and all other reasons are secondary to that.
That’s a good point T. Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that the majority of U.S. citizens would like there to be a check on Bush’s policy initiatives, such as they are, because they have come to the realization that Mr. Bush isn’t particularly good at his job. And, furthermore — again for argument’s sake, — let’s say that these citizens have also come to the conclusion that the House of Representatives, as presently constituted, has not been an effective check on the President. Crazy, I know, but just for argument’s sake.
The only way such citizens can attempt to obtain an effective check on President Bush is to vote in a House of Representatives with a Democratic majority. Obviously that wasn’t a compelling enough interest to influence the Star’s endorsements or even to warrant a mention, but like T said, I’ll bet a significant number of voters will be thinking along those lines.
I also note that although the Star does not think some congressmen (in both parties they gave examples) have done a good job, they deem the challenger to not be “qualified”. Last I checked, the qualifications are citizenship and age only, right? If the person who is in has been unspectacular, why not take a chance on someone with less experience? Take Dan Burton, for instance. His noteworthy contribution to the national legislative process was his exhaustive (and expensive) examination of the activities of Bill Clinton’s penis. But since the threat that Bill’s penis posed to this nation has largely passed, so has lovechild’s usefulness as a politician. Yet the Star basically says let’s keep the sucky congressman we know, rather than take a chance. To summarize, I guess I find the Star’s examination of the candidates to be superficial, and therefore wanting. Another f’rinstance: It’s great to support programs for veterans unless you are also supporting an inept foreign policy (Iraq) that produces wounded veterans without any clear benefit to our country. Again though, I am reminded that these endorsements are not meant to please me. I’ll quit re-reading the thing and move on now, lest I get irritated by anything else in it.
Mike Kole says
Thanks for the kind words, Doug!
My pleasure Mike. Good luck!
Branden Robinson says
I’m pleased to see that you are in favor of voter-verifiable paper audit trails for voting machines, but in my opinion, just from reviewing your three blogs, you have given this issue too little emphasis.
If I had just a little bit more snark in me, I’d say that was reason enough to make me vote for the Democrat instead — as a software engineer, I find crippleware interfaces are a major annoyance. ;-)
Good luck, Mike. You seem a lot less doctrinaire than many LP libertarians I’ve run across.
Branden Robinson says
Whoops. I mis-marked up the URL in my previous post. I meant http://www.mikekole.com/.
For some unknown reason (at least unknown to me), Gannett papers and writers, particular Maureen Groppe, have always been pretty favorable towards Buyer.
Endorsing Buyer shows that those at the Indianapolis Star do not care about what is happening in the 4th district. But endorsing Buyer because of his “work on veterans issues, along with his fiscal conservatism” is just insulting.
RiShawn Biddle says
“So, letâ€™s not hear any future wailing and moaning by the Star about how itâ€™s gerrymandering that keeps incumbent retention at a ridiculously high rate.”
apparently you haven’t thought out your argument Doug, because it is apparent once you do so. One can complain about the fundamental problems of gerrymandering for citizens (who may want more choices in voting) and at the same time, think that the incumbents endorsed by this paper are either serving their citizens well (which can always be argued back and forth by the unthinking partisans on either side of the aisle) or think that compared to the challengers, the incumbents are the best-suited for the job.
One doesn’t simply ‘throw them out’ because of dissatisfaction with a redistricting process that, by the way, is controlled by those in the statehouse. What one does instead is maintain a principled stance against that process while examining each candidate based on the evidence available (and sorry to disappoint you, but that does not include opinion poll-reading).
You may not like our endorsements, Doug, but, pardon the arrogance, an editorial page of any paper, including this one, is not interested in whether you or that of the partisans actually like them. All will criticize and complain as has always been done. This editorial page and its brethren are in the job of making people think, react and take action. And so far, we are succeeding.
I don’t recall asking for your interest.
RiShawn Biddle says
And you still haven’t addressed the counter-point.
You’re not interested. So why bother?
Branden Robinson says
Why is a self-proclaimed representative of the Indy Star shilling for the paper in blog comments? Don’t they have better things to do with their time?
Doug, if it were me I guess I’d be flattered that cogs of the Gannett mediaopoly saw my forum as worthy of propagandizing in. ;-)
I do wonder what kind of academic research has been done on drawing of Congressional district lines.
My dad, an old-school LP libertarian, likes the idea of making all the districts at-large, in the sense that each would represent the entire territory of the state, but letting the voters vote themselves into a specific district at registration time. A preferential ranking system could handle oversubscription. One interesting consequence of such an approach, which would not run afoul of the spirit of the Voting Rights Act, would be that civic organizations could “adopt” a congressional district and urge members of their communities to affiliate themselves with it. I.e., African-Americans might be called upon by the state chapter of the NAACP to affiliate with the 9th district, the ACLU might encourage itse member to register in the 2nd, and so forth.
These affiliations would likely shift every election cycle (since there’d be nothing to stop them from doing so), and this could end up setting a high hurdle for incumbents — and I suspect that’s a good thing.
The editorial staff can’t handle a little editorial???
RiShawn, I don’t agree with Doug on some of the things in his post, but he is doing EXACTLY what you claim to want: think, react and take action
Oh, our hit-and-run editorialist has been back. Look, Mr. Gannett, I gave you plenty of reasons why your choices are suspect, based on the evidence. Are you lacking evidence that the Republicans in Congress have largely been a rubber stamp for the biggest foreign policy blunder in our nation’s history? Do you just not choose to see that elephant in the room? Instead, you dig through the collective crappy work product of the Congress looking for little silver linings of pork or benefits to the constituency or veteran’s benefits to comment on, and completely miss the black cloud that is our Iraq involvement. A serious discussion of this election would address the degree to which each candidate divested himself of his responsibility to provide a check on the president’s power. I know you skimmed over my gripes because Doug got all up in your grill over redistricting. But if you honestly don’t think there’s any real basis for anti-incumbent (primarily anti-Republican) backlash, then you really ought to give the subject a bit more thought. More than a few Hoosiers consider themselves primarily Americans, and couldn’t care less if these incumbents bring some small measure of benefit to Indiana if it is at the expense of the wellbeing of the country as a whole.
Meanwhile, I’ll gripe a bit more about your “serious” candidate Sodrel… I can’t think of a more disengenous, clownish waste of my tax dollars. Last time he ran on an anti-gay marriage, don’t let them burn our flag, don’t let them take God out of the Pledge freakshow of a campaign. Are these really the biggest problems we face? Seriously? Have we run out of people whose lives could be improved through civic involvement, so we have to save a bunch of symbols instead? So you extoll his virtues as an effective congressman now, and I’m intrigued. How has his office changed him in two years, I wonder? Well, I’ve got six fliers on my kitchen table and it’s ALL gay marriage, flag, and pledge of allegiance. And this guy strikes you as credible? Really? Two years later and he’s beating on the same wedges. Please dispense more of that Star wisdom. I want an effective legislator tackling important issues, not a morality scold. So I’ll pass on Sodrel, the Star’s in-depth analysis notwithstanding.
Superficial. That’s the treatment you gave this election. This election practically hands you compelling storylines about the national discontent being reflected in statewide polls in a state that is generally immune to such things. There’s a story here. It just demands a serious journalist to recognize it. Face it, you wrote up nine races and didn’t reference the president ONCE. He and Cheney have visited the districts. They know they’re a factor. But you don’t.
And yes, your skin is thin for checking back and seeing how your work is being received. But trust me, mine’s thinner. I’m paying consideral tax bucks to fund this disaster of a government we’ve got in now. I happen to think this election’s important, and that’s why I found your superficial treatment of it to be such a failure on your part.
RiShawn Biddle says
And your problem, T, is that you’re spending more time looking at a collective legislature than at the individuals who make up the body. Each of them must be ranked according to what they actually accomplish; you may not agree with what they have accomplished and counter with your own evidence. But in a partisan debate, everyone can use any example to prove their point. To assume or contend otherwise is to ignore every example of devil’s advocate-playing ever done by man.
Sorry to break it to you, but given the three months of interviews with candidates, both in person and on-the-phone, along with actually looking at the issues, our endorsements are hardly superficial. They are short — after all, we do cater to readers who don’t always want their information in endless, breathless paragraphs — but they get the job done for those who are not either intensely interested in politics. For that, you can always check out Expresso or Howey Political Report or, as you have done, Doug Masson.
As a member of the editorial board, I can defend each one — even those with which I disagree — and make the case. You may not like the case being made and will counter. That’s fine. But you better have far more evidence of superficial work than you currently have.
As for thin skinned? Come on. I’m writing on a blog that’s not my own; essentially that’s called wading into a shark tank to defend the work product this editorial page produced. That willingness alone — along with the fact that unlike you, my name and face on the dartboards of many — shows that the description of yours truly as thin-skinned doesn’t apply. Besides, I’ve been called plenty worse by bigger people.
The “individuals that make up the body” almost always vote as one party-line block. Therefore, they must be judged on the work of the body as a whole.
Your interviews were exhaustive. That doesn’t really address my argument that the end-product was superficial. Blaming your readerships’ attention span has some merit, I’ll admit. Why not challenge them, though. I don’t recall any readership attention deficit during the Monica Lewinski episode.
The failure of the congress as a whole to execute its responsibilities as a check against the executive, is a big issue. It’s probably THE issue for the electorate. The members of this congress have voted for a disastrous war, budget-busting spending, and oh never mind that the Writ of Habeas Corpus is history. The Congress isn’t just some thing. It is made up of the people you exhaustively interviewed. Did those subjects not come up? Are they not more important than what pork the individual brought home? I don’t really know your opinion on these things, because your not-superficial piece didn’t address any of them.
Thomas Bailey, M.D.
Tell City, Indiana
The growth in spending is more an issue of the executive failing to be a check on the Congress. How many appropriations bills have been vetoed by President Bush? I cannot think of any.
Generally, you’re right Paul. Or I should say, usually you would be right. But hasn’t Bush generally come up with his desired budget, and coordinated with the leadership of the House and Senate to ram through his desired spending? I know earmarks get added, but haven’t those been small compared to the big ticket items that were driven by Bush? I can think of a trillion dollars just for the Iraq War and Medicare Part D that were in actuality not failures of the president to not be a check on congress, but failure of the congress to be a check on the president. He said he wanted those things, and they delivered. In the case of the Medicare expansion, it was counter to Republican congressional and party dogma through history up to that moment. How many of them really wanted to double the size of an entitlement program resulting in a massive increase in debt? Those two items are examples of Bush essentially legislating for expensive, flawed programs using a compliant Republican-controlled congress. Once such a bill lands on the president’s desk, he’s not going to veto it because he would essentially be vetoing himself!
You have a good point. Allow me to amend my remark to say It is “also” a problem of the executive not acting as a check on Congress.