Friday, April 29, 2016

Democrats Unite Over Dinner to Defeat Republicans in 2016

Much of the talk has been about division and disunity in this 2016 election season so far, but I sat and mingled with Hillary Clinton supporters and Bernie Sanders supporters at the Marion County Democratic Party's 2016 Unity Dinner last night.  No one threw anything at each other.  The barbs were all saved for the opposition at this good ole' fashioned Democratic speechfest held at the Agriculture Horticulture Building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Marion County Democratic Party Chair Joel Miller sat the tone noting without mentioning him by name that Donald Trump had spoken twice at the Fairgrounds in the last two weeks.  Miller said, "Tonight, we are going to exorcise the demons brought forth on this place."

He introduced first Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.  Hogsett threw out his prepared notes claiming that Miller's speech on Democratic values had all he had planned to say.  He then went on to go more in depth about the Democratic Party and its values and what he's trying to do as Mayor.  Hogsett also credited Chairman Miller for leading the party at a time when Democrats hold every Marion County executive office and the majority of the legislative seats as well as the City-County Council majority.

Lake County's Lorenzo Arrendondo, the presumptive Democratic Party candidate for Attorney General, spoke about civic engagement.  He talked about the importance of getting people to the polls and educating young people of the importance in voting.  Arrendondo, who, according to Miller would be the first judge to be the Attorney General, criticized the current Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, for taking cases that were not likely to be sided in Indiana's favor.

That brought Glenda Ritz to the podium.  Ritz said that her effort in 2016 will be grassroots just like it was in 2012.  She noted Governor Mike Pence's many attempts to undermine her authority as the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction.  "I am the head of the only state department that Governor Pence doesn't control, the Department of Education," Ritz said.  She said her constituency was ready to defeat Pence.

Next up was U.S. Senate candidate, Baron Hill.  Hill said that people often ask him about who he would rather run against.  "I don't give a damn who they run against me," said Hill to the cheers of the crowd.  "I am going to stand and fight for Hoosiers."  Hill then went on the attack against Young and Stutzman.  He sliced and diced their ultra conservative votes and records in Congress.  Hill defended his record as a Congressman and mentioned how the policies he voted for and helped pass did things like save General Motors, pay back the loans to the company, and provide health care for millions of Americans and many Hoosiers.

Hill said, "If you'll stand and fight with me, it will be the first time Indiana has had two Democratic Senators since Birch Bayh and Vance Hartke.  IT IS TIME!"  The crowd roared back.  With the rafters wiggling from Hill's speech, the final speaker of the evening stepped to the microphone, John Gregg.

The Sandborn native didn't disappoint.  "I want to serve as your Governor. I'm not interested in being your Governor.  We've got someone who wants to be Governor, who's concerned about the title and the trappings. I want to serve as Governor.  I want to put the needs of the 6.5 million Hoosiers first and I want everyone to feel welcome as we work on those to make a better Indiana.  That's the kind of Governor I want to be.  I am ready to serve as Governor," said Gregg.

Gregg then laid out his plan for retaking the Governor's Office in 2016.  "The polls show we're tied, and I haven't even been on TV, yet.  The polls also say that even Republicans don't like Mike Pence," said Gregg.  He said he would be highlighting the Governor's record and how he's worked against working folks and teachers along with being divisive and ideology driven.

Recalling a story from his youth, Gregg explained how he once climbed the Sandborn water tower and may have handed a can of spray paint to his friend.  He said he wants to climb the State Office Building and change the sign from "Indiana, The State That Works" to "Indiana, The State That Works Despite Mike Pence!"

The former Indiana House Speaker highlighted that Indiana faces a significant drug problem.  He said that drug addiction for non-violent offenders should be treated as mental health issues and not criminal issues, "And when our opponents try to quote scripture, I will tell them 'There but by the grace of God go your or I,'" said Gregg.

"I won't be a Governor who bases his decisions on some rigid ideology. I will base my decisions on competence and inclusion," said Gregg.  He said that his first act would be to draft and sign an executive order protecting LGBT citizens in Indiana as a class from discrimination.  He said that as Governor that he would work to get LGBT Hoosiers added to the non-discrimination clause via the General Assembly.

He also attacked the Governor on Pence's support of the controversial bill that has women and those that support them upset across Indiana, House Enrolled Act 1337.  "If I were Governor, I would not have signed that bill, and I would have vetoed it," said Gregg.  "See this? (pointing to his nose) This is John Gregg's nose, and it's not going to be in your bedroom or your doctor's office or at your dinner table.  Mike Pence's already is, but mine is going to stay right here on my face."

Both Congressman Andre Carson and Senator Joe Donnelly were scheduled to speak but had to remain in Washington on official business.

All-in-all, it was a great night and a fun night.  The chicken was delicious.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"Tennessee Trey" Puts Hoosierism to Test

I was getting ready for work this morning and brushing my teeth when the latest Trey Hollingsworth ad came on in the next room.

It features a bunch of different people talking about Hollingsworth and singing his praises.  One man says, "He's a real Hoosier."

I just about spit my toothpaste out all over the mirror in laughter.  The thing is that Hollingsworth actually wants you to believe he is a Hoosier.

I won't get into what the original definition of a Hoosier is here because no one really knows where the word came from or what it really meant.  Now, it's come to describe people who are from or that have lived in Indiana.

For me, it's a source of pride.  Even though our state sometimes seems stuck in the 50's, at least politically, I take pride being a Hoosier.  I take pride in my home state, and I enjoy that our politics is not always cut and dry.

One thing Hoosiers can't stand is a phony.  Hoosiers won't stand for someone who tries to be someone or something he or she is not.  For the most point, true Hoosiers can seek these folks out and expunge them from our politics.

The mantle of Hoosier is different than just about any other state name.  Someone from Ohio is, for example, an Ohioan.  You have Michiganians or Michiganders from Michigan.  Alabamans, Floridians, New Jerseyans, and on and on.  You don't call Hoosiers Indianans.  We are Hoosiers.

Trey Hollingsworth is no Hoosier.  He's a Tennessean living in Kentuckiana.  There's nothing wrong with that.  He just shouldn't be telling 9th District Hoosiers he is one of them when he is not.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It's Trump's Race to Lose on Republican Side

Donald Trump
It's time to face the facts for Republicans.

Donald Trump is your nominee.

I don't know how he did it or why it happened, but Donald Trump is going to be the nominee of a major political party for President of the United States.

Ted Cruz is trying to win Indiana, but I think he's turning off more voters than he's winning, and, like Van Jones mentioned on CNN last night, I have no clue why John Kasich hasn't gotten more traction.

So, as Trump gets ready to speak again at the Fairgrounds, he is in a tremendous position to shut this whole thing down with continued momentum and a win in Indiana.

I don't know if Bob Knight, who will be at tonight's Trump rally, will help him, and I think it's telling that Governor Mike Pence is withholding his endorsement of Trump or Cruz.  I also am not sure that an endorsement from the weak Governor of Indiana is a blessing or a curse given his standing with the voters.

It just seems that after last night's five for five performance that Donald Trump is now more likely than ever to get close to the delegate count he needs or to exceed the delegate count to become the GOP nominee in July in Cleveland.

Cruz and Kasich might as well go home.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bill Clinton Headlines Hillary Event Today in Indy

President Bill Clinton
President Bill Clinton will be in Indianapolis today at Hillary Clinton's Campaign Headquarters in Indianapolis for an organizing event.

The 42nd President is expected around 11:30 a.m.  Doors will open an hour before that.

It's President Clinton's first trip to Indiana since 2012 when he stumped for Joe Donnelly and John Gregg.

Hillary Clinton, in the meantime, will speak in Munster and in Mishawaka today.  While her campaign e-mails are still talking about the primary fight with Bernie Sanders, her public speeches have taken a turn towards talking about Donald Trump.

Speaking of Bernie, he's holding town halls on the Purdue campus and on the IU campus on Wednesday.  The Purdue event will be at the Cordova Recreation Center with the doors opening at 9:00 a.m.  The IU event will be at the IU Auditorium with the doors opening at 5:00 p.m.

Trump will be back in town, quizzically, on Wednesday.  He's speaking with Bob Knight at the Indiana State Fairgrounds again.  I'm not sure why Trump thinks speaking in the same location with a man who really hasn't been relevant in Indiana in 16 years is a good idea, but it's his dime, right?

Ted Cruz, so far, has worked the hardest of any candidate.  He's been all over Central Indiana.  His well-publicized deal with John Kasich to attempt to block Trump from getting Indiana's delegates on May 3 has drawn criticism from within Republican ranks.  It might turn out to benefit Trump in the end.

Indiana is right in the middle of this fray on both sides of the aisle.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Libertarians Nominate Ticket for 2016

Rex Bell
The Libertarian Party of Indiana met at the Wyndham Hotel on Indy's Westside this past weekend and nominated their candidates for Governor of Indiana and Lt. Governor as well as candidates for federal office.

2012 GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Wallace lost to fellow businessman Rex Bell for the nomination.  IT Consultant Karl Tatgenhorst received the nomination for Lieutenant Governor.  Tatgenhorst ran a strong campaign for Secretary of State in 2014 and, full disclosure, is a good friend on Facebook.

According to his campaign website, Bell was born in Millville, Indiana, and has owned Bell Contracting since its founding in 1974.  His campaign is based in Hagerstown, Indiana.

Other key LPIN nominations:
Lucy Brenton will run against Baron Hill and what's left of either Todd Young or Marlin Stutzman for Senate.

Donna Dunn will take on Democrat Pete Visclosky in U.S. Congressional District 1.  So far Republicans have yet to name a nominee in this race.  Is Mark Leyva available again?

Steve Mayoras will be the Libertarian candidate for Congress in District 4.  That seat, of course, is currently held by Todd Rokita.  John Dale is the likely Democratic nominee.

In District 6, Richard Turvey is the Libertarian candidate.  Current incumbent there is Luke Messer.  Five Democrats are in the race for the nomination, so it's anyone's game on that side.

Indianapolis and District 7 will have a Libertarian choice in Drew Thompson.  Congressman Andre Carson should win over his primary opponents on May 3 and face the "yard sign king" J.D. Miniear, the "yard sign queen" Cat Ping, or Wayne "Gunny" Harmon.

For the 9,384th time, Andy Horning will carry the Libertarian banner (but who's counting...I'm kidding, Andy).  This time it's again into the 8th District race against likely Democratic nominee David Orentlicher and incumbent Republican Larry Bucschon.

And, in the 9th Congressional District, Russell Brooksbank will be the Libertarian nominee when he'll likely face Democrat Shelli Yoder and the survivor of the Republican Primary between "Tennesee Trey" Hollingsworth, Greg Zoeller, Erin Houchin, Brent Waltz, and Robert Hall.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bad Lip Reading Takes on Latest D Debate

The guys and gals at Bad Lip Reading have released their latest take on the the Democratic debate from last week.  While it's not their best effort, it's pretty funny for a Friday.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

In Memoriam, Prince (1958-2016)

Legends come cheap these days.

You do a few things it seems, and people are ready to label you the "GOAT" or the "Greatest of All Time".  Fact of the matter is that true legends, the ones truly worth remembering, only come along once in a while.

We lost one of those today--Prince.

The mysterious musical genius who was painfully private and extremely shy was found unresponsive in his home in Minnesota.  It was a sad end to a life lived in the spotlight.

Like almost every legend, Prince, lived in that spotlight.  Unlike most legends, we only knew what he wanted us to know about him.  It's what helped make his legend.  Painfully private, Prince managed to be famous without wallowing in his fame.  Instead, like Michael Jackson, he used his fame to hide away.  He was almost a prisoner of his own success.

On the off occasions that we saw him perform in public these days, we were treated.  His performance at the Super Bowl in 2007 under the Miami rain was stunning.  Prince was a showman and a showstopper.  When he was on, you had to watch.  From his recent performance on SNL to his shredding of Beatles hit "While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago back to the time he showed up on MTV in a yellow suit missing the seat of his pants, Prince was indomitable on stage.

More than just a showman, Prince was a musician.  The music was amazing.  Each of his albums were musical masterpieces and almost always critical successes.  Prince could marry emotion with a dance beat or make your heart cry with a ballad.  He could take you to church in a love song.  He could write and perform musical sex.  The man was without peer in this way.

He could sing.  He could dance.  He could play multiple instruments.  He could write.  He could produce.  He could choreograph.  You name it.  Prince could do it.  He was a musical chef that could make the entire musical meal.

Unfortunately, we won't see what the next chapter of Prince's musical story will be, but we are left with the intense memories of what was.  For those of a certain age, we remember the Artist.  The Symbol.  The man named Prince Rogers Nelson.

Another icon has bowed from the stage.  This one, for some reason, hurts a little more to me.

Prince is gone, from this world anyway, at the age of 57.

When Donald Met Michael...

Donald Trump met with Mike Pence shortly before his rambling, warbling, drunk-like talk at the Indiana State Fairgrounds yesterday.  I can only imagine what they must have discussed.

For all I know, they could have swapped hair tips or played party games. Can you imagine Trump playing Pictionary?

Likely, the subject of the planned delegate revolt in Indiana against Trump came up.  Word on the street is that even it "the Donald" wins the Hoosier State on May 3, Hoosier delegates are only bound to the winner of the Indiana Primary on the GOP side for the first ballot.  After that, they can go any which way that they want.  They could give the votes to Mitch Daniels or Mickey Mouse if they so desired.

If Trump thinks Pence has some pull with the Indiana GOP, he is barely right.  Many Republicans see Pence as damaged goods and are disappointed.  That's even some of his most hardcore supporters from 2012.  Trump's endorsement certainly didn't help Pence among the independent voters John Gregg is going to need to get to defeat the Governor in November.

Something else stinks to high heaven about this meeting, too.

Remember the Syrian family that was supposed to resettle in Indiana before Governor Pence took it upon himself to bar them from entering the State of Indiana despite YEARS of sceening by Catholic Charities?  He told that family that Indiana was closed and refused to meet with them face to face.

Eventually Judge Tanya Walton Pratt told the Governor that Catholic Charities was right to defy his order and he was out of line with the U.S Constitution.

So, I guess if you're a rich politician moonlighting from your job of being a reality TV star who requested and audience with the Governor, go right in.

If you're a poor Syrian immigrant whose homeland is destroyed beyond all recognition who has been denied entry into the Hoosier State, nope...can't see you.

I just couldn't stop thinking about that as I saw the two awkward men together.