Confessions of a Hoosier Democrat

Blogging Indiana Politics and the 2008 Presidential Race.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Five Questions with..........

I'm going to try to start a new semi-regular feature, Five Questions with... where I ask 5 questions to various people in politics. I know it's not a very original idea or title, but hey, I'm a blogger, not a creative writer.

In any case, shortly I should have my first Five Questions up and we'll see how it goes.

PS... I'd like to thank Chris and Ryan for their support in my endeavour. BTW Chris, you more than just seem like a cool guy...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Everyone said there'd be days like these...

As much as you like any candidate, there will be times when you disagree with him/her. Today is such a day. Today Sen Bayh cast a vote in favor of the Constitutional Amendment banning the desecration of the American Flag. That is a vote that I wholeheartedly disagree with.

As much as I abhor the desecration of the Flag, I also understand that one of the reasons I wore an Army uniform is to protect the freedoms that our Constitution provides to us, including the freedom to desecrate an American Flag.

I'm sorry Senator Bayh, but I can't agree with you on this vote.

Moments ago the Senators cast their votes. The Amendment failed 66-34, by 1 vote.

Let Freedom Ring.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sen Bayh tours Katrina-ravaged Louisiana

Sen Bayh was the first out-of-state member of Congress to visit Katrina-ravaged Slidell LA on Friday. Sen Bayh was in Louisiana with a delegation invited by Sen Landrieu. Thanks to Paul Rioux at Healthcare for Peace for the description:
Nearly 10 months after Hurricane Katrina swamped southern Slidell, Mayor Ben Morris on Friday welcomed the first out-of-state Congress member to tour the damage: Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, who is considering a run for president in 2008.

“He’s the first one to come here, and I sure hope he won’t be the last,” said Morris, who has lamented that Slidell’s plight has been overshadowed by the devastation in New Orleans.
“I just want to help,” Bayh said. “That’s what neighbors are for.”
The tour also made stops at Salmen High School and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Before boarding a helicopter bound for New Orleans, Bayh said he was encouraged by signs of progress in Slidell.

“A lot of good work has been done, but there’s a lot more to do,” he said, adding that the federal government should play a continued role in the rebuilding process.

Bayh said he supports a proposal backed by Landrieu and other Louisiana lawmakers to give the state a share of offshore oil and gas revenue to finance projects to restore the state’s dwindling coastline and wetlands.

“We’re more than just a collection of 50 states; we’re one country,” he said.
Of course going there is one thing... doing something to help is another. That is why Sen Bayh is backing a plan to transfer up to 75% of off-shore drilling royalties from the Federal gov't to the Gulf Coast states to help in their rebuilding. WNOL-TV wrote this:
Louisiana U.S. Senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu spent a day off from Capital Hill with friends in tow, Vitter, with Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia and Landrieu, with Democratic Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana.
"This is more than just a test for Louisiana or for Mississippi, the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast is a test for America," said Bayh. "We need to be there for you at this critical hour."
The state congressional delegation is pushing for a new law that would give coastal states up to 75-percent of offshore energy royalties, now going to the federal government.

"There has always been strong support in the Senate. The last bill that we had, had 72 signatures on the bill," said Senator Landrieu. "But, we've had to get leadership to move. But, I'm here to say the republican leadership is poised to move."
"That deep sea exploration will be good for energy security for our country, but it will also for you all, not have to worry about an appropriation bill every year out of the Senate and it will allow people of Louisiana to use that money as they see as a priority," said Senator Allen.

"I support that as well, so that you can restore you wetlands to serve as the first line of defense, something Mary brought to my attention and I'm pleased to support," said Senator Bayh.
"You got two Democrats and two Republicans," said Senator Bayh. "Washington is too divided unfortunately, that's a fact. It's regrettable that it takes a natural disaster sometimes to bring us together."
Sen Bayh was one of only 15 Senators to vote to transfer funds from the Bridge to Nowhere to repair the Twin Spans Bridge connecting Slidell with New Orleans.
At the appropriate place, add the following: Section 144(g)(1) of title 23, United States Code, is amended--

(1) in subparagraph (A)(ii), by striking ``for the construction of a bridge joining the Island of Gravina to the community of Ketchikan in Alaska'' and inserting ``for the reconstruction of the Twin Spans Bridge connecting New Orleans, Louisiana, and Slidell, Louisiana'';

On a completely unrelated note... my long suffering Tigers have become the first team in the Majors to reach 50 wins with 2-out double in the 10th inning after scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th to tie. Go Tigers!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


A new CNN poll is out... and it's confirming what we've been saying all along. Clinton, Kerry and Gore might be great Democrats and we might like them personally, but they won't be facing an uphill battle to win a general election, it'll be a climb up Everest.

The poll asked the question "Would you: Definately vote for, Consider vote for, or Definately vote against" various candidates (Sen Bayh wasn't one of them).

For the Republicans they chose Guiliani, McCain and Jeb Bush...

Guiliani got a 19% Definate for, 30% definate against and 45% consider
McCain got 12% definate for, 34% definate against and 48% consider
Jeb Bush got 9% definate for, 63% definate against and 26% consider

For the Dems they chose Clinton, Gore and Kerry and it didn't look pretty for any of them...

Clinton got 22% For, 47% against and 28% consider
Gore got 17% for, 48% against and 32% consider
Kerry got 14% for, 47% against and 35% consider

In all three cases, nearly half of all polled said they would definately not vote for the Democrat. Not a good sign guys... Not a good sign.

Which just shows that we need more fresh blood. We need someone who doesn't divide people, but rather unites them. Simply winning the same voters we won in 2004 is not going to be enough. This is why we need someone like Evan Bayh.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Yesterday was Father's Day and I have to start by thanking my wife and kids for a great day. I got a new hammer (complete with "World's Best Daddy" written on it), a book to read (The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan) and an icecream cake (Yum!).

Also yesterday was an op-ed piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer written by Sen Bayh and Sen Obama. The op-ed piece focuses on absent fathers, how to get them more involved, how to help the ones that are truly trying and how to punish the ones that aren't.
Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime. They are nine times more likely to drop out of school, five times more likely to commit suicide, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, to run away from home, and to become teenage parents themselves.

So the question is: What do we do as a nation to solve this problem? How do we make sure that these boys start acting like men?


The American family is the foundation of our society, and strengthening that foundation is in the best interest of all of us, regardless of race, gender, class or political party. It is not a subject you may see reported on the nightly news or argued about on the Senate floor, but it is critical to many Americans struggling to raise their families.

As fathers ourselves, we know the tremendous pressures facing American families today. But our nation's future is only as secure as our children are, and promoting fatherhood is essential in making sure that every child has the chance to thrive. As we think about our own fathers and grandfathers, let this day mark the beginning of a new commitment to fatherhood in America - a commitment that brings families together and makes men of boys.
Fatherhood is one thing that has always been important to Sen Bayh. You can see it from his book, From Father to Son: A Private Life in the Public Eye, where he talks about growing up as the son of a famous father as well as raising his twin sons in the public spotlight. You can see it when he honors "Outstanding Hoosier Dads" who were nominated by their kids with essays (Congratulations to Dennis Mansfield of Fort Wayne and Frederick Richards of Churubusco who were among those honored). You can see it when he talks about his sons.

I am very proud of my father and I'm very proud to be a father.

I am also very proud to say that Sen Bayh truly understands the importance of fatherhood and is working to strengthen it.

Thank you Sen Bayh.

Friday, June 16, 2006

MSNBC on Mark Warner

MSNBC has done another profile on potential 2008 contenders and this one was on Mark Warner.

IMNSHO (as are all my opinions) this article was much less kind than the one done on the Senator. First off, look at the title of the article - "Warner looks left, looks right, looks toward '08". The title to me says "Warner is looking to anyone who he can pander to for support in 2008".

The article does say some nice things about his accomplishments as Governor of Virginia, but then goes into his shortcomings.

Warner attended this years Yearly Kos, but wasn't well received.
“He’s not the favorite (of the bloggers). But I think he’s getting a good hearing, and I think it’s the fact that he was the first candidate to commit to a conference that nobody was taking seriously,” said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the founder of Daily Kos web site.
It was striking that in his speech to the Yearly Kos convention, when Warner discussed Iraq, he did not use the line that he used the previous weekend at the Democratic state party convention in Manchester N.H.: “Going out (of Iraq) without a plan is just as bad as going in without a plan.”

A Warner aide said the line was omitted because the Las Vegas speech was edited for length.
The Kos crowd remained silent when Warner said “we are all glad” to have seen al Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi killed last week by a U.S. air strike.

The crowd also sat silently during the part of Warner’s speech in which he discussed the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.
On top of the luke warm response from the Kos crowd Tom Curry lists some unresolved questions about Warner:
  • Is one term as governor too thin a resume for a war-time presidential candidate?
  • How credible is Warner’s claim that he knows how to win in the South? After all, the northern Virginia counties of Arlington, Loudon and Fairfax, and the city of Alexandria, where Warner did so well in the 2001 election (far outperforming Al Gore’s showing in those same places in the 2000 election), are culturally indistinguishable from the suburbs of Chicago or Denver, partly because so many non-Virginians like Warner have moved there.
  • Is Warner vulnerable to the charge that he is too calculating in becoming whatever voters want him to become?

Bayh on Road to the White House

Bayh on Road to the White House? Is he thinking of running for President or something? Hmpf...

Anyways... Sen Bayh's Depauw University commencement address will be featured on C-SPAN's Road to the White House on Sunday evening. You'll have 3 opportunities to catch it, 6pm EDT, 9:30pm EDT and 12:30am EDT. And then if you still haven't seen it, C-SPAN usually has it on it's website in a couple of days.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Cult of Kos

I'm going to say right off the bat, I'm not a fan of Kos.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate everything he's done to stimulate the Democratic Party. I love it when the left gets motivated! But he seems to have forgotten the warning that Uncle Ben gave his nephew Peter: "With great power comes great responsibility."

Kos and his band of merry men seem to make it a sport to try to tear down any Democrat who doesn't fit the mold they've established. If you don't think the same way they do in any number of different areas then you aren't a "true Democrat".

Ana Marie Cox wrote an article in the recent issue of Time... Inside the Cult of Kos... it's worth a read.

Kos says he doesn't care what other people think of him (not true, imnsho). Well in my opinion that's a problem. Like or not he's a leader now. And as a leader you have to act responsibly and not say things like:
Let the people see what war is like. This isn't an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush's folly.
That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.
when US citizens are murdered and their burnt bodies hung from a bridge.

I'm a moderate. The Democratic Party is about inclusion, not exclusion. I'm sure I believe 90% of the same things Kos does, but I consider myself a moderate. I don't believe we should pull out troops out now. I don't believe that Bush should be impeached unless we have ironclad concrete proof he's violated a law. I believe Evan Bayh, Harold Ford and other moderate Democrats ARE good Democrats. Because I believe those things I don't fit into Kos's Democratic Party. That's sad.

The Democratic Party is America's last, best hope to bridge the divisions of class, race, region, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We will succeed if we continue to govern by the same principles that have made America the greatest nation on earth — the principles of strength, inclusion and opportunity.

Contenders and Pretenders - Iowa polls

The Des Moines Register had it's first poll of the '08 season and it yielded some surprises.

Who is the front runner for the nomination? Better not crown Hillary just yet because it was fmr. Senator John Edwards who finished first in the poll. Hillary was second followed by Kerry and Vilsack. Polls this early in the campaign are just a guage of name recognition. All 4 of those people should have no problem with name recognition in Iowa. That being said it's gotta be hard for the Kerry and Vilsack camps to have such a poor showing. Kerry won Iowa in 2004, and now he finished 3rd. Vilsack's spin is trying to claim that he hasn't campaigned yet in Iowa so "No Iowan has had that opportunity with Tom Vilsack at this point..." Uhhh... come again? He's been their frackin' governor for the last 8 years! This poll clearly showed that even Iowans don't want Vilsack as President.

As for the rest of the field... Everyone else is going to need some serious cash to buy some name recognition in Iowa. The question is who has the cash and who has the ability to raise the cash. Obviously Hillary has it. Bayh has it, at last count ~$10mil in his campaign account and another $1mil in his PAC account, and we also know he's been working his ass off putting supporters in line. Warner's PAC is raising a lot of cash, but the PAC money can't be converted to Presidential Campaign money so that may be a problem, but I don't think he'll have any problems. That leaves Biden, Dodd, Feingold, Clark and Richardson (did I leave someone out?). While Feingold may be the darling of the Kos-ites, he only gathered 3% in the Register poll. Hardly close to the 40% he regularly gathers in Kos's polls. Kos may be able to raise some money for him, but will Feingold be able to match the cash totals of Sen Clinton and Sen Bayh? Personally I doubt it.

For the record...
John Edwards - 30%
Hillary Clinton - 26%
John Kerry - 12%
Tom Vilsack - 10%
Tom Daschle - 3%
Russ Feingold - 3%
Mark Warner - 3%
Evan Bayh - 2%
Wesley Clark - 2%
None/Other - 3%
Not Sure - 6%
+/- 4.9%

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Bayh in NH

Thanks to Ryan at AAP for keeping us updated on the Senator's trip...

So far he's talked about his vote on the estate tax:
Bayh said that when the federal budget was in surplus, he voted to eliminate the death tax “because it does hit small businesses and farmers. People have to pay a lot to take out insurance policies so that the business can stay in the family.”

Bayh said the Bush administration or its successor must develop “a plan to restore our nation’s finances so we can make the investments we need and begin to reform the tax code in ways that will make it better, like repealing the death tax.”
Bayh called the death of Iraqi terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi “a step in the right direction” in the war on terrorism, but said, “He’s only one bad person.”

He said the U.S. must eliminate Zarqawi’s entire network in Iraq, but “even then, al-Qaida in Iraq is only a small part of the problem.”
Future of the US in Iraq:
Bayh said he fears that the United States “may still be there in force” when the next President takes office in 2009.

“We have to do better than that,” he said, by pressuring feuding Iraqi factions to reconcile and unify.

“If (feuding Iraqi factions) don’t want to live in the same country together, there’s nothing we can do about that,” he said.’

He said the United States must “focus like a laser on the security situation so that they can provide for their own, so that we don’t have to,” he said.

“We need to leave Iraq,” he said. “We need to leave it in a way that makes it as stable as we possibly can.”
And NH's role in the primary process:
Bayh was the first potential Presidential candidate to clearly oppose a Democratic National Committee move to place additional caucuses between Iowa’s leadoff caucus and the New Hampshire primary in 2008. The proposal is now being weighed by the DNC’s rules committee.

“I don’t have a representative on that committee,” Bayh said. “Obviously, I can share my opinion with them. I have done that, and I’m willing to do that again.

He said if the proposal goes before the full DNC, he will also “share my opinion” with Indiana’s DNC members, and, “hopefully they will take it into account in terms of how they are going to vote.”
John DiStaso from the Union Leader is providing great coverage.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Trouble with Telemarketing

Matt Tully of the Star had a very humourous column today...

I say not only because is was the Indiana Republican Party that was on the receiving end of it, but because it was just plain old funny. I sure if it was the Democrats who'd committed the faux pax it'd still be funny... just not as much so.

Anyways... For those of you who don't know... Matt Tully is the political columnist for the Indianapolis Star. Well it seems that the Indiana Republican Party send his work number along with all the other "supporters" numbers to a telemarketer in Wisconsin. So the telemarketer proceeded to call Matt up to try to get some money out of him. Matt, being the intrepid reporter that his is, let the poor sap go through his schpeel. Hilarity ensues.
But back to my new friend Lawrence. As he worked for my $600, I asked if he could name Indiana's House speaker.
"I don't know," he said.
Then I asked a question about Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton. Lawrence had never heard of him.
He did, however, know the name of the Colts' quarterback.
"Come on," he said. "You know it's Peyton Manning."
Matt finished the column by telling us he asked the Indiana Republican Party about the call. The Indiana Republican Party fired the telemarketing company.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bayh favors eliminating Estate Tax ONLY when Budget is under control

The next thing on the agenda is another pet project for the Republican Party, the Estate Tax.

It seems the Republicans are bound and determined to give the wealthy every opportunity to shirk taxes, even when we are experiencing severe budget deficits.

Sen Bayh, who voted for repealing the estate tax in 2001 when we had a budget surplus, has issued a statement saying that he will oppose repealing it this time around.
During times of surplus, I’ve voted to eliminate the estate tax. Unfortunately, today we face mounting deficits and would be forced to borrow more money from China and ask our children to pay it back with interest. That is not a responsible course.
Bravo! I really can't understand why the basic concept of budgetting is completely foreign to most Republicans. They claim they are for fiscal responsibility, yet in a time of severe budget deficits they are constantly raising expenditures while reducing income.

That is something that Sen Bayh has always been, fiscally responsible. Well done Senator.

The Senate rejected the cloture motion to end debate on the Estate Tax repeal 57-41. Democrats who voted for cloture: Baucus (MT), Lincoln (AR), Nelson (FL), and Nelson (NE). Republicans who voted against cloture: Chafee (RI) and Voinovich (OH). Rockefeller (WV) and Schumer (NY) didn't vote.

Slight of Hand

Note: I wrote this yesterday, but Blogspot was having problems...

Republicans are the master of this and we are witness to it again today in the Senate. Instead of dealing with the critical issues of the day (Iraq, Homeland Security, Health Care, Energy or Disaster Preparedness), the President and Senate Leadership want to debate Gay Fracking Marriage.

Please. Is there an issue that is LESS important? Not only is it not important, it's a dead issue. The GOP leadership can't get 50 votes in the Senate, much less the 67 votes needed to pass a Constitutional Amendment.

They say they're protecting the sanctity of marriage.

First off I have a problem with the Government protecting the sanctity of anything. Sanctity is defined as "holiness". Since when did our government start protecting the holiness of things? When did our government start decided what was holy and what wasn't?

Secondly, do we really need to protect the institution of marriage? Seriously, according to the Census Bureau, there are on average 2.2 million marriages performed in the country each year. On average there 54%-57% of adults in the US are married. Do we really need to protect something this prolific? I heard someone compare it to the EPA putting crabgrass on the endangered species list.

Fourthly, if they were truly interested in protecting the sanctity of marriage they really try to protect it. Outlaw divorce or make marriage harder. In September of 2005, there were over 70,000 divorces in the US (not counting a half dozen states that didn't report them).

Finally, if your marriage is hurt by two people exchanging rings and pledging to love each other, then perhaps the problem isn't with the gay people getting married, but maybe the problem is in your own marriage. I've been married for coming up on 10 years now and NEVER has anyone else's marriage affected the way I feel towards my wife and the way she feels towards me.

Well the Senate voted on the cloture motion of end debate and vote on the Amendment. They needed 60 votes to invoke cloture. They got 49. Yes this is a good use of the Senate's time.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bayh in New Hampshire

Sen Bayh will be travelling to New Hampshire to support local Democrats there... *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*

If you happen to be in the area... here's his schedule:

The Carrol County Democrats will be holding their 11th annual Grover Cleveland dinner on Friday June 9th. The doors open at 5:30 with dinner at 7. The event will be located at The Grand Summit Hotel, Rte. 302, in Bartlett, NH, and the cost is $40 per person. Visit the Carrol County Democrats website to print out an invitation.

Carrol County Democrats

On Saturday, June 10th, Senator Bayh will speak at a reception honoring State Senator Iris Estabrook in Rollinsford, NH. The event is slated to begin at 10:30, and is being hosted by the Strafford County Democrats.

For RSVP information, please visit the Strafford County Democrats website.

Also on Saturday June 10th, Senator Bayh will attend a campaign kickoff event with Molly Kelly, the State Senate district 10 candidate. The event will be held in the Keene City Green Gazebo on Main St. in Keene, NH and will begin at 4:30.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Return of Liberal Fundamentalism

Democrats are rightly enthusiastic about the opportunities afforded in this fall's midterm elections to recapture control of Congress and reverse the narrow Republican advantage of the last two electoral cycles. But there's an undertow that could undermine the potential Democratic tide: efforts by some Democratic activists and organizations to introduce ideological litmus tests for elected officials and intimidate or even purge those who do not meet a narrow definition of what makes a "real Democrat." These efforts not only threaten party unity and divert attention and resources from the broader goal of defeating Republicans; they also signal an intolerance toward dissent and diversity that can repel voters and make an enduring Democratic majority more difficult to achieve.

This phenomenon is best illustrated by the nationally driven campaign to deny re-nomination to Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), with and Democracy for America (an organization founded by DNC chairman Howard Dean and now run by his brother, Jim) playing an especially active role in recruiting money and volunteers for the challenger, Ned Lamont.

We deplore this purge effort because Joe Lieberman is an outstanding and respected U.S. Senator. He is a man of utmost integrity who speaks and governs by his values and principles, even when they lead him against the popular tide -- as he did when he went to Mississippi to fight for civil rights in 1964. He is a man who always puts his country above his party or his personal interests. Those are qualities we should cherish, not disdain, in today's far too polarized politics. We need more, not fewer, people with Joe Lieberman's character in the Democratic Party.

Lieberman served as DLC chairman for six years, handing over the gavel to Sen. Evan Bayh after the 2000 presidential elections. But opposition to this kind of intra-party purge is also a matter of tradition for us: One of the major reasons for the DLC's founding in 1985 was to resist what we called "liberal fundamentalism," a conformist tendency to stifle dissent among Democrats and require adherence to litmus tests devised by interest groups and ideological advocates. The Democratic Party today is far more unified in its basic values and policy positions than it was two decades ago, and also urgently needs to expand its electoral and geographical base. There's less of an excuse than ever to indulge in liberal fundamentalism, litmus tests, intimidation of dissenters, and purges, and much more to lose from shrinking the party's big tent.

But that's exactly what the national movement to purge Joe Lieberman represents. Comparing him to apostates like Zell Miller is crazy. As Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid points out in a recent letter endorsing him, the most recent independent analysis of Lieberman's voting record shows him in solidarity with Democrats 90 percent of the time, about the same as Reid's own record. He's a recognized leader among progressives on issues ranging from the environment and labor to taxation and fiscal policy. He was a loyal partner of Al Gore's in the bitter 2000 presidential election, less than six years ago.

Some Lieberman foes, dubbing him "Holy Joe," are angry at him for championing the _expression of religious faith in the public square, and for standing up against corporate-sponsored trash culture on behalf of families struggling to control their kids' values and upbringing. But his main sin appears to be his staunch and very consistent belief that the war in Iraq was and is right, even if that means occasional agreement with a Bush administration that he criticizes on almost every other issue.

As it happens, we don't agree with Lieberman's views on Iraq in every particular, but we respect his point of view. It is especially odd that some liberal activists who are forever telling Democrats they should stand up for their principles without regard to polls and fashions are now determined to purge this senator for doing exactly that, as part of a divisive intra-party revisiting of the original war resolution. That's why Harry Reid said of Lieberman: "Very few people I've known in my lifetime are as principled and decent as Joe Lieberman. I don't agree on every position he takes, but he has an unquestionable commitment to the progressive principles that make our Party great."

Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, whose liberal credentials no one could doubt, has also endorsed Lieberman despite a strong difference of opinion over Iraq, saying: "We must focus on the vast number of differences we have with our Republican opponents. While you may not agree with Joe on everything, he is truly a leader on women's rights, the environment, education, health care and so many other issues that concern our families and define our party."

Sen. Hillary Clinton was even more blunt about Lieberman's value to the Democratic Party: "We have the chance to put Democrats in control of the Senate and the House, to curb the excesses of one party Republican rule and hold Republicans accountable for their actions. Keeping Joe Lieberman in the Senate is an important part of that victory plan."

In many respects, the purge-Lieberman movement is more a test for its proponents than for its object. Internet-based liberal activists have a lot to offer the Democratic Party: energy, fundraising prowess, a commitment to open debate, and a healthy skepticism about the orthodox liberal interest groups and consultants who rarely look beyond the Beltway.

But if they want to be a serious and permanent element in progressive politics, they should resist the temptation to indulge themselves in mean-spirited vengeance against Democrats like Joe Lieberman who proudly defend the Clinton legacy and warn against counter-polarization as the sole answer to Karl Rove's polarization strategy. And they should understand the signal that the effort to purge Lieberman sends to voters with serious doubts about the party, especially on the national security and cultural issues he is so identified with.

Sen. Barack Obama perfectly captured the dangers of liberal fundamentalism last fall, in a diary he posted on the DailyKos blog site, a hotbed of anti-Lieberman sentiment:

[T]o the degree that we brook no dissent within the Democratic Party, and demand fealty to the one, "true" progressive vision for the country, we risk the very thoughtfulness and openness to new ideas that are required to move this country forward. When we lash out at those who share our fundamental values because they have not met the criteria of every single item on our progressive "checklist," then we are essentially preventing them from thinking in new ways about problems. We are tying them up in a straightjacket and forcing them into a conversation only with the converted.

Beyond that, by applying such tests, we are hamstringing our ability to build a majority.

We couldn't agree more. A party with no room for Joe Lieberman -- or for that matter, such occasionally lonely dissenters on the left as Russ Feingold or Bernie Sanders -- is a party with no prospects for a majority. It's the worst possible time for Democrats to make that choice.

Orginally published at New Dem Dispatch, June 2, 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006

Reception for Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a reception in honor of 3 of Indiana's Congressional candidates. Joe Donnelly who is challenging for the 2nd District seat, Brad Ellsworth who is challenging for the 8th District seat and Baron Hill who is trying to take back his 9th District seat. All three are hotly contested races which are getting national attention.

Senator Bayh and his All America PAC served as the host for this evening's event. He thanked everyone for supporting All America PAC which gave him the opportunity to support quality candidates. Supporting All America PAC also gave him to opportunity to travel to such exotic locations such as Iowa... and Iowa... and Iowa. The Senator gave a brief introduction and then introduced each candidate.

The Senator talked about how we needed Joe, Brad and Baron to combat the divisiveness that plagues Congress and Washington as a whole.

First up was Baron Hill. Baron Hill was elected to Congress in Indiana's 9th District in 1998 and served for 3 terms before being ousted in the 2004 Indiana Republican Landslide. The Baron is Back!

Baron talked about how nasty politics can be and how we need to work to rise above that. Baron's a good man and the hatchet job of a campaign that was run against him in '04 is a shame. Baron needs to be vindicated.

Senator Bayh next introduced Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth.

Brad is the current Sheriff of Vanderburgh County in southern Indiana (Indiana's 3rd largest city, Evansville, is in Vanderburgh County) and has been in the Sheriff's Department for 24 years. In 1998 he ran for Sheriff of Vanderburgh County and won in a landslide. 4 years later he ran again unopposed.

Brad talked about how he's proud of the fact that when someone needs his help in Vanderburgh County, they pick up the phone and call for help and as Sheriff he responds. Being a Congressman is no different, people are still looking for help and he wants to be the one to help them.

Finally Senator Bayh spoke about Joe Donnelly, who is running for the 2nd District seat.

Joe is running for the 2nd time for the 2nd District seat. In '04 he competed very well in his first campaign for office, coming up just short in a year that saw Democrats get defeated on all levels in Indiana (Notable exception of course was our own Senator Bayh). This year Joe is back and more determined than ever.

Joe talked about how his opponent has already turned negative running a negative TV commercial in May. Joe noted that this commercial came out just after there was a Republican poll conducted in the area. Is the fact that they've already started to attack him a sign that their poll wasn't to their liking? You be the judge.

Following the remarks by the three candidates there was lots of general schmoozing.

Fmr Indiana Secretary of State Joe Hogsett (We miss you Joe!), Bob McKinney of Bose, McKinney and Evans and Joe Donnelly

Senator Bayh speaks with Brad Ellsworth

Baron Hill and Joe Donnelly talk strategy

Brad and Beth Ellsworth

Senator Bayh

You can view more pictures from the reception on Flickr. A special thanks to Chris for getting me in the door and to Katie from the Donnelly campaign and Abby from the Hill campaign for making me feel welcome there.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

BBC's take on '08 contenders...

I always like to look at the international media to get a fresh perspective on US politics... the BBC has posted their review of '08 contenders. Here's what they have to say about Sen Bayh:

Who is he? Two-term senator from the solidly Republican state of Indiana in the Midwest, and its governor for eight years before that.

Why take him seriously? On the (as-yet undeclared) campaign trail in the key state of Iowa, he has emphasised his ability to win over voters in traditionally Republican states - which any Democrat hoping to capture the White House must do. Liberals are likely to respond well to his voting against Bush nominees to the Supreme Court, and conservatives may appreciate his principled defence of the Iraq war.

What's going to stand in his way? Sen Bayh does not set crowds alight with his passion, to put it mildly. His style has been described by admirers as folksy - and by critics as ho-hum, nondescript and boring.

Did you know? Evan Bayh's father Birch Bayh also represented Indiana in the Senate, from 1963 to 1981.

Obviously they're still working using the old Sen Bayh profile and haven't seen him recently...