Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Woody Myers' Reverse Endorsement

I received a "young person"-targeted direct mail piece today from Woody Myers that is more an Obama GOTV piece than an ad for himself. The piece captures the euphoria of Obama-mania, stating, "Something special is happening. We're lucky to be part of it."

The text points out that Woody served as a healthcare advisor for Obama when his campaign was "a longshot," and the mailer also notes that "for far too long, politicians in this country ignored anyone under 45."

As most people know, Obama endorsed Carson, so this Myers' damage control.

Don't you wonder, though, who Obama would have endorsed had Carson NOT been a superdelegate. I say this because Myers contributed the federally-allowed limit of $4,600 at the infancy of Obama's campaign in addition to joining it. That pretty much let us know where he stood.

In contrast, Carson wouldn't even say who he favored until the day he got Obama's endorsement. As I've blogged before, I was extremely irked when Carson was asked during the pre-special election debate who he supported in the D primary, and he said, "I'm just trying to get through the special election." It struck me as too cowardly to play coy.

But there are two sides to this story. While we may all want our candidates to speak candidly about about who they support, had Carson supported Obama publicly earlier, he might have not have gotten the Obama endorsement. In fact, I'd say with almost certainty that Carson's shrewd delay tactic made this endorsement happen. After all, what national candidate in his or her right mind wants to get mired in local politics? And who else has Obama endorsed in a hotly-contested primary anywhere?

A lot of us might hold our noses when people ask, "What's in it for me?" But by doing so here, Carson was a savvy negotiator, and he got what he needed to get. If he does the same in securing the interests of Indianapolis, he might end up being a chip off the old block after all.

But to all the Obama supporters out there, wouldn't you have liked to see a candidate who says, "Damn the consequences. I'm doing this because Obama is right for America?!?!" Now that would be a CHANGE in Washington.


Feeling Like Reverend Wright

Ohhh, boy, did I walk in it. Shortly after my rather tongue-in-cheek post yesterday predicting Woody Myers would pull off the upset (according to my "sample size" of five friends), I heard from quite a few people about the multitude of ways I'm WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Some were angry, some intriguing, others comical, but the anonymous voice mail I got last night that was most worthy of repeating was the one that compared Andre Carson to Jiffy.

(Note to self: stop putting phone number on voter registration card).

Here it is, word-for-word (with my comments in parenthesis):

"You think Andre Carson is not going to dominate new voters (I'm sure the guy didn't mean this in an S&M way), then you are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! The new voters are driven by the presidential race, and they'll either be Obama voters who will vote for Carson because of Obama's endorsement, or they'll be undecided until election day because they will have paid the most attention to the presidential, not the congressional race. And when they get in that booth, they'll go with what they know, which is the Carson name, just like when you're looking at a whole bunch of peanut butter at the store, you pick Jiffy because that's what you know. There might be better tasting peanut butter, but you'd rather get the brand you know and live with that taste than try a new one that might be even better because you don't want to waste your money if your wrong. Andre Carson has the brand name that everybody knows. He's going to win by a LARGER margin than most people think, just like he and his grandmother always do. They never get his poll right, but it's wrong in the other direction, just like in the Ann Delaney race. Save your money. You'll be owing, sir."

All of a sudden my mouth got sticky. Got Carson?

Then I thought, "Am I being stalked? How's this guy know I use Jiffy??!?!"

I WILL say this, which I forgot to mention in my original post. I heard a rumor that Carolene Mays was stirring up the Muslim pot on Andre with Christian ministers. If this is true, it sure isn't working. I say this because yesterday I was at a funeral at an almost exclusively African-American church. As I walked in, I noticed a table holding stacked up pamphlets. Support Darfur? Help watch the kids in our children's ministry? No, no, my friends. They were campaign materials for Andre Carson, Barack Obama, and Greg Taylor.

(Begin debate here about whether to revoke churches' tax exempt status because so many are blatantly political).

As a quick aside, I owe an apology to Greg Taylor. Having patrolled the district, I now know only a few of his yard signs had someone hand-write his district number on them, so I'm thinking it might have been a too-excited precinct committeeperson who did this and not something directed by the campaign. On the yard sign front, Taylor's opponent, "Doe" Henderson has joined the "Black is the New Black" caravan with ALL-black yardsigns. Welcome to the fray!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Who is Brian Howey Calling?

I think Brian Howey is a helluva writer, but he needs to change pollsters. His latest numbers are insane. The Howey-Gauge poll released today states that Andre Carson has 45% to Woody Myers' 28% and that Jill Long-Thompson has an 18 point lead on Jim Schellinger. I'm not saying that Carson and Thompson don't have leads, but there is NO WAY they have those margins. I'm so sure of this that I'll buy Brian Howey a steak dinner (Texas Roadhouse, not Ruth's Chris or St. Elmo's) if those numbers end up being right next week.

One thing I always do to assess a race is ask a group of apolitical (they vote, but that's it) friends in Indianapolis their opinions about different campaign ads. They had a similar reaction watching Andre Carson's recent ads -- "fluff piece," "I don't know what that was about," "it sounded like talking points," and "I can't past his head. Is he wearing a helmet?"

When I asked about Woody Myers' recent ads, they had the following responses - "I like what he's saying," "He's a crappy actor, but what the narrator was saying resonated," "I like what he's about, but he sure is heavy for a doctor." When I asked about the ad with Ryan White's mom specifically, it was off the scale. "Powerful" was the adverb that 4 out of these 5 used (the other one was "effective....bordering on schmaltzy though").

I know my amigos don't employ intellectual rigor in making their voting decisions, but these "gut" or even subconscious impressions ARE how elections are decided for a lot of voters. So I'm ignoring pundits and political professionals and going with my "impulse" voters to see how that works for me.

Based on this very small "focus group," my prediction is that Woody Myers is going to shock the world and win the race 38% to Carson's 37% (David O. at 16% and Carolene at 9%).

My off-the-cuff prediction, though, is also based on the fact that Andre Carson's greatest strength is the finely-tuned political machine he's inherited. And when you have high turnout (which we will get because of the contested presidential and gubernatorial contests), you actually NEGATE the efficacy of your machine. Sounds crazy, but let me explain. People ARE going to vote this year without GOTV prompting. As a result, more people voting won't help Carson UNLESS the increased turnout would be his votes.

Now, we know the prospect of having America's first African-American president will make African-American turnout staggeringly high. But I don't see the Obama endorsement moving votes to Carson that he didn't have already. The question, therefore, becomes whether the increased suburban white Democratic turnout will at least equal the increased turnout in Carson strongholds, such as Center Township. I think it will keep pace.

PLUS how many people who would normally vote in the Republican primary, and how many independents who wouldn't vote at all in May, will cast ballots in the D primary just to have a say in a presidential primary? How many Rush Limbaugh listeners (Marion County has a LOT of them, to my dismay) will cross-over to vote in the D primary just like they did in Pennsylvania to keep Hillary Clinton alive in the race? And do we expect Hillary Clinton to not have HER voters out in Marion County? How many R's, independents, and Clinton voters will scratch for Carson? You already know. I actually believe the lower the turnout, the better off Andre Carson will be.

Of course, this could be the Michelob Ultra talking.

Dang! I better add some A-1 to my grocery list.


The Apocalypse is Near?!?!?

Folks, I’m terrified. I just learned I agree with Karl Rove.

The Lord of Darkness told Obama, whom Rove believes WILL be the nominee, that he needs to sharpen his repudiation of Reverend Wright because he’s making people “worry.” This is essentially what I said yesterday. Working class white folks aren't too keen on angry black men, even when they stand behind a pulpit and regardless of what they accomplish for their congregants.

Sorry, but Obama WILL have to condemn more strongly Reverend Wright, now that he has again stirred the cauldron…because "that’s what politicians do."


Monday, April 28, 2008

I Bet Obama's Wishing He Were an Atheist Right About Now...

I received a killer pro-Obama direct mail piece from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) today that did not attack Hillary Clinton directly. It instead accused George Bush of having “bad judgment that led us into this reckless war” while praising Obama for voting against the Iraq War before it started. Yeah, I know – “read between the lines!” But in contrast to Hillary's slash and burn pieces, this one is staggeringly mild. The piece does a nifty guns to butter analysis, stating that if we hadn’t spent $8 billion on the war, we could have provided 1.2 million Hoosier children with healthcare, hired 46,000 public safety officers (does the SEIU know Indianapolis, or what?), and 65,000 elementary school teachers. Well done, SEIU!

Too bad Reverend Wright probably put Obama’s campaign in a coffin today. Just when you thought it was safe to look at a pulpit again. There is nothing white people hate more than an unrepentant, angry sounding black man. If you think I’m wrong, check some blogs today and comments posted on blogs. Look at the blatant mischaracterization of Reverend Wright’s words by the National Review. Wright didn’t “gush” about Farrakhan; he said nobody else could get 1,000,000 black people to Washington while ALSO denouncing his remarks about Judaism, a point conveniently omitted by NR.

I assure you that the vitriol will be POURING. I’ve often wondered about the psychology of why white people are so angry over this guy (or any black man who says America has not always lived up to its lofty Constitutional phraseology). I assure you that if they could somehow off-load the “white lens,” they might have seen a virtuoso performance last evening and today as well. Reverend Wright is highly-educated and clearly accomplished, though I felt his response on the question of whether the U.S. government created HIV was not particularly coherent.

But break that question down into sub-parts. First, CAN the U.S. create a deadly virus? Of course, we can. Second, would we have done so? Maybe not "created" one as much as "managed an existing one." We're supposed to believe that the U.S. government would somehow NOT investigate biological warfare if it could save American lives? As Reverend Wright noted, we investigated and then unveiled nuclear weapons for the same reason against Japan, didn't we? To preserve American lives that would be lost by an island invation? Now, could such a virus, if created, have been accidentally or even intentionally released? All white people say no, but ultimately, that’s a question of faith, isn’t it?

White people have the belief that our government would tell us if it had accidentally unleashed AIDS, and we cannot fathom that our government would intentionally try to kill anyone, at least not on a large scale. A lot of black people don’t have that faith, and for just cause.

The Tuskegee experiment, referred to by Reverend Wright, is the reason. Our government intentionally denied treatment to mostly illiterate black sharecroppers so it could watch syphilis spread up through 1972, when a press leak closed the study. Who knows how long it would have gone on without the media scrutiny. Is there really that much difference between withholding medicine and letting a disease out of the box?

Having said this, do I think it’s true the government created AIDS to kill black people in Africa. Absolutely not. But my thought process is practical on that. I believe if the U.S. had wanted to kill a specific group, it could do so more efficiently than it did here, when it wiped out a significant portion of the white, gay community before even really showing major numbers of infections in Africa. But do I understand, looking at our American history, why others might think so? Absolutely.

All the white people reading this right now, go ask your “best friend who is black” about the AIDS question and about Reverend Wright. Prepare to see the attitudinal chasm that still exists in this country between races.


I Stand Corrected...

Dr. Woody Myers is a "health administrator." He only plays a doctor in his ads. Ipopa didn't do the research. But now I have, and I have to say that, while I always keep an open mind to new information, I find the information being circulated about his company denying legitimate claims less than conclusive. Here's what my research reveals.

In October 2000, Dr. Myers joined WellPoint as executive vice president and chief medical officer.

Dr. Myers was charged with managing WellPoint's health-care services division, including medical policy, clinical affairs and health services operations. The release on his appointment also states, “He will also be responsible for strategic initiatives designed to enhance the health-care experience for the company's members and to simplify administration and improve communications with physicians and other health-care professionals.”

Well, I’m not sure we can say he “improved communications” with physicians in the sense that 70,000 of them sued his company.

On July 15, 2005, Wellpoint (a/k/a “Anthem”) settled a lawsuit filed by 70,000 California doctors that alleged that Wellpoint and a bunch of other insurance companies, including Aetna, Prudential, Cigna, Healthnet, United Healthcare, and Coventry Healthcare “downcode” services performed by physicians so that proper reimbursements were not provided.

In December of 2005, Dr. Myers was no longer working with Wellpoint. Causation? Correlation? Termination? Indignant resignation? I don’t know the "real" story.

But as an aside, what happened at Wellpoint seems decidedly different than denying a proper request for preauthorization. Admittedly, if a physician knows a major procedure is not covered he/she might not do it. But for most medical care, doctors provide the service and grumble after the fact that they don’t get their REAL cut like they did in ths lawsuit. Yeah, cry me a river in your next sand trap.

Moreover, the situation with the Tenet Hospitals ought to have us all realizing that it’s not always black-and-white when we’re talking about the “necessity” of medical care.
The short of it is that criminal indictments were handed down against some Tenet officials for alleged bribing physicians for patient referrals. Government probes were undertaken in six other Tenet hospitals to study the allegedly unnecessary surgeries performed at Tenet’s Redding Medical Center and Western Medical Center.

In mid-year 2003, Dr. Myers stated that an independent review of 52 heart bypass operations performed at Redding showed 85% of them were inappropriate. Dr. Myers then pronounced that Wellpoint would not provide payments any longer. Dr. Myers made the same claim against Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto, CA, which responded with a nice little defamation lawsuit. Ultimately, the order rescinding payment authorizations for Doctor’s was rescinded itself (translation: Wellpoint “punked out” under legal pressure from physicians).

So, in summary, who the hell knows whether it’s (a) Wellpoint hosing the patients; or (b) physicians hosing the patients with Wellpoint saying we’re not coming along for the ride?

If anybody has some “concrete” information on this, I’ll be glad to share it. But I’m not going to traffic in innuendo.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Woody Buys In

When I pointed out that Andre Carson's cash-on-hand was light, I received an anonymous post that Dr. Myers was trying to buy a congressional seat. The comment ends emphatically with "NO SALE!"

It bothers me that Congress is a haven for the wealthy. But it also bothers me that reality television is so popular. Let's face it, folks, there are some things that just are not going to change. So while "rich people only" is hardly the "Jeffersonian ideal" of the farmer who goes to Congress for a term before returning to the soil, perhaps it's time for me to kick aside my nostalgia for a time that never existed. (It makes me feel so Republican!)

Obama was pilloried by Hillary for being "elitist," but the word "elitism" means "the attitude that society should be governed by an elite group of individuals." "Elite" generally means "the best or most skilled members of a group" or "a group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status."

By this criteria, when HASN'T Congress been run by "elites?" John Stewart got it right on the Daily Show. Don't we WANT elites running our country, or "do we want somebody who is as stupid as we are?"

Think about this. If by "elitist," we mean someone who "is out of touch," Hillary Clinton has not had to buy her own groceries or drive her own car in a decade. I assure you, she doesn't balance her own checkbook. In the last seven years, the Clintons made over $110 million dollars. Is that you? Clinton (and most Senators) dine with more fame, money, and power in a single evening than most of us will brush with our elbow in an entire lifetime.

If we're honest with ourselves, we'll all agree that the mistake Obama made wasn't in being insufficiently "common." Nothing about Clinton is common. It was that Obama did such a crappy job ACTING like he is common. You see, his comment arguably acknowledged what we all know is true though we never say it: the leaders of this country ARE "above us."

This doesn't always mean smarter. One need only look at President Bush to know this is true. I would LOVE to see President Bush go on that game show where adults compete against grade school kids. I KNOW the President would get roasted, even on something he should know, like geography.

BUT our "elites" are definitely richer. Part of that is because you have to have sufficient income to put aside your "regular job" to run for Congress. But part of that is also because we look to "successful" people, and as Ted Turner said, "Life is like a game. Money is how you keep score."

Seriously, how many of us would vote for candidates with just GEDs unless they turned it into millions to show their "smarts." How many of us would vote for somebody who only makes $35,000-$40,000 per year as a Home Depot or Kinko's manager? (Or even something as "valuable" as being a teacher?) Where is THAT member of Congress? (S)he's not there because we don't even let him/her get out of the box as a candidate, let alone vote for him/her. We might say about them, "They haven't done enough." What we mean is, "If that's as far as they've gotten, there's NO WAY I'm voting for them."

So this gets me back to Woody Myers. He has money because he's been a successful physician. One might argue, I suppose, that he overcharged people. Don't we think that about ALL doctors since they'll charge you $90 for the two minutes it took for them to touch your throat, ask you to breath, and write out the illegible script? But to say that wouldn't you need to know how many people Dr. Myers (or the institutions with which he's worked) has provided free care as part of his own (or the institution's) charity effort? After all, isn't charging the wealthy $5 for an aspirin what allows us to provide care for the uninsured?

In other words, the fact Woody Myers HAS money does not make him presumptively evil, though some of my D brethren might like to think so. To my knowledge, he didn't put any children to work in Cambodian sweatshops making tennis shoes so he could improve profit margins, he didn't move a factory out-of-country so he could enjoy tax benefits while crushing the lives of workers who were a year short of having vested pensions, and he didn't sell military technology or weaponry to rogue states (like some former City-County Councilors on the Republican side).

Accordingly, as I said on this blog before, it MIGHT be preferrable to have a wealthy person with the right kind of heart over one who owes his existence to out-of-state special interests.
If Ross Perot had not morphed into a crackpot mid-campaign, he might have been president because he had so much money, he made it a slogan: "Not for sale at any price." Would anyone complain if Oprah or Bill Gates ran for President with their own money? No, because we have a pretty good idea where their hearts are from their charity work.

Using your own money, therefore, is only a perversion of the political process when it means that "the ruled" (i.e., "us") end up with a a candidate in office who won't represent our will. I don't know enough about Dr. Myers to know if he will sell us out or not, quite frankly. But respectfully, one might rightfully wonder what Representative Carson told all the out-of-state PACs who gave him money, even though they have NO members here. Is there a future quid-pro-quo?

One who yells about Dr. Myers using his own money might be yelling too loudly because, right now, I can't tell yet which one of the two frontrunners is more likely to hose us.

In addition, I hope whoever it was that criticized Dr. Myers' effort to "buy the seat" doesn't work for Congressman Carson. If so, you might here the following:

"At least Dr. Myer's is paying for it. Andre had it handed to him FOR FREE."


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Burton is Hurtin'...or is he?

The Star reports today that Dan Burton has spent more in his primary election against former Marion County Coroner, John McGoff, than in any race since his election. Of course, given his prior opponents (no disrespect intended, but I'm being realistic), this isn't saying much. The Star also busted Burton's chops the day before for leading the Indiana delegation in taxpayer funded mailings to his constituents of $190,000. (Wonder what the National Taxpayer's Union is saying about that?!?) So, one might think Burton is in real trouble, finally.

But here's the line from the story that had me nervous:

"Burton had $472,793 in the bank April 16 compared with McGoff's $43,343." Unless McGoff has already bought his TV for the big push, $43,000 isn't too impressive. I hope McGoff pulls this off. Indiana needs a member of Congress who has better things to do than kiss Roger Clemens' behind.

On the subject of money, Andre Carson comes in lighter than both Woody Myers and David Orentlicher in cash-on-hand, as of the last reports filed with the FEC.

In my opinion, this doesn't bode well for Carson, who seems to have topped out in his support. However, it is critical to note that Carson need not get 50% of the vote. A plurality wins this deal, and even though we will likely see that Carson has not added supporters from the percentages favoring him in early polls, his supporters have been steadfastly loyal, so he has not lost many either. It's going to be a barn-burner, folks.


Don't Ever Bowl Again...

Say what you want about Barack Obama, but the guy is tailor-made for Indiana. The Senator can play ball! The video I saw today from his 3-on-3 game in Kokomo showed Obama hitting an outside shot with nice rotation, then doing an up fake on the guy guarding him that allowed him to deliver a crisp left-handed pass to a cutting teammate. On the very next possession by his opponents, Obama used some quick hands and stole the ball. For the love of God, man, in the future, please stay with the sport you play each day to stay in shape.

If only Pennsylvania was also a basketball mecca. I guess we can't all be Indiana.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Obama is Hillary's Pinata...Why Isn't Evan Bayh?

This is the second day in a row that I've received a negative direct mail piece from Hillary Clinton. This one is really a "two-fer." The address side calls Obama a liar for saying he never took money from oil companies even though (watch this linguistic legerdemain now) ENERGY company employees donated $650,000 to Obama."

I'll take these in turn.

The citation for the claim that Obama received money from energy employees is listed only as "Center for Responsive Politics." This is really sloppy attribution. There is no website address, publication name, or date. I knew where to find them, though, and when I reviewed the website, I learned that "Energy/Natural Resources" donors have given over 1 million dollars total to Barack Obama. They don't say what qualifies an employee as working for "natural resources" or "energy," and this matters because Obama only said he hadn't taken money from OIL companies. Senator Clinton, however, flips his phrase to morph it into "energy" companies.

But at the end of the day, HRC would have presumably sent this postcard if the amount had been $1,000 because her point is clearly NOT to say she's better than Obama. Such a claim would be silly in light of the fact that Hillary has received only $40,000 less than Obama from these same interests. HRC's point could be paraphrased as "Don't let him pass himself off as an angel when he's taken even MORE energy money than me even me!"

Realizing her own situation is precarious, Clinton smartly distances herself from Obama by pointing out that he voted for the "Bush/Cheney" energy bill that gave 18 billion dollars in subsidies to "energy companies" while she didn't. This is like saying, "Yeah, I took the money on the night stand, but I didn't sleep with them like some people I know!"

The specific subsidy breakdown on the mailer is $6 billion to the oil AND GAS industry and $12 billion to the nuclear power industry. The piece goes on to say that we have the highest gas prices ever and "continued and growing dependence on foreign oil." (I highlight AND GAS because it's not clear to me how much of the subsidy is for cleaner burning gas or comparable environmentally friendly investments).

Anyway, the attribution for the subsidy numbers is only marginally better than for the donor claim. We're told the stats are from Public Citizen, and this time we at least get a website address. However, it's not a link. It's just a general, "Here's the group that said it. Have fun finding the cite!"

There is no date, no publication title or type, and no author. Is it a press release? A legislative analysis by fiscal experts? Something Ralph Nader made up while trying to plot the death of another Democratic presidency!?! What?!?! It makes me nervous when campaigns want to appear like they are citing a credible source while also making it as difficult as possible for you to actually check the source.

After tooling around the Public Citizen website, I came across two statements relating to the 2005 energy bill at issue. The first from Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook had this interesting line:

"...the bill provides cradle-to-grave subsidies for the nuclear industry, which cannot compete without such government aid."

You're reading this, and you're probably thinking, "YEAH! That's stupid to give subsidies to an industry that can't make it without government aid." Except, haven't we been doing that with ethanol for over a decade now? Also, isn't Public Citizen ITSELF saying that Congress should give $6.6 billion in nuclear energy subidies and put that into wind and solar power? (Industries that are apparently NOT making it without help or we'd have more of it, wouldn't we?!?!) Isn't Public Citizens saying we should basically PAY consumers to buy hybrids? That's great environmental policy, but isn't that just a backdoor subsidy for automakers?

You confuse me, Public Citizen. You're FOR subsidies for "energy" companies if you LIKE the form of energy? Cool. Me, too. The problem is I think nuclear power is probably our best bet for breaking our dependence on foreign oil. So, I'm not losing sleep over these subsidies.

But, boy, does Clinton hit the mark attacking the oil companies, who are making money hand over fist. According to Public Citizen, the top five oil companies have made $345 billion in profits since 2005, and they have fifty-three billion IN CASH.

On the surface, Obama looks like an idiot. Why in the world would he vote for this?

Did it pass? Yes? Did anybody we know vote for this? Who? Senator Evan Bayh? Really? The SAME Evan Bayh who is Hillary's main proponent in the now critical battleground State of Indiana?

Hmm. Maybe Hillary should ask Senator Bayh why he sold us out to energy companies like Obama. Or just maybe there's more to the story, since 25 Democrats voted for the bill.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jill Long-Thompson is No Cereal Killer

I got an e-mail from Jill Long-Thompson asking me to sign her petition supporting a cap on gas sales taxes when fuel reaches $2.75 at the pump. More learned folks than I have critiqued the marginal effect of this cap in terms of consumer savings, but as readers of this blog know, I disapprove of this effort for a different reason - incentives.

In a prior entry, I stated that until Americans realize gas is going to STAY at $4 per gallon, they have no incentive to (a) stay in the cities where they work (thereby avoiding insane suburban sprawl) or (b) buy fuel efficient vehicles. Congress has no incentive to mandate such vehicles or create a national energy policy. Remember how we said we needed an energy policy under Jimmy Carter? As soon as gas dipped under a dollar a gallon, we reverted to our merry consuming ways. Now it's time to pay the piper.

I agree with JLT that consumers are getting socked by both higher gas prices AND a higher sales tax. But on some things, you have to feel the pain before you'll take the appropriate action. Here's an idea. Let's just repeal the new sales tax and....oh, wait. We just increased that, didn't we?

Look, folks, sometimes you have you switch stream midcourse. Conservatives and those who oppose ethanol and other grain-based fuels are taking great delight in news that, at least in part, rising food prices are the result of diverting grains into fuel production and away from eating. CNN's dire prediction is that if we continue to do this, we could create a worldwide famine. Rush Limbaugh yesterday acted like he was almost happy to hear that an environmentalist idea was going to lead to a lot of death.

But what ever happened to supply and demand? Isn't it true that if gas STAYS at $4 per gallon, the ethanol that comes from corn, which is grown IN INDIANA, becomes profitable for the first time ever? And isn't it true that if the value of grain goes up because we're using it for fuel instead of eating that the production of grains will increase over time as new companies or individual enter the market to meet increased demand?

It's funny how Republicans love free market philosophy until its principles can be used to counter what they want to happen. It's also funny how Rush Limbaugh is always assailing liberals for being all "doom and gloom" on global warming, but he's more than willing to embrace the speculation of a global famine just because Sam's Club is now limiting your purchase of Jasmine rice to four packages.

It's high time Americans realize that every time we change incentives, we can literally rejigger that entire world. Things are that inter-related.

JLT's plan will break a link in the energy policy incentive chain. While it will be good for those who eat a lot of Rice Krispies, it won't be good long-term for Indiana or America.

As an aside, here are two lines from JLT's e-mail:

"As fuel prices near record highs, the new higher sales tax hit folks with a double whammy."

"Click here to sign my petition to lower the sales tax on gas. Tell my opponents, "Gimme a break!"

I can't help but shake my head that our leading D gubernatorial candidate is using game show jargon (double whammy??!?) and slang spellings ("Gimme") to discuss dire economic consequences. This is only marginally better than listening to a commentator on CNN say on Tuesday night, "Like, WHAT is up will Bill Clinton?" Sorry, but when did we give our news channels over to 17-year-old high school girls?


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dan Burton "Bites the Bullet" for Political Expediency

I don't feel as excited about being a blogger now that I know that even Dan Burton has a blog. Sigh. : (

BUT I learned something unbelievable today on "Burton's Blog." Though we're struggling with a mortgage crisis, health care deficiencies, job loss, and rampant gas prices, Americans apparently need to make something else a priority. What's your guess? Accounting for the billions that nobody can find in Iraq? Curbing illegal immigration? Oh, no, my friends.

Our new priority needs to be ensuring that citizens can carry their firearms into other states.

Here's Burton's Blog regarding a bill he just authored:

"The SAFE Act protects the right of citizens to carry their firearms into other states by allowing law-abiding citizens who can legally carry in their home state -- even without a permit -- to carry all across the country."

This is what I loooooove about Republicans. They're for states' rights UNTIL a state doesn't give them the result they like. THEN they're all for federal control over issues such as whether a state can impose reasonable registration requirements on firearms that enter their boundaries and whether parents of kids who died after a hospital gave them the wrong drug can get punitive damages.

The grand irony in this case is that Republicans oppose full faith and credit for gay marriages. In other words, if you're married in Massachusetts (i.e., "you have a permit"), you're NO longer "legal" when you cross the state line. This is the reverse of what they want for guns.

If you're on vacation with your "partner" of twenty years who you married in Massachusetts, and (s)he is hospitalized, your rights in every state that does not recognize gay marriage, including Indiana, will be subordinate to the rights of your partner's parents, even though they ostracized him/her for being gay and haven't spoken to him/her for a decade. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to a large chunk of your Republican Party and its inherent contradictions.

(This is not to say that Democrats don't have contradictions. Sometimes Democrats are more of a contradiction than a political party, but seriously, this contradiction is MAJOR).

But, friends, we MUST put aside the meaty debate of gun rights, gay rights, and states' rights.
Instead, I want you to think about the following:

(1) Burton's own blog says the goal is to allow people who can carry in their own states - EVEN WITHOUT A PERMIT - to carry anywhere. But in Indiana, you must have a permit to carry. In other words, the principal benefit of this bill WOULD NOT EVEN APPLY TO HOOSIERS because we already have one of the more rigorous laws in the country.

(2) For grins and giggles, though, let's say Indiana didn't have ANY state requirements. How is this bill a priority? Is there some massive outbreak of Hoosiers being arrested when they cross into Louisville for work? Is the Ohio State Police doing random searches to find Hoosiers carrying guns without an Ohio license?

I assure you that even IF something like this happened (and I'm begging ANYONE to send me a story about such an incident ANYWHERE in the country), the most likely folks who are stopped are those who consistently enter neighboring states because they live near the borders. You know who that would include? Not a single one of Burton's constituents, all of whom are at least two counties away from an adjacent state.

Burton's Blog says, "The Gun Owners of America is supporting the bill." And there you have it.

Burton is in a tough primary, so now he's trying to curry favor with the gunnies by passing a law that will likely not help a single one of his constituents. It is a waste of public resources printing this bill, having it read into the Congressional Record, and having someone say its name on C-SPAN.

If this is the most pressing issue for Dan Burton's constituents, then maybe Obama was right about people clinging to their guns when everything else goes wrong in their lives because I've been to a lot of his district, and it's hurting for jobs.

In the interest of full disclosure, I've never liked Dan Burton.

It started when I was a senior at Ben Davis High School. Three classmates of mine and I qualified to go to the national competition in "congressional debate." As a "reward," we went to see Dan Burton. I wanted to see Andy Jacobs, but my classmates were R's, and I got outvoted.

I still have the photo of Congressman Burton and a pristine recollection of our conversation, though it's now 20 years past. Dan Burton told four high school kids that he was the individual almost exclusively responsible for keeping Nicaragua from falling "under the iron thumb" of Daniel Ortega and the communist Sandinistas. Little did I know at that time that he was essentially fessing up to his support for illegally funding "the Contras." Burton acted like Ortega was evil incarnate.

Anybody seen who the democratically elected president of Nicaragua is lately?

Yeah, that would be Daniel Ortega. What a dictator!


Why Doesn't Hillary Like Latinos?

Well, well.

In today's mail, I received a negative direct mail piece from Hillary Clinton. The piece says that Barack O'Bama's health care plan leaves 15 million Americans without coverage. "WILL IT BE YOU?" While who gets health care coverage, how, and with what costs and systemic changes are all fair game, it's still fear stoking.

The piece makes two central claims: (1) 15 million would be left uncovered under an Obama plan; (2) the cost for taxpayers would be $1700 MORE per newly covered person.

The footnoted source for claim one is "CBS, 6/3/07," but when you look it up, you see it's actually a critique video by Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic. I guess that doesn't sound as impressive as saying "CBS News," does it?

The critique points out that Obama is not requiring a mandate for everyone to buy health insurance until his other efficiency proposals make such coverage actually affordable. Does everybody without health coverage right now understand "the mandate?" I seriously doubt it. You can't afford health insurance now, but they're going to REQUIRE you to buy it while tweaking how you actually pay for it on the back end. How will they enforce this mandate? By a payroll deduction like other government withdraws? What about those who are self-employed or living on fixed incomes from investments? We don't know! Hoo boy! I'm excited now. Good luck getting that little plan through Congress.

But, again, I digress. The critique by Cohn itself notes that Obama's plan has "follow up" steps that will address these 15 million. Mr. Cohn may not believe that Obama's approach is best, but for Clinton to give the impression Obama has nothing for these folks is completely wrong. In other words... suprise surprise...a political ad distorts the kernel of truth.

The second claim about the cost is much more credible. It's a colum by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman citing an "expert" in healthcare who is not affiliated with either campaign. Curiously, the column argues that any plan without a mandate would only cover an additional 23 million. In other words, Clinton might have felt justified in accusing Obama of failing to cover 22 million, not just 15 million. So maybe I should applaud her reserve.

But what troubles me about the mailer is the photograph on the front. From left to right, you see: an old white woman, a young white dude with stylishly spiked hair, an old white man with no hair, a middle-aged woman (short spiked hair, "suggestibly" lesbian), a young Asian man, a young African-American woman, and a young blonde with very granola-looking jewelry (the environmentalist).

Hillary, Hillary, Hillary! Haven't you read my blog?

Am I the only one who notices that AGAIN another direct mail piece omits the black man? Is this because Obama is a black man, or is it because Hillary thinks Hoosiers are afraid of them?

But more importantly, this is Indiana. Senator Clinton, where are the Latinos? Doesn't Hillary Clinton care if Latinos get health insurance, OR is she trying to say they're all here illegally and they don't deserve any!?! OR is she trying to say that they're all so wealthy that they already have it!?! Or has she just hired an idiot firm to do her direct mail?

You see how easily anything can get churned into something that it probably isn't for political gain? A pastor, a lapel pin, "elitism," and "is he giving her 'the finger'?" THESE are the topics that are determining the leader of the free world.

So maybe I SHOULD give kudos to Senator Clinton. Yeah, she's distorting a bit, and sure she's engaging in cut-throat attack politics, but at least this time it's about an issue that actually matters.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Calling Dr. Ossip!

They say you have to see a TV ad seven times to absorb its content, and the same is apparently true for yard signs. I drove by Greg Taylor’s sign again this morning, and it does NOT have a white box for you to write whatever you want in it. RATHER, it has two white bars, one on BOTH sides of “State Senate.” In other words, it was just a standard design and someone just wrote "33" in the borders of one of the bars. So much for my idea for masterful marketing of yard signs to ambitious but uncertain politicians! I do think if you're going to hand-write something on your sign, you should do it in crayon so everyone thinks a kid did it. I'm told that everybody loves kids.


Campaign Fashion - "Black is the New Black"

You're driving down the street, and you see a political yard sign. What color is it?

Nine times out of ten, it's solid blue or solid red with white offset lettering, or sometimes blue with gold as a tribute to our state flag. How Hoosierly patriotic! And how....yawn.....pedestrian.

I'm always on the lookout for the courageous candidate who tweaks color orthodoxy, and this year's winners are the candidates using black as their prominent color.

Jim Schellinger's signs look almost burgundy to me because of the heavy black presence, and I promise you, it stands out. I think it's tastefully done and decidedly different. And when you have to break through the clutter of multiple signs in front of many homes and in front of every abandoned roach hole in Indianapolis, that's a definite asset.

(As an aside, don't candidates think we're smart enough to realize that it's not all that impressive to have the endorsement of a boarded up crack house? And yet almost every campaign has staked claim to yards in front of homes Mayor Ballard was going to demolish really quickly before somebody informed him it cost money).

But I digress. Schellinger's tasteful combo is only outdone by Marion County Superior Court candidate Jim Osborn, whose red and black twist on a popular waving flag stripe design makes it my favorite sign of the year. The black instead of blue is subtle, which creates a nice use of "white space."

But just this morning, I noted a car with that burnt orangish glistening hue that's en vogue among sports car driving yuppies, and I said to myself, "I want to see something like THAT on a yard sign. Who has the guts to go ORANGE?"

THEN on my way down College Avenue today, I thought I'd found my man. It was a sign for Democrat Greg Taylor. I said to myself, "Here's a guy mixing it up." That was before I looked CLOSELY at the sign, and all the praise went out the window.

The sign says, "Greg Taylor" and "Senate [Blank white box]." In that box (I am NOT making this up), someone has hand-written "33," the state senate district number for which Mr. Taylor is running, which is held by retiring Senator Glenn Howard (one of the most good-natured guys in Indianapolis politics).

I couldn't stop laughing. BUT then the genius of it struck me. Say you want to run for an office but don't know what it is or WHERE it is. Don't worry about waiting to, ya know, find out your actual district number or even office. Just put "CANDIDATE JONES for [BLANK WHITE BOX]." Then have your people fill in the office that suits your fancy. With just one large order of signs (bulk savings, baby!), you can go from "STATE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE" to "SECRETARY OF STATE" to "U.S. SENATE" to "PRESIDENT."

Just be sure to make them burnt orange. Or tangerine yellow with black lettering. Now THAT would be pushing the envelope.

Also, I'd like to see yard signs that not only have a name, but also a message. What good is seeing a name if there's no context. Give them something to remember WITH the name. Mayor Ballard, to his credit, KILLED with "Had Enough?" There is NOTHING that could have more succinctly harnessed the completely misplaced outrage of Indianapolis' voters.

My all-time favorite yard sign even "went negative." It was in Alabama, it was solid blue, and all it said was:

"Judge Lloyd - NO MORALS!"

Deadly. But it would have looked a lot better in chartreuse.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Statistics Makes Liars, Too!

If you don’t think method matters, look at two polls conducted this week by SurveyUSA. A Monday poll shows Hillary Clinton up 16 percent in Indiana. By Friday, Obama was up by five percent. Did Clinton get a DUI outside Bronko's?

Nope. explains that the Clinton-leading poll dialed numbers at random, meaning it got unregistered voters in the mix. In contrast, the Obama-leading poll used numbers provided from voters themselves when they registered.

Yeah, I’ll take the latter set of numbers every day of the week. I predict those who provided phone numbers WILL be voting, if for no other reason than to stop the barrage of phone calls from operatives and recorded elected officials telling them to "remember to vote."

Here's your story:


Bad Campaigns Create "Fudgers"

WISH-TV is churning the story that “Andre Carson’s campaign is broke.” Here’s the rub. The Carson campaign ordered TV time that had to be surrendered when payments were not made. Rumors are circulating that the Carson campaign has even asked its employees to forego paychecks. Congressman Carson’s response: “They're being paid, very well in fact and they're excited, too.”

I’m always said I'm supporting Carson, but boy, it’s getting harder. If Carson’s campaign isn’t broke, it is certainly broken. And if his campaign manager is getting paid “very well,” he’s making too much money.

The campaign has been plagued with mistakes, and this last one is particularly embarrassing because one of two things has to be true. Either (a) Carson DOESN’T have the money, which means somebody seriously overshot fundraising expectations; or (b) Carson DOES have the money, but the campaign decided to use it at a different time or in a different fashion, which means the initial decision to buy the ads was flawed (which, in turn, allowed Jim Shella to suggest the campaign was broke when it wasn’t).

I’ve met Andre Carson. He’s very engaging, and I believe that many of his critics would have a different opinion about him were they to actually meet him. But at the end of the day, he will be judged, just as Clinton and Obama are, by how well his campaign “functions.” The mistakes of “the campaign” become the mistakes of the candidate, just as the mistakes of his congressional office will be his. Andre Carson needs to RECLAIM ownership of his campaign before DCCC starts meaning “Democratic Congressional Campaign Cooked!”

Here’s what you need to know about the DCCC. It tries to cultivate young political operatives. Normally, this is a good thing. People cut their teeth in the background of high profile, competitive races or in the foreground of long-shot campaigns, and they move up the hierarchy. The DCCC keeps resumes on file, and then they ship “their people” to whatever state “needs them.” The DNC and DSCC do the same thing.

But, I assure you, loyalties can be divided. Whether the DCCC will say it or not, these operatives are there as watchdogs for the DCCC. If the campaign is going well, DCCC money might follow, which is why so many candidates don’t bat an eye when the DCCC says, “We’re sending you staff.” BUT if the campaign is not going well (per the reports of the DCCC-installed manager), it might dry up. Think about it. Carson’s campaign manager, Alex Zwerdling, has worked in four different states in the last four years. His allegiance to Andre Carson is what when compared to the fact the DCCC can ensure he gets his next job if he gives them good intelligence?

I’ve never met Zwerdling, but by all accounts, he’s a decent guy. But that doesn’t make him a qualified campaign manager for a highly-contested four-way primary, no matter what the DCCC says and no matter how many field operations he’s handled. Almost ALL of his public comments have been bad, and his response to Jim Shella (first, saying it was a tactical decision then saying “no comment”) is just another example of being “a deer in headlights.”

Before anyone thinks that this is a knee-jerk reaction, and I’m the local yokel who “don’t want none of them thar DC boize in their fancy suits comin’ in here tellin’ us what to do,” remember that we’re not the backwater. We’ve got HUNDREDS of good Democrats in Indiana who were trained under a state party organization that was deemed so good, it’s leader, Joe Andrew, became head of the DNC. We’ve got HUNDREDS more who were trained under Robin Winston, a man who actually exceeded Andrews’ efforts (in my opinion) in field operations. And an awful lot of these folks worked on congressional races.

So, why does Andre Carson need someone whose only experience as a campaign manager was working for a guy who lost a three-way primary in Wisconsin?

I am praying the Congressman was telling it straight about the staffer salaries. But what are the chances with the predicament he was facing? There are so many things you just CAN’T say in a political campaign, and I cannot think of a greater momentum killer then, “We can’t make payroll.”

This is why when you make a decision to fudge or not, you should certainly consider that the FEC report is going to show every date you wrote a check. If your staffers were getting paid weekly, and then all of a sudden nobody got paid for 2 months, you’re going to get found out. And it will look very, very bad.

This is precisely why you don’t want to ever be put in the position of having to choose to fudge or not. The right campaign decisions make it easier to tell the truth.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

God on a Plate

Indiana, being the forward-thinking state it is, recently paid homage to the 1980 movie Oh God, Book II, in which a little girl creates the slogan “Think God” and then enlists her friends to spread the saying via graffiti, posters, and stickers. Indiana did the same thing by putting the slogan “In God We Trust” on a license plate.

Religious folk across Indiana rejoiced as the BMV distributed some 1.6 million IGWT plates without any additional cost to a single recipient. And salvation was ours! Until…

In stepped the Indiana Civil Liberties Union (a/k/a “the constitutional buzzkill”). I can't even fathom the tonnage of hate mail Ken Falk must get in a day, but NOBODY can say that guy doesn't have cajones of steel. Anyway, the ICLU filed suit, alleging that the plates constituted a government endorsement of religion. After all, every other plate with a supportive “message,” be it for the environment, the arts, veterans, the Colts, or for Indiana colleges, requires an additional administrative fee of $15.00 plus a $25 (tax deductible) charitable contribution.

But just when all hope seemed lost, in stepped Marion Superior Court Judge Gary Miller, a man whose own Republican Party bounced him from office at the Republican Party’s Slating Convention. Pulling what I call “a Bradford maneuver,” Miller, undoubtedly looking ahead to some other political office, threw out the ICLU’s complaint, noting that no government funds were spent to create the IGWT plates.

(A "Bradford manuever" is when a judge issues a ruling that he knows is blatantly unconstitutional, BUT he doesn't care because the political rewards far exceed the consequences of being reversed by a higher court. Former Marion County Chief Judge Cale Bradford did this when he prohibited "a wiccan" from having parenting time in a divorce case. The decision was, of course, overturned. BUT....presto! A few months later, Governor Daniels puts him on the Court of Appeals!)

But I digress.

RAH RAH, Gary Miller! We’re saved again! (No, not in the “accept Jesus as my personal savior” sense. Just in the “We get what we want” sense).

Not so fast. The ink won’t be dry on this decision before the Indiana Court of Appeals reverses it. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t cost the state MORE to make the “In God We Trust” plate unless EVERY “message plate” is given out for free. Otherwise, you’re giving special treatment or “endorsing” the IGWT.

Personally, I fail to see how having “In God We Trust” on the back of a few million cars and pickups is going to cause the Indiana Constitution to crumble. (Insert your slippery slope theory here in your mental response). But it takes too sides to create a massive waste of public resources (time, money, and distraction from REAL issues), and the proponents of this plate were certainly willing to get this ball rolling in the first place.

Let’s be honest. The proponents of this plate could have announced a statewide campaign to promote the message “In God We Trust” and EASILY sold THREE million bumper stickers for $2 each. But they don’t want JUST the message. They want the symbolic victory. Proponents of this plate want to be able to say, “Looky here! People of faith have taken the reins of government away from all the baby-killing, homosexual atheists, and we’re giving you GOD…for FREE!” But this intentional interjection of God through a government agency is precisely why the plate is unconstitutional.

Also, in giving the plate away for free, the proponents actually cheapen God. Seriously, folks, Jesus died for your sins. You can’t pay $37 ($15 admin fee + $25 donation to the church of your choice) to say you trust God? Anyway, as long as the money goes for a religious purpose, I’m sure you can credit your plate cost toward your tithing. Right, Reverend? No??? Interesting.


Hi, My Name Is....Hi, My Name Is....Hi, My Name is...

...(wicky wicky)....Chris Worden.

A reader today told that he had received an inquiry from a congressional campaign asking him if he knew who wrote this blog. I thought everybody knew because I list my e-mail address as, but I am clearly mistaken.

So, for those who don't you know.

I believe anonymity has value. When we know who a person is, we can instantly discredit what is said without giving it due consideration. Also, not everybody is painfully objective. People have jobs and friendships and career ladders that keep them from wanting to say anything bad about those people who, ya know, control their jobs, friendships, and career ladders. So they disclose on the sneaky sneaky, and we get more information than we would otherwise.

Also, our society has become overly sensitive and politically correct, and anonymity lets people make comments they might not otherwise, and through the "crucible of truth" have their errant ways corrected or their "tough love" truths expounded upon.

But having said this, this is America, folks. The authors of the Federalist Papers used a collective nom de plum "Publius" because there was a chance back then that British troops might capture and kill them for sedition. In contrast, we face what consequence, at worst, today? Someone calling us a "(expletive) moron!" I get worse from my paralegal. (She's right on about 3 out of 5 occasions, by the way).

In my opinion (and this is only MY opinion), people who are afraid to say what they think and put their name on the dotted line run the risk of being part of the crowd admiring the Emperor's new clothes. That's why you won't see me typing "anon," unless I'm paying homage to Shakespeare, and I mean "soon."

My next blog will be here anon, friends.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Kudos to Democrat Judge Barb Collins for dismissing a battery case against a Beach Grove gym teacher who used “corporal punishment” (grabbing of the face) to "redirect" a 15-year-old student. I just learned about this through an Indiana Court of Appeals opinion that affirmed Collins’ dismissal ruling.

Given that a student recently used her camera phone to videotape a teacher being beaten by another student instead of stepping in, and given that some third graders recently plotted their teacher's execution, maybe reinstituting some type of corporal punishment would be advisable.

We CAN do it in Indiana. We just don’t. Even though Indiana is among 21 states that allows reasonable corporal punishment in schools, many school districts, including IPS, have abolished it. Yeah, that’s working GREAT!

Every generation gives the crotchety old man speech about “these kids today,” but it's actually true now. A lot of this is the fault of “society,” by which I mean “television.” Anybody who studies TV twenty years ago and compares it with TV today will realize that almost ALL sitcoms now get their jokes exclusively from sarcasm and flip comments, and children absorb this.

I always point to an ad for DSL that features a little girl playing videogames who calls herself “The Doomslayer.” Her attitude toward the narrator of that commercial is so dismissive and disrespectful that it makes you want to reach through the screen and slap the child in the face. The fact the makers of this ad don’t see how off-putting this child’s behavior is…well, that’s shocking. Apparently, ever since the Simpsons came along, we just expect kids to walk around now saying “Eat My Shorts” to their parents and worse to their teachers.

Sorry, but we’ve gone quite soft as a culture. Many daycare facilities, such as La Petite Academy, won’t even do timeout because they believe the child is being isolated from learning opportunities. I say you can learn a lot from being put in a corner after a good “boot to the head.”

I was speaking with a fellow attorney the other day who advised me that not only do school districts NOT use corporal punishment, but also, they can’t even expel a child from class who is disruptive. If I talked when I wasn’t supposed to, I got put in the hall or sent to the principal. When a bunch of kids thought it would be funny to bring in rubber fishing worms, pull them apart, and then throw them on the ceiling (where they got stuck), we ALL got paddled. You know what happened after that? NOBODY brought a fishing worm into school. Ever.

Now not even removal can be done. No wonder kids act the way they do. They have NO consequences. And for all the social worker/counselors out there who say, “Oh, it’s SO WRONG to hit children because it teaches them to solve problems with violence,” I retort, “No more than invading Iraq does” and “No more than the death penalty does.” My parents spanked the bejesus out of me growing up, and I have never been in a fight....unless you count me getting punched on two occasions as “fights.” (As quoted in the movie, Kung Pao, I was demonstrating a kung fu technique known as “my face to your fist” style).

The point is for parents and school officials to administer reasonable discipline in a context that shows bad actions have very real consequences.


Everyone Considered Them The Cowards Of the County...

As affirmation for my “bitter” post...

The Star reports that Obama has a five percent lead in Indiana, and Hillary’s Pennsylvania lead is steadily declining. In PA, 24% report Obama’s handling of the “bitter” flap has improved their opinion of him, while only 15% say it makes them think less favorably. Fifty-eight percent of voters say it made no impression (which restores some of my faith in democracy).

Obama today also picked up the endorsement of Congressman and superdelegate, Andre Carson.

This will, of course, be churned by all the conspiracy-minded Republican weirdos who now see Obama (a SECRET Muslim!) taking the endorsement of a REAL Muslim. JIHAD CABAL!!! How is it possible to believe BOTH that Obama is a Muslim while ALSO attacking him for spending twenty years in church with a divisive Christian pastor? Don’t ask. These are the same folks who believed Reagan when he said we could cut taxes, raise defense spending, AND have a balanced budget.

But since those people wouldn’t have voted for Carson or Obama anyway, I’m not losing sleep over the expected "fallout" from the endorsement. But it still bothers me because Carson was playing it safe. He was asked at the Elrod debate before the special election (back when Clinton was running much stronger in Indiana) who he supported, and he wouldn’t say. Now that Obama is surging in Indiana (and tearing up the 7th district), he takes a stand?

Sorry, but nothing in Carson’s endorsement statement wasn’t true of Obama before the special election, and I don’t believe for a second that Carson didn’t know he was going to endorse Obama. There’s a difference between not knowing and not saying. The latter is cowardly. Of course, to my knowledge, neither Myers, Mays, or David O. have stated their preference either. Bock bock! (chicken noises all around)


Lilly, Lilly, Lilly Get Your Buyouts Here...

Indiana’s premier employer, Eli Lilly, says it’s reducing its workforce by 500 employees. Since 2004, the year of Mitch DanielSALAAM's election, they’ve dropped 2,000 jobs from Indy. Lilly notes that what they're actually doing is just offering "buyouts." However, take a look at how many Eli Lilly executives are on DanielSALAAM*'s donor sheet, and how many are astute enough to know this looks bad for Daniels. Now contemplate what will happen if nobody TAKES the buyout. (Did I mention where Daniels worked before he became Bush's OMB Director? Yeah, that would be Eli Lilly & Co.)

Did mention that the number of personal bankruptcies filed in Indiana increased by 38% in 2007, making us one of the highest filing states in the nation?

All I can say is that Mitch DanielSALAAM* is thanking Allah/God he’s roasting both of his Democratic rivals in fundraising (over $8.3 million raised to Jill Long and Jim Schellinger's collective $3 million).

If the Governor’s recent radio ads are any indication of future strategy, he’ll continue to spend his millions spinning the catastrophe that is Indiana’s economy by…talking about how truly terrible things are in neighboring states. Respectfully, when your strongest argument for re-election is, “Yeah, we suck, but not like Michigan!”….you’re really hurting.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a D primary fight is hurting my party’s chances of competing in November for the Governor's office because there’s no doubt DanielSALAAM* would be vulnerable to a sufficiently-financed challenge.

Speaking of the D challengers, they went at it last night in Fort Wayne during their only scheduled debate. Matt Tully suggests in his write-up that Jim Schellinger was trying to strike an anti-incumbent chord by constantly referring to Jill Long Thompson as “Congresswoman Thompson.” Cynicism, thy name is Tully. Might it also be true that Schellinger was being respectful? Isn’t it the case that when you obtain a title, you keep it for life, even when you leave that office or vocation? Isn’t this why they call him President Clinton and General Schwarzkopf instead of Bill and Norman?

Also, it's noteworthy that Congresswoman Thompson (respect due for serving our country), got 1/3 of the $900,000 TOTAL she has raised to date from two PACs - the Service Workers Union ($100,000) and Emily's List ($200,000). BUT it's also noteworthy that recent polling data shows Thompson ahead of Schellinger despite her fundraising deficit. We don't know why, but Jim Schellinger just isn't putting Thompson away despite his fundraising advantage. My read on this from looking at the cross-tabs is a strong gender gap for Thompson. Apparently, working as a welder isn't as appealing to women as BEING a woman who milks cows.

* - "Mitch DanielSALAAM" is something I will continue to say totally tongue-in-cheek until Republicans (Rush Limbaugh, specifically) quit referring to the Senator as Barack HUSSEIN Obama. Mitch Daniels is Syrian and an honoree of the Arab-American Institute, which has some troubling anti-Israeli foreign policy views. Curiously, NONE of the Indiana Republicans attacking Obama point this out.

Personally, I think it's a great thing for America and Indiana that we have an Arab-American governor. But you can't pick and choose by acting like the pasty white one with the anglicized name (Daniels) is an American patriot while arguing that the black one with the unfortunate middle name is a terrorist in hiding.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Bit of Better "Bitter" Banter

So this is what it's come to?!?

Though they been raising and spending about fifty million a month collectively, our two heavyweight Democratic presidential contenders are trying to eke out advantages based on whether working people who have lost their jobs ARE/ARE NOT bitter and whether Hillary Clinton DOES/DOES NOT not normally drink shots with beer chasers? This is how we really want to decide the leader of the free world?

John McCain is sitting somewhere laughing and laughing and laughing. Don't laugh too hard, though, Senator. You sounded just as idiotic as Senator Clinton for suggesting Senator Obama is "condescending" and "out of touch" when he said people who have lost their jobs are "bitter."

You see, this Clinton attack is, in essence, a ridiculous reverse compliment, BUT (stay with me on this) you could only expose by proving your own snooty intellectual elitism. Yeah, that'd be me.

How do you think most non-Harvard Law School educated folk define the word "bitter?" Angry or victimized, right? We always say a women is "bitter" when she is out for blood in her divorce, or we call someone a "bitter" old man when he shoots the pellet gun at the kids who sprint to get the baseball they hit onto the grass he cuts daily because he's a yard freak.

The problem is that you can't find that definition in the dictionary, per se. You CAN find what Obama probably meant though, which is "marked by cynicism." But what politician can respond to a ten-second charge of being "out of touch" by saying, "Okay, if you like at Merriam-Webster's Dictionary under definition 3, you'll see that..." Doesn't fly! So, for "the masses," Clinton probably can make Obama look like he is branding everybody who had the misfortune of losing their jobs, healthcare, and/or pensions as crybabies and victims.

Here's the question though. What SHOULD someone in that situation have as his/her attitude?

Clinton's take is emotion-laden and ridiculously pandering. She appeals to our provincialism by saying that the folks in "the heartland" or "the Midwest" who lose their jobs because of NAFTA are LIKE A ROCK (Bob Segar plays in the background). They're the salt of the earth, and they roll with the punches. See what she's doing here? She's making people who've had their lives crumbled by entities whose decision-makers use them like pawns and global forces they can't control feel durable, tough, and bad@ss. She's saying that no matter how bad it gets, they keep that American optimism! But in so doing, she'll also making them come off like a bunch of flipping idiots.

I'm reminded of the words of my good friend Geoff (last name omitted for fear that he might not appreciate people knowing he uses this kind of profanity):

"The working man is getting ----ed every day. The only difference is from which position."

And now they're supposed to like it? Someone please wake me up when we get out of Humpty Dumpty Land. If I worked for thirty years for a company, and they welched on my pension, I wouldn't be bitter. I would be homicidal. If I saw a company's CEO and board jump out with their golden parachutes just before the bankruptcy crash hit, yeah, I think I might want to "have a word with somebody."

Call me crazy, but I see no virtue in enjoying being reamed, and if I weigh the thalidomide effect of Clinton's "we're all happy-go-lucky job losers!" versus Obama's slap in the face wake-up call, I'll take the latter every day. Indignation gets things done; "rolling with the punches" gets you rolled over.

But, Barack, don't get too cutesy yourself. Obama suggested Hillary Clinton was pandering because she went to Bronko's in Crown Point with a camera crew and put down some shots.

Obama's people suggested Hillary was trying to court votes by throwing back drinks should wouldn't normally.

Yeah. And you bowl.


Three Hots, a Cot, and an Absentee Ballot

I'm conflicted again, folks.

Yesterday , the Indianapolis Star reports that State Representative Bill Crawford got permission for some folks to register inmates at the Marion County Jail who were charged BUT NOT YET CONVICTED after getting permission from Sheriff Anderson.

On to the first side of my conflict... I think people usually only do things that benefit their "side" politically. This means that Representative Crawford believes he can get more D votes out of jail than R votes. Yow! Doesn't that cause some concerns from a public relations standpoint? To have the Democratic Party be known as the party that gets votes from the pokey?!?

But the other side of my conflict is this... We also have a presumption of innocent until proven...ha ha ha hah...oh, that's funny, isn't it? I can't keep a straight face. Seriously, is there anybody in America who still believes that? We're so quick to judge. I realize the only way you can conclude that the Democratic Party is the "criminal" party is to just assume all these guys/gals are guilty even before their trials. But I know that is what everybody is going to do. You're thinking it right now, so quit acting like you're not!

But let's say they are guilty. Until the day of that conviction, they can vote. When they do their time, regardless of what the crime is, they should be able to vote again. I think it's completely idiotic to take someone's vote away permanently for being convicted of a crime, yet 14 states have laws permanently disenfranchising convicted felons. Several others extend the prohibition for probation and parole.

If they're going to take away this right, which is the protector of all other rights, then they should also make sure that nobody who has been convicted of a felony pays taxes after serving their sentence. Taxation without a vote is no different than taxation without representation.

My other concern, which may be viewed as conspiratorial )but is really only grounded in a simple truth that politicians seek political advantages) is that if you can truly tell that a particular people, let's say African-Americans as a silly example, are more likely to vote for one political party's candidates...say Democrats by a 90% to 10% clip, just as a for instance. And suppose, also, as a crazy hypothethical, that your prison population is disproportionately African-American. Might there be some less than flattering reasons why some Republicans pass laws extending the prohibition to parolees and probationers? Also, as almost every state prohibits convicts from voting while they're in prison, might there be some less than flattering reasons why certain crimes would be disproportionately punished, for example, by giving longer sentences to people who possess crack than people who possess powdered cocaine of the same amount after it is determined that certain people, say African-Americans are more likely to possess crack and others, say white people, are more likely to have a "mountain of snow" (to quote Ludacris)?

Seriously, can someone walk me through the thought process on disenfranchisement of felons. Is it as simple as, "We don't want inmates to vote because THEY'LL VOTE FOR CROOKS!"

If so, my retort is....yeah, and so will a lot of the NON-convicts in Ohio (the home of Jim Trafficant and Bob Ney), Louisiana (the home of William Jefferson), California (the home of Randy "Duke" Cunningham), and Texas (the home of Tom Delay), just to name a few.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Myers (basically) calls Carson a "PAC Rat!"

Dr. Woody Myers has taken off the surgical gloves in the 7th District race. In a press release today, Dr. Myers takes issue with Carson's hypocrisy in claiming in a recent TV ad that “Lobbyists and CEOs have too much power in Washington," while Carson has received over $100,000 from PACs, lobbyists, and corporate CEOs.

As an initial thought, this attack gives credence to some rumored numbers on Advance Indiana showing Carson trailing David O. with Dr. Myers a close third. Most candidates get "rough and tumble" when they're within striking distance.

But more importantly, my thought is: "What a dilemma!"

What I like philosophically about Democrats is that they represent (or try to represent) "the little guy." Admittedly, the "little guy" sometimes means a BUNCH of little guys who form politically powerful things like IBEW 481. GO ELECTRICAL WORKERS! (Sorry, but those are my folks).

So, as a Democrat, I cling to the romantic notion that you don't need money to be a member of Congress. In theory, ANYBODY could get elected, I say to myself. So I'm conflicted when Woody Myers spends just shy of $1 million of his own money on this Congressional race when he's been living in California until recently.

Democrats are suspicious of money as "the great equalizer." We don't believe certain things, such as, ya know, DEMOCRACY, should be able to be bought by somebody who has money. (If it could be, Iraq would have paid to get theirs installed 10,000 times over already). And if not for a personal fortune, would a Hoosier native turned carpetbagger have any chance? I doubt it.

But if you don't have millionaires like Woody Myers running with their own money, and campaigns cost a million to run, how do the "regular" guys compete? Take Andre Carson. Working in law enforcement, you KNOW he made less than a lot of people, and I imagine his work with an engineering firm, while certainly better, wouldn't exceed the income of a law firm partner. To run for office then, Andre is probably going to HAVE to take money from PACs, lobbyists, and CEOs of SOMETHING, isn't he?

So, we're left to weigh competing values. Is it better to have a self-financed wealthy person or a person well-financed by "special interests?"

I tend to actually favor the wealthy candidates when I have a clear sense they'll serve those without means. Specifically, if Woody isn't buying power to ensure that millionaires like himself (the SUPER wealthy, as he might say) get to keep their tax cuts, then what's our worry? And what's our worry if Woody has the courage to look at his millionaire doctor friends and say, "You know what? Part of the reason health insurance is so expensive is because we make so much damn money, so physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies are all going to have to make less!"

Ultimately, this issue hinges on which money is more likely to pervert the theoretical "district will."

Not knowing Dr. Myers (and not having a voting record to review), I can't say, so I won't reach a final conclusion. However, I will offer the following thoughts:

(1) I'm HIGHLY suspicious anytime a PAC gives money to a member of Congress that has NO connection to the district in which the member resides. Examples in Carson's case are the Seafarers' PAC ($2,500), the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC ($2,000), the Florida Sugar Cane League's PAC ($500), and the Rural American Police Committee's PAC ($500).

The last time I checked Indianapolis wasn't RURAL anything, we had, at most, thirteen Cubans, we don't grow any sugar, and the closest thing we have to a SEA is Lake Schaffer, which is in a different congressional district.

Andre Carson, what in the world are you doing taking money from these groups?

Here's how the groups operate, folks. The sugar growers know they're going to already own the congressmen in their districts, but that's not good enough to get a majority. So they'll throw money around in districts that have NO sugar interests. What will the result be? Depending on how Andre Carson votes on sugar issues, maybe higher sugar prices for Indianapolis consumers. But only maybe. This leads me to my second point.

(2) The greatest skill a member of Congress has is making a "special interest" believe it will get something when the member knows damn well it never will. Charlie Rangel, the famous Harlem Democrat, is a genius in that way. His critics talk about him being insanely "liberal," but if you look at his balance sheet, he gets more corporate money than any member of Congress.

This is because his fundraising people are geniuses when it comes to playing corporate interests off of each other. Do the cable people have a fight with Direct TV? Charlie Rangel gets $5,000 from each. FedEx versus UPS? Charlie's got $5,000 from each. Bankers want to do mortgages? $5,000 from the Bankers AND the Mortgage Brokers. But NOBODY ever gets anything that doesn't benefit consumers in Charlie's district. Why these corporations even keep trying is borderline pathological. In essence, it's akin to the idea that it's better to be made fun of at the cool kids party then to not be invited at all.

Which gets me to Andre Carson. If Andre is of the Rangel mode, who cares what the sugar cane growers will give him because he'll give them nothing that the people of Indianapolis wouldn't give them as well. And if Carson can get money to improve I-70 by voting for some sanction against Cuba that doesn't hurt Indiana agricultural exports, I say "Viva la Cuba!"


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ahhh, sweet relief!

At least none of my Democratic party officials have physically assaulted any reporters or congressional candidates who used to be ministers lately! Take that, Republicans! IN YOUR FACE! This is unbelievable!


When can I stop apologizing?

We're all human. We all make mistakes. No matter how much we fret over details, busy professionals have things fall through the cracks. It's certainly happened to me. I'm knocking on wood and saying, "But for the grace of God, go I."

But there's a difference between admitting a mistake with an eye toward avoiding the same thing in the future and trying to "fudge" the facts to avoid that responsibility. And, as much as I have admired Marion Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins, it sure comes off like he's been "in the kitchen" if you read the disciplinary charges filed against he and Nancy Broyles.

P.J. O'Rourke had a famous saying that "Republicans say government doesn't work. Then they get elected and prove it." That doesn't seem to be true in Marion County (though the judgment is sure out on the new mayor). It seems my beloved Democratic Party has cornered the market lately on bad management, and all I can ask is when, for the love of God, will I be able to quit apologizing?

I'm going to probably catch hell for this post. Probably next week when I'm eating pizza with the slated Democratic judges as a reward for my party service. I promise you I'll be covering my drink with my hand to make sure it doesn't get spit in. But isn't this what I said I'd do? Be "painfully" objective?

To the uninitiated, Judge Hawkins' (by poor oversight) and Commissioner Broyles (by poor follow-through) let a man sit in prison for about two years after DNA evidence exonerated him. This was a colossal screw up. Colossal. When attorneys make mistakes, we usually cost people dollars. But people can recover dollars. How can you compensate for lost freedom?

Yet even considering this, I was willing to say, "Sometimes stuff just happens." I can't now because this complaint fleshes out more than a loss of freedom. It calls into question Judge Hawkins' management skill and fealty to the rule of law.

Here's a gem from footnote 2 of the 11-count "Notice of Institution of Formal Proceeding" against Judge Hawkins:

"Until March 2007, Commissioner Broyles routinely issued final orders in post-conviction cases without obtaining Judge Hawkins' approval and signature, contrary to IC 33-33-49-16 and IC 33-23-5-8." Maybe if everything would have gone through Judge Hawkins, you wouldn't be reading this right now.

Here's are some more gems:

"Nearly a year after the date on the Order, Rader (Mr. Buntin's lawyer) sent an e-mail to Commissioner Broyles inquiring about the staatus of her decision in the Buntin PCR, to which Commissioner Broyles did not reply."

Had Commissioner Broyles simply took a second to go, "What the hell are you talking about? I ruled already!" you wouldn't be reading this.

"On May 20, 2005, Commissioner Broyles had at least three other post-conviction cases under advisement which were older than Buntin's case and on which she ultimately ruled after delays of 28 months, 13 months, and 13 months, respectively. And in 2007, Commissioner Broyles ruled on four other cases after six months, nine months, thirteen months, and fifteen months."

Some may say, "Yeah, but she was probably going to deny these petitions anyway, so it's not the same as keeping a man in jail without cause. Okay, but all of those cases can be appealed, and doesn't that seem like a long time to rule to you?

In his explanation for how a man was left for two years, Judge Hawkins stated that the file had been "prematurely archived," but the disciplinary commission's investigation revealed that the file never went to the Clerk's office's archives.

The complaint further notes:

"Neither Judge Hawkins nor Commissioner Broyles undertook any serious inquiry to justify their statements that the file was "archived" or "retrieved from archives."

"Judge Hawkins' deputy bailiff, Stephen Talley initially advised the Commission that, in March 2007, he contacted the Clerk's office, that the Clerk's office had the Buntin file, and that either he or Commissioner Broyles retrieved the Buntin file from the Clerk's office."

"Later, under oath, he denied any knowledge of who found the Buntin file or of its location before its appearance in early March."

"Judge Hawkins was aware of Talley's misleading statements to the Commission and took no remedial action to address his employee's misconduct."

Then, in what one might pray was the coup de grace of footnotes, the Commission states, "Judge Hawkins subsequently promoted Mr. Talley to the position of Chief Bailiff."

But NO. The (expletive here) thing GOES ON. Even though Judge Hawkins and Commissioner Broyles KNEW at the latest on March 8, 2007, that this man was still in jail, it wasn't until April 12, 2008, that Judge Hawkins issued an order for a hearing to see if the state was going to actually release him, and that hearing itself wasn't held until April 20, 2008. Wouldn't that be, like, the NEXT hearing you held if you knew the Indiana Disciplinary Commission was investigating you? I would have paid for a court reporter out of my own pocket, told her to put the steno machine on her back, and then sprinted to the prosecutor's office to pick up any warm body I could goad into following me to the jail.

Tonight I am going to pray for Grant Hawkins during this difficult time. And what I'm praying for most is that he'll get the wisdom to understand why people engage in what, at best, looks like "cover-up behavior" or, at worst, IS cover-up behavior, when they make big mistakes. Why do we do this? makes things worse....

...and then I have to apologize.


White people are the most racist, and here's how I know...

There's no racism anymore! Whatever you say, pal. Ask Clarence Thomas about that, since he (and several other black men known to "associate" with white women) received death threats.

I love how the FBI uses the word "associate." The "association" Thomas and these other black men have with white women is an "association" called marriage.

White people want to act like there's no sense of superiority by white people in America anymore, but when it comes to the most significant "acceptance" of another person - marriage - white people won't give it to anybody but their own.

In 2006, one in five white people said they would marry outside of their race. Taking it as a given that people respond in a more socially acceptable way to public opinion polls, and given that only .4% of white Americans actually DO get married outside of their race, we know that most of the one in five Americans are liars. In fairness to all the white folks, it's not as if all the other races are beating down the doors to intermarry, but white people have the lowest percentages by far.

Have you ever wondered about how TRULY equal you can think a person is to you if you rule them out as marriage partners with a per se rule? Even the one in five said they would CONSIDER it. That means 80% of white people would NEVER even THINK about it, regardless of whether it was Barack Obama or Angela Bassett. Eighty percent would NEVER do it, regardless of how "culturally alike" they may be.

How many people working in HR can say, "Yeah, I'd love to hire this African-American man/woman, even though I would find it beneath myself to marry ANY African-American person." How many police officers can legitimately say, "I don't treat black people any differently even though...icky....I'd never marry one."

Many people may say, "Yeah, but Chris...that doesn't make the person a racist. (S)he probably just believes it will be more difficult because of societal pressure. And those people would be right. But "societal pressure" is a euphemism for racism itself. White people will SAY there's no racism, but at the same time they will fear what OTHER white people would think about them if they were romantically "with" a black person.

At least that's what they'd say if they were truthful with themselves. Unfortunately, at least 19.6% of white people won't be.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bayh Now or Pay Later, Hillary!

Doing the kind of thing you do when you're great friends with someone (and you want to be her vice-president), Senator Evan Bayh gives as passionate a plea as he knows how in an ad for Hillary Clinton that goes into wide circulation today in Indiana.

In the ad, a curiously cropped Senator Bayh (why does the photographer cut him off at the forehead?!?) says of Clinton, "She's got a spine of steel."

It's even money whether this will become the most mocked line of the political season or will become the rallying cry for Clinton's uncanny ability to withstand pressure. I'm expecting my vote for the latter to be vindicated on the Daily Show today or tomorrow. Given the amount of time Clinton has spent "humanizing" herself, having anything about her being described as metallic is too terminator-esque for my tastes. Expect a "robo-cop" type parody as soon as John Stewart gets a whiff of Senator Bayh's line.

Here’s the text of the ad:

America faces challenging times. We need a leader who will fight for good jobs, change trade deals like NAFTA, cut taxes for middle-class families.

Someone who’s ready to be commander-in-chief from day one. That leader? Hillary Clinton.

I’ve known Hillary for twenty years. She’s got a spine of steel.

She’ll fight for our jobs, our troops, and the America we love.

Strong. Seasoned. She’ll always stand up for us.

The ad concludes with a photo of Evan Bayh and Hillary Clinton holding their hands up together. The implied message is GREAT - vote for Hillary, and this is the same photo you'll see at the convention, Hoosiers! The problem is that she won't cinch the deal. It's politically astute to string as many suitors along as long as possible because as soon as you decide, you've got one ingrate and a bunch of malcontents.

But this delay is why, if you poll the people under the roof at the Indiana Democratic Party HQ, you'll only find ONE Clinton supporter, Chairman Dan Parker, and given that he serves at the pleasure of Senator Bayh, one wonders whether he's for Hillary because he wants to be or because he HAS to be.

When Hillary gets off the fence, she'll get a LOT of Hoosiers following her. But if she's doing a rope-a-dope on the most successful Indiana Democrat of a generation, and he doesn't get her selection, she'll get a cold shoulder when she comes back. And she should.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

"Mess" Looks Pretty Tidy

Dr. Woody Myers has thrown a new TV ad in rotation that is a variation of his "Mess" radio spot. It's much more effective in this form with its visceral visuals, including an explosion on an Iraqi road. Talk about capturing the sense of foreboding our soldiers must face every day!

My only critique on this ad is that, like the Jill Long-Thompson spot, it slices the screen into 3 images, which gives you more "imagery" for your 30 seconds, but also more distraction from the candidate. I'm trying to look at Dr. Myers talking, but I have to toggle my eyes between him and two other images of school children. (At some point, someone will figure out that these ads should introduce Dr. Myers to get "voice ID" as your narrator, then take him off screen while he's talking over THREE images, then bring him back to close the ad out by talking directly "eye to eye" to us Hoosiers).

Given the strength of Dr. Myers' domination of the airwaves as of late (his presence on both TV and radio is currently stronger than all three other candidates combined), one might rightly ask from where is his money coming? Probably 90% of the DC PAC money has been captured by Carson, largely courtesy of Pelosi, which means Dr. Myers has either called in favors from every doctor with whom he's ever worked, or he's put a tidy sum of his own money into the race.
If it's the latter, he'll need a lot more, or he'll burn all his powder too soon.

This would be a shame because the ad campaign Dr. Myers has run is actually quite good from a "message" perspective. But, admittedly, this is different than saying the ads are moving voters into Dr. Myers' column.

If this happens, you'll know. Not because anybody releases a poll, but rather, because the DCCC puts Andre back on the air, which I promise you will happen the second their numbers get "interesting." Expect it.


Schellinger Brings the Chili!

On March 18, 2008, I heard from some critics when I said Jill Long-Thompson sounded silly bragging about "momentum" and a 28% lead over Jim Schellinger when good old Jimmy hadn't "unveiled himself" to the public yet. I said it was like bragging that you have the best chili at the cookoff before anybody has tasted the others.

Well, Jim's brought his chili, and it must taste pretty good for D voters. In three weeks, Schellinger has completely wiped out that 28% lead.

Research 2000 says Jill is now at 42% to Jim's 41% with 17% undecided. I think it's fair to say that Ms. Thompson does not have "the momentum" any longer.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Clinton's Over Obama in Indy

It's weird having national press people care about little old Indiana. runs some Indiana numbers today, and it's bad news for Obama.

Hillary has a nine point lead, but there aren't many undecideds left to pick from.

Your cross-tabs are here. The pollster suggests some of Clinton's support is cross-over Republicans.

Obama is already smarting from a bad bowling game, which received more coverage than most presidents get negotiating peace in the Middle East. Obama was ridiculed by Joe Scarborough, who said the form Obama showed on his way to a "37" score was "dainty." But that's only HALF the story, folks! Obama stopped after the 6th frame, which he spared. Since he hadn't bowled the seventh, his 6th frame score had not been added back, so Obama already had at LEAST 47 heading into the 7th. If you extrapolate that score through ten frames plus add a couples pins per frame based on his obvious momentum, and he would have....OH MY GOD, has the media actually forced me to "spin" a bowling score!?!?

I fear for our country.

(In the future, Barack, I recommend making a secret trip through PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby's Arrowhead Bowl in Lafayette before you hit the lanes again).


My eyes are BAD!

Don't ever let me be an eyewitness to a crime! I just saw the Jill Long commercial I critiqued earlier today, and it's amazing how wrong I got it on first viewing. The split screen didn't go from one corn field to two. It went from one kitchen table meeting to two. Also, I now know Jill Long went to college. Who knows what else I missed, which is amazing given there's only 30 seconds worth of material. But this is why they say you have to see an ad at least 7 times before it sticks.


Jill Long & Obama are "ON THE AIR!"

I like to critique political ads immediately after seeing them for the first time. This helps me assess how well the ads do in imprinting facts and positive feelings in my mind and heart (a/k/a “the residual effect” of the ad).

Jill Long Thompson’s ad is a so-so bio piece. I now know that Jill Long saved her family farm from bankruptcy and did something I can’t remember as a member of Congress in response. I also know Jill Long won’t sell state assets, and she’ll get us “back on track.” I think I don’t remember more because in the middle of the ad, it inexplicably goes to a split screen. Somebody schooled in ad science probably told her that minds can process multiple images, so splitting the screen shows twice the images in the same amount of time. However, I found it distracting, and I don’t recall any differences in the images. My recollection is that it went from one cornfield to two. I give it 2 1/2 out of 4 stars.

Barack Obama’s ad is a “groovy” 60’ish type ad encouraging people to register to vote. It’s clear this ad is geared toward young people, as it talks about environmental protection and “change” while showing Obama being mobbed by crowds in a “Kennedyesque” or “Beatle-mania” way. If this were a general election ad, Obama would get buried here. It’s way too “activist” for Indiana. It made me feel GREAT though. He captures that he's a change movement, not a candidate. I give it 4 stars.

Hopefully, Obama can balance his “Rock the Vote” approach with an ad touting the endorsement he received today from “The Dean” of the Indiana Congressional delegation for decades – Lee Hamilton. Hamilton’s endorsement is major, which is why CNN reported it today. Hamilton is one of the best-known international relations men in our country, and his statement that he likes how Obama is approaching foreign affairs is notable. Moreover, this endorsement suggests that Bill Clinton’s good deeds won’t result in political chits for Hillary. (President Clinton appointed Hamilton’s nephew, David Hamilton, to the federal bench in the Southern District of Indiana).