Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Time for "Indiana Week in Review" to Add a Libertarian to the Panel

Indiana Week in Review has had a wonderful discussion on Indiana news and happenings, mostly of a political nature, for twenty years now.  The show is moderated by Jim Shella, and uses four panel members to interject their point-of-view on the goings-on of the Hoosier State each week.  The current regular panel members are: Mike McDaniel, former chair of the Indiana Republican Party; Ann DeLaney, former chair of the Indiana Democratic Party; Jon Schwantes of Dispatch Broadcasting; and John Ketzenberger of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute.

Jim Shella
(from IWIR website)

Last Monday, Shella posted a blog commemorating the 20th anniversary of the show. The same day, Rupert Boneham's campaign issued a statement that Rupert would be announcing his gubernatorial decision on Saturday (my story here). The combination of these events reminded me of a conversation that was held on the first IWIR episode after Boneham announced he was forming an exploratory committee for the Governor's race.

On that episode (You can find audio of that episode here. The Rupert coverage begins at 13:02,) a few things really stood out to me.  First, the discussion it received seemed to laugh off the (then) potential candidate.  Second, it felt like the panelists, for one reason or another, were scared to tackle both the Rupert subject and the viability of the Libertarian Party.  Third, the members of the panel showed very little knowledge of how Indiana law works in respect to parties other than the Republicans and Democrats.

(You see, everything from party conventions to ballot access to primaries...everything, vastly different if you're not an R or a D.  Little tricks the two major parties have made laws on to keep it so they are the only likely players in most races.  Even in races where a third party candidate is present, the laws make it very difficult for the non-major candidate to have a fair shake.)

Because of Rupert's (then) potential candidacy, I decided to comment on Shella's blog, asking him when the show planned to add a Libertarian to the panel.  Shella replied,
"We have no current plans to add a Libertarian. It is a statewide show and without a Libertarian challenging seriously for any statewide offices that would be difficult to justify."
I don't know, of course, if Shella had yet received word of Boneham's Saturday announcement.  If he had, even as predictable as the outcome of Saturday's press conference was, he had no way to know for sure what Rupert was going to say.

Well, guess what, Mr. know now.  As of two days ago, there is a Libertarian challenging seriously for a statewide office.  And not just any statewide office, but THE statewide office...the race for Indiana Governor. For at least the next twelve months, Indiana's Libertarian Party and Rupert Boneham will be constant fixtures in the news of Indiana's politics.

Chris Spangle
Executive Director
Libertarian Party of Indiana

So now I resubmit my question to Jim Shella and the others at Indiana Week in Review:  when will you add a Libertarian to your panel?  The time to do so is now, and I challenge you to accept that.  I encourage you to take steps to very quickly have a voice of the state's third largest party represented on your show.

If you are looking for suggestions, I have a few.  At the top of that list is the current Executive Director of the Indiana Libertarian Party, Chris Spangle.  Spangle is well-informed and well-spoken.  Add in Spangle's current role in the state's Libertarian Party, and his fit for a IWIR panel position seems clear.

Sean Shepard
Aside from Spangle, other options should include the Libertarian's State Chair, Sam Goldstein. Yet another option would be former Congressional candidate and regular speaker for Libertarian ideals, Sean Shepard.

Things just changed for the Indiana Libertarian Party. Every discussion of Indiana politics, especially the 2012 Governor's race, will now mention Rupert Boneham and the Libertarian Party. It's now time for Indiana's political news show to change as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

So...Who is Rupert Boneham, Outside of Survivor?

Now that Rupert has made an official announcement that he will seek the Libertarian Party's nomination for Governor of Indiana (see my story here), I decided to delve a little bit more into who, exactly, is Rupert Boneham...other than the guy everyone knows from Survivor.

Really, you don't have to go any further that Rupert's late September interview with Mike Ahern on his show One on One.  In the interview, all bases are covered.  Rupert's humble Kokomo beginnings.  His move to Texas to begin his adult life.  His return to Indianapolis to take care of his adopted grandparents.  His time on Survivor, and why he feels he is ready for Indiana politics.  Ahern does a great job of getting us all of the information we need about where Rupert's been up till now.

The interview came in 5 segments.  Each is embedded below. (Sorry for the size, if it looks weird.  I used the embed code from the show's page.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rupert Makes It Official: He's Running For Governor

The wait is over. After speculating since August, Rupert Boneham made it official in an afternoon press conference today at the American Legion Post on Holt Road. Rupert is, in fact, going to be seeking the Libertarian Party's Nomination for Governor of Indiana.

This comes as no real surprise to people who have been following the story. Most indications since Boneham formed his exploratory commission in August have been that this would be his decision. When the announcement was made almost a week early that today's press conference would be taking place, it left little doubt. The local news even covered the story as fact as early as yesterday.

Rupert was introduced by his campaign manager, Evan McMahon, and by Indianapolis City-County councillor Ed Coleman, who represents more constituents than any other Libertarian in the nation.

In his press conference, Rupert stated he is dedicated to bringing jobs to Indiana by creating a level playing field for all businesses, be they large, small, or home-based. He stated he is a believer in unions, is currently a union member himself, but also supports right-to-work legislation.

State Libertarian chairperson Sam Goldstein stated he was "excited about the announcement, but will wait to offer any official endorsement until after the final choice is made at our April convention. "

Because of the way state laws are written, Libertarians are not allowed to participate in the primary process. Instead, they choose from their candidates at party nominating conventions each spring. As of now, Boneham is the only person who has announced they are seeking the Libertarian's gubernatorial nomination.

Boneham's campaign released a campaign poster at the well-attended press conference (so well attended that it felt more like a "Go Rupert, Go"! rally than it did a press conference.) The poster, shades of blue with a semi-circle of gold stars above gold flames that almost seem like a tightly cropped shot of the top-half of of Indiana's flag, contained the word's "It's Our Time," and "Rupert for Governor," felt like it was a poster not only for the campaign, but for the Libertarian Party itself.

There's going to be tons more coming on this story, I'm sure.

You can check out Rupert's website here, although it is not yet updated to reflect the news in today's announcement.  Boneham said to expect updates on the page within the next couple of days.  He said there is also going to ba an official Rupert for Governor Facebook page.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bill Levin Puts Out Straight Forward Commercial

At-Large City-County Council candidate Bill Levin (L) has a new commercial hitting th airwaves. A link to it has been making its way around Facebook.

In it, Levin takes a simple and straightforward approach. Tired of the way the Republicans and Democrats are acting? Tired of crime? Vote for me.

Levin is a well-known and popular person around town. Between his higher profile and commercials like these, he's bound to really shake up the Council race next month.

Check out the commercial here

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rupert Will Announce His Gubernatorial Decision Saturday

Word just came from Rupert Boneham's campaign that this Saturday he will announce whether he will choose to seek the Libertarian Party's nomination to be their gubernatorial candidate in 2012.  Boneham formed an exploratory committee for that race in late August (see my story here,) and put up a Rupert for Governor web page. At the time, he said that he would spend the several weeks visiting with Hoosiers around the state. He indicated that he knew he was ready for the Governor's race, but wanted to spend time with Hoosiers to see if they were ready to consider him a viable candidate.

It appears that decision has been made. This Saturday afternoon, Boneham has announced he will face the media and publicly announce what his decision will be. Rupert's press conference will be held at 2:00 at American Legion Post 64 on Holt Road in Indianapolis.

According to Boneham's campaign manager, Evan McMahon,
"Over the past couple of months, Rupert has been visiting with everyday Hoosiers and small business owners from all across the state. After hearing their stories and concerns and weighing those of his family and supporters, Rupert has come to a decision."
I fully expect we'll hear Rupert announce his intentions are, in fact, to seek the Libertarian Party's nomination, and McMahon's statements sure don't lead you to think otherwise.  If Boneham had other thoughts, I can't imagine there would be a press conference announced this many days ahead of time.  It seems like today's announcement of the upcoming press conference is well-crafted to allow plenty of time for the media, both locally and nationally, to grab hold of the story and build some anticipation.  (Of course, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently did just that in his announcement that he will not be running for president, so anything is possible.)

Rupert is, of course, famous for his appearances on several incarnations of the reality TV show Survivor.  In his personal life, Boneham is well-known for his youth mentoring program, Rupert's Kids, which, according to their website, is an
"organization dedicated to serving an easily overlooked population of youth: those that have become too old for the youth social service system, but are not old enough for the adult social service system. We teach these youth valuable skills and trades, while also empowering them to discover their inner strengths, passions and interests."

In the spirit of self-sufficiency, Rupert's Kids has never accepted any government funding (a fact that I'm sure is very popular among the Libertarians Boneham is seeking the nomination from.)

The big question since Boneham filed his exploratory committee has been whether his potential candidacy was serious, or if it was a publicity stunt.  When asked whether Rupert feels the media and the Hoosier voters are ready to take Boneham seriously, McMahon stated,

"This truly has been a tough decision for him. He has struggled with the unknown impact this will have on his family and community work. He's also been faced with a few hostile members of the media, that have done everything they can to discredit not only his potential campaign but also the legitimacy of other Libertarian candidates. But, he has also had a great deal of supporters calling and emailing the campaign. He gets stopped everywhere he goes by people encouraging him to take this stand for Hoosiers. It has been a rough couple of weeks."
Again, it sure sounds like Rupert's going to announce he's giving the green-light for a full campaign to start immediately.  Saturday's the big day.  I hope he runs.  It's going to make for a very fun and exciting 2012.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

December Presidential Primaries? It's Time for Consolidation of Dates

"You're vote counts!"     "I vote. I count."      "No vote is a wasted vote."

Are these statements still true?  In most cases, I am a firm believer that they are.  In the case of presidential primaries, though, it may be becoming less of a fact.  If you are a primary voter and live in a state with a later primary date, it is becoming more and more likely that many, if not all, of your choices are going to be mathematically eliminated from victory before you can even cast a ballot. In that case, you either vote for who is left, or you vote on principal for who has been eliminated.

There's a recent surge among the states to be the first state to hold presidential primaries.  It's been a trend over recent years, a trend has been accelerating exponentially throughout recent months. Florida moved up its primary to January 31st.  Nevada is heading to the polls January 14th.  South Carolina is shooting for January 10th.

And now there is New Hampshire.  New Hampshire is now saying they may hold their 2012 presidential primary on December 13th.  Maybe even December 6th. Yep, in 2011.  A couple weeks before we even get to Christmas.

States need to feel important.  They want the attention the media gives them for being the first to cast an official presidential ballot.  They like the fact that their votes...well, count.

But this rush to be number one is now getting out of hand.  Every state wants to be first, and every state will change their primary dates to make it happen.  Do you think December 6th is way too early for a primary?  I do, too.  I promise you, though, that in 2016 there will be a state, or probably states, that will move their primary even earlier.  It's ridiculous now, it'll be even more ridiculous then.

"No one state is more important than another."   Except in the case of choosing major party presidential candidates, it would seem.

So what's the solution?  Alas, there is only one. (Okay, there's two, but the second will never happen as long as two parties maintain control.)  That solution is a constitutional amendment requiring all primaries for the office of President of the United States to be held on the same day.  No more super-early primaries.  No more late primaries where votes truly don't count.  Everyone votes the same day, and neither a person nor a state is more important than another.  It is the only way.

("The only way?  But, Josh, you mentioned a second possibility!"  That second possibility is that the major parties assume control of their own candidate selection.  You see, you think your vote for who you want the presidential candidate from your party to be really counts, but it doesn't.  The parties themselves pick their candidates at convention.  To make you feel all warm and fuzzy, they select the candidate the people picked in primaries.  But, a few state laws easily pushed aside and they wouldn't have to.  Candidate selection is private party business.  The Rs and the Ds just passed laws to make the taxpayers pay for an very expensive and unnecessary primary system so they can make you feel important to the selection process, to gain brand loyalty, and to maintain the image that they are the only real players in town.  It's done very well for them over the years, but it's cost you an I an assload of our money.)

So, let's do what we can to end this craziness before it is so far out of hand that we are voting in a presidential primary in the even-numbered years between presidential elections.  This is a bad trend, and it is one that will continue to occur.  Let's call on our federal government to focus some of its power on the things it should: federal issues.  You won't hear me calling for the feds to reign in the states on too many occasions, but this is one issue that the states will continue to go crazy with until that intervention occurs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Charlie White Going After Bayh: Proper Complaint, Improper Reason

"Huh-uh, YOU did!"

Charlie White
Yep, Indiana politics has turned in to a game of childish finger pointing. The entire local blog world (Advance Indiana, Ogden on Politics, Indiana Barrister, et al) and the entire local news world (WRTV, WISH, WTHR) is reporting that Secretary of State Charlie White has filed a complaint against Evan Bayh, charging that the former Indiana Senator has committed felony voter fraud by lying about his primary residence when voting.

Hmmm...sound familiar?  Let's see, an Indiana politician being charged with lying about his primary residence when voting....gosh, I swear I've heard that before.  Oh, yeah!  Those accusations have been made against Charlie White!

In an interesting turn of events on the Charlie White saga, White himself decided to file a complaint with Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry asking Curry to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate whether or not Bayh committed voter fraud by lying about his primary residence for May's primary. (Indiana Barrister has the whole complaint, thanks to Abdul Hakim-Shabazz)

Evan Bayh
And this is where this whole thing will go sour.  You see, White has a legitimate complaint about Bayh.  As Paul Ogden points out, White could also easily make this same complaint against Dick Lugar, but since Lugar is a Republican, White took a pass. I mean, White is clearly going to great lengths to prove that the Democrats are after him, and you make that point by turning the tables against Democrats, not against fellow Republicans.

But White's choosing to only go after Bayh is exactly what is going to make everyone snicker about this.  By going after only the big-name Democrat, you turn this mess into a piece of children screaming "Well he did it first!"  Trying to spin it that way makes White look like an idiot, and will make this whole thing be a news story for, oh, about as long as it takes you to finish this blog.  This is all going to be gone that quick.

And what's really sad is Charlie White had a point.  We all know Evan Bayh hasn't lived here in years.  Most of us are too young to remember when Lugar lived here at all.  Yet they continue to claim Indiana residences, and they continue to vote in our precincts, and Lugar still claims to be a Hoosier when he represents us in D.C.  This is a major problem with Federal politics, and it is one that needs some serious attention drawn to it.

Richard Lugar
Charlie White, despite all his problems, actually had the opportunity to draw our attention to this the right way.  He could have stood up and said, ' You know what?  I did it.  You are all right, I lied and I did it.  It's time for me to accept my wrong doing, and time to be punished for it.  And I think it's time we took a hard look at the other politicians around here.  Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar have failed to live in this state for years and years, but continue to claim residence.  I agree it's time I took my punishment, but it's time they took their punishment, too."

But, of course, Charlie White didn't do that.  Instead, he just pointed the finger at Bayh.  In doing so, he turned this into just another political mess that we'll all ignore.  Just some more finger-pointing across party lines.  Just some more of the typical political hypocrisy...."it's OK when I do it, but it's a horrible injustice when they do."

I do find it ironic that, by pointing out the Bayh situation, White all but admitted guilt himself. According to White's Attorney, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, in the WISH-TV article:

Carl Brizzi, White's defense attorney, said White was trying to make a point that the charges against him were politically motivated when he had done the same thing as Bayh, a former Indiana secretary of state and governor.

"The case is just intended to show the similarities in their two situations," Brizzi said. "This whole thing started because of politics."

Guess what, just said your client did it.  White presented truly damning evidence against Bayh, and you just said White did the same thing.  You said the two cases are similar.  Oops.

So now we're left with what will soon be yesterday's news.  Charlie White accuses Evan Bayh of doing what Charlie White is accused of doing.  Charlie White's attorney, who says that Charlie White is innocent, says that Charlie White is proving a point by showing the hypocrisy involved by Democrats by not charging Evan Bayh of what is clearly illegal, and that that illegal thing is the same thing that Charlie White did. And since Charlie White chose to only point fingers at Evan Bayh, and not at Dick Lugar, this all looks like a big bunch of political finger-pointing and we'll all forget about it tomorrow...when instead we should truly be investigating them all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Coleman Goes Prime-Time

City-Councillor Ed Coleman, seeking re-election in the Southside's 24th District, has released a couple of commercials.  If you live on that side of town, you may have already noticed it hitting the airwaves, most notably during the last couple of Colts games.

Coleman is possibly the best-funded individual District Council candidate in Indianapolis' history.  His going to TV, especially in high-viewership prime-time spots, is a uncommon thing to see out of local district candidates.  It is especially unusual for a Libertarian, and is yet another indication that the Libertarians are becoming a real force in Marion County politics.

Coleman may not be an unfamiliar face to those on the south side.  Ed has been out in his neighborhoods knocking on doors and meeting constituents in the district for several months.

Here's Ed's full-length commercial, and the 30-second ad you may have already seen.

Indianapolis City-County Councilor, Ed Coleman from Ed Coleman on Vimeo.

Ed Coleman 30sec Spot from Englehart Group on Vimeo.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Council Says "Keep it Georgia Street!"

At tonight's City-County Council meeting, the Georgia Street proposal was introduced and went straight to a rare same-day vote. Unanimously, the CCC voted to recommend that one of Indy's original street names remains unchanged.

I don't know if it's the councillors falling in line with public opinion less than a month before all of their jobs are decided. It probably is.

But it's also a big sign to Mayor Ballard. For the incumbent mayor to not get one single vote from his own party on an issue that, until just days ago, he was a huge proponent of has got to be a blow. Even after conceding an immediate change, Ballard seemed to be a fan of still changing it later (presumably when the election was behind him.)

I doubt we'll hear anything more about Ballard on Georgia Street for now. Just before an election and in light of tonight's vote, the topic can do him too much damage to the mayor. It shows his unwillingness to listen to the will of the people of his city, even when it comes to things as simple as the name of a street.

Here's the Star's story on tonight's vote.

City-County Council: Leave Georgia Street name alone | The Indianapolis Star |