DAVIS: Republicans' turn to vote for Democrats

November 3, 2012

Kathy DavisI prefer facts. Facts are friendly. Facts lead us to where we want to go. How does Indiana’s economy compare with the rest of the world’s? What opportunities does that bring? What skills does it require to thrive? What drives people to get those skills?

If you know me, I think you agree that I am not a firebrand partisan with automatic reactions based on my Democratic Party affiliation.

But I feel like the Road Runner with Wile E. Coyote trying to drop an anvil on my head, yet without the Road Runner’s quick moves.

So I have a request. Actually, it’s a plea. I ask Republicans to cross over to vote for Joe Donnelly for U.S. Senate and John Gregg for governor. I do this based on their words and actions. I am not privy to inner-circle meetings of the state GOP, but I do not think the current candidates represent your party.

I was taken by surprise some months ago when a colleague and friend recalled her moment of delight when State Treasurer Richard Mourdock sued the federal government over President Obama’s rescue of the auto industry.

At the time, I responded to her with an inarticulate expletive. I regret that. I want to be constructive. But I thought Mourdock’s move was about himself and headlines. Then I learned his views on Medicare, Social Security, and now pregnancy from rape. I am stunned.

I was proud and relieved when, in the depths of the recession, the president stuck his neck out to save U.S. jobs at GM and Chrysler. Obama led the way for the federal government to help the auto industry—with loans and performance expectations—get repaid and get back out. Government didn’t grow. Government acted and succeeded. GM has prospered independently. Chrysler is rebuilding.

The basis of Mourdock’s lawsuit was that the bankruptcy of Chrysler created a threat to state pension funds. Indiana’s public pension funds owned investments in Chrysler that dropped in value when Chrysler declared bankruptcy. That was unfortunate. But the auto industry rescue agreement did not create the Chrysler bankruptcy; it created a path through the bankruptcy that kept workers employed and secured investment from a new owner.

Mourdock used $2 million of taxpayer money to play gotcha. He was not going to reverse the Chrysler agreement. He used taxpayer money to produce theater. Mourdock has long broadcast his unwillingness to work with others in a representative government.

Let’s elect leaders with a record of hearing different viewpoints, including all they were sworn to represent, in order to find solutions and make progress. Ideological purity is not what makes our form of government special—just the opposite. Every citizen sends someone they believe in to represent their views. Those representatives work together to see the bigger picture. It’s our Constitution.

Leaders must serve all citizens—people of different faiths or no faith at all, people who are gay and want to raise children in a loving, stable home. It is the two-parent family, not marriage per se, that reinforces the economic stability Mike Pence supports. Pence’s aim is off target.

Pence was willing, even excited, to bring the U.S. government to a halt in order to stop federal money for Planned Parenthood—the organization that provides health care for women and men of modest incomes. Planned Parenthood provides life-saving and abortion-prevention services every day. No federal money is spent on abortions. Defunding Planned Parenthood just leaves people without services.

Here we stand at a critical juncture. I have crossed over and voted Republican when the Democratic candidate didn’t offer a positive outlook and purpose. Republicans, can it be your turn?•

• Davis is a former Indiana lieutenant governor who owns and operates the Indianapolis technology firm Davis Design Group LLC. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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