We have seen the enemy, and he is us.....

Jill versus Jim.....Evan Bayh?

In a recent fundraising email sent out to Jill Long Thompson's email list, her campaign manager says:

This is it!  We've been counted out throughout this race.  But because of your help, we've done what many thought couldn't be done - and the insiders didn't want to be done - stand up for the concerns of everyday Hoosiers, and speak out on the issues that matter most to working families.  With less than 3 weeks until the primary, we are poised to upset the establishment candidate and take our fight directly to Mitch Daniels.

I can't help but wonder who this fight is with, Mitch Daniels or Evan Bayh?  It's no secret that Bayh is calling the shots at State Party, he is the highest elected Democrat in Indiana afterall.  If Jill is fighting to rid us all of the establishment, does that mean she thinks she's working to oust Bayh?  It appears that Jill has lost sight of the real goal:  To defeat Mitch Daniels.  The Daniels campaign is absolutely giddy at the thought of Jill being the nominee, they know that they won't even have to lift a finger to wipe her off the map in November. 

What Jill and camp forget is that the Gubernatorial nominee does not take over the Indiana Democratic Party with their chosen staff, she only gets to do so if elected Governor, so be careful who you are swiping at.  It's going to be a hollow victory on May 6th when you suddenly realize that the people you need to get elected in November are turning their attention elsewhere.  My guess is that the Indiana Democratic Party would have the best funded races for dogcatcher before they spent a dime helping JLT if she became the nominee.  And let's face it, when the fight comes down to Jill or Evan Bayh, I don't think there is anyone who's going to put their money on Jill.  Bayh may have his problems, but he's the only reason the Democratic Party in Indiana hasn't disappeared off the map yet.

So, in summary, and to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen:  "Jill, you are no Evan Bayh."

I Love You, Indiana: But How Do We Know You Won't Screw Us Again, Guv?

Kiss The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette takes note of the Guv's new television ad:

Gov. Mitch Daniels has rolled out a new campaign commercial, and much of it borrows from his 2004 campaign, complete with images of the RV and trips to diners. "Travelin' the state, seein' the small towns, stayin' in people's houses," Daniels says at the beginning of the commercial.

The governor also tackles head-on the idea that some Hoosiers believe he made too many changes – "too much, too soon" in his words.

"I don't expect anybody to agree with all of (the changes), there are too many," he says.

Here's one person with whom the Guv stayed during the 2004 campaign who probably won't be featured in the 2008 version.

By the way, is anyone else kinda creeped out by the underlying message of the Guv's updated version of the same-old-same-old message?

As in: "I know my treatment of you has been a little rough, Indiana, but I brought you chocolates and flowers, and I promise to never, ever be mean to you again if you'll just give me this second chance to make things right."

Let The Speechifying Begin: A Few Photos From The Dyngus Day Fun

Megaphone Dyngus Day is over, and TDW is tired, but not so tired that she doesn't have time to upload a few photos from the two venues -- the West Side Democratic Club and the Hoosier Tap -- where she joined with fellow Democrats to drink a few beers and chat about politics this morning and afternoon.

Both places were packed, especially the former one, where former President Bill Clinton and former First Kid Chelsea Clinton talked up wife/mom Hillary Clinton's campaign. Former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend also heaped praise on Mrs. Clinton.

Former U.S. Rep. and 9/11 Commission member Tim Roemer spoke as a surrogate for presidential hopeful Barack Obama, and both gubernatorial candidates, South Bend native Jim Schellinger and former U.S. Rep. Jill Long Thompson, got their turn at the podium.

Schellinger and his wife, Laura, showed up a bit later at the Hoosier Tap to share in the festivities there. (For her part, that's where TDW wound up because it was nearby and not swarming with people with plastic cords in their ears.) Those photos after the jump, but first, a few from the West Side Democratic Club:






Continue reading "Let The Speechifying Begin: A Few Photos From The Dyngus Day Fun" »

Return Of The Fluffy: Guv Tries To Rebuild His Public Image On The Air

The Guv has launched his first re-election ad. It talks about traveling the state, talking to Hoosiers and making change -- sometimes change that people don't like.

The overarching message seems to be that he knows he pissed people off, but he deserves a second term to make right his mistakes.

Or maybe we should just elect someone who doesn't make people mad in the first place because that person pays attention to Hoosiers instead of acting unilaterally like he's the smartest dude in the room.

Objectively, this isn't a bad ad, but it's also not a very memorable one. It does, however, give us a clear indication that the Guv intends to run 2004 Campaign Redux in an attempt to convince people that he really is a likable guy who groks average working Hoosiers, not some hand-me-down Bushie with out-of-touch talking points and a stubborn streak.

Here's the new ad, which appears to have been made by the same folks behind Jon Elrod and Dan Burton's television campaigns:

And if you can't remember the ads he ran in 2004, here they be. You can bet he won't be running the outsourcing one ($2 billion and counting!) or the one featuring Dubya's praise (universally deplored!) again:

Trickling Down: Shifting The Tax Burden Means Biz Folks Will Take The Hit

Taxman The Indianapolis Business Journal looks at how the Guv's property tax "reform" plan was funded -- chiefly by raising the sales tax and shifting the tax burden to businesses.

Property tax reform is now Indiana law. Hoosier homeowners are thrilled. But many corporate leaders grumble the historic deal was brokered on the backs of business.

Topping their concerns is the new 3-percent property tax cap for commercial and industrial properties, which they fear will slow business expansions and discourage companies from moving headquarters to the state. Lawmakers granted far greater relief to homeowners, whose tax bills will be capped at 1 percent of their homes' values. They set the cap at 2 percent for rental property.

Some business leaders also are uneasy with provisions in the reform bill that hike the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. The increase won't pinch just consumers, they point out, since 20 percent to 40 percent of all transactions are business to business.

And they're frustrated that lawmakers put off tackling major reforms to make government more effective and efficient—moves that are key to putting tax bills in check.

The Legislature passed the political hot potato of whether to eliminate township assessors in urban areas like Marion County to voters, who will consider the question in a November ballot referendum.

Though lawmakers next year plan to tackle reforms proposed in last year's Kernan-Shepard government-efficiency report, business leaders fear lawmakers' resolve will wane now that they've quieted the hue and cry from homeowners.

The IBJ also pens this editorial on the issue of actual government reform:

Lawmakers got a start this year by agreeing to take over some expenses, such as child welfare and certain public safety pensions, previously the responsibility of local government. Make no mistake, though, the heavy lifting will begin next January. That's when legislators will be asked to streamline local government or give locals the flexibility to do it on their own. The people who govern our cities and towns should expect no less from a state government that professes its desire for local spending restraint.

Luckily, legislators already have a blueprint for change in the form of the Kernan-Shepard report on local government reform. Delivered last December, it recommends dramatic reductions in the number of governmental units and elected officials as a way to lower costs and enhance accountability.

The Guv got what he wanted, and he might be able to fool people into thinking it's the end-all-be-all solution, but it most assuredly isn't. He once again did what he's famous for doing: avoiding a truly bold decision for something that's politically easy. (See also: his Iraq war spending estimate.)

In this instance, not only did he not solve the problem, but was held completely unaccountable for helping create the problem he's allegedly been up in arms about since he found out people were pissed at him. Short-term, reactionary thinking at its finest.

Who's Gonna Win? Pulliam Asks Republicans To Weigh In On Dem Primary

Demdonkey Russ Pulliam talks to a bunch of Republicans about who they think will win the Democratic gubernatorial primary:

Some Northern Indiana Republicans think Thompson could win the primary, despite Schellinger's advantages. State Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, says her campaign is highly visible in his part of the state.

"She's all over the place. She's been up there 10 to 15 times in the last few weeks," Kruse said. "She's a worker. She has better name identification. She's getting out more. Schellinger might do better at a delegate convention."

State Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Lakeville, also sees more of Thompson.

"I think she's probably a harder worker," the Northwest Indiana representative said. "I see more of her tracks up there."

Former state Republican Chairman Rex Early contends that money still matters. "Whoever's got the most money in the primary wins," he said. "I'm still laying my money on Schellinger."

Yes, yes, Pulliam also talked to some Democrats, including former State Rep. Ed Mahern, who addressed the issue of the presidential candidates dominating the paid media market, State Rep. John Day, who talked about combining the ticket, and non-profit founder Mike Feeney, who praised Schellinger but not his campaign.

But the people Pulliam polled about the candidates' effect on the trail were all Republicans, which is kind of a disservice to Democrats voting in the May primary.

Then again, Pulliam also thinks there's no way anyone can beat Daniels because of the totally awesome property tax "reform" bill he just signed. More on that in a separate post.

Thompson may well be soaring based on her name ID in Northern Indiana, but Pulliam probably should have asked Democrats, not Jackie Walorski, Dennis Kruse and Rex Early, to talk about the race. Something tells TDW he wouldn't call her for comment on Daniels' job performance.

Primary Colors: Thompson Talks Ethics, Takes A Swipe At Schellinger

Gavel Since so many of you seem to want to talk about Jill Long Thompson's ethics proposal, here's the Associated Press story about her press conference today:

Democratic candidate for governor Jill Long Thompson announced a series of proposals Wednesday that she said would make the state's campaign finance and ethics laws and regulations more transparent.

They include banning companies and their executives who do business with state or local government from donating to state political campaigns while they are under contract and for two years after their work is completed. Owners of riverboat casinos in Indiana are currently banned from making such donations.

Limited liability companies could donate no more than $5,000 to a state campaign per year, the same limit placed on corporations. They also would have to disclose the sources of their funding.

She also said if elected she would voluntarily submit all agency appointees to the Indiana Senate for confirmation, and seek to have such a requirement put in state law. They also would have to disclose publicly their financial investments and holdings.

The former Indiana congresswoman faces Jim Schellinger, president of an Indianapolis architecture firm, in the May 6 Democratic primary. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels is unopposed for his party's nomination for re-election.

Long Thompson said while she did not believe state government was corrupt, "I think it's important to have full disclosure and uphold the highest ethics in government."

Candace Martin, Schellinger's campaign press secretary, said Schellinger was very committed to ethics and government reform.

"He believes we seriously need to look at positive ways to reform state and local government," Martin said.

Asked at the event about Schellinger's new campaign ad, Thompson couldn't resist taking a swipe at her Democratic challenger. Jim Shella reports on his blog:

Jill Long Thompson told a Statehouse news conference today that she will have statewide television ads on the air "soon."

When asked to comment on ads by her opponent in the Democratic gubernatorial nomination battle, Jim Schellinger, she first said that she doesn't comment on ads by others and then commented.

"I'm reminded of the Seinfeld episode," she said.  "Its all about nothing."

You can view the biographical ad in question here.

On The Teevee: Schellinger Ad Earns Ink, Thompson Waits To Go Up

Schellinger_jim2 Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports on gubernatorial candidate Jim Schellinger's new television ad. Schellinger is the first statewide candidate to hit the airwaves this cycle.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jim Schellinger beat his opponents to the airwaves last week, going up on television with the race's first ads in mid-March.

Residents in the Indianapolis and South Bend areas were first to see them, but the campaign promises to go statewide within a few weeks. The television ad has begun to air in Fort Wayne.

"It's important to be up first because we need to make sure voters know who our candidate is," said Robert Kellar, communications director for the Schellinger campaign. "Often, people will be open to your ideas and policies, but they need to know who you are first."

That’s why the campaign started with a basic biographical introduction of Schellinger. It uses family photos and sports memorabilia to tell the story of Schellinger growing up in South Bend, the sixth of eight kids, in a working-class home. He then worked his way through college and built a successful architecture firm.

Later, the ad shows Schellinger participating in meetings and walking a factory floor with a worker. It ends with the tagline "leadership that's like us."

Annual campaign finance reports filed in January showed Schellinger with a sizable money lead over fellow Democrat Jill Long Thompson – $1.8 million on hand compared with $436,000. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels dwarfs them both with $6.7 million on hand.

Jeff Harris, communications director for Long Thompson, said she hasn't started television ads yet because early polling shows she is ahead of Schellinger in name recognition.

"Hoosiers are just beginning to pay attention," he said. "We're comfortable with our ability to wait and feel once we go up on television, we’ll be able to sustain our lead."

The Thompson campaign sent out a direct mail solicitation that arrived in mailboxes, including TDW's, yesterday. In it, she cites and includes a February poll that showed her leading Schellinger prior to the start of his paid media campaign.

The real question, however, is when -- not if -- the Democratic presidential candidates, who are flush with cash, start dumping money into television ads here.

On The Trail: Guv's Gala Splits Unions, Thompson Talks Eco Devo

Money On the gubernatorial front, the Times of Northwest Indiana reports this morning that union folks in that part of the state are mighty ticked off about a fundraiser for the Guv this week:

A gala fund-raiser for Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels is prying open a deep fissure in Northwest Indiana's construction unions.

Some union locals are crying foul over a full-page ad in newspapers last week listing the Northwest Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council as a sponsor of the $500-a-plate fundraiser to take place Friday night at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.

Mike Campbell, president of Laborers' Locals 81 and 41, said many of his 3,000 members are furious because the ad gave the impression all 33 union locals in the council are supporting Daniels and the gala.

In fact, Laborers' locals in Indiana have endorsed Democrat Jim Schellinger and donated $126,000 to his campaign, Campbell said.

Campbell called Friday's gala "an anti-living-wage, anti-working-family event."

Local 81 is based in Valparaiso and Local 41 in Hammond. The locals cover Lake, Porter, Jasper, Newton, Starke and LaPorte counties.

Ironworkers Local 395 business manager Jim Stemmler also called The Times shortly after the ad appeared and said his local and the Ironworkers' state council have endorsed Schellinger.

When contacted Monday, Northwest Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council President Chris Hernandez said the council's $50,000 gala sponsorship has come entirely from funds raised by individual locals and labor councils.

"It's a sponsorship for the dinner; it's not a building trades endorsement," Hernandez said.

Meanwhile, Jill Long Thompson unveiled her economic development talking points at the Statehouse yesterday:

A candidate for Indiana governor Monday outlined her strategy for growing the state's economy.

Democrat Jill Long Thompson spoke this morning at the Indiana Statehouse. She says the fact that factories are closing, and Indiana families are struggling to pay their mortgages, is proof that Governor Daniels' current approach to economic development isn't working.

"My approach as governor will be to work on reforming the broad policy areas that will set us apart from other states and make us the state where the businesses that are here can grow jobs but also a place where businesses want to come and to locate," said Thompson.

Thompson also said it's important for a governor to understand that the quality of jobs the state attracts is as important and the quantity. She faces Jim Schellinger in the May primary.

Mayoral Backing: Dem City Leaders Pick Sides In May Guv's Race

Demdonkey Indiana mayors are lining up to support the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates:

Democratic mayors across Indiana picked sides Tuesday in the state's gubernatorial primary.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and previous mayor Graham Richard endorsed architect Jim Schellinger, a Democrat from Indianapolis, during an event in downtown Fort Wayne.

Just minutes before the event started, former Democratic congresswoman Jill Long Thompson announced the endorsements of 21 mayors across the state. The mayors were from smaller cities and included several northeast Indiana communities: Angola, Berne, Bluffton, Columbia City and Decatur.

Schellinger said he was pleased to have the support of Henry and Richard, as they are two men he admires. He dismissed concerns about the support for his primary opponent.

"Wait until you see mine," he said after looking at the list of mayors supporting Long Thompson.

Henry said he wouldn't usually endorse a candidate in a contested primary, but after meeting Schellinger last year, he realized the architect gave Democrats the best chance of retaking the governor's mansion.

"Jill Long Thompson is a very good personal friend," Henry said. "This is nothing personal at all."

Here's Thompson's list of endorsements:

Angola Mayor Dick Hickman
Batesville Mayor Richard Fledderman
Berne Mayor John Minch
Bicknell Mayor John Flickinger
Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan
Bluffton Mayor Ted Ellis
Boonville Mayor Pam Hendrickson
Brazil Mayor A. Ann Bradshaw
Cannelton Mayor Morris Graves
Clinton Mayor Jerry Hawkins
Columbia City Mayor Jim Fleck
Decatur Mayor John Schultz
Delphi Mayor Randy Strasser
Greendale Mayor Doug Hedrick
Hartford City Mayor Dennis Whitesell
Huntingburg Mayor Marvin Belcher
Jasonville Mayor Roy Terrell
Logansport Mayor Mike Fincher
Lawrenceburg Mayor Bill Cunningham
Michigan City Mayor Chuck Oberlie
Sullivan Mayor Scott Biddle

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