Republican Presidential Debate: Open Thread

Unless you live under a rock AND don’t have a twitter account, you are well aware that there was a Republican Presidential Debate last night.

We didn’t watch much of it but we have to say that we would have loved to watch Mitch “The Blade” Daniels slice and dice the competition in that debate.  We aren’t too proud to beg him–but we know it won’t work anyway so we’re not going to waste our breath.

We didn’t see anything all that impressive on the stage last night but we also didn’t watch it all.  So, good readers, it is open thread time.  Tell us what you think, who you like and who you’ll never support.

Holiday Weekend Catch Up

Welcome back from the long weekend everyone.  We hope you took the time to enjoy the great weather, a great Indy 500 and the Memorial Day holiday. 

After going over the blogs this morning, we have a few things we thought we’d address.

First, Jon Easter says we are “shameful” because we noted that he even admitted some areas of the city really need construction work.  It is clear from the comments on the post that Jon is taking some flack from Democrat insiders.  Sorry, Jon, we weren’t trying to stir the pot and get you in trouble.  We’re willing to bet his post was written after a Kennedy campaign flack got frustrated.

Speaking of campaign flacks, Indianapolis Times blogger Terry Burns posted he is hearing there may be a shake-up in the Ballard campaign.  We’re going to guess that Terry Burns has as much insider information on the Ballard campaign as Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden do.  It seems to us that, again, the Kennedy campaign is getting a little sensitive to the Ballard campaign responses. 

Lastly, Jon Easter posted on the latest version of Mitch Watch 2012 and the potential that Governor Daniels could be the Vice Presidential pick for the Republicans.  Jon seems to think that ruling out the Presidential run for family reasons should also rule out a Vice Presidential potential.  While Jon does admit there is a difference between the two roles, he comments that “they both come with a great deal of scrutiny, closet skeleton searching, and an in-depth look at someone’s record.”  He goes further saying that was clearly a concern to the Governor.

While we think the Daniels’ were probably less than thrilled with the stories regarding their divorce, we really think the idea of a long campaign starting this May and potentially last through November of 2012 if Governor Daniels won the nomination was the biggest problem.  Additionally, it is a lifestyle change for the rest of your life if you are elected President.  Those seem to be the larger considerations that they mentioned.

A Vice-Presidential spot on the ticket is essentially a five month campaign, far less scrutiny and a place in the spotlight without the life altering drawbacks.  While we’d prefer Daniels at the top of the ticket, beggars can’t be choosers and we’ll take what we can get.

And We’re Back. Here is Our Take on Gov. Daniels’ Decision

We decided to take a little time off from our blogging duties. The weather got nice, the politics got stagnant and we decided to check out for a while.

Alas, the dust has settled from the roller coaster ride that was Mitch Daniels considering running for President.  We were sick of hearing about it months ago and are thankful it is finally over.  Obviously, you all already know he opted against a run.

We’re not going to lie. We were surprised he decided against it. That said, we understand the decision to some extent. The Real Clear Politics story shows there was going to be a lot of talk about the Daniels’ divorce and Cheri’s comings and goings. It is understandable that no one would want to relive that time in their lives.

Getting out of the race might take some attention away from the stories, but it won’t stop them. Anybody ever seen Primary Colors? (If you haven’t, go watch it. Right now. We aren’t kidding.) They might not hit it quite as hard but they’ll cover it if it will sell one newspaper. Might as well run for President if they are going to cover it anyway.

We think it is admirable that the Governor cared so much about his family’s feelings on a campaign for President.  We also think he probably shouldn’t have made it quite so clear that the ladies in the family vetoed a run and there wasn’t much he could do about it.  That isn’t exactly our idea of protecting your family–and it was totally unnecessary.

Regardless, the decision has been made and Mitch Watch 2011 is over.  We’re disappointed and looking to see who will step up from the Republican Party.  We’re looking at the field and we do not see a winner right now.  Feel free to tell us if you think we are wrong and push us toward your favorite candidate.

Mike Pence is Running for Governor

Today, Mike Pence has officially announced to supporters that he will be running for Governor. Pence held a conference call, sent out an email and released a video at a newly designed www.mikepence.com.   A formal announcement will be held June 11th in Columbus.

Speculation that Congressman Pence would run for Governor has been going on for nearly a year since Pence decided not to run for U.S. Senate against Evan Bayh. This was before now Sen. Coats got in the race and then Sen. Bayh got out of the race.  The Congressman spent last fall out on the stump, helping all the close Congressional races and building his team.

The announcement was supposed to be on Monday but was postponed due to the death of Osama bin Laden.  And, of course, there was the issue of premature announcement  yesterday when a pre-timed email was sent out by the campaign saying “Mike for Indiana” with blank text.  We are sure someone got into some big trouble for that one.

So where does this leave the race for Governor? 

First, it leaves us waiting for an opponent.  We do not believe there will be a viable primary challenger to Mike Pence.  On the Democrat side, it seems to be looking like John Gregg for Governor with Joe Donnelly opting for the U.S. Senate race.

Second, it leaves the race as a bit of a toss-up/leans Pence. Indiana is a Republican state but John Gregg is a conservative Democrat from the South and could potentially pose a threat.  The real question for us is if Mike Pence can find a message that works for the General Election.  While his strong, conservative stances on social issues have played well in conservative crowds nationally and here in Indiana, they may not be winning issues in a general election.  President Obama will be on the ticket so that could be a challenge– unless Mitch Daniels is the Republican nominee and that would greatly benefit Indiana Republicans. 

Let the games begin!

Mitch Watch 2011

With the legislative session set to close on Friday, all eyes have turned to Governor Mitch Daniels and whether he will make a run for President. We’re firm believers that no one really knows the answer to the question on most Hoosier politicos minds at this point.  We do believe, however, that Haley Barbour’s exit from the race makes it much more likely that Governor Daniels will get in.

The timing of Barbour’s exit is at least interesting. You may remember when Governor Daniels told WANE-TV in Fort Wayne,

“I think the decision has to come at the end of this General Assembly session, if not before. No later than that.  In fairness to people from all over the place – many of whom I’ve only read about before – who like this idea [of Daniels running for president], I owe them some kind of an answer.”

Is it possible that these two old friends made a deal that Barbour would test the waters and, if things took off, he would be the guy who ran?  If not, Daniels could step in and Barbour could help his campaign through fundraising and possibly some of the staff Barbour had collected through his early start.  Barbour had the ability to get in earlier while Governor Daniels had legislative matters to attend to here in Indiana.

We don’t have any answers but we’ll definitely be watching closely over the next two weeks.  May 12th could get interesting when First Lady Cheri Daniels will be the Speaker at the Indiana Republican Party’s State Dinner.  Who is introducing her?  Glad you asked.  None other than Mitch Daniels himself.

The Party is Over, Charlie

We told you there would be numerous calls for Charlie White to resign his seat as Secretary of State after being indicted for voter fraud and there have been.

The Governor did and said he had spoken with the other statewide elected officials and they are in total agreement.

Indiana Republican Chairman Eric Holcomb weighed in saying White should step down at least until the legal process runs its course.

Former Secretary of State and current U.S. Congressman said he should step down.

The Evansville Courier-Press gave White a few jeers in their Cheers and Jeers column and said he should step down.

And Matt Tully of the Indy Star wrote a blistering column saying Charlie has got to go.

What does Charlie White say?  According to Abdul, Charlie text him saying he has no intention of stepping down.

The whole thing reminds us of  someone who has had too much to drink and won’t leave the bar.  The lights are on and there is no one left at the party, Charlie.  It is time to go home and try to sleep it off.

Secretary of State Charlie White Indicted for Voter Fraud

The Indy Star’s Mary Beth Schneider reported on twitter that Charlie White has been indicted with seven felony counts including voter fraud, perjury and theft.  You can read the Star’s full article here.

In case you do not know the background, here it is from the Star:

White has admitted to voting in a district where he no longer lived. The registered address was a home he had shared on and off with his now ex-wife until 2009.

White, who served on the Fishers Town Council at the time, updated his voter registration after moving into an apartment in the same precinct, following his 2007 divorce. Around February 2009, he moved back into his ex-wife’s home, and in November of that year began splitting time between his ex-wife’s home and a newly purchased condo outside the precinct.

In February last year, White changed his voter registration back to his ex-wife’s address, claiming he was unsure when he would close on his new home. White blamed a whirlwind schedule for his failure to change his voter registration later to reflect his new condo’s address.

This is not good news for Charlie White.  If he is convicted, he will have to resign from his position as Secretary of State but we are guessing that he will be STRONGLY encouraged to end this fiasco as quietly as possible.  That would include resigning his position and dealing with the legal issues once out of office.   Abdul tweeted that his sources indicated White will fight the case as recently as a week ago.

We’ll see what Governor Mitch Daniels and Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb have to say about that.

Democrats About to Overplay Their Hand, Need to Listen to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”

As virtually everyone is aware at this point, the House Democrats have fled the state to avoid voting on the Right to Work bill.  The road trip to Illinois was part two of the now three-day standstill in the House chambers.  Democrats killed the Right to Work bill by not adopting committee reports by midnight last night so you probably thought things would get back to normal today. 

Not so.

Late Tuesday night, the Democrats said they will not come back to session until a commitment is made not to attempt to bring the Right to Work legislation back and the vouchers bill is dumped as well.  This is where the House Democrats begin to overplay the hand they were dealt. 

With the Governor saying for months that Right to Work was too controversial for this session, Democrats had some cover in saying the legislation was extreme and killing the bill even if it meant a walkout.  Extending their demands to the voucher bill, however, was not a smart move.  The Governor is committed to education reform and the Democrats will begin to look like greedy children.

In addition to all this, the budget is on the same time constraints as the voucher bill. Staying away long enough to kill the voucher bill will also in all likelihood kill the House’s structurally balanced budget bill  AND 23 other bills that have nothing to do with this squabble.  Add those to the estimated 21 bills that were killed yesterday and the House Republicans have some serious ammunition. 

Governor Daniels took some heat yesterday on the interwebs for not pushing harder on the Right to Work bill.  It is misguided criticism but we’re sure he did not appreciate it.  House Democrats may be handing him an opportunity to show the nation the temper that they did not see yesterday.  It may not be wise to wake a sleeping giant.

Who knows what will happen in the next 24 hours but we’d say the House Dems may want to take a listen to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”.  They’ve walked away.  They’ve run. It might be time to fold ‘em.

Band On The Run: House Democrats Flee the State

State Democrats fled the state to avoid voting on the Right to Work bill that was passed out of committee yesterday.  In order to avoid being taken into State Police custody and brought in to do their duty and vote on legislation, Democrats have fled to nearby states with Democrat Governors like Kentucky and Illinois. 

Today is the last day for the House to vote to adopt committee reports which means the Right to Work bill will die if the Democrats do not come back to vote today.  Frankly, we understand why the Governor did not want to take this issue up this session because exactly what he said would happen is happening.  There are several important bills that this legislation is holding up. 

We’ve heard there are as many as 21 bills that were coming out of committees that this political stunt will kill. If you ever wondered how strong the union lobby is then you have gotten your answer.  Strong enough to kill 21 unrelated pieces of legislation.

The fact is that the Democrats know they will lose the vote and there is nothing worse than a sore loser.

Friday Wrap-Up: Kennedy-Daley Fundraiser, Mourdock County Chair Count and Indiana Union Fights

Here are a few interesting tidbits as you move into the weekend.  It is beautiful outside and we don’t plan to be blogging much.  Go outside and play.  We’ll see you on Monday.

Kennedy to Hold Chicago Fundraiser Hosted by Mayor Daley

Over on Capitol Watchblog, our friend Abdul mentioned he has heard Melina Kennedy will be holding a fundraiser in Chicago soon with outgoing Chicago Mayor Daley hosting the event. Is she serious?  Mayor Daley represents years of political corruption and so do his dollars.  We are frankly surprised by this move.  She should know better than this and should not accept these tainted political contributions.

Current Mourdock County Chair Count

Word on the street is that Mourdock’s County Chair endorsement list is now over 70 county chairmen.  The true test of the rumors will be the announcement on Tuesday morning.  The real question is what counties are supporting Mourdock.  We’ll be watching closely to see where the larger counties land.  

Obama and Parker Weigh In on Collective Bargaining

Governor Mitch Daniels and the Indiana Legislature have caught the attention of President Obama and his political action committee, Organizing for America.  They sent out a call to action to their Indiana email list urging their supporters to contact legislators and advocate against the bill.  A few hours later, we got an email from Indiana Democratic Chair Dan Parker that echoed the themes of the earlier email–including a link to contribute to the State Democrat Party.

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