Saturday, March 06, 2010
What's wrong with Washington? Politicians "protect fish and kill unborn babies."
A fine day in Warsaw, Indiana on the 6th of March, 2010. Warsaw is an area of beautiful lakes and surrounded by farmlands. It is also known as the "Orthopedics Capital of the World" if I am not mistaken. In any event, it in Warsaw at the Center Lake Pavilion where the Kosciusko County Silent NO More organization, a Tea Party Patriot group, hosted a Senatorial debate. All candidates were invited but no Democrats accepted. Five candidates for the Republican side made their case to the (overflowing) crowd with two each questions from the host organization, the local tea parties and at least two taken from cards turned in by the crowd. They were allowed opening and closing statements and a couple of quick lifeline responses as well. A good format for five people.
On the way to the event early in the morning my wife and I had the rare sight of seeing about twenty wild turkeys congregating in an otherwise empty cornfield. I supposed the Democrats were gathering there? (ba-da-dum)! We saw a beautiful hawk swoop across the road. We saw two deer running from a field into the woods. Man has definitely not crowded out wildlife in Indiana. In fact my wife told me a herd of deer had wandered into our subdivision earlier in the week but the dogs barked them away. Yes, there are coyote and bobcats and river otters and beavers in Indiana whether your ZIM Golden Guide shows them on the map or not. We also have a LOT of Canada Geese we would love to relocate if anyone wants them.
I have to congratulate Monica Boyer and Jim Heierman and the rest of the KCSNM people because they had all the parking figured out, had the maximum seating in place and had made room for various news teams to provide coverage (including WGN in Chicago and Fox News) without spoiling the fun for the crowd.
One line that stood out to me was uttered by a preliminary speaker who I believe was named John Lowe (?) which, if I am wrong, someone from Warsaw will correct me. He stated that we needed to replace politicians who believe they need "to protect fish and kill unborn babies." Of course that is a shot at the idiots who have shut off water to central California in the Salinas area where much of the avocado crops for the nation are usually grown and many other crops as well. Because the EPA (apparently) fear that one little fish might become extinct then thousands of people are allowed to go hungry and jobless and the nation pays a little more for our meals. Duh!
If you believe in evolution then you should agree with survival of the fittest and that the fish must die to sustain human life, oh well. If you are a creationist then you would believe the welfare of humans is of more consequence than that of a fish. But if you are a DC Beltway politician you are simply stupid it would seem.
Now the other shot is the unjust Roe v. Wade decision that has killed more people than Hitler during the holocaust. The upshoot is that there are a lot of politicians in Washington that are fine with women killing their babies but would prefer to preserve a little fish than those babies or the people of the Salinas Valley!
Debbie and I went gladly as Marlin Stutzman supporters. Marlin Stutzman has an amazing record in the Indiana House and Senate (and is young enough to be my son) which you can see for yourself at GoMarlin.com. Any guy who can talk other legislators into giving up pension money and the right to lobby after leaving public office (as part of the ethics bill) and help balance the budget (Hey, Washington? It can be done!) and so many other accomplishments is a guy I want going to DC to help fix things.
Marlin and Christy and their two kids (who had fun palling around with my grandkids last month) are making this a family campaign. No wife and kids left at home while Dad tours the state. The Stutzmans are doing it together, which I really admire, because they are a family and they are doing all of this as a family most of the time. Yes, while Marlin helps run the family farm he has been a terrific legislator as well and without much money has put together a successful campaign. He is doing it on the strength of family and friends and volunteers.
Don Bates and Richard Behney are also guys from the Tea Party movement who are running more or less on a shoestring. They face veteran Representative John Hostettler and Dan Coats, former Indiana resident and current Falls Church, Virginia resident who has rented a flat in Indianapolis after working primarily as a lobbyist for the last ten years!
This event was a success because the questions were tough, the crowd was on good behavior and also the moderator was right on top of his game.
A quote from a Chicago journalist in attendance: "So, there was Coats...facing a standing room only crowd of 400-plus at the Center Lake Pavillion in Warsaw. Both candidates with Tea Party credentials...Don Bates, Jr. and Richard Behney...were greeted with cheers. Coats got just polite applause.
During opening statements, the digs against Coats began. "Welcome back to the great state of Indiana," said Behney. It was a reminder to the Tea Party crowd that Coats had left years ago to live in Washington.
State Senator Marlin Stutzman followed...and reminded the audience that as Senator...Coats had cast votes in favor of confirming future Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayer and for high-court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg...both considered liberal jusists.
John Hostettler piled on. A former Congressman himself...Hostettler talked about "former office holders" who were friends of Senator John McCain who (during his 2008 presidential bid) proposed spending $300B on failing home mortgages. (Such spending is precisely the type of federal intervention Tea Party folks thing is beyond the government's authority.)
Through it all...Coats kept his cool. He talked about his faith. He talked about freedom. He talked about eliminating federal 'earmarks'. He talked about abolishing the US Department of Education. All met with approval of the Tea Partiers gathered."
Er, not! First of all Marlin Stutzman is also part of the Tea Party movement and Hostettler has been getting involved lately, so only Dan Coats is an old-fashioned top-down choice of the National Party. While Dan Coats got polite approval for saying most of the right things, he did not get the applause that especially thundered for Behney and Stutzman, who apparently won over the crowd. The audience knew that Dan Coats had been a lobbyist living in Virginia since 1999 and even though a former Indiana Senator was playing the role of carpetbagger. Don Bates and also John Hostettler had strong support. Very few people seemed inclined to support Coats. He is not a grassroots candidate.
As a frequenter of Tea Party events, I am familiar with the candidates and both Don Bates and Richard Behney know me enough to seek me out for a handshake and a talk. I have told Richard he is my second choice and I hope he continues to look to serve but in Indiana Senate first and I also told Mr. Bates that I thought he was very much like Marlin Stutzman minus the exemplary record. I have no doubt all three men seek to serve the people and both Bates and Behney would be fine Indiana legislators. I hope they do decide to run for state office after the primary and cut their teeth on Indianapolis before taking on Washington. Both fine people and both Tea Party types.
Marlin Stutzman is a Tea Party guy, too, but he was provoked into serving his country by the events of 9/11 and served as a Indiana representative and then as a Senator so he has the heart and also the track record. John Hostettler was part of the "contract with America" crowd and that movement went to DC and lost their way. It appears that Hostettler was one of the ones who stayed the course better than most and I admire his experience and service. I would have preferred that he had stayed in the House and not ventured into the Senate race because I believe Stutzman is the superior candidate. But in one way or another these four men have been putting in the time to express their views and build their platforms and shake hands with Indiana.
SO PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE SPIN! Bates, Behney, Hostettler and Stutzman have been attending Tea Party functions for several months while Dan Coats made plans to retire to North Carolina from his Virginia home. The sudden departure of Evan Bayh brought Coats back to Indiana, not a heartfelt urge to serve. John Hostettler may believe it is his time to take on the Senate. Marlin Stutzman may believe he can be a force for GOOD change in Washington like he has been in Indianapolis. Don Bates and Richard Behney may believe they are being called from the business world to teach Washington a lesson in economics 101. But Dan Coats just saw an opening with the departure of Bayh and jumped at it.
How do we know this? Because until Evan Bayh decided not to run, Dan Coats was out of sight and out of state.
A Fort Wayne station posted this:
FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--All five candidates for the republican nomination for Senate squared off in Warsaw today for their second debate. Opening remarks from some of the five candidates included swipes at former Indiana Senator Dan Coats, who’s lived outside the state for many years.
Richard Behney: Welcome back Senator Coats to the great state of Indiana.
NOTE: Only Richard Behney took a "swipe" at Coats, referring to him as Ambassador Coats whenever mentioning his name. Otherwise any negative discussion of Coats was a mention of his voting record.
But the conversation quickly turned to the economy with all candidates promising to cut federal spending.
Sen. Marlin Stutzman: We are 12 trillion dollars in debt how can we afford to continue maxing out credit card on earmarks in frivolous projects right now when we’re sinking our country further and further in debt, how are our kids and grandkids ever gonna pay that debt back?
John Hostettler: When President Bush wanted to create Medicare Part D prescription drug payments there were 24 of us in the House that voted against it. I have a record of voting against new entitlement programs.
Don Bates: One of the things I’ve not heard is that the Bush tax cuts are set to expire January 1st 2011 every taxpayer in America here is going to get a tax increase and so the very first piece of legislation that needs to be introduced is to make those tax cuts permanent.
Richard Behney: I told folks all over Indiana if you’re looking to send me to DC to bring money back to our state don’t count on it I’m not bringing dollar one because that means that I have to stick my hands in someone else’s pocket in other states and bring it back to our state.
Former Senator Coats said his top economic priorities would include making Social Security and Medicare solvent.
Dan Coats: We want to restructure those programs so that they stop losing money people are going to have to take sacrifices they’re going to have to take cuts we have a legacy to the future to our children to get those in balance and not pass that debt on.
The Indiana primary election is May 4th.
Someone in the crowd explained that Coats got all his signatures in for the primaries on short notice by paying people "70 dollars a day plus two dollars a signature" in order to get his name on the primary ballot. That kind of explains why Dan Coats is unlikely to win the primary. Party wonks might like the idea but if Dan Coats decided to live in Virgina why not run in Virginia? How do you leave Indiana behind as soon as you become a Senator, settle in Virginia and then suddenly decide you should represent a state you do not even care to live in??!!
I know for a fact that the other four candidates got their petitions the old-fashioned way, by going to meetings and gun shows and fairgrounds. They got volunteers to stand outside of church or the local grocery store to get signatures. My wife and I signed the petitions for Bates and Behney and Hostettler and Stutzman because we wanted them all to get a fair shot to say their piece and debate the issues. We settled on Marlin early on and went out to get signatures on his behalf.
It is unsurprising that the mainstream news media would tend to see Coats as the likely winner because he won in Indiana in the past. It is also unsurprising than only Coats had no specific plans for accomplishing budget cuts or program changes. Dan Coats is an example of a Hoosier who went to Washington and became one of them. This is exactly what the Tea Party Patriot Movement is trying to end!
We want people to serve out of a deep conviction and love for their country, who want to go to Washington to make it less powerful and less costly and less intrusive into our daily lives. We want and need men who will uphold the Constitution and govern ethically. Obviously this current Congress (Hello, Senator Rangel) doesn't know the meaning of the word. Too many wads of cash hidden in freezers, too many elitists who see themselves as American Monarchy in Washington today. Washington is broken!
This Congress and this President hide bills from the public, make backroom deals with offers of money and influence and even judicial appointments for the relatives of legislators to get them to vote for the horrific destructive boondoggle we call Obamacare! Government debt is growing faster than ever and unemployment is growing along with it. Of course We the People are unhappy! Maybe this government will be so bad that even the dumbos who just vote straight party tickets (both elephant and donkey) will stop, think, and take a look at individual candidates for a change?
Various Tea Party Patriot groups are the ordinary men and women of this country that are tired of politicans growing the government and the debt and were they Pinocchio, their noses! 2010 is the opportunity to vote for your convictions and carefully consider what the Constitution says when doing it. Our own government is destroying our economy and our way of life. Will we take it back before it is too late?
Now is the time for YOU to get involved in your local area, to look for and support candidates who fit the bill and forget about national party organizations. Look where the national parties got us...last year we had an empty suit with a socialist agenda and a Chicago politics background versus a so-called maverick who is more compromise than conscience. Obama was a disaster but actually McCain probably would not have been tremendously better. We need statesmen, another Reagan or Lincoln to come along and lead the way back home...