A historian previews the election

October 8, 2008
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Jerry Handfield hasnâ??t lived in Indiana since 2001, when he moved to Washington to take a similar job overseeing that stateâ??s archives.

But Handfield still keeps tabs on Indiana. So much so that he checks the Weather Channel when tornadoes rip through the Midwest, hoping a storage site on Indianapolisâ?? east side isnâ??t hit. The former RCA record manufacturing plant near 30th Street and Shadeland Avenue, where copies of the state constitution and other critical documents are stored, is no match for a tornado, he fears.

As a student of Indiana, the historian predicts the state will tilt toward Barack Obama come election day.

Economic conditions are so bad, particularly for workers tied to Detroitâ??s auto industry, that voters will overlook their characteristically conservative patterns and go for the liberal-leaning Obama, Handfield says.

Come Nov. 5, the day after the election, â??The surprise theyâ??ll see is how many people actually voted for serious change in leadership,â?? he says.

Is Handfield a Democrat promoting Obama? No, he says.

Handfield, who serves at the pleasure of both Republicans and Democrats, has taken pains to avoid a party affiliation, and has voted for presidential candidates in each party, including the Republican currently occupying the office. He worked for Democratic candidate George McGovern because he knew him from school, but still considers Eisenhower a personal hero.

So, how do you feel? Polls show the race between Obama and John McCain is too close to call. Which direction will Hoosiers take?
  • with Indiana being down the line, I am placing my money on black and not on red. Oh, this is not roulette, but is Politics? Well, I still stand by my bet placement even though I am a regestered as Independant.
  • I fear for this country no matter which one of these candidates wins.
  • I have never voted along party lines. Rather, I have always performed due diligence with the candidates by researching their backgrounds, beliefs, work history, etc. I have always looked for the candidate I honestly believed was the best person for the nation. And that is who got my vote. I dearly hope that Hoosiers take a long, strong look at this election's candidates and vote honestly for the one that will serve the nation the best. Unfortunately, I've run into some folks locally who are rabid party believers and will vote for that party's candidate, regardless of qualifications or ability to better serve the nation. Sad.
  • I am an independant myself and find it hard to believe that so many people could possibly vote against logic! In my modest 40-something-odd years, I have witnessed many sways in the direction of this country. I hate to point blame at anyone, but it seems to me the fiscal policies of the GOP to be out-moded and not really appropriate for this period in the history of the world.

    Admittedly, the Dems haven't truly done their jobs right all the time either, but looking at an economy like we have now, this Tricle-Down Economics thing just doesn't seem to work.

    I would put my faith in the candidate who would change the fundamentals of the economy on a whole... Let's get away from the rich getting richer / poor getting poorer tack and bridge the divide in wealth between Americans.

    I think the Mr. Handfield is probably correct in that people are going to vote for serious change from the current road we're on.
  • The big upset of the day will be Mitch losing out to Jill L-T.
  • Whoever pledges to recind the Patriot act and restore our personal freedoms that it took away.
  • McCain will win Indiana. It will be one of only 5 states he will win. Hoosiers are out of touch as usual. Pull the Republican lever I say. Do what you always do. Pull that lever and follow the cow bell.
  • Wow. McCain was just so freaking ANGRY up there tonight. I mean real angry. Obama got the best of him, just by keeping his cool, and looking into the camera, and acting respectful. McCain did none of that. Crap, I thought the guy was gonna explode he was so ANGRY.

    Nope, IN goes Obama. The GOTV will ensure that. Well, that and Rudy Clay. :lol:
  • That's McCain's message. He is going to fight for the middle class. By giving big tax breaks to business, then the business owners will give the middle class more jobs, better health care, better education, and better retirement. He's a smart guy. I trust my employer to take care of me. Doesn't everyone?
  • I am hoping Indiana will go blue this year. This state certainly owes it to Senator Obama considering he is the reason Indiana is getting some respect from the political world. If Indiana goes red, it is due to the lack of independent mindsets and a general complacency of the people in this state.
  • I'm a little troubled that people seem to think that what we have is a result of trickle down economics.

    I came of voting age when Reagan presented trickle down economics, and I can tell you that it DID work.

    There have been three presidents since then, and all have modified the original premise, and decimated the true trickle down effect. Yet all still claim that 'trickle down' is in effect today, when it is not !
  • 10% gap and mcain isn't bothering to visit indiana?
  • Just Me, please understand this simple concept. I too was raised in the Reagan era and remember him presenting trickle down economics I also remember several people saying it wouldn't work. Now keep in mind first, that it was INTRODUCED in the Reagan years, which meant that it would not reach the point of anyone knowing for sure if it worked until several years later.

    The Clinton administration did alot to enhance the concept, (after inheriting, once again, a national defecit) by placing safeguards and other checks and balances, basically morphing it into what I wouldn't exactly call the original trickle down concept.

    Then the current Bush administrtion revived it and removed the safeguards the Clinton Administration put on the system. Now we see that while maybe the concept works on paper, or quazi-worked 20 years ago, it doesn't work now or when you have greedy people in control of it. I can't for one moment think that the same people in the GOP now wouldn't continue to try to get away with what they've been doing to this economy for the last 7 years.

    So basically, yeah, we're in a train wreck and I certainly wouldn't want the engineer or anyone who works with him or for him to drive the next train home.

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  1. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  2. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

  3. Good try, Mr. Irwin, but I think we all know the primary motivation for pursuing legal action against the BMV is the HUGE FEES you and your firm expect to receive from the same people you claim to be helping ~ taxpayers! Almost all class action lawsuits end up with the victim receiving a pittance and the lawyers receiving a windfall.

  4. Fix the home life. We're not paying for your child to color, learn letters, numbers and possible self control. YOU raise your children...figure it out! We did. Then they'll do fine in elementary school. Weed out the idiots in public schools, send them well behaved kids (no one expects perfection) and watch what happens! Oh, and pray. A mom.

  5. To clarify, the system Cincinnati building is just a streetcar line which is the cheapest option for rail when you consider light rail (Denver, Portland, and Seattle.) The system (streetcar) that Cincy is building is for a downtown, not a city wide thing. With that said, I think the bus plan make sense and something I shouted to the rooftops about. Most cities with low density and low finances will opt for BRT as it makes more financial and logistical sense. If that route grows and finances are in place, then converting the line to a light rail system is easy as you already have the protected lanes in place. I do think however that Indy should build a streetcar system to connect different areas of downtown. This is the same thing that Tucson, Cincy, Kenosha WI, Portland, and Seattle have done. This allows for easy connections to downtown POI, and allows for more dense growth. Connecting the stadiums to the zoo, convention center, future transit center, and the mall would be one streetcar line that makes sense.