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In a story by Maureen Groppe in the Indy Star, Amy Walter of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, tracking U.S. House races said "Indiana is literally the center of the universe right now. To have three Republican incumbents in a very Republican state either tied or behind their Democratic opponents, what is that?"

What is that? It's the Republicans, particularly on the federal level, betraying the people and the principles that got them there. The party of Eisenhower and Goldwater, the party of fiscal responsibility, foreign pragmatism, and small government has turned into a party of budget busting big government policies and impractical, ideological, ineffective foreign policy all mixed up with an Orwellian disregard for civil liberties  and catering to the impulses of Dominionist religious groups.

The article focuses on the shifting fortunes of Chris Chocola, who started the year seeming to be safe in his seat. Now he is at least slightly behind challenger Joe Donnelly in the polls. Courtesy of Gov. Daniels, Chocola has been slammed by a double whammy of local issues, important to his constituents in north central/western Indiana on which he has been silent: Daylight Saving Time and the Toll Road sale. Combine that with increasing voter dissatisfaction with national policy generally and President Bush particularly, and suddenly Chocola has a real challenge on his hands.

Meanwhile, in Indiana's 8th and 9th Congressional races you have challenges that were always expected to be competitive. The re-rematch between Sodrel and Hill in the 9th effectively pits two incumbents against each other. And, in the 8th, you have a successful, fairly conservative, Democratic Sheriff, Brad Ellsworth, running against the always unconventional and anemic fund raiser, John Hostettler.

The Louisville Courier Press has the story on the debate in the 9th District last night between Hill, Sodrel, and Libertarian Eric Schansberg. Mike Sodrel says we have no energy policy crisis while Baron Hill says gasoline costs are causing great pain to the public and we need to take steps to wean ourselves off of oil dependence. Little is likely to be done, Hill says, under the current administration led by oil men, Cheney and Bush. Schansberg wants to let markets run their course, creating innovatie ways to produce energy and lower costs.

I particularly liked Schansberg's quote on the financial implications of prosecuting the war in Iraq:

"The choice has been made, so far, to finance it with debt," Schansberg said. If the government "has the courage to spend money," it should have the courage to pay for it now rather than leave the bill for future generations.

Baron Hill had this to say:

 Hill criticized the Republican-controlled government for cutting taxes for the wealthy and for oil companies while hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent on the war.

"It doesn't make sense to people," Hill said.

Sodrel responded with statements about the importance of liberty to the Iraqi people and claims that the cost of the War in Iraq is small compared to the costs of World War II. And there, we have more evidence that we've gone from a National Republican Party of fiscally responsible, hard-headedly practical foreign policy to one that supports a fiscally irresponsible approach to funding an ideological foreign policy.

Hoosiers, by and large, are practical people who do not love opening up their wallets. They expect the same from their government.

Originally posted to mhojo on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 07:27 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They don't call us "The Crossroads of America" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kaj, ManfromMiddletown, ElaineinIN

    ...for nuffin'.

    Check out our liveblog over at Deny My Freedom of the IN-09 Hill v. Sodrel debate last night.

  •  ads (0+ / 0-)

    I live in Chocola's district (although I'm not registered in this state) and the political ads lately have been very interesting.  Some issue ads by independent groups thanking Chocola's contributions to seniors and nursing home care, and then some hit pieces by the Donnelly campaign.  It hasn't gotten out of hand yet, but I'm sure it will be.  Donnelly's ran for this seat before and lost by a pretty big margin - 8-12 points if I remember correctly.  

    God, I can't wait to move out of this district!!

    •  Donnelly lost 55-45 (0+ / 0-)

      which actually isn't big at all, considering it was against an incumbent with Bush coat-tails.  Interestingly, one of the interest groups (American Healthcare Association) is funded by big Pharma, and the Cleveland Plain-Dealer already reported that the US Chamber of Commerce's pro-Republican ad blitz (which we're also getting here) is also funded by big Pharma.  

      Chocola, of course, is heavily invested in pharmaceuticals, gets bookoo bucks in campaign contributions from them, and voted to let them price gouge Medicare with the prescription drug bill.

      another shock troop in the Class War

      by exiled texan on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 08:38:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A dish best served cold (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks for the reminder: I need to send more money to Ellsworth.  It's payback time for what Hostettler did to Frank McCloskey back when Bloomington was in the Bloody 8th.    

    No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

    by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 07:38:25 AM PDT

  •  Everyone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    thinks that it's just the IN-2, IN-8, and IN-9. But I think that it's more than that.

    This quote from the article says it all.

    "Everybody is getting disgusted with both of them," said Richard Sommers, a GOP county commissioner in Pulaski County. "All you hear is the negative on the radio and television and telephone. I wish there was a third party. I'd vote for them."

    It isn't that Hoosiers are going to vote Democratic to vote Democratic, it's that they are so pissed at incumbents that they are going to vote them out.  And because Republicans control everything in this state, they are going to get hammered.

    And soon we are going to have a poll coming out of the IN-6 to tell us how Barry is doing against Pence.  If Pence is under 55% it will be a sign of tremendous trouble for the Republicans. I see a lot of Hoosiers here, if anyone is interested you can help by going to the Democratic HQ in Muncie on Sept 5th and 7th from 5-9 PM. You can contact the campaign through their website.

  •  It's More Due To Redistricting (0+ / 0-)

    Indiana, less than most other states, failed to gentrify all their Congressional Districts, and ended up by keeping several of them competitive.  Go to Illinois next door, and you don't really have the same problem.  Or, in Ohio to the east.

    So, Indiana should have competitive districts for at least until the next census, when the current GOP Gov, a Former Bush WH asst and big Tom Delay fan, will do his best to change that.  Move around a few central and downstate counties, and you've got a big GOP majority.

    Might be some incentive to get the in-hiding Indiana State Democratic party into action.  At last report, they were running a roadside diner off Route 41 in Terre Haute.

    •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

      Interesting point - Indiana's current districting came at a time when Indiana Democrats controlled the Governor's office, had a small majority in the House, and the Republicans had absolute control in the Senate.  So, I guess it's not surprising to find such balance in the Congressional districts.  

      I'm here to represent the needle in the vein of the establishment.

      by mhojo on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 10:32:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's more than that (0+ / 0-)

        I worked in the Indiana House during the 2001 session.  Back 2001, Democrats drew the Congressional, and House seats, while the Repubiclans drew the Senate seats.

        The 1,2,7,8,9 are all designed to lean Democratic.  THe failure of a Dem to win in the 8th where the district was drawn with a 2-1 D-R advantage has been a shame.  This was supposed to be John Gregg's, the former speaker's seat, but then Gregg never ran.

        One of the negative things I have to say about the state party is that they are dominated by asshats who went to IU who share the same backgrounds as the asshats in the IN Republican pary, but put a D in front of their name.  Labor was abandoned by the party as O'bannon's advisers took over control the state as the guv went into that good night.  So you had this clique of asshats from IU running the state without being elected.  

        And by the time Joe Kernan, an honest, decent man, stepped in after O'Bannon's death, the damage was done.

      •  Today I drove thru Indiana (0+ / 0-)

        I am on vacation from CA and today I drove thru Indiana on my way from Springfield, IL to Kalamazoo, MI. Sure, there are more direct routes, but I just wanted to see places I have never seen before. My, what a lot of corn! And flat!

        Is the entire state this flat? The northern part along highway 13 got a bit more rolling but there isn't much of a change from one corner of the state to another. I had my GPS on, and it told me the elevation.

        I do think it is very pretty and I didn't see ANY political signs anywhere I went. Not like Kzoo where I saw 3 "Impeach Bush" signs in 2 blocks.

        Good luck on your races in Indiana.

        Democrats want better government, government that serves real people and not just those with power and influence. Nevada Appeal, Carson City NV

        by Tuba Les on Sat Sep 02, 2006 at 08:20:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Flat (0+ / 0-)

          The whole state isn't that flat. Southern Indiana has a lot of rolling hills. But, the glaciers pretty much flattened out everything north of I-70.

          I'm here to represent the needle in the vein of the establishment.

          by mhojo on Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 06:30:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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