Is Baron Hill high and dry?

July 28, 2010
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Baron Hill, who represents the 9th U.S. House of Representatives district in southeastern Indiana, is still saying he did the right thing by voting for the cap-and-trade energy bill last summer. The Seymour Democrat reiterated in a telephone town hall meeting recently that the bill would clean the air and help the nation become more energy-independent.

But Hill was the only Hoosier representative to vote for the bill, a high priority for House speaker Nancy Pelosi. Fellow Democrats Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth and Pete Visclosky distanced themselves from the legislation out of fear it would raise energy costs and send jobs overseas to countries with fewer environmental restrictions. And probably also out of fear of a voter backlash.

Now, due to opposition from Senate Republicans, cap and trade has been scratched from the energy bill the Senate will begin discussing next week.

Hill was one of several Rust Belt Democrats who demanded that Pelosi mitigate the impact of cap and trade before getting their vote. But with the chances of passage in the Senate all but nil, Hill has been left to defend his stance against an aggressive Republican challenger, Todd Young, who beat longtime Hill foe Mike Sodrel in the primary election.

In other words, Pelosi led Hill into believing the Senate would complete the task, and he’s been left to twist in the wind. Hill also voted for health care reform, another target of Young’s.

How would you rate Hill’s prospects this fall? Will cap and trade haunt him?

Also, what are your thoughts on cap and trade? Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is quite capable of turning a phrase, once said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that it amounted to “imperialism” foisted on the country by states like California, Massachusetts and New York, and “won’t save a single polar bear.”

  • Baron Hill
    I believe Hill is clearly in trouble. Given his liberalism and the mood of the country, he is at an extreme disadvantage. Blue Indiana will turn Red in the fall.
  • Down the Hill
    He's toast! Baron Hill is so out of touch with reality that he actually believes, with all of the polling data available to him, that he will be able to convince Hoosiers that voting for socialized medicine and cap & tax were good decisions for the working people of Indiana. I can't believe that anyone who lived in Indiana more than a week and a half would even CONSIDER voting for cap and trade (either bill, actually). To all the liquor stores and grociery stores in D.C.: Save your boxes - Baron Hill will be packing in November.
  • hope not.
    Hill is a moderating voice that helped mitigate the extremism of other Congressional decisions, and I'd hate to see him go. The fact that Indiana was perceived as a swing state in 2008 made it visible nationally for the first time in about 50 years. It only benefits the state to have centrist reps, so that it doesn't become a shoo-in for the Repubs--and thereby lose what would be an increasingly high-profile status. If Blue Indiana turns red, the state could easily become dismissed in broader national issues. A part of me (forever an independent) hopes that 2008 simply awakened a blue element in Indiana that had long been sleeping, rather than seeing a lot of people shift from red to blue. After all, our voter participation rate (usually one of the lowest in the nation, so sad) spiked in the '08 election. Indiana's participation rate, coupled with the political party that ultimately wins, should indicate a great deal about the state's political position over the next decade or so.
  • Out for himself
    King Hill is out of touch and out for himself only. After his diatribe at Seymour High School in response to the questions of a young girl, King Hill really showed Indiana who he is....
  • Bye Baron Bye
    Consider the ballad of the Baron and the Bayh. Both will be OUT OF OFFICE in 2011! BYE BYE

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