Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quote of the Day, Civil War edition

"Seriously Sarah, just leave me out of this. I fought hard and I loved those men of the Potomac. I know from strategies that work and strategies that keep you on a goddamned bloody lane years longer than you need to be. You’re on the wrong side of history here, just like me. You’re running against goddamned Abe Lincoln. You can’t win this and you shouldn’t."

--General George B. McClellan, responding to Sarah Palin after she used his name during the VP debate segment on Afghanistan.

"I'm a Maverick, and I May Not Answer the Questions Tonight"

For your Saturday early evening viewing pleasure:

Midday Roundup

Not a whole lot going on today, but like always here are a few tidbits to muddle through.
  • Barack Obama's Campaign for Change is headed back to Indiana. The details:
    Obama's campaign said Friday that Obama would appear at a rally at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

    The planned stop _ Obama's second visit to Indiana since the Democratic National Convention and his sixth since May _ was set for one day after Tuesday's second presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Be sure to stop by the Statehouse this Wednesday to listen in on what should be a no frills showdown between Hoosier lawmakers and the petroleum industry. The IndyStar has the story:
    A commission made up of Indiana House and Senate members plans to hold a hearing at the Statehouse Wednesday to examine gasoline pricing policies in Indiana.

    The Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy is inviting representatives of the petroleum industry, local distributors, consumers and the state attorney general, who investigates consumer complaints. The public can also attend the meeting, although the agenda states that testimony will only be taken from those invited.
  • Despite an insistence on avoiding Indiana at all costs-- returning only to troll for votes after your campaign begins to spiral into oblivion-- John McCain and his Indiana devotees are as clueless as ever. Proof:
    McCain Indiana campaign co-chairman Luke Messer said the McCain campaign plans to add paid staff around the state next week. He said the campaign would place tens of thousands of yard signs and work to knock on more than 100,000 doors.

    ‘‘You can never take anybody's vote for granted, and John McCain has known all along that you have to work to win the vote of every Hoosier,'' Messer said.

Mitch Daniels' Silver Bullet

Great picture courtesy of Marti.Abernathey over at Blue Indiana. Pretty much sums up JLT's demise unfortunately.

Friday, October 3, 2008

McCampaign Implosion: Michigan Pullout a Mistake Says Sarah Palin

With news that the McCain campaign has all but given up in Michigan-- pulling out to focus resources elsewhere, Indiana included-- welcoming signs are emerging that all but spell out a complete GOP implosion over the newly adopted electoral strategy. The Political Wire has the story:
In an interview with Fox News, Gov. Sarah Palin criticized Sen. John McCain's decision "to pull campaign resources out of Michigan, saying she and her husband Todd would 'be happy' to campaign in the economically distraught battleground state."

Palin said that when she read the news, she "fired off a quick e-mail and said, 'Oh come on, do we have to?'"
Its sad to admit, but Palin is right. Had McCain chosen a viable running mate he would have been afforded the more logical move of sending his vice-president stumping across Michigan, effectively saving the cash but not abandoning presence. Nevertheless, his concession is but another in a long line of demonstrations that show what little faith he places in his own vice-presidential selection.

Thus, as chances for success continue to slim for republicans, you have to wonder how close this race would be right now had McCain chosen Michigan surrogate Mitt Romney instead. Thankfully its a moot point now, and much to our enjoyment McCain is forced to sit back and watch as like Sarah Palin, his electoral math disappears when the going gets tough.

Quotes of the Day, unemployment edition

"We've got the lowest unemployment rate in the Midwest! We're doing vastly better than any state near us. Four months ago, we were at what economists call "full employment", but I don't consider it to be full unemployment. We took a very hard hit in the RV industry with high gas prices."
--Gov. Mitch Daniels

"The unemployment rates are 2% higher then when Governor Daniels took office in January of 2005. That's not a very good record, and it's not a criticism of him, it's a criticism of the way he governs."
--Jill Long Thompson

Who's to believe? You tell me.

I just can't help but think Daniels' unemployment defense is reminiscent of a teenager arguing with his parents, "But Timmy's mom said its OK...."

Bailout Redux: Passes House, Indiana Delegation Split

The bill passed a House vote this afternoon with a final tally of 263-171. As far as Indiana's congressional delegation is concerned the breakdown is as follows:

In favor
Joe Donnelly, D IN-02
Mark Souder, R IN-03
Andre Carson, D IN-07
Brad Ellsworth, D IN-08

Visclosky, D IN-01
Steve Buyer, R IN-04
Dan Burton, R IN-05
Mike Pence, R IN-07
Hill, D IN-09

It's worth noting that Andre Carson was the only person to switch sides as a result of the bailout revisions.

Courtesy of the AP:
“This bill is not the bill that I or other Republicans would have chosen, but with a Democrat-controlled Congress, any bill must be a compromise. Possible failure of our economy was not an option.” — Rep. Mark Souder, Republican who voted for the bill.
“Something needs to be done to shore-up our financial markets, but without many substantive changes and $150 billion in additional spending — I don’t think this is the answer.” — Rep. Baron Hill, Democrat who voted against the bill.
“This crisis is a decade in the making. It is the result of cynical exploitation within an unregulated industry, and it should be addressed conscientiously and equitably. We should have considered all the viable alternatives to the bailout and deliberated the merits of each course of action in order to strengthen the banks’ balance sheets.” — Rep. Pete Visclosky, Democrat who voted against the bill.
“My number one priority is to protect our jobs and savings back home, and this bill presented us with the best chance of doing that. I did not take pleasure in voting for this legislation, but the choice before us was stark: either pass this rescue package or do nothing. Doing nothing would have cost us more jobs and billions in retirement savings.” — Rep. Joe Donnelly, Democrat who voted for the bill.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Post-Veep Debate Reaction

The overwhelming question coming in to tonight's debate centered around the notion of whether Sarah Palin is able to assume the responsibilities of the presidency should the need arise. And in all fairness I think she proved she is. She had no 'major' gaffes or stumbles and managed to speak passionately into the camera without abandoning the hockey mom persona she has taken such care to cultivate. Yet I argue, so what? For me the defining question shouldn't be whether she is able but whether she is qualified. And I think on that distinction, tonight's debate affirmed what we have all been saying so far-- she is not.

A few quick thoughts:
  • Gov. Palin on more than one occasion referred to Sen. Barack Obama as merely Barack and even once merely referred to him as Obama. I know this is petty, but a little respect while addressing a national audience never hurt anybody.

  • Her regurgitation of talking points was so repetitive and staged is was laughable. This was never more evident than in her multiple, "Oh I am glad you brought up _____" moments. She had a checklist, and doggonnit if a moderator was going to prevent her from getting through every note card put before her.

  • Joe Biden's refusal to correct Palin when she referenced General McClellan-- yes he's from the civil war-- instead of the correct General McKiernan, was subtly effective and provides fuel for the fire down the home stretch. Well played on his part.

  • I thought the most memorable segment of tonight's debate was the two minutes Biden devoted to the shredding of McCain's maverick status. Alas Palin's note cards didn't cover this so she was surprisingly at a loss for words.
WaPo's Eugene Robinson nails it:
Exactly an hour into the debate, Joe Biden began an answer by saying, "Facts matter, Gwen."

To him, maybe. To Sarah Palin, maybe not. The pattern, so far, has been one of Biden presenting facts and Palin countering with… saying stuff. Sometimes she throws in a fact, but mostly she seems to be offering a string of approximate policy positions, encomiums to the American spirit, disputed interpretations of Barack Obama's record and anecdotes from Alaska.
Maverick he is not:

Quote of the Day, cry-baby edition

"Because life isn't fair."

--Sen. John McCain, responding to a question of why Obama's poll numbers are rising as the economy sinks

Bayh and Lugar Support Revised Bailout Package

A revised bailout bill hit the Senate floor yesterday afternoon, where it passed with a not even close margin of 74-25. Both hoosier Senators opted to vote in favor of the pseudo-revised legislation, which diverged from its House counterpart in that it granted increased tax breaks for businesses and the middle-class while also raising the federal deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000. In statements to the press:

Evan Bayh
“The current proposal is no panacea. More difficult decisions lie ahead. But it is better than doing nothing, and that is the alternative.”
Richard Lugar
“The financial rescue legislation will restore credit flow to homeowners, businesses, farmers and all the people who, by the very nature of their businesses, need to borrow money to maintain their activity and keep employees.”
I think this is the first time I can truly agree with both of them.

"If we lose Indiana, we've already lost the election elsewhere"

We all have been ringing the bell on McCain's non-existent presence here in Indiana for some time now. Well it looks as if a national audience is catching on, with their electoral strategy analysis increasingly pointed towards Indiana as a huge McCain screw up. As Kos explains:
And what about Indiana? The McCain philosophy appears to be, "if we lose Indiana, we've already lost the election elsewhere". But suddenly, that's not necessarily the case. One can easily see Obama winning Indiana while losing Colorado, Florida, and Virginia. Yet thanks to myopic planning, McCain doesn't even have a single field office in the state. He has ceded Indiana to the Obama machine.
You have to love republican stubbornness.

Sarah Palin on the Supreme Court

More from the infamous Katie Couric interview:

COURIC: Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?
PALIN: I do. Yeah, I do.
COURIC: the cornerstone of Roe v Wade
PALIN: I do. And I believe that --individual states can handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in in an issue like that.
COURIC: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?
PALIN: Well, let's see. There's --of course --in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are--those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know--going through the history of America, there would be others but--
COURIC: Can you think of any?
PALIN: Well, I could think of--of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.

I am speechless.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Research 2000: Obama -1, Long Thompson -1

According to new Research 2000 polling, JLT fans shouldn't throw in the towel quite yet. After yesterday's gut checking SUSA 16 point Daniels lead, Indiana's gubernatorial race seems to be in a state of utter confusion. The latest:

Research 2000
600 likely voter w/ MoE +/-4%

Daniels 47%
Long Thompson 46%
Undecided 4%

In addition to the above gubernatorial numbers, Research 2000 also polled the presidential race-- getting results that are much more familiar.

Research 2000
600 likely voter w/ MoE +/-4%

McCain 46%
Obama 45%
Undecided 6%

And consider for a moment the Indiana Republican Party's rebuttal to McCain's hoosier struggle:
The Indiana Republican Party has been the McCain campaign’s voice in the Hoosier state. State GOP Chairman Murray Clark said McCain is building a strong grassroots campaign in Indiana and that the party will “continue working hard for every vote.”
Seriously, who are they trying to kid?

IN-04: Buyer's Refusal to Debate Unacceptable

With much of Indiana's attention focusing today on Montagano and his placement on the DCCC's Red to Blue list, I feel it necessary to remind readers that an equally important race is taking place in the IN-04. Democratic challenger Nels Ackerson continues to fight the good fight against incumbent Steve Buyer, an eight term republican blowhard with a knack for petty accusations. Thus, considering what's at stake this election cycle, Ackerson's request for a debate would sound like a logical and necessary step for both candidate's campaigns. Well not if Buyer has anything to do with it. Refusing multiple requests, the Buyer campaign has said and done everything possible-- no matter how ridiculous or deceptive-- to discredit the very thought of standing side by side with his opponent addressing the issues that matter to voters. In a press statement released today, Ackerson sets the record straight:
In the press release, Buyer resorted to childish name-calling using words like "whining", "hypocrite", "mean", "shallow", and "bitter" and referred to Ackerson's extensive voter outreach program as "parading around the district."

"This type of pettiness and childish rants are unfit for a leader," commented Ackerson.

"Buyer's been increasingly bizarre and belligerent on the campaign trail, making veiled threats to me and members of my staff. He even yelled at one of my high school volunteers at the opening of the Montgomery County Republican office. But this type of language in formal a public statement represents a new low for Buyer," noted Ackerson. "If he weren't our elected representative and we didn't have such serious crises going on these rants would be comical."...

Added Ackerson, "We should be talking about issues that matter to voters instead of these personal attacks. Steve Buyer wants to pretend that we've been skipping debates, and that's laughable. Name the time, Steve. Name the place. We've been waiting. Stop hiding behind half-truths."
Ackerson is right. Voters deserve better. If you live in the fourth district I urge you to give Buyer a call at the number below. Let's let him know his actions are unacceptable and the voters won't stand for it.

Steve Buyer IN-04: 202-225-5037

IN-03: DCCC Puts Montagano on Red to Blue List

Mike Montagano's campaign just got a huge national boost today with the addition of his name to the DCCC's Red to Blue candidate list. Never heard of the Red to Blue program? ActBlue explains:
The Red to Blue program highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country, and offers them financial, communications, and strategic support. These candidates earned a spot in the program by surpassing demanding fundraising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that they stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress.
Montagano's challenge to incumbent republican Mark Souder is looking better and better each day. Don't live in the third district but want to do your part in helping to throw Souder out of office? Then I urge you to first check out the Montagano for Congress website and then throw some greenbacks Montagano's way. This race has proven to be Indiana's best opportunity of toppling yet another entrenched republican-- so don't hesitate to help, no matter how small your contribution may be. With a combined effort this race is winnable folks.

Quote of the Day, Clueless edition

"I have quite a few people who are giving us information about the record of Obama and Biden, and at the end of the day, though, it is -- it's so clear, again, what those choices are. Either new ideas, new energy and reform of Washington, DC, or more of the same."

--Gov.Sarah Palin, responding to Katie Couric's question of "who are your debate coaches?" in an interview clip aired this morning on The Early Show

More of the same? I am thoroughly convinced Palin just hears sound bytes on TV, thinks they sound good, and decides to use them during interviews and speeches no matter how absurd/untrue they really are.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

IN-09: DCCC Aires New Ad

The DCCC has released a series of district specific ads for key congressional races across the country. And yep you guessed it the IN-09 made their list. The latest entitled "U.S. economy fundamentally is in good shape":

IN-09: Hill and Sodrel (and Schansberg) Set to Debate

After much posturing, it looks as if Indiana's ninth congressional district will finally get the debate voters have been longing for. The details:
The candidates for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District seat will debate October 21st in Jasper.

This is the only planned debate between Democratic Representative Baron Hill, Republican Mike Sodrel and Libertarian Eric Schansberg before Election Day.
Considering Hill and Sodrel's familiarity with each other's candidacy expect the debate to focus on the economy and hopefully by this time the legislation that has been passed by Congress concerning the bailout. While both candidates opposed yesterday's bailout bill, nonsensical reactions from Sodrel should provide plenty of ammunition for Hill to bury his opponent. Take for example this absurdity:
“Government acquisition of private enterprises when it occurs by ballot is called socialism. ... When it occurs by bullets (it) is called communism. There is little difference in the end result. The former is just less violent than the latter.”

Latest SUSA Polling: Daniels +16, Obama -3

The latest SurvayUSA poll brings with it mixed emotions as Long Thompson's campaign appears to be stuck in the mud while Obama's continues to trend upward. The results:

687 likely voters, MoE +/-3.8
9/28-29 (8/16-18)

Daniels-R: 53 (52)
Long Thompson-D: 37 (38)
Horning-L: 6 (3)

McCain: 48 (50)
Obama: 45 (44)

While the news for Long Thompson was expected and the news for Obama we have been hinting at for some time now, one portion of the cross-tabs has me a little worried. If Obama were to stand a fighting chance at taking Indiana in November, it would mean his support in northern Indiana and likewise the central Indiana greater Indianapolis area would have to be substantial. But as the polling points out:
In Northern Indiana, where voters see Chicago television from Obama's home state of Illinois, Obama led by 17 points fourteen weeks ago and by 5 points six weeks ago; today, Obama leads there by 1.

Indiana Dems Explain Bailout Vote, Souder Cuts and Runs

From today's IndyStar:

Voting Nay
Pete Visclosky
"When many Bethlehem Steel retirees had their pensions cut, did President Bush provide a helping hand? All I know is that when Stan O'Neal retired from Merrill Lynch, his compensation package was worth $161.5 million."
Andre Carson IN-07:
"The economic malpractice of the Bush administration is why our financial markets are in turmoil. This administration's fiscal negligence is why Wall Street was rewarded for doing things wrong while Main Street was punished for doing things right. And now this same inept administration is asking the American public to trust them."
Baron Hill IN-09:
"I have been rushed to judgment by the Bush administration before. There hasn't been enough time to evaluate the impacts this legislation would have if enacted or to consider alternatives. Congress deserves time to weigh the benefits and the potential pitfalls of borrowing this money."
Voting Aye
Joe Donnelly IN-02:
"When there are serious people discussing the possibility of another economic depression, it is time to act. The rescue plan was not perfect, but it was necessary. And while no one took any pleasure in voting for it, the alternative -- doing nothing -- is potentially disastrous and therefore unacceptable."
Brad Ellsworth IN-08: see quote of the day post below

And worth pointing out amidst all this bailout hoopla, is Rep. Mark Souder's (R IN-03) aye vote. Not only is he fighting a congressional race right now against a very good candidate in Mike Montagano, but add his approval for the bailout to the mix and his shaky republican support will surely take an unwanted hit. Not surprisingly, Souder was the only representative of the Indiana delegation that did not respond to a request for comment by the IndyStar. Gee, I wonder why?

IN-06: Welsh and Pence Share Opposition, but For Very Different Reasons

I have by no means tried to hide my support for bailout legislation, as was made clear by my chastisement of Rep. Mike Pence earlier today. While I regret the situation we are currently in and place much of the blame at the feet of republicans, I supported today's bill because I felt and still feel that inaction comes at too high a price. This bill was far from perfect-- that I think we can all agree on. But had it been adopted, I feel confident in saying that Wall Street would have avoided such a colossal plunge today, and ultimately would have been spared another week of fiscal collapse. And for me that would have been worth it.

This being said, I think its important to point out the very real differences in today's nay votes, especially along party lines. I called out Mike Pence because his rationale for voting against the bill was absurd-- amounting to yet more tax breaks for big business all in the name of free-market economics. His hollow position was  a familiar one today, and as a result a majority of republicans voted against the bailout. This defense doesn't ring true for democrats though. While I may have supported the bill today, I understand completely why many democrats did not. In a soon to be released op-ed piece, IN-06 district challenger Barry Welsh explains the dichotomy of nay votes perfectly:
This bailout as proposed is the equivalent of taking out a new credit card and filling it with the debt of old credit cards. That doesn't work for people and it doesn't work for governments. I would have voted against the bill as it stood but for different reasons than those of my opponent. Congressman Mike Pence, under his words "limited government", opposes more regulations on Wall Street and wants more tax breaks for the wealthy, and that is why he voted no. I believe we need stricter regulations and a tax break for the 95% of us who are not wealthy, and that is why I would have voted no. There were few explanations as to where the original money went, and where the proposed 700 billion dollars in replacement funds would be directed. All expenditures would be at the Treasury Secretary's discretion, and that is not a good enough explanation of who will benefit for me, or the American people.
To read the op-ed in its entirety check out Welsh's post over at Blue Indiana.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Quote of the Day, IN-08 edition

“Ultimately this is about that worker in Vincennes who is wondering if his pension will be there in the future, the single mother in Greencastle who dreams of sending her children to college, or the small business owner in Boonville who is trying to meet payroll. These are the Americans that have everything to lose if Congress fails to act."

--Rep. Brad Ellsworth D (IN-08), explaining his support for the bailout bill

Bailout Fails: Indiana Delegation Split On Vote

Well it looks as if Pelosi got played by House republicans today, as the final vote on H.R. 3997 comes in at 205 ayes and 228 nayes. This effectively throws everyone back to the drawing board, and marks a stunning defeat for the Bush administration and congressional leadership.

How did our own representatives vote?

Donnelly (d) IN-02
Souder (r) IN-03
Ellsworth (d) IN-08

Visclosky (d) IN-01
Buyer (r) IN-04
Burton (r) IN-05
Pence (r) IN -06
Carson (d) IN-07
Hill (d) IN-09

My feelings on the bill fall somewhere along the lines of "necessary but unfortunate." Its true the bailout is not ideal, but with both sides playing politics and posturing for position I don't think a perfect bill will ever arrise. Moreover, if you look at the toll inaction is having on Wall Street, its clear something needs to be done-- and fast. In wake of the vote the Dow has taken its largest single day fall ever, plummeting 778 points. 

Tina Fey/Sarah Palin's Katie Couric Interview

This absolutely speaks for itself:

IN-06: Pence Opposes Bailout Legislation

Another vote, another reminder just how out of touch Rep. Mike Pence is with voters in his district. A vocal opponent of any form of governmental bailout, Pence says he is set to vote against the proposed legislation on the grounds it goes against the ideas of a free-market economy.

Does Pence not know such a vote could be economically fatal for many hard working hoosiers across the state? Or does he just not care? Because as Senator Richard Lugar, who says he will support the bill, points out:
"I will continue supporting efforts to pass legislation to restore credit flow to homeowners, businesses, farmers and all the people who, by the very nature of their businesses, need to borrow money to maintain their activity and keep employees," Lugar said Friday. "Failure to pass such legislation would lead to massive unemployment and failure of small business and farming operations in Indiana. That is unacceptable."
And just in case anyone needed further proof of the shear absurdity of Pence's position, consider his defense:
"If you came here because you believe in limited government and the freedom of the American marketplace, vote in accordance with those convictions," Pence wrote.

He had argued that the plan should include tax cuts for capital gains and for corporations that bring home overseas profits. Pence said that would free "trapped capital" to deal with the liquidity crisis.
Nevermind such a position amounts to yet more tax breaks for big business with no mention of average taxpaying hoosiers. How the rest of the Indiana congressional delegation will vote is still up in the air, but rest assured answers will be forthcoming as congress is set to vote on the bill sometime today.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Bailout Bill: Yay or Nay?

Here's the proposed bill in it entirety. I haven't finished reading the whole thing yet but my initial reaction is that its still a far stretch from what much of the public would like to see. While its better than the initial Paulson proposal of last week, it still has too many safeguards for those who effed up in the first place and not nearly enough reform in areas of bankrupty and financial industry regulation.

What's your take?

Quote of the Week

"I don't think we're going to lose money, myself. We may, it's possible, but I doubt it in the long run."

-- Sen. Judd Gregg R-NH, responding cluelessly to questions concerning the economy and the bailout proposal