Red Meat: With Guv Behind The Wheel, Dogs Shouldn't Be On The Road

Dog The Guv spoke at the Clark County Lincoln Day dinner last night, where he was crowned King Of The Weird Political Analogy:

Daniels said he knew some of his efforts during his first term have "stirred up noise" and opposition. He said he was planning on answering critics by quoting a friend who told him, "Dogs don't bark at parked cars."

He added, "Indiana's car was parked for a while, but it's not parked anymore."

He considers us a bunch of dogs chasing the car he's driving? Um, okay.

Clearly, as we've discussed many times here, he intends to run the "yeah, I shook stuff up, but things will be awesome if you just give me four more years to keep shaking stuff up" campaign.

The problem with his rhetoric is that he's had four years to make things awesome, and he hasn't. Our economy is stuck in neutral. Our job growth rate is at the back of the national pack. And his sudden decision to care about taxpayers translated into a 17 percent hike in the sales tax and uncertain property tax relief.

He really thinks we're a bunch of dogs that he can train to follow him by throwing out the occasional piece of red meat.

Sorry, fella, but TDW would prefer a Governor who considers Hoosiers his partner in government, listens to their input and doesn't "drive the car" like a horny teen on his way to the Prom after-party.

Good government isn't reckless.

Party Strife: Guv Throws His Weight Behind Rookie Ed Candidate

Schoolhouse The Guv should probably spend more time focusing on his re-election efforts instead of taking out elected officials on his side of the aisle. Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has the scoop:

It appears Gov. Mitch Daniels is lining up behind southern Indiana school superintendent Tony Bennett in his attempt to replace Suellen Reed as the state's top education official.

At Wednesday night's Lincoln Day Dinner in Whitley County, Daniels introduced Bennett as the person who will likely be the next superintendent of public instruction in Indiana.

Bennett told the Louisville Courier-Journal in January that he is running for the position on the Republican side. He has been the superintendent for the Greater Clark County Schools district for less than a year.

Daniels' statement either indicates he is endorsing a rookie against a veteran or that fellow Republican Reed will not seek a fifth term.

Reed appeared disappointed when told about Daniels' quip Thursday and said she hopes to make a decision in the next week on a re-election bid.

"I'm considering all the possibilities and options," she said.

The Least Dangerous Game: Canned Hunting Bill Shot Down Last Week

Gunandholster Canned hunting: dead at the Statehouse but still winding its way through the judicial system in Southern Indiana.

"Proposed legislation that would have legalized the deplorable practice of canned hunting met a quick death, thankfully, in the legislature. But the hunts, sadly, continue at several high-fence game areas while the Indiana Department of Natural Resources continues its long legal battle to enforce state laws banning them and shut them down.

"'Certainly, things stay simple in the litigation not having the new legislation enacted,' said DNR deputy director and chief legal counsel Adam Warnke.

"House Bill 1351 died in the Indiana House of Representative Natural Resources Committee last week. The legislation would have allowed licensing of game preserves for hunting of privately owned deer and game birds. It's unfortunate that while many states are closing down canned hunting operations and enacting bans, some Indiana legislators are still looking to legalize the operations.

"The next step in the legal battle is a Feb. 14 hearing in Harrison County Circuit Court. The plaintiffs, owners of 10 high-fenced game preserves, want the court to enforce a proposal that was floated but never finalized during settlement talks between the state and the preserve owners in 2006. The proposed settlement would have allowed existing preserve owners to operate for 10 to 12 years to recoup their investment before ultimately ending canned hunting."

Strike Four: I'm A Loser, Baby, So Why Don't I Run For Congress Again

Mustache Mike Sodrel and his mustache have filed to run again in the Ninth Congressional District:

"Former U.S. Rep. Mike Sodrel on Friday filed to run a fourth time for Congress in southern Indiana's 9th District.

"If Sodrel wins the Republican nomination, it could set up a fourth consecutive race between him and Democratic U.S. Rep. Baron Hill.

"Hill and Sodrel have faced off every two years in the congressional race since 2002, most recently in 2006. Sodrel was among three incumbent Republican congressmen defeated in Indiana that year.

"'I'm sure some will try to characterize this as a grudge match,' Sodrel said. 'The fact is, I would be running regardless of who's on the other side of the ballot.'

"Sodrel campaigned in 2002 as a Washington outsider protecting the interests of voters. But Hill held onto his seat that year by more than 9,400 votes.

"In 2004, Sodrel rode a Republican wave with help from visits by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Cabinet members, winning by fewer than 1,500 votes. With 49.5 percent of the vote, it was the smallest winning percentage in that year's congressional races.

"Sodrel, who announced in October that he would run again, noted that other incumbent Republicans also lost in 2006. He said some voters were upset with the war in Iraq or the president and others were unhappy with state politics. He said views have changed since then.

"'I think the political climate is certainly different,' he said."

It sure is, fella. But not in a way that's good for you.

Indiana Scandal: Glenn Murphy Nominated For TPM Golden Duke Award

Handcuffs Glenn Murphy Jr. has been nominated for a Golden Duke Award. The scoop, via Blue Indiana:

"I'm sure many others are avid readers of Talking Points Memo, and may be following TPM's 'Golden Dukes"'awards for best scandal in 2007.

"Inspired by the relentless coverage by TDW and BlueIndiana, I nominated Indiana's own Glenn Murphy in the category of Best Scandal - Sex and Generalized Carnality. To my surprise, he was announced as one of the five nominees in this category, and my email was reprinted on the site."

Populist Mike: Sodrel Wants A Referendum On Property Tax Repeal

LetterMike Sodrel reeeeeeally wants to be in Congress again. So much so that he's willing to say -- or, in this case, write -- anything that sounds good, no matter whether it's even remotely realistic or within his control:

"Hoosiers on fixed incomes are already facing higher energy costs to heat their homes, and higher gasoline costs.

"Are we going to tax people out of their homes so we can tax someone else to build a place for them to live? What is wrong with this picture?

"Taxes should not be established on a guess. And, no one should have to rent their home from the government for life.

"It is time to repeal the property tax. Hoosier voters deserve a vote on the issue. I believe the people will vote to eliminate property tax. It is the duty of our elected officials to give us that opportunity.

"Contact your State Senator and State Representative. Also, contact the Governor. Tell them you want to axe the property tax and you want them to give you the right to vote on it."

Family Ties: Sodrel's Cousin Protests During Dubya's New Albany Visit

PresidentsealThe Indiana Daily Student tells us that while Mike Sodrel stands with Dubya on pretty much every issue, one of Sodrel's self-identified kin ain't so fond of the Prez.

"John Sodrel, who said he was Mike Sodrel's cousin, stood outside during Bush's speech with a small group of protesters. He said that while he does not support the President's economic policies, Bush's treatment of the War in Iraq was more important to him.

"'President Bush has been a disaster since day one,' he said."

The Horse Race: 2006 Targeted U.S. Reps Look Pretty Safe Next Year

Thumbsup1 The Rothenberg Political Report updates its 2008 U.S. House rankings. The outlook has not changed for the three Indiana districts that were nationally targeted last year.

U.S. Reps. Brad Ellsworth and Joe Donnelly, in the Eighth and Second Districts respectively, are on the "Democrat Favored" list.

U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, who hails from Indiana's Ninth, remains on the "Leans Democratic" list.

Wheels Of Justice: Glenn Murphy Formally Charged In Oral Sex Case

GlennmurphymugshotThis update on the Glenn Murphy criminal deviate conduct story comes to us from WVHF-TV in Southern Indiana:

"Glenn Murphy Junior appeared in court for the first time today, he is being charged with criminal deviate conduct in Clark County. Murphy's next court date is set for January 7th, and his trial date is April 1st. According to the probable cause affidavit a 22-year-old male victim received an unwanted sexual act from Murphy. It happened at a young republican's party on July 29th in Jeff. Murphy resigned as Chairman of the Clark County Republican Party in August. He said a new business venture would not allow him to hold a partisan political office. According to a Clarksville police report, in June of 1998 Murphy was accused of a similar act against a 21-year-old man. But charges were never filed."

Here's some additional information from the Louisville Courier-Journal:

"The former chairman of the Clark County Republican Party was formally charged today with criminal deviate conduct, a Class B felony that could land him in prison for six to 20 years if convicted.

"Glenn Murphy Jr., 33, is accused of performing oral sex on a sleeping man in the aftermath of a July 28 party at a home in Jeffersonville.

"Murphy turned himself in for an initial hearing in Clark Superior Court his afternoon and was later freed on $25,000 bond.

"Judge Vicki Carmichael set a trial date of April 1.

"Murphy resigned as GOP chairman when the allegations were made public in August."

You And You, But Not You: Honda Hiring Policy Draws Fire From Lawmakers

HondaHonda's exclusive hiring policy for its new Greensburg plant is attracting more criticism -- this time from Democratic state lawmakers whose constituents are barred from applying for jobs there. The Indianapolis Business Journal gets the scoop:

"Five state Democratic lawmakers from Anderson, Muncie and Pendleton have written a letter to Indiana Secretary of Commerce Nate Feltman to say they're upset that their constituents were prevented from applying for the 2,000 production jobs created by the Honda Manufacturing of Indiana plant in Greensburg.

"The lawmakers say their constituents should be able to apply for the jobs at the $550 million plant because their tax dollars were used to fund the incentive package that helped lure the Japanese automaker.

"Honda is taking applications from only 20 Indiana counties that are within about an hour's drive of the plant. The site, which will assemble Civic compact cars, is about halfway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Honda says the policy was driven by the need to ramp up the facility quickly and have workers who can make the commute, while experts say the real reason is probably to avoid union strongholds.

"Marion County is among the 20 counties, but Don Iannone, an Ohio economic development consultant told IBJ that Honda probably extended the hiring footprint to Marion County to add a few positions demanding high technical skills.

"The lawmakers represent a former United Auto Worker union stronghold because the area once had General Motors plants that employed thousands. The letter was sent by Rep. Dennis Tyler of Muncie; Rep. Scott Reske of Pendleton; Rep.Terri Austin of Anderson; Sen. Sue Errington of Muncie; and Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson.

"In the letter, the lawmakers ask for a meeting with Feltman after Honda finishes initial hiring to discuss IEDC's policy about giving incentives to companies that don't open hiring to the entire state.

"'We feel that this policy should be re-evaluated, and if necessary, the General Assembly should intervene and decide whether this is appropriate policy for the state of Indiana,' the letter says.

"IEDC spokesman Mitch Frazier would only say that IEDC will respond to the letter."

It wouldn't surprise TDW at all to see some Republicans start asking questions about the policy and the state's decision to support it with tax incentives. Someone really ought find out if the Guv knew about the company's hiring practices before he signed off on the deal.

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