Monday, September 15, 2008

Governor Danielsalaam Craps Out on Lottery Ad

Many politicians stretch the truth for maximum emotional effect. But it's ridiculous to pull a Governor Danielsalaam* and intentionally mislead in an ad when you have a sizeable alleged lead over your opponent. (I say "alleged" because Jill Long-Thompson's campaign claims internal polling showing them close. However, since they won't release the numbers, I wouldn't bet JLT's farm on them).

Lesley Stedman covers this issue well, so give her a read. But the short story is that Governor Danielsalaam* released an ad stating that he would devote lottery proceeds to improving education. The proposal part is fine. But the Governor also says, "THEY told us the money would be used for education." The implication clearly is that Hoosiers were hoodwinked by SOMEBODY into accepting the lottery in exchange for improved education, but THEY siphoned off the money for something else.

I was at the formation of Indiana's lottery, as its third employee, and I know its legislative history. At no point did ANY the lottery legislation direct funds for education, as even lottery supporters felt it was an uncertain revenue stream. In addition, since then, no bill has been passed to direct lottery money to education.

So the Governor "lies" about where the money was allegedly supposed to go. I say "lies" because this is what I call it when you know something is not true and you say it anyway. And Daniels' campaign knows this is not true, which is why the Governor's press man, Cam Savage, dodges Stedman (see below).

Why lie?

Think about this. If you're in a "change" referendum year, you have to show you are superior to the past, and this is particularly tricky when you've been running the government for the past four years. The Governor is using the vaunted Republican playbook of "us versus them." The reason Savage won't say who "THEY" are when asked is because the "THEY" is a phantom.

You want to hear a flimsy excuse for misleading Hoosiers? The Governor was speaking about his understanding of Hoosiers' misunderstanding about where the money would go. Got it?!? No?!? Well, it's not easy with distortions, so let me try again. The Governor wasn't saying that "they" actually said the money would go to education. He was saying that Hoosiers think that "they" said it.

What a great model for political discourse!

If I were JLT, I'd put out an ad saying "THEY" said they would cap your gas taxes when the price got high, but you still keep paying more! Don't let THEM get away with failing to honor THEIR promise. If I'm elected Governor, I'll suspend state taxes on your gas my first day in office."

Who is THEY? As long as you get maximum emotional impact in your ad, who cares? Right, Governor Danielsalaam?!?!

(*-I have stated repeatedly that I will continue to refer to Mitchell Elias Daniels, Jr. as "Governor Danielsalaam" until Greg Garrison stops calling Obama "Barack HUSSEIN Obama." Garrison and his ilk clearly find Senator Obama "un-American" and seek to make negative associations based on his heritage and name. Our Governor if first generation Syrian. Our Governor is also a supporter of the Arab-American Institute, which has honored the Governor for his work in the Arab community. What bothers me about this is NOT that Governor Daniels is an Arab. That's a great thing for diversity in Indiana.

What bothers me about it is that none of the positive associations that could be created in having an Arab-American Hoosier governor are made for voters because Daniels is probably the pastiest Arab in history. Daniels could talk about his Arabic ancestry, but he seldom does so outside his Arabic constituency. Also, there is a strong undercurrent of anti-Muslim sentiment in America, and it's often (though certainly not always) driven by Republicans.

Governor Daniels invited my dear friend, Shariq Siddiqui, the executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, to his State of the State address in 2007. How many of Daniels' Republican Christian supporters know he's Arabic and has courted Muslim support? I'd say almost none, because if they had known, he either wouldn't be our Governor, or they would have had to shelf their anti-Muslim, anti-Arabic paranoia. That's my goal. To get it shelved.

For further details on the Daniels/Arabic connection, see this and this).



Anonymous said...

Daniels keeps lying or distorting the truth and we have no one to point this out.....

Anonymous said...

I, too, was around at the creation of the lottery and am very familiar with the legislative history of it. Daniels is indeed misleading when he says the lottery was created to be an education funding engine. You are also correct in saying legislators were fearful that the lottery would produce uncertain revenues and should therefore be used only for capital projects.

In the legislative runup, however, there were numerous comparisons to other states that use lottery income to fund education (I believe Illinois was one) and numerous suggestions from legislators that Indiana do the same. I believe the ISTA lobby sort of liked the idea, in fact. You'll find any number of newspaper articles at the time that discuss this.

In the end, the education-funding idea was thrown aside for the reasons you state. While Daniels' words in the ad are certainly inaccurate, the idea of funding education initiatives with lottery proceeds was widely debated and seriously considered at the time. And, indeed, many people were left with the incorrect impression that is what happened.

As for your claim that Daniels would not be governor if his ethnicity were widely known among Christians,'re frothing again.

Wilson46201 said...

Considering the utter fascination by Republican crazies like Greg Garrison, Gary welsh and Mike Jeziersky with the middle name of Barack Obama, to blithely dismiss anti-Arab sentiment in Indiana is pure balderdash... those nutterballs also tried to make André Carson's religion the centerpiece of the 7th CD Elections.