Elections encourage an arch-conservative

November 3, 2010
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Bill Styring may be the most conservative Hoosier in a conservative state. In his 65 years, the graduate of all-male Wabash College has been a state chamber of commerce lobbyist and a senior vice president at the conservative think tank Hudson Institute. He wrote a book a decade ago forecasting entitlements like Social Security would swamp the national budget, and more recently he analyzed health reform (10,000 pages including related documents) for U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, a conservative darling who’s considered a potential candidate for president or governor.

So, how did Styring react when tea partiers like Todd Young in Indiana and Marco Rubio in Florida won handily yesterday?

“Last night I was crying,” he admits. “The tea party may have taken the Republican Party back to the Constitution.”

Sparking the tears was Young’s defeat of Baron Hill, a Democrat in Indiana’s 9th District who voted for health care reform and climate change legislation.

But Styring’s enthusiasm is tempered. On a scale of zero to 10 with zero being despair and 10 being “Reagan in 1980,” he says he shot from 0.5 to 6 overnight.

The nation is still a long way from tackling the unsustainable entitlements, he fears.

Only a president has the stature to rein in the entitlements and ultimately save the country from fiscal ruin, says Styring, who is still one of the relative handful of people who understand the state budget.

Support is growing in Washington to deal with the debt, he says; more lawmakers understand the nation can’t go on borrowing money to pay entitlements. But no one is leading. “Somebody’s got to say, folks, wise up. My kids can’t afford me.”

Whether that president will be Barack Obama remains to be seen, he says.

Those are Styring’s thoughts. What are yours?

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  • Elections encourage an arch-conservative
    This election is small first step to force governmental leaders to start to eliminate wasteful spending. We must hold their feet to the fire. It may take 2 or 3 more elections before those "smarter" than us start to get it.
  • Deficits
    I acknowledge being a social liberal and fiscal conservative. Yes, you can be both. Some years ago I recall asking my arch-conservative friends how thay could support Bush's tax cuts and at the same time embrace Bush's budget busting phony war in Iraq. I never got a satisfactory answer. I'm still waiting. If we are serious about the deficit, the war is an obvious candidate for a roll-back.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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