Are Indiana Dems brain-dead?

July 1, 2009
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Now that another General Assembly is mercifully behind us, itâ??s a good time to raise a festering question about the lopsided nature of ideas bantered about the Statehouse in recent years.

Gov. Mitch Daniels has driven a wide-ranging agenda characterized by a market-oriented approach to government. Performance pay for state employees, privatizing the Indiana Toll Road and so on. From the time of his first campaign in 2004, the Republican told Hoosiers what he believed and where he wanted to take the state.

Some of those ideas arenâ??t getting much traction. Streamlined local government is one.

Yet the debate has been one-sided because there is no other side, no other agenda to speak of. Can you think of one significant, innovative idea offered up by Indiana Democrats?

Like prior sessions when Daniels and Democratic House Speak Pat Bauer butted heads, most of the friction revolved around Danielsâ?? wanting to do something and Bauer digging in his heels.

But where are Bauerâ??s ideas? How would Democrats lead a state thatâ??s still struggling to maintain its place in an increasingly global economy?

No level of government operates well without competing ideas. Hoosiers hammered by shrinking paychecks and layoffs sense the stateâ??s back is to the wall, and want answers that work. They want ideas that will help them prosper.

So far, Daniels and his team are offering direction. Democrats are stuck in a caretaking rut.

What are your thoughts? Is anyone interested in doing Democratsâ?? thinking for them and tossing some good ideas on the table?
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  • Remember, all politics are local. The democrats agenda for at least the last 50 years has been to move the country to socialism. The head democrat in the country has the votes to pursue that agenda. Democrats do not have the votes on the local level, but are pursuing it through Pat Bauer. Pat Bauer is not just some brain dead democrat. He is on a mission to further the democrat agenda of destroying the American economy.
  • Give Pat credit. He did provide one job for whomever designed that ridiculous rug he wears.

    But seriously folks, Pat may be a nice guy and apparently has the respect of enough people to have maintained this position he holds in the legislature for years, but where is the evidence of effective leadership? He seems to be a good compliment to Nancy Pelosi. Is anyone proud to say as an American they think she (or Hoosiers regarding Pat) is doing a good job?

    As voters, we should have the opportunity to, once a year, vote up or down (yes or no), do we want to retain the Speaker of the House, Majority Leader of the Senate in both State and Congressional bodies? Perhaps that would halt the cronyism and the power these people abuse, especially in Washington.
  • Instead of pissing and moaning find better candidates in your party and win ther majority and then ahve a speaker. Till then we gotta take care of the Bush fmailies messes. Lets not forget that the toll road sales should have taken care of some of our pain but has not!!
  • I couldnt agree with you more Norm.

    I marginally follow politics, and rarely keep track of who is D or who is R. I just judge things by the idea. As a casual observer, it sure seems to me that it's the Governor coming up with ideas and the Democrats fighting every one. Maybe not all the ideas are stellar, but they are ideas.
  • I don't know about Indiana Demorcrats, but Pat Bauer certainly fits the description. Contrary to what a prior commenter said, I don't think Pat Bauer is on a mission to further the democrat agenda of destroying the American economy. Fortunately, there is no such agenda. Pat Bauer is simply a redneck hick bent on keeping Indiana a second-rate backward state, presumably thinking that if the state were allowed to modernise, a toupee'd hayseed like him would be put back on his turnip truck and sent back to whereever it is that he came from. But Indiana isn't a third-rate backward state anymore, which is why Bauer's continued presence in the General Assembly (and the presence of those like him in both parties, including those who would rather pray than pass legislation, evidently thinking that our Lord has an interest in state government) is such a glaring anachronism. Like everything else, this too shall pass. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
  • Wow. Couldn't have said it better. Mitch has all these ideas that could bring the gov't into this century. We have already seen some of the good things he's done and that's why people are already begging him to go presidential. The Indiana Democrats, and Pat Bauer ESPECIALLY, have not come up with solutions, don't have support for their ideas, and do all they can to try to push the media back to say that Mitch and his ideas are so horrible. His neck of the woods is all up in Chicago-land thinking and that is not the focus of our state - or so it seems that's all I've heard from him. We have a center too and we need to work to better our state. Bauer is VERY close minded in his opinions and I am so tired of hearing him speak on behalf of the assembly. Please, let's try to appoint someone who is little more open and can actually discuss a topic rather than ignore issues and rant/rave about how wrong everything is.
  • Idea #1: Get rid of Bauer - are you listening South Bend? (Oh I forgot they have a University up there that is liberal and socialist too)
    Idea #2: Change the archaic rules of the legislature that allow speakers and chairs too much power in whether a bill is brought to a vote or not
    Idea #3: Ask voters to take more time to know who their state legislator is and what s/he stands for (I am guilty of not doing this in the past, but no more)

    Those three ideas are a good start
  • So, this is what passes for political discourse in Indiana? Indiana is in a mess not only because of 8 years of George W. Bush, but because of the voodoo economic notions of Ronald Reagan 30 years ago. Eight years of Clinton had us nearly pulled out of the hole, but along came the GOP to bury us once again. Gov. Daniels like to present Indiana as doing so much better than most other states but it's not really true. The budget just passed will put the brakes on any semblance of progress of which we might have seen a glimmer. Death to technology, education and culture. The brain drain in Indiana will only get worse. Why would anyone want to continue to live here? Pat Bauer may not have offered much in the way of an alternative, but the governor's plan was certainly pusillanimous in the extreme. What the Speaker did manage to do, however, was to make it abundantly clear whose budget and plan this is so that when it fails you will know whom to blame - except that this being Indiana too many of you will blame it on the Democratic Party and socialism.
  • All politicians have agendas. The fact that the Deomcrats finally agreed to a two-year budget shows they aren't brain dead.
  • To Steve...to quote your post, Why would anyone want to continue to live here? You're so right. Want help packing your truck?
  • Voodoo economics - oh, how great a mind you are Steve. No one in the presidency has done more positive in the past quarter century than President Reagan. The mess you talk about - blame it on ALL of Washington politicians, not just George Bush. Take No Child Left Behind for example. Ted Kennedy's baby - perhaps the worst legislation out of Washington in 25 years. We need the federal government OUT of the education business.

    And hey, Brian the Brain, the Toll Road wasn't sold, it was leased.
  • typical elitist reply...us poor corn fed hoosiers just can't figure it out...maybe you should move to the great utopia of california...that liberal bastion really has it figured out...reagan saved us from carter - clinton and his crony alan greenspan got us where we are today...with the help of the likes of barney frank and chris dodd...
    I am sure obama with the help of his lobbyist friends and bankers will fix everything...you can keep the change.
  • Oh, and Hey, Big Steve, it was the DEMS that had ZERO $ in the state budget for Technology. Go whine to Bauer about that. The budget that passed restored only 1/2 of what Daniels asked for. Put the blame where it belongs.
  • It seems as if Bauer thinks his job as a Dem is to stop anything that is proposed by the GOP. He gives lame reasons for doing so, but it is quite obvious to me that it is all party line decisions. I am beginning to believe the rest of the Dems in the House don't have the mettle to stand up to Bauer and instead just let him make all the decisions for them. The entire country is in crisis, not just Indiana. This should be the era of level headed thinking with creative ideas and belt tightening measures in the legislature. This could have been the one time both parties agreed to come together and do the best thing for Indiana and forget about making sure everyone knew to which party they belonged.

    It is time for SouthBend to find someone who can come up with ideas for the greater good of Indiana and vote out a shouting party line embarrassment.
  • Bauer and the rest of the Democrats do need to step up and be accountable for a new direction in lieu of simply anti-Daniels rhetoric. As a business man that travels this country on a regular basis I have seen and heard nothing but good things about Indiana even in the face of an economic collapse. Why is that? The time zone change and the Highway Lease has allowed Indiana to be in front of the pack instead of copy cat innovation. Look, every state has tried to lease anything public and they cannot, Mitch was not the first to do this, but his timing enabled us to pocket money for some future fiscal responsiblity. The time change was simply th most important business decision this state has made in my lifetime. The expansion of our crossroads of america mantra could not have continued with out it. The new airport, logistic warehousing, conventions, bio science expansion, INDOTmaintenance and etc, I could go on and on, what an impact it has made to our business renovations that has to continue with the collapse of old technology manufacturing. If you do not bring it to the table and seperate yourself from your competitors you will not be in business and employ our fellow hoosiers. You tell me who has made a difference? Mitch Daniels!!
  • Hmmm. Interesting posts all, but let's face it, Democratic or Republican, the Indiana General Assembly is no beacon of enlightenment. Lobbyists, catering to local pols? At that, they excel.

    It's a pretty shameful and shameless body, the House is led by two of the biggest blowhards. I call them frick n' frack, B&B, Bosma and Bauer. They both cater to the red meat boobs in both parties. Neither are big idea guys. One just likes to say no, the other postures about prayer. What have we learned about politicians who play the holier than thou card?

    Daniels, politics aside, is a mover, a shaker and an idea guy. I think he's most likely a little butthead in person, but he knows his stuff, and has a mind that supercedes (usually) prurient and political interests. Thank Gawd he won last year. Can you imagine, Lt. Governor Oxley? He and Mark Sanford would have made a great team, despite their political differences.
  • It's not fair to compare the GOP and the democratic party by looking to each's most visible member (Mitch and Bauer), because it doesn't stack up.

    I agree that Mitch is a better leader and has more vision. But go to Washington County or Franklin County or Benton County and start talking to local republican leaders about Mitch's vision. Trust me, they don't share his ideas on concentrating local government, selling off state assets or prepare Indiana for a 21st century economy.

    There are many elected leaders that lack ideas and vision to move to the state forward. They are in both parties. To suggest that the Republicans get it and the Democrats is inaccurate.
  • Levi,

    Given the position of the 3 counties you identified I would guess we should all thank the GOV for his vision as opposed to subscribing to the whims of counties who rank in the lower 1/3 of the state for population and the lower 1/4 of the state for formal education. While I feel strongly we all should have a voice in governement it would be disasterous to follow the direction of these counties. Given the economics of the state and our children's future hopefully these three counties will begin to look at doing things another way to join progess and grow their employment and tax bases.

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