MORRIS: Let's vote our way out of this mess

Greg Morris
May 5, 2012
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MorrisOn May 8, the time for talk is over and it’s time to vote. I know many of us are thankful for this as we’re all tired of the constant barrage of negative ads. It’s been an especially brutal primary season.

Most people I talk with tell me they highly resent the tone in the Lugar/Mourdock race in particular. Add to that, there was so much money poured into the market for these two candidates, there was no way to escape unless you unplugged your television.

After all the negative campaigning, you may be disgusted with the process, but you can’t stick your head in the sand and not participate. There are many local, state and national offices at stake, along with important issues to decide. We can’t be so jaded and, frankly, sometimes downright depressed, about all the dysfunction and lack of agreement on anything in government that we fail to go to the polls and vote.

That’s my message. Please vote. I’m not suggesting whom you should cast your vote for. I’m just asking that you participate in the process. I want everyone to do their civic duty and vote. This is an important primary election. Sometimes primaries are pretty bland and nondescript. This is not one of those occasions.

In this week’s IBJ, you’ll find an advertisement encouraging voter turnout. The main message delivered is to “Speak Up—Vote” and the reader is directed to IndianaVoters.com to find their polling place. The ad offers an advance look at the soon-to-be-announced “Get Out the Vote” newspaper campaign made possible by the Hoosier State Press Association Foundation. The kickoff ad is one of several versions I hope you will see in most of the more-than-170 HSPA-member newspapers in the state leading up to the November election.

The ads developed in the coming months will be geared to the general election and contain more specific information for November. But, the message will be consistent: VOTE! As the newly elected president of the Hoosier State Press Association, I’ll be encouraging all our member newspapers to run these ads as often as possible leading up to the November election.

The effort ties in with the HSPA Foundation’s partnership with the Indiana Bar Foundation, along with other groups, on the Civic Health Index to measure Hoosiers’ commitment to civic engagement, political knowledge, community service—and understanding of the First Amendment. I’ve covered the poor showing by Indiana residents in civic engagement in previous columns. There’s a lot of work to be done to improve the percentage of participation in the voting process.

While I’m at it, I want to offer a thought about our tolerance of people whose opinions we don’t share. It seems that, far too often these days, if someone doesn’t agree with us, they become the enemy. It’s not just a difference of opinion to be discussed in a civil manner, it’s some sort of betrayal. Everything has become personal.

Remember when Ted Kennedy could rake Republicans over the coals in a blistering speech on the floor of the Senate, then put his arm around his political opponent and ask them to go have a beer later that evening? Unfortunately, those days appear to be gone. We’re heading for a day, and we may already be there, when the only way to get elected is to be an extremist on the right or the left with no tolerance for middle ground and compromise. To my point, it seems like Richard Mourdock has forced Sen. Richard Lugar to look like an extremist to combat attacks that he’s not conservative enough.

Any politician, like Lugar, who tries to work earnestly with both parties to accomplish a task appears to be in no man’s land today as far as electability is concerned. It’s very dangerous ground. The extremists on both sides seem to be getting all the attention. Everything I’m hearing is that if you think Washington is dysfunctional now, you haven’t seen anything yet. It’s only going to get worse.

So, everybody needs to be a part of a respectful discussion on how to get us out of this mess. The ultimate expression of your opinion is offered when you go to the polls and vote. Thanks for participating.•


Morris is publisher of IBJ. His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to gmorris@ibj.com.


  • Incentivize bipartisanship?
    The Bipartisanship Policy Center and the National Conference on Citizenship held a panel asking who took civility out of politics? You can watch the panel and join the discussion here: http://ncoc.net/bipartisanship
  • Primary Partisanship
    Primaries are the worst! They bring out partisanship. Would open primaries help the process? Would that get it beyond party politics?

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim