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.


  1. We have the right to hear from all the candidates, that includes Rupert and the Libertarians.

  2. Rupert needs heard. So far all the politicians have skirted the issues we are having. Its time the people get a voice. Karl Downey

  3. Most of the other democracies in Europe and world wide have multi-party formats. I have always felt limited and under represented by the US's 2 party system. It is way past due to start including more points of view to the rhetoric.

  4. IWIR is a mouthpiece for the establishment and everyone knows it. Consequently it is the most boring establishment-butt-kissing drivel on local television.

    Shella has been caught laughing with lobbyists and openly mocking and ridiculing people gathered for a protest at the state house.

    Chris or Sean would be good on any political panel. However, it will never happen on IWIR because everyone on the panel is bought and paid for by the establishment.

    In other words, anyone who talks sense and the truth about what real people think would not be welcome.

  5. I want to see some interviews with Bill Levin.So far he's the only person running that has a real personality. The door knobs that we call Kennedy and Ballard are pablum at best.

  6. maybe if the media would include the libertarians then voters would be able to take them serious. we should get to hear for all canidates not just the ones that the media thinks are important. maybe the along with politicians the media needs to take some credit for the mess we are in. lets here from them all

  7. I don't mean to be critical or to poo poo this. I think adding a Libertarian would be fine.

    The fact of the matter is that the party has never come close to winning a major election on its own and has a baseline voting percentage of below five percent in most races. Should we start adding all minor parties?

  8. Anon 5:12, the difference is that the LP has ballot access throughout the state, something that no other third party has done in recent Indiana history.

    As for IWIR, I agree with my friend Melyssa. It's an establishment show, and even when panelists I like are featured, they seem watered down. Abdul and Norm Cox run circles around Shella in statehouse reporting, and for good reason. They aggressively pursue stories, Shella lets the stories come to him, and its usually Democrats.

  9. Hoosiers have the right to hear all of the candidates..C'mon, Jim..Give Rupert the oppourtunity. I guarantee your ratings will go up!

  10. It might happen. The LP presents no threat to the status quo with its recitation of good-government platitudes and unwillingness to emphasize controversial positions. What that incredibly dull show needs is another incredibly dull party hack. An authentic libertarian, a genuine ideologue, will never be allowed on this show (which isn't about ideology anyway). But the LP, cleansed as it is of any semblance of ideology, would make a good fit.