Monday, June 30, 2008

Waterman World Sequel - As Disastrous as the Kevin Costner Version!

As sad as I am to say this, sometimes there's just no good way to market crazy.

My compadres at Frugal Hoosiers note that State Senator John Waterman, who claimed he would wage an aggressive campaign to get on the ballot as the gubernatorial candidate for the Taxpayer's Party, has acquired a grand total of.......128 signatures. ("Fast Eddie" Feigenbaum at Indiana Insight shows a number closer to 500ish, but even with "the new math," that's a bit off, kids).

I know I'm "biting from my homies" at Frugal, but I can't resist. This might be the funniest political paragraph in 2008:

As of Friday, Indiana County Clerks had received a total of 128 certified signatures for Sen. John Waterman, leaving him just about 33,000 votes short of the 33,000 votes needed to get him on the ballot in his race for governor. That's about four per day since he announced. At this rate, Waterman will qualify for ballot access in December of 2030. He'll be 86 years old.

I knew Waterman would have a hard time getting the signatures, so I offered help in the form of a contest. I said I'd buy dinner to the Democrat who provided the largest number of signatures to me before the deadline. Let me do a quick tally of my responses. Okay...if I add the 10 signatures I collected, I now have...eleven (an impressive 7.8% of Waterman's total as of Friday).
Respectfully, shouldn't Waterman have been able to get 128 signatures in a day from nursing homes? Some of them are already confused, so that would have been playing to his natural constituency.

Governor Daniels will spin this as Hoosiers seeing what a great job he's doing.

I'll spin it as the public not trusting a guy with mutton chop sideburns in the 21st century.


How You Know It's the Democratic Party's Year (Absent a Colossal Collapse)

Sign of the political apocalypse for the Republican Party....Number Five....

The Hamilton County Democratic Party has a permanent office in downtown Noblesville.

Affirming the old Field of Dreams adage ("Build it, and they will come"), the Star also reports rumors that Obama is looking to have an office in Fishers at Allisonville and 96th Street.

Presence and excitement are the fuels of politics, folks, and the Democratic Party just got a huge tank full in Hamilton County.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jill Long-Thompson In Striking Distance

Pay attention, class! Here's a key political lesson from IPOPA.

How is it possible that a man can spend MILLIONS to own the airwaves unanswered for months, travel the state non-stop for a few weeks as "empathizer-in-chief," and still find himself only five points ahead in his gubernatorial election?

The answer is simple. Personal experience always trumps salesmanship, no matter how much Matt Tully raves about it.

If you have never been a victim of violent crime and your friends haven't either, I can sell you on the idea I reduced crime as your Governor, even if the truth is the exact opposite. But if you've been a crime victim, no amount of persuasion will make you believe things are better.

In the recent past, there are thousands of Hoosiers who have suffered economic violence in the form of layoffs, downsizing, rightsizing, and factory closings, which some (but not all) Republicans write off as "market corrections" while shortening the time during which you can receive unemployment benefits. You see, the free market hand has to put the hammer down on the unruly workforce inntent on preserving its standard of living. Oh, you silly blue collar types with your ridiculous "living wage" expectations!

So Governor Daniels caravans the state sounding like George Bush, Sr. in 1992, when he was telling everybody the economy was on the upswing. But the problem the Governor faces is that too many Hoosiers have lost their jobs, and those who weren't simply cut were "bought out." This means that even though these employees may not feel the immediate pain, they will next year when their retirement money is gone, and they can't find another job with a comparable salary. Apparently, the Governor doesn't think we can see what's coming.

And, respectfully, when you're unemployed and can't find a job, it's not all the comforting to hear the Governor tell you that "we're better than Ohio."

I predicted before (and I'll say again) that Jill Long-Thompson WILL be our next Governor if she can raise 1 dollar for every 2 dollars Governor Daniels raises.

Here's your homework, class.


McCain Proves Facts are Impolite

I’m going to bash McCain, so hang in there because I first have to bash conservatives generally, and then rag on some oversensitive liberals.

Political correctness is killing facts, folks.

I say this, not because I delight in giving ammunition to people who use "facts" for malicious purposes, but rather, because if anything should be sacred, it’s the idea that we know some things to be true, and we’ll admit to the same, whether it helps or hurts our position and whether it tells the whole story or not.

Conservatives frequently crow about how liberals distort the teaching of history by being part of a “blame America” crowd. Instead of talking about how great Columbus Day is, those silly, unpatriotic liberals focus on an indigenous people inflicted with unintentional disease and intentional genocide and subjected to rampant thievery. Sorry to rain on your Columbus Day liquidation sale, conservatives, but these are facts.

Native American immune systems were not capable of fending off European disease, and hundreds of thousands died. Native Americans were killed, often wantonly, by Europeans who wanted their land. And as for the thievery part, Native Americans lived here before Europeans, never sold the land to Europeans (except for a few deals that we ignored), and now Native Americans only “own” a handful of small reservations and some casinos. If you never bought the land, they never gave it to you voluntarily, and you live on it now, how do you THINK you got it?

Does that mean American is not the greatest country ever? I say it still is. But that’s an ARGUMENT I would make based on weighing or analyzing facts in a particular context. In my argument in defense of America, I would weigh the following positive “facts”:

(1) staggering prosperity (average income);

(2) overall health (low infant mortality rate and high life expectancy);

(3) unprecedented freedom (nobody gets killed by the government for speaking out in America…though you will sell fewer Dixie Chick CDs);

(4) Democratic government (see constitution); and

(5) Improvement in inclusiveness (see Obama, Clinton, gay marriage in California)

…against the following negative facts:

(1) America’s mass land grab;

(2) America’s obesity;

(3) American’s internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II;

(4) America’s hypocrisy of saying “all men are created equal” while enslaving a whole race;

(5) America’s creation of more pollution than most of the rest of the world combined; and

(6) America’s role in promulgating reality TV (What B-list American celeb DOESN’T have a reality show now!?!).

We set forth "facts," and based on the weight of those facts, we persuade. We don't act like people who state facts are evil.

Another “negative” fact is that we killed an estimated 220,000 people in Japan, including women and children, with our atomic bombs. I suppose the total number of deaths could be disputed, but it’s pretty easy to count those who were there and then were gone in a blinding flash or who died from radiation sickness in the months thereafter.

Or is it a positive fact? What if I say "all is fair in love and war" and that by dropping atomic bombs, we saved more American (and possibly Japanese) lives by making an island incursion unnecessary? That's subjective. But you can't argue with "the fact" itself. You’ll never hear me hide from THE FACT that America killed children, which is conduct that we call “terrorism” when it’s done by anybody but America.

You see, I take America, warts and all, and do my best to make it live up to ideals it espouses and tries to press upon the rest of the world. I’m sure some conservatives are going to say I hate America for not seeing just the good.

But it’s not just conservatives who run from truth. Try talking about crime and race. You’ll get liberal eyebrows raising before you start. Here’s a fact. In 2002, 63% of inmates were either black or Latino, even though they represented only 25% of the population combined. Liberals run from this “fact” because they think it plays into arguments that Latinos and blacks are “criminals.” But the incarceration “fact” can’t tell the story of massive racial discrepancies between the charging rates on drug crimes of blacks versus whites. Nor can it speak to the discriminatory sentencing that keeps blacks and Latinos in jail for longer periods than their white counterparts. These facts rebut the incarceration fact, but they don't make the incarceration rate no longer true.

….which brings me to Charlie Black and John McCain.

Good old Charlie said that a terrorist attack would help John McCain in the general election. Black apologized for his comment. McCain then came out and said it wasn’t true and even used Black’s gaffe as an opportunity to recount his work to prevent another terrorist attack.

You know whose comments I find more deplorable? McCain’s. Here’s why. What Charlie Black said is a fact. The polling data shows in compelling fashion that the only area McCain demolishes Obama is on dealing with terrorism. This is why McCain jumped all over Obama when Obama said we should actually try terrorists instead of just holding them forever without trials. McCain wants to direct as much attention as possible to terrorism.

Common sense tells us the more an issue can be put on the public’s mind, the more likely the public is to vote for the candidate who wins on that issue. The reason James Carville coined the phrase, “It’s the Economy, Stupid,” is because he knew Clinton couldn’t win talking about foreign relations.

As a Democrat, I have wondered periodically whether Charlie Black has a soul. But is there anybody in this country (except for Ron Paul supporters who think we blew up ourselves on 9-11) who seriously believe Charlie Black WANTS a terrorist attack? That’s an abhorrent insinuation.

(Having said this, it IS interesting that the coverage of Black’s gaffe in the story above shows a picture of ground zero wreckage, thereby putting it in the public's mind. Is Black that stupid, or that ingenious? I honestly can’t tell).

But not wishing for an attack doesn’t mean that such an attack wouldn’t benefit your candidate. And McCain KNOWS it would. And so do we, without question. But America won’t let him, or Charlie Black, say it...because we are too afraid of facts.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Apparently, Other Places Have Problems With City Councilors, Too!

If this is how Iraqis treat their "liberators"(to paraphrase VP Cheney), imagine how they'd treat foreign insurgents intent on radically altering their governmental structure?!?!

CNN reports that a member of an Iraqi city council shot and killed three American troops before they put him down.

Something smells funny about this. Keep your noses open.


Not Again!?!? Please, God, Not Again!!!! City-County Councilor Doris Minton-McNeil Arrested

Remember when this blog started, and I said one of my goals was to drive my party to do a better job recruiting candidates? I urged the party to preserve its credibility by pulling the plug on Democrats, even those IN office, when they embarrass us. I talked about how humiliating it is having to constantly apologize for your own people. Remember?

So I'm perusing the headlines on-line this morning, and I see "councilmember arrested in police scuffle." I can't lie. Without seeing a name, party affiliation, or picture, I swear I honestly thought, "It's a Democrat." I click the story and guess what? It is.

Doris Minton-McNeil, the woman who JUST took over Andre Carson's city-county council seat in April after a caucus, was arrested for allegedly running into a female police officer and injuring her wrist. (I promise you some Carson haters will unfairly try to tag the Congressman with this simply because Minton-McNeil lived in the same district and filled his seat).

Among the allegations are that Ms. Minton-McNeil told police she could not be arrested because she was a councilor, and she tried to give police her business card and repeatedly told them to call city officials.

Marion County Republican Party Chairman, Tom John, called for Minton-McNeil's resignation, noting that nobody is above the law. If the councilor is convicted or pleads guilty of this charge, I'm praying my party will take up John on the offer. It's getting to the point where I can't tell whether I'm a member of a political party or the Indiana Pacers.

Let's be frank. Many of us have probably been at home watching a football game or at a party (bachelor or otherwise) with a designated driver and had a bit too much to drink. We're not worried about drinking and driving, so maybe we overdo it. I get that. But that is in the festive context of social interaction.

In contrast, according to several reports, despite saying she had only had two margaritas, the councilor could not control her bodily functions in the squad car on the way downtown, and she was with only her father, who apparently wasn't drinking. Who gets that hammered at 5:30 p.m. on a Sunday by themselves? I assure you that were she not a councilor, she'd face disciplinary action at IPS. I bet, by virtue of her power, IPS is now too afraid to even issue a reprimand.

This incident serves as a valuable opportunity to revisit my "brand" speech. The Democratic Party is a brand, and all of the candidates and elected officials are the product lines. If one product (or series of products) disappoints consumers (voters) it can demolish trust in the entire brand, in particular if those who put the product out don't take appropriate corrective action. That's where we are in Marion County. We put people in positions of authority that shouldn't be there in the first place to satisfy a demographic need or to placate somebody's nepotism goal or patronage demand. Then when they use bad judgment, we reflexively defend them (and ourselves) and attack their accusers, instead of cleaning house.

Think about what happened after Tylenol was contaminated. The company not only took every single bottle off the shelf, but also, it put a tamper proof cap on the product, at great cost, to ensure that people could trust the specific product AND the brand name. Imagine if Tylenol had instead just left it at, "The company did not contaminate the product. An individual who obviously had a bias against us did this, so we can't be held responsible."

They'd be out of business.

There's a LOT that's not known, so let's not rush to judgment yet. But if this thing culminates in a conviction, I'll be calling on the Marion County Democratic Party to wake up...and stop my nightmares.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Jon Elrod I Thought I Knew

I've said some really good things about Republican Jon Elrod. He's a likeable guy, and he was the only Republican who refused to sign a PR ploy request for a vote on SJR-7, the constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. There's NO WAY that could have been easy in the Indiana House Republican Caucus. Cajones of steel, said I. I've even tried, somewhat jokingly (but also somewhat seriously) to recruit him into the Democratic Party. Rest easy, Republican Friends of Elrod...absolutely NO success in that effort.

What I liked about him was that, while he would work hard for victory, I had the sense that as long as he did things "the right way," he could live with defeat. This was evident during the congressional debates before the special election. He could have bashed Andre Carson publicly, but he didn't. (Yes, I know. He hit him with some anti-gun mailers that weren't flattering, but compared to most scorched earth campaigns, one mailing is tame stuff). Call it gut instinct, but winning almost seemed secondary to running a good race for Elrod. In this respect, he personified the difference between people whose motivation is just "to make money" and those who adopt an attitude that if you do things the right way and do what you love, the money will follow. Elrod's initial run for HD 97 was not Step 1 in a ten-step scripted plan for obtaining the highest possible elective office.

But now it seems the political ambitions have stolen him. Brendan O'Shaughnessy of the Indianapolis Star reports that Jon Elrod has resigned as the R candidate from the 7th District Congressional race so that he can be appointed to fill a vacancy left in Indiana State House District 97, his old district which he had to forfeit to run against Carson in the first place. Elrod knew he had an easier chance to win in HD 97 than in a re-run of the special election, so he bailed out.

To paraphrse Ross Perot, I hear a giant sucking sound. It's Jon Elrod's credibility going into a toilet and flushing itself. (I guess this explains why I never got a response when I e-mailed and asked him to flatly deny the rumor that he was even thinking about this).

I suppose the likeability factor might still be there, but almost everything else is out the window. Jon Elrod went from being the guy who wanted to be your neighborhood congressman to the guy who just couldn't live without representing ANY neighborhood. He could have waited for two years, stayed active in the community and come back, but somehow he wasn't able to withstand either (1) the temptation of keeping and/or expanding power; (2) political pressure from the Republican Party, which had not been an issue before now; or (3) a combination of 1 and 2.
How can any constituent trust that he wouldn't sell them out to preserve his standing? He may have said he takes no pleasure in "walking away from a fight," but he actually sprinted away from it.

One could say that it's unfair for me to be disappointed in a candidate simply because I had an impression of him that turned out to be wrong. After all, he never claimed to impervious to the lure of power.

Yeah, good thing.


Make Rush Limbaugh and Governor Mitch Daniels Eat It With "Mission Havoc!"

Rush Limbaugh orchestrated “Operation Chaos,” an effort to persuade Republicans to “cross over” and vote for Hillary Clinton in open primary states like Indiana, thereby prolonging the divisive and costly D primary fight.

While Democrats spun the high voter registration totals as “new” voters brought in by excitement about “the process” and Obama (absolutely true), they also claimed converts from legions of disgruntled Republicans. Sorry, but this can't be as true. There hasn't been that kind of mass defection from any organization since Dan Dakich took over as head coach at IU. In short, you HAVE to believe that Limbaugh’s tactic had at least some success, in particular in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.

So how about a little payback? Let’s call it “Mission Havoc.”

The goal is to assist the gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Jill Long-Thompson by getting John Waterman, a rogue Republican state senator who is waging a third-party bid as leader of “the taxpayer party” on the ballot. He needs 33,000 signatures by June 30.

If Waterman becomes viable, I predict he will siphon both money and votes from Daniels. Sure, there is a chance he might take some protest votes from independents that JLT would have otherwise collected but for a “third protest option,” but I’m banking that, by virtue of the assistance from famed foe of Bob and Tom, Waterman will take even MORE votes from ultra conservatives who think an income tax is illegal and who think the right to have a tank in your garage is constitutionally protected. Those folks would NEVER vote for a Democrat. Ever.

People, including John Price himself, say the collection of 33,000 signatures might require a political miracle. I don’t agree. Look at the math. 33,000/12 days = 2,750 signatures per day. That’s 275 per day if you have 10 volunteers at Walmart. But WHAT IF, in addition to the Waterman campaign efforts, we could get, say, 1000 people to get 10 names each?

How about we find out, readers?

PLEASE go to, print out the form, and get 10 people in your circle of family and friends (or MORE if you’re Catholic) to sign. Then mail it to me at: Chris Worden, 225 N. Delaware Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

IF I receive it BEFORE June 30, I’ll take all of them to the Marion County Clerk’s Office. If you mail it, it MUST be received by the 29th, or I won’t have it in time to deliver by the deadline.

No, I’m serious. Really. I’m very serious. If you want to help JLT, and you’re thinking, “I can write a check for JLT, or I can spend my time getting signatures for John Waterman," get the signatures.” (And write the check as or donate on-line immediately. JLT needs a good campaign finance report).

As an incentive for your labor, I will give a $100 gift card to the restaurant of choice to the registered Democrat who delivers in a timely manner the most legitimate signatures (no "I.P. Freely" or "Seymour Butts").



Monday, June 16, 2008

It's Not the Same Without Tim Russert

It's weird to feel loss about someone you don't really know. But there it was....the second I realized that my Sunday morning ritual of watching Russert grill the power elite was no more.

Talk about painfully objective. Russert was never shrill or embarrassing, but he made people from all ideologies eat their own words like Rush Limbaugh eats shrimp cocktail. That's what I loved about the guy. If you said you hated bagels in 2007, he and his crack research staff would find an article from the Des Moines Register in 1983 where you were quoted as saying you loved them with cream cheese. I've never seen anybody as so well-prepared for an interview in my entire life, and I don't think I will again.

You know how they say when you die, you get to ask God all the questions you've wanted to ask? This will mark the first time God sweats.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fox News Makes Change: Viewers Pray To God It's Just Started

The Fox News anchor who churned the idea that the Obama did a "terrorist fist jab" with his wife even though there was no basis for the comment in her story has been taken off the air. One might say, "Wow. Fox is being responsible?!?!" Let's not get crazy, okay. She's still on staff, and the producer on the segment wasn't demoted or punished in any.

In addition, Fox News ran a graphic that referred to Michelle Obama as "Obama's Baby Mama."

Putting aside FOR NOW that I find the phrase "baby mama" inherently offensive because it legitimizes illegitimacy, I'll offer this gem of advice:

"IF you are relatively certain that someone from your ethnic group did not coin the phrase, you miiiight want to investigate how that phrase is perceived by those who did."

Or, if you're somebody who doesn't have any "best friends who are black," at least check the Urban Dictionary, for crying out loud.

"Baby mama" is no compliment, as it refers generally to:

(a) single mother who slept with someone without establishing any real relationship; and

(b) often refers to a woman who is a gold-digger who is using the baby as a means to financial well-being.

Using "baby mama" to describe a professional, independent woman whose children were born in an intact marriage, such as Michelle Obama, is as insulting as calling a nun a "slut."

This is what happens when an organization is more concerned about trying to be "hip" then giving "fair and balanced" news. They end up giving neither.

What's next, Fox? "Outraged Liberals: Quit Dissin' Our Homey, ya fake-@ss bustas!"



Rumors are like tumors ...they WILL grow until detected and treated. Sometimes they're benign, sometimes they're malignant but treatable, and sometimes you're just too late. They kill you.

Barack (Barry) Hussein (Muhammad) Obama (Dunham), a life-long Christian (former Muslim), born in Hawaii (outside the U.S. with no birth certificate), who was sworn in on his family's Bible (the Koran), has finally realized, no doubt from his education at a diverse (radical Islamic massadah) grade school, that he and his lovely (anti-Whitey speech giving) wife, Michelle, can be as patriotic (refuse to say the pledge or wear American flag lapel pins) and upstanding (snort cocaine before gay sex) as possible, but they'll get no peace against internet rumors that go "viral" unless they crush them, preferrably by touching their fists together (a/k/a "a terrorist fist jab").

(Use "The Google," as John McCain might say, and you will see how Obama has been subjected to an avalanche of allegations that would be defamatory were he not a candidate).

Karen Tumulty at Time reports that Obama ushered in a new style of answering rumors by creating The website features video clips and stories that counter the scurrilousness noted above.

In my opinion, this is (a) genius and (b) long overdue. The Internet is a mixed blessing. It provides easy access to a staggering wealth of information AND misinformation.

And, unlike "the old days" when you had to at least pay for copying scandalous fliers and you could get your @ss kicked for passing them out, a negative chain e-mail COSTS NOTHING to distribute, and it requires acumen most don't have to to track its source. The "cost" of disseminating bogus info is negligible.

This makes the cost-benefit calculus of "do it/don't do it" pretty easy if it works.

On that score, ask yourself how many e-mails you have received that claim Microsoft will pay you $500 for forwarding that same e-mail?

How many of you men have received a chain e-mail warning not to have drinks with an attractive woman or you'll end up in a bath tub full of ice with "Call 9-1-1" on your chest...only to discover after examination that you have stitches on your back because you were drugged before one of your kidneys was harvested for apparent sell on the black market?

Absurdities like this STILL circulate, though admittedly not as much. The decline is attribuate to "clearinghouse" websites, such as, that debunk all urban legends.

Stopthesmears is Obama's Snopes, and if he had made this available earlier, he would be up 15 points now on McCain instead of 7 because he would have staved off rumors that helped make legitimate stories seem bigger than they were.

Rumors are most effective when they plays into the voter's worldview. After all, if the man refuses to wear a flag on his lapel, and you're a flag-burning amendment proponent, why would you believe Obama when he says he doesn't share Reverend Wright's dismal view of America? Or let's say you're somewhat suspicious of Muslims. If somebody tells you Obama was sworn in on the Koran, and you're only semi-attuned to politics, how likely are you to actually investigate independently to see if it is true? I'd say even money at best. You see, some Americans are so excited about sharing something titilating with their friends, they certainly aren't going to let the facts get in the way of a good story. This applies to all ideologies, by the way.

Political rumor-mongering will also grow because, even when debunked, each rumor has a "shelf life." Unlike a flier that gets chucked in the trash, a rumor continues to be found at The Google until it so widely-debunked, that people will point and giggle (with emoticons) if you keep posting or IMing about it.

The rumor need not even be that effective to get the desired result. Hoosiers cast 1.27 million votes in the presidential Democratic primary, and the margin of victory for Hillary Clinton was 13,000. This means a rumor e-mail that makes 6,500 people (1 in 200) suspicious enough to NOT vote for Obama has just changed the primary outcome. (Maybe it already did???)

In honor of Obama's anti-rumor campaign, I want to put the final chemo treatment on a rumor I actually floated last week (shame on you, Ipopa!) about David O. supporters asking Ed Delaney to hand over his seat. I can now report that this is unequivocally false. Neither David O., nor anybody associated with David O. or the House Democratic Caucus has made this request of Ed Delaney, nor has Ed offered to step aside. David O. is comfortable being cheerleader for Ed Delaney's effort, and Ed is committed to winning his campaign.

See what happens when you actually investigate a story before you start churning it? You get THE TRUTH. That's as radical as Obama's grade school.

See how I got you on that one?!? IT'S NOT RADICAL AT ALL. Don't believe me?

Mark it in your favorites next to Snopes...and help stop the madness.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How Stupid Does Fox News Think America Is?

I fear for America. Specifically, I fear for anybody who says Fox News is “fair and balanced” after watching this video about the biggest NON-story in presidential history: the Obamas touching fists before Barack’s victory speech.

Fox has managed to take a sweet and intimate gesture between the Obamas and sensationalize it in the most ludicrous way imaginable.

Listen closely as the newscaster questions what you should call it when the Obama’s touch closed hands together:

“A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab?!?”

A WHAT?!?!?

Yes, you heard this right. The newscaster suggests that SOMEBODY out there has equated this gesture to something TERRORIST!!! But the funny thing is, other than in her introduction, you NEVER hear any reference to terrorists or terrorism by anybody. In other words, we have what is called a "dangling lead" because there is NOTHING underneath in the story to support it.

Way to go, Fox! You should change your slogan from “Fair and Balanced” to “Dumbing down America One Newscast at a Time.”

Fox is not alone though. The Bob and Tom Show devoted a half hour to this same subject yesterday, begging the question, “Why?” I know he’s funny, but only someone so unrepentantly un-hip as Tom Griswold could find the Obamas’ gesture unusual or noteworthy in any respect.

This is, of course, UNLESS you are trying to imbed an image in people’s mind of something nefarious done by Barack HUSSEIN Obama…even when there’s NOTHING there.

FOX knows truth won’t matter because it knows the insinuation plays into SOME white people’s paranoia. I promise you when the “terrorist fist jab” allegation doesn’t stick, you’ll see blogs in the next week that say the Obamas exchanged some kind of “black power” symbol.

If you buy into any of this, please turn in your voter registration card because you’re clearly too stupid to vote.
I promise you the moment the intro to this story was written, an oven started warming up in hell for a Fox news producer.


Jon Elrod Abandons Ship?

Say it ain't so, Jo....n.

Sure, Bush's legacy in November will be as beneficial to downticket races as pizza at a Weight Watchers meeting, but I was floored to get wind of scuttlebutt that Jon Elrod, having lost to Andre Carson in the special election and seeing little hope of improving in November, is contemplating resigning his federal candidacy and jumping back into his old house district.

If he pops back into Indiana House District 97, Elrod would face Democrat Mary Ann Sullivan, who edged out city-county councilor Dane Mahern at the Marion County Democratic Party's slating convention.

The Republicans had none of that drama. In fact, nobody even filed a declaration of candidacy pre-primary. As a result, there is a candidate vacancy that must be filled by a Republican Party caucus. Ostensibly, the precinct committee persons covering HD 97 could appoint Jon Elrod, EXCEPT for one small detail. He can't run for congress and state representative at the same time, which is why David Orentlicher had to give up his state house seat. (More on that in a second).

Elrod is allegedly getting pressure from some Repubs to drop the lost cause congressional race and help the R's hold ground in the House by reclaiming a seat he won in a labor-intensive campaign against Democrat Ed Mahern in 2006.

While such a two-step of resigning the federal candidacy and getting appointed to fill the vacancy in his former seat seems completely legal by my cursory review of the election code, I'm skeptical it would be easy for Elrod to pull off politically. He basically told the folks in HD 97, "Your little pond is too small for me." I don't know how keen they'll be now to let him swim in it again just because he saw the piranhana that is the Carson machine coming at him in the congressional campaign stream.

This is a bi-partisan critique, by the way. There's a corresponding rumor that either Ed Delaney offered to withdraw his candidacy so David O. could take HIS seat back or that Delaney has been asked by some Democrats to do so. I find the former version highly suspect. Ed Delaney is no slouch, folks, and I seriously doubt he was running just because he thought it would be a fun thing to do. (I'll let you know when I sort this out).

In my opinion, the vanquished (or the "not even fully vanquished yet") shouldn't get to take their ball and run home. At least not until they regroup and come out swinging in the next election cycle.

Some may say, "What's the big deal? Presidential candidates all have other offices they hold, and they lose and go back without political fallout." First, there CAN be fallout if your state suffered a crises in your absence. Second, if there isn't fallout, it's because either:

(a) many people are wowed to see somebody from their home state playing on the national stage (Evan Bayh, for example...even as an Obama guy, seeing the Senator get national play was pretty sweet); and

(b) presidential candidacies are waged by people who gain FOR their constituents by having assembled national contacts. Hillary Clinton will have more political resources now as a Senator than she ever had before this campaign. That will make her more formidable in the Senate, and every one of her constituents will benefit.

In contrast, what can Jon Elrod say he got for HD 97 by virtue of to run....against Andre Carson? Yeah, I don't know either. Same for David O. Sit tight until the next go-round, lads. You'll come off more respectably.


Monday, June 9, 2008

The Glass is (Van) Haaften Empty

State Representative Trent Van Haaften, who made a name for himself with some fine prosecutorial work in Posey County before turning his attention to the Indiana General Assembly, is not interested in serving as the Democrats' LG nominee.

(Van Haaften has had his name dropped by political pundits more times in the last three weeks than a houseful of washed up TV stars in a reality show drops the names of their more successful co-stars).

Limelight is nice, of course, but Van Haaften is content to continue his work for his constituents back in Indiana's 76th, where he works as an attorney with Bamberger, Foreman, Oswald, and Hahn.

Sources at the General Assembly say Van Haaften has built a reputation for seeking bi-partisan consensus. One wonders how comfortable Van Haaften would have been then with the slinging of rocks and arrows that will be necesssary to bring down the giant that is Governor Daniels' warchest.

This seems to have exhausted the public list of distinguished southern gentlemen from whom Jill Long can pick. Therefore, we know this is about to get REAL exciting, folks. It means either that JLT has other names in the hopper, and we're going to get a REAL surprise announcement, or she's seeking Northern exposure with Lake County Sherrif Roy Dominguez. If she does the latter, her campaign will need to camp South of U.S. 40 to make inroads in key battleground counties.

Stay tuned....


Friday, June 6, 2008

A Note of Clarification...and an Open Letter to JLT my knowledge, no offer for the LG slot was made to either Jonathon Weinzapfel or John Gregg. They just put down public speculation about whether they WOULD take the offer by withdrawing themselves from consideration.

I say this because JLT was NOT rebuffed by anybody in the way that, say, Governor Daniels was by the delegates who ignored his plea to select Bob Costas, the talk-show host sponsoring, marathoning mayor of Valpo, for Attorney General.

Having said that, Channel 6 reports today that "a campaign source" confirms that JLT has a running mate. She just won't tell us who it is until "closer to" the Democratic convention next Friday.

Now for my letter:

Ms. Long-Thompson (may I call you JLT?):

Waiting to announce your running mate is curious. You can get press NOW on a traveling tour instead of letting Daniels own both paid AND earned media for another two weeks. In addition, you can send out your LG to campaign, too, just like Mitch does with LG Skillman. If you make the announcement now, you also avoid walking on your own press at convention time by having to split the story limelight. The story will NOT be exclusively "here's JLT's message," it will be "here's JLT's running mate." Finally, if you have a "surprise unveiling," what if the delegates don't like your choice? Do you know how embarrassing it's going to be to have boo's on the convention floor? At least if you tell people now, you can put the word out to treat his/her introduction like the second coming.

You know factories are closing every day and that's pain the Governor can't make disappear with $20 million in TV ads. But you've got to give people an option. That takes dollars, and earned media drives fundraising. Yet I can't find a single story about you in any of the 20 major dailies over the past two weeks. Not one. Well, excluding today when a paper in your STRONGEST area (Fort Wayne) made you look bad for not already having a running mate. In contrast, Governor Daniels has averaged 2-3 stories PER DAY and each touches a different "media market." No, you'll never get the reception of a sitting Governor, but you can get SOME coverage.

I don't know if you ever watched The West Wing, but one of my favorite episodes has a conversation between President Bartlett (Martin Sheen) and his chief-of-staff, Leo McGarry (played by the late John Spencer) that goes like this:

The President to Leo: " said, 'Jed, let's run for President,' and I said 'Why?' and you said, 'So you can open your mouth and say what you think'...where did that part go, Leo?

Leo: "You tell me, Mr. President. I don't see a shortage of cameras and microphones around here. What the hell were you waiting for?. . . These people who would walk into fire if you told them to...everyone's waiting for you. I don't know how much longer."

JLT, there are cameras and mics everywhere wanting to hear from you, and there are Democrats who are waiting to help you. Just like me. But at some point, they're going to stop. The longer you wait to engage, the harder this becomes. Wallets are closing and enthusiasm is waning. I am generally not one of these people who plays coy about who I support, so I'll tell you point blank, "I supported Jim Schellinger." But (listen to this closely) I WANT YOU as my Governor. Yes, YOU. Not Mitch Daniels.

If you lose, it will sadden me and be tragic. This is an ideal year for retaking the Governor's Office. But if you don't run a strong enough campaign to exhaust Daniels' money supply, Daniels will have plenty left over to dole out in all the other statewide races AND in the Indiana General Assembly races. Part of leadership is handling pressure, so I don't mind telling you that if you don't ramp up immediately, you could inadvertently wipe out the Republican Party wipeout that should occur in November.

I'm praying you called State Representative Trent Van Haaften today with some good news and told him to get on his running shoes.

Chris Worden


Oy! No Roy!

The gubernatorial LG field for Jill Long-Thompson among "traditional political figures" dwindles. Former Indiana House of Representatives Speaker, John Gregg, the guy I thought should be number two if Evansville Mayor Weinzapfel said no (he did), took himself out of the mix last week.

While there could certainly be somebody else in play who hasn't been mentioned publicly, of the reported short list, we have only State Representative Dennie Oxley and Lake County Sherriff Roy Dominguez. I'm praying JLT has a third option.

The likelihood that Oxley's work for an Indianapolis engineering company did construction projects that increased SOMEBODY's property taxes is undoubtedly high. As JLT crushed Jim Schellinger with this argument, I suggested she would see it revisited on her running mate by Mitch Daniels. Also, Oxley's Indianapolis-based employment could negate any comfort to be drawn from his Southern roots.

I also said it would be a huge mistake for JLT to select Dominguez. In fact, I can't think of a single reason TO pick him, beyond he's the only one who said yes.

For your consideration:

(1) Jill Long-Thompson got slaughtered in Southern Indiana in the primary. She needs somebody from down there to compete in the battleground counties (the ones where they tend to vote D gubernatorially when you have an O'Bannon, but not otherwise).

(2) This campaign is about jobs and the economy. A sheriff doesn't help you on that, even if he was the director of the Worker's Compensation Board. Handling injuries is diffrent than job-creation, folks.

(3) Lake County is a Democratic stronghold. The only reason you would pick somebody there is because you believe you have the chance to (a) increase fundraising; or (b) increase turnout, or (c) both. With Obama on the ballot, Gary and East Chicago WILL turnout without much prompting (translation: not as much "walking around money" will need to be doled out to the city precinct organizations). What about the rest of the county? Well, for them to work hard, you'd need somebody around whom they can all coalesce.

But read the story in yesterday's Post-Tribune about Dominguez reversing himself on his policy about employees being able to take home their squad cars, and you'll see that Roy ain't that guy.

From the story...

The decision (by Dominguez) was a victory for county Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Schererville, who complained the sheriff was in violation of the Board of Commissioners' policy, restricting take-home cars to police officers and a limited number of government officials of their choosing.

The dispute was triggered by recent public complaints of after-hours use of vehicles, including one by a neighbor of Patricia Van Til, the sheriff's administrative deputy chief, who said her county vehicle was frequently parked in her home's driveway. Sheriff Rogelio "Roy" Dominguez said Van Til did nothing wrong because he gave her and other civilian employees permission to occasionally take home their vehicle when conducting department business after hours to avoid having to pay the employee overtime to drive the vehicle back to the county government center in Crown Point.

Scheub said Wednesday, "We are going to cut our liability and vehicle cost and if the sheriff can't handle that, we will take the license plates away."

If the sheriff can't handle that?!?!?!?!?!?"

Does it sound to you that Dominguez is even on good terms with his Democratic County Commissioners? And don't forget that Dominguez was thrown out of the Lake County Fraternal Order of Police, largely because he has alienated so many supporters of former Lake County Sheriff John Buncich. Talk with Lake County folk, and they'll tell you Dominguez isn't even able to get good word of mouth out of all of his line deputies.

I promise you that if JLT selects Dominguez, she will regret it because the diplomacy she will have to engage in to make warring factions tranquil will exceed any benefit she could possibly gain from having somebody from Lake County on the ballot.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cheney Makes Byrd Feverish?

Dick Cheney is apologizing for suggesting West Virginians engage in inbreeding. (In the interest of full-disclosure, I’m sure I’ve jokingly said the same thing about BOTH West Virginians AND Kentuckians, though never directly. Instead, I've traditionally hummed the music from the Deliverance porch scene when someone mentioned either).

From CNN:

Asked during a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club about the fact that a search of his family tree found he is a distant relative of Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential front-runner, Cheney said the two politicians were unlikely to hold a family reunion. He said that the Cheney line on his father's side of the family dates to 1630's, and a Cheney family line on his mother's side dates to the 1650's.

"So, I had Cheneys on both sides of the family — and we don't even live in West Virginia," Cheney cracked. After pausing for laughter from the crowd, Cheney added, "You can say those things when you're not running for re-election."

Cheney’s comments prompted an angry reply from West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd. “In a written statement, Byrd declared that Cheney showed "contempt and astounding ignorance toward his own countrymen" with the comments.

Later in the day, Senator Byrd appeared at his office for a vote on global warming, and he was still hot himself. His health provider found that the 90-year-old was feverish, and he was hospitalized for observation.

If he can't get 'em with a shotgun, he'll torment 'em to death.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Charles in Charge

I've finally found time to praise a great guy known to many Democrats, Charles Burns, who used to work the "body detail" for Governors Evan Bayh and Frank O'Bannon. Being ready to take a bullet, though, didn't earn him the name recognition of his most famous "body detail" to date.

As current head of security for the Indianapolis Motor Speedwway, Burns was the guy who "redirected" Danica Patrick off the track during her "march to Briscoe" after her potential top-five finish was wiped out in pit row.

Charles appears stylishly suited between 2:24-2:37 in the video. As you can see, he's quite the diplomat and presence, as Danica acknowledged in a recent interview:

Q. What's more intimidating, going into turn one at Indy for the first lap or Charles Burns saying no?

DANICA PATRICK: Well, Charles is security. So the primary word being "secure." Indy you've got nothing that's a hundred percent secure. It's definitely more scary when your car is uncomfortable at Indy going into turn one. I mean, I can tell you that I never made a whole lap flat in the race so longs as I was in it. When the car is not right at Indy, it's the most difficult track. So definitely turn one.

Q. How intimidating was Mr. Burns?

DANICA PATRICK: Charles (Burns) and I are friends. He was looking out for me. He is not intimidating to me. But I do listen (laughter).

Any ugly incident involving the golden child of IRL doesn't serve anybody associated with the sport, so Ipopa (phonetically "eye-pop-uh") gives him crazy kudos. Well done, Charles.


Mighty White-y of You

The rumor about Republicans having video of Michelle Obama “railing against Whitey” at her church has “gone mainstream.” Slate, Reason, and The National Review all have it now. Each vents skepticism that the tape rumor is more than an anti-Obama fear mongering campaign designed to swing super-delegates to Clinton.

Larry Johnson, the former CIA operative and zealous Clinton supporter, was the first to raise the tape allegation at his blog, Yesterday morning, Johnson gave a more definitive description of the tape (though he has not seen it). He claims it shows Michelle Obama and Louis Farrakhan together on some sort of panel.

When this story first broke, I contacted Kip Tew, the chair of Indiana’s Obama effort. He was extremely skeptical, but he said he would inquire with Obama HQ. I don’t know whether he ever did, but I can tell you I never got a reply from the campaign.

This is somewhat interesting because today Johnson adds, “I also have learned some major financial backers are asking the Barack team about the tape and are being stonewalled. It is a wild card in the political campaign that has not yet played out.”

This might be because the Obama camp doesn’t want to spend a single minute “proving negatives” and being taken “off message.” I certainly get that, and as an Obama guy, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt until I see an actual tape (rather convenient how nothing has materialized in a Youtube age).

Having said that, I predicted some time ago that this rumor (unlike the insane Larry Sinclair variety) would “get legs” in light of all the other religious controversies and comments by Michelle Obama. I urged the campaign to denounce “desperate tactics” and to make an outright denial. To date, this hasn’t happened.

And that’s okay, if they know no such tape could exist. But IF a tape materializes in October, Obama will be unelectable, and he has to know it right now. That means he will have let his drive for the Presidency overtake his common sense, and he will have handed the election to John McCain. If that transpires, I promise I will go to Illinois to work for whatever Democrat runs against him to make sure he never serves in public office again.

I am a huge fan of Obama and a donor of his, but anybody who helps elect John McCain deserves the scorn of every Democrat. And, I might add, that includes Hillary Clinton, whose continued fight has kept the party from coalescing around Obama. Her prolonged campaign and “woe is me, I’m being beaten up by pundits” attitude has generated such profound anger, a lot of “Hillary Clinton Democrats” will NOT be voting for Obama in November.

It would be a tragedy if her scorched earth campaign transforms a situation where the Democratic Party goes from two exceptional candidates to two unelectable ones. Of course, that would be par for the course.

To quote Will Rogers, “I am not a member of any organized party. I’m a Democrat.”


Monday, June 2, 2008

What Happens When You Push....Part II.... that Greg Zoeller becomes your Republican nominee for Attorney General.

They just announced the results (to thunderous applause) at the Republican Party convention, and Zoeller won by 300 in a victory that is a total repudiation of Governor Daniels and the "elected class" but a victory for the people who know what the hell they're doing in politics.

The idea that anybody could have thought a Mayor should be preferred just because he's from Northern Indiana over a guy who worked for the last seven-and-a-half years actually working IN the Attorney General's Office is astonishing.

As a Democrat, I have to say, "Dang!" While we have a FORMIDABLE candidate in Linda Pence, who I believe will be victorious, we would have had a MUCH easier time with Jon Costas.

This result is what I predicted yesterday, so call me Democradamus. You can't lean on people and expect to carry the day. But as a Democrat, I hope my good buddy, Republican County Chair Tom John, keeps trying.


What Happens When You Push

Let's discuss some Laws of Politics, class.

"To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

This is one of Newton's Laws of Motion, but it should be co-titled "Newton's Law of Political Persuasion." When people are TOLD what to do instead of being convinced what to do, they will push back or rebel.

This is human nature. People want to make up their own minds. This is why any good trial attorney will tell you your objective is not to tell a jury your client is right, it's to give them the facts in such a convincing fashion that they have no choice but to conclude your client is right.

Here's Worden's Corollary:

"The fewer meaningful decisions a person gets to make, the more likely they are to rebel when pushed."

In other words, "Newton's Law of Political Persuasion" applies most forcefully to the front-line political soldiers - the precinct committee people and the county chairs. These folks do the "heavy lifting" for the parties, and in exchange, their rewards are some signed photos with elected officials and a handful of opportunities to vote for candidates in special caucuses and at their state conventions.

Mitch Daniels and people like Marion County Republican Chair Tom John would do well to remember this and the history lesson of 1992.

Former Republican Attorney General Linley Pearson (who serves as the Clinton County Circuit Court Judge the last time I checked) was running for Governor. In the Attorney General's race, Pearson wanted his number two from the AG's, David Miller, to fill his slot, just as Steve Carter is seeking to have Greg Zoeller step into his shoes now.

For Pearson, this wasn't about having his friend on the ticket, it was about NOT having Tim Bookwalter. Bookwalter (currently the Putnam County Prosecutor) was a charismatic bow-tied attorney out of Greencastle, and he was gaining traction by serving red meat. He was telling Republicans how he would crawl up and die in Evan Bayh's behind, and he was attacking Democrat AG candidate Pam Carter with a pithy quote about how he would be a "watch dog, not a lap dog."

The problem was that Bookwalter was controversial. He had spent a good deal of his time as a criminal defense attorney, and his own law partner had serious misgivings about his fitness for office. Pearson, afraid of violating Reagan's 11th Commandment -- "Never Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican" -- just assumed people would "get the word." They didn't.

So the closer it got to the convention date, the more desperate Pearson got. Surrogates started making calls that were increasingly threatening in tone, and people who were on the fence started jumping to Bookwalter in retaliation. Ultimately, the deal was cinched when Pearson actually threatened the day of the convention to LEAVE in protest. When the remaining undecided precinct committee people got wind of THAT threat, they issued a resounding "Ef U" to Pearson and overwhelmingly broke to Bookwalter, almost as if out of morbid curiosity to see what Pearson would actually do.

As Pam Carter's campaign manager, I CELEBRATED when Bookwalter got the nod.

First, Bookwalter was as controversial as expected. He ran a blatantly racist campaign that helped energize our base. Bookwalter arbitrarily scheduled debates in all 92 counties, actually SENT us 92 separate letters, and then when we didn't attend because we, of course, had our own schedule, he pulled out a cardboard cut-out of Pam to ensure that everybody knew she was African-American.

A few papers took the bait and ran photos of the cut-out, but most were too put off. John Schwantes of the Indianapolis Star joked that Bookwalter kept a second cut-out just in case the first one faded.

But more critically, we were able to bash Bookwalter for representing "drug dealers, molesters, rapists, and murderers." Though the Fraternal Order of Police won't say it publicly, Bookwalter's background sealed their endorsement for Pam, which was critical to our effort.

Had David Miller been nominated, I have no idea how we would have went at him. All I can say is, "Thank God Linley Pearson pushed."

My colleague at Hoosier Pundit has done a masterful job cataloging the extremes of the Mitch Daniels-led effort to make Valpo Mayor Jon Costas the consensus pick.

What's notable is that while Daniels has lined up a lot of elected officials who support Costas, Zoeller has gotten an astonishing number of....(drum roll).....the county chairs.

You can't push on them without having them push back.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Purging My Mind

Never fear, readers. I’m not moving away from politics. But I’m in an analytical mood, and it has inspired some “Random Thoughts.”

- Why do people say, "Have a safe flight" when they drop you off at the airport? Do they think you'll use telekinesis from your seat to control the plane like you're Jean Gray in that X-Man movie? Something like, "I hope your pilot's not drunk," or "Here's hoping the duct tape stays on the wing" would be a more fitting bon mot.

- I don't know why, but it annoys me when an adult tells me, "Bye bye." I'm always thinking "coochie coo" is coming next.

- When did the word "like" become, like, so omnipresent in casual conversation? It's like people are unable to, like, complete a sentence without, like, saying "like." I haven't been this distressed about the future of communication since everybody started calling everything "bogus" after Fast Times at Ridgemont High came out.

- How come people say "God bless you" when you sneeze, but they don't say it when you fart? Is this some sort of orifice bias? Phlegm projected out of your nose at speeds in excess of 160 miles warrants Providential well-wishing, but a bad burrito doesn't get you any sympathy? I had a college friend who could have used a "God bless you" after a "gastric emission.” It was clear he had sold his butt-hole to Satan (to quote Wanda Sykes).

- While we're on things religious, how come most people pray before they eat the three big meals of the day, but they never ask God to bless the cheese and crackers they have in their desk drawer at work? Is there some unwritten rule that it's impolitic to ask God to let something "nourish your body and uplift your spirit" when you know it's so loaded with saturated fat?

In fact, now that we have refrigeration and preservatives, do we even NEED to ask the Lord to bless our food? Wasn't praying over the food something that started only because we got desperate after we ran out of ideas for avoiding salmonella from the pork that we were storing in the sun?

- I have undertaken reading the Bible from cover to cover, and I’m already struggling with the material. In Genesis you have Adam and Eve, then Cain and Abel, and then a whole bunch of people "begetting" a whole bunch of other people. Can't we safely conclude that somewhere along the line, somebody was sleeping with somebody's sister? So who got the “incest immunity” from God? And was that a source of shame or pride? Was it, “Ha! God let ME sleep with my sister!” Or was it a mournful, “I was wicked in the eyes of the Lord….so now I have to sleep with my sister. Yech!”

- I get that euphemisms make us all feel better, but isn’t it kind of cruel to call the facility that houses our women inmates in the Marion County “Liberty Hall?” Isn't that like naming a funeral home “The Beacon of Life.”

- On the subject of incarceration, I don’t think as many people would brag about where they served time if we gave all the prisons daycare center names. What gangsta gets street cred telling his boys he got a shank scar “up at Little Bunny Foo Foo.” Here’s something else you’d never hear. “I’m not to be trifled with, son! I just did a decade at Tinky Winky….”