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Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

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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