Wednesday, December 26, 2007

what makes a "serious" candidate?

Here's what I posted in response to Bile and Blather's post about Gretchen Clearwater (hat tip: HoosierPundit)

It's difficult to define "seriousness" when it comes to underdog major party or "third-party" candidates. In terms of resources, neither is likely to be a "serious" challenger. In terms of effort, the energy expended is most likely quixotic in terms of winning. And so, one is mostly left with the opportunity to educate people and get the major party candidates to address issues they would otherwise ignore.

As for Gretchen, I had lunch with her after her primary loss to Baron in 2006. I thought she was quite "serious" as a person and political observer, but she seemed to have run a race of average "seriousness" in terms of resources and effort.

In a word, I doubt that she is a plant. From what little I know of her, I can't imagine it. Moreover, it's not clear to me how her presence makes things easier on Hill. How "seriously" will she run in 2008? It depends, in part, on whether she receives significant resources-- for example, from

Finally, there are many different definitions of "progressive"-- some more ironic than others. If you're looking for a candidate who is opposed to the War in Iraq and is focused on issues affecting the working poor and middle class, then it looks like you'll have one choice in May and another one in November.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dale Moss' political wish list for 2008

In today's C-J, Dale Moss expresses his Christmas wish list-- for some abstract gifts to the public that cannot be put under a tree...

He opens with two tough but fair paragraphs for the returning mayors of Jeffersonville (Galligan) and New Albany (England). In his next paragraph, he turns his wishful artillery to Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel for more tough but fair comments about their fourth Congressional race...

To Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel, I give direction to the less-traveled campaign high road. For the fourth consecutive election, Southern Indiana's 9th congressional district likely will choose chiefly between Hill, the Democratic incumbent, and Sodrel, the Republican former incumbent. Each has defeated the other. Each really, really, really hates to lose to the other. This has gone way beyond ideals and philosophy. It has gotten personal. Which means each well may be determined to destroy the other, not just prevail on Election Day. Don't just condemn political ultimate fighting. Refrain from it. Tell voters why you are the better candidate, not why the other guy is not.


Part of me hopes that happens. It would be a much more enjoyable and constructive race.

Part of me hopes that they continue with the same negative/nasty status quo. That would make it easier for me to garner additional support. To quote Dale: at this point, the race is seen as "chiefly" between Hill and Sodrel. But if they stay negative-- and I can continue to gain resources and exposure-- who knows what can happen?

In any case, I look forward to a vigorous campaign!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Baron's hot air on CAFE standards

I got an email from Baron a week ago-- describing his legislative success in helping to pass H.R. 6-- "an historic and comprehensive energy package" which "puts our nation on a much-needed path toward energy independence". Among other things-- important things which led the Senate to sack the legislation-- the bill would have raised Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards for vehicles to 35 MPG by 2020 (a 40% increase) with separate standards for cars and trucks.

According to Baron, "the Energy Independence and Security Act, H.R. 6, will: increase American energy independence, strengthen national security, lower energy costs, grow our economy and create new jobs, and reduce global warming."

Actually, that's not possible-- and if it were, then we wouldn't need Congress to implement a law to encourage such wonderful outcomes!

-Increase energy independence? Perhaps to a modest degree...

-Strengthen national security? Again, perhaps to a modest degree...

-Lower energy costs? That's a stretch...

-Reduce global warming? By a smidgen at most...

-Here's my favorite: Grow our economy and create new jobs! Uh-huh...More regulation will increase economic activity? Nope. For the sake of the argument, assuming that the policy is good for the environment, it comes at the expense of the macroeconomy and the well-being of individuals.