Tuesday, April 29, 2008

campaigning in Lawrenceburg

I was in Lawrenceburg on Monday (late morning and early afternoon) to campaign. I walked around the downtown area, going into businesses and meeting dozens of people. I also met the editor of the local paper-- something I had overlooked somehow in 2006.

My favorite conversation was with Dick Martin, who runs Trading Post on High Street. He was disenchanted with all levels of government-- local, state and federal. Of course, I could mostly be a sounding board for his complaints about local and state policy. But he was interested in government spending and debt, and gas prices, at the federal level.

I look forward to more of the same this summer!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Choices for Women

Tonia and I were honored to attend a fund-raiser last night for Choices for Women. They are a pro-life group that educates women about their pregnancy choices (including ultra-sound services) and share the Gospel with them as well. They're located in New Albany (and have a new branch in Madison).

The event was at Providence Retirement Home's event center (graciously provided for free). The primary speaker was my friend and pastor-to-be, Rusty Russell. And it looked like they raised a big chunk of money for a great cause.

I think it was Rose Condra, the executive director, who said: "waiting for the world to change is not an option". I share her vision and enthusiasm for politics in general and abortion in particular.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

campaigning with Obama

I shook hands with hundreds of Obama supporters yesterday when the Senator came to speak at IUS-- as they lined up to get into the activities center. (I did the same thing when Senator Durbin came to New Albany to speak on behalf of Senator Obama.) It was a great opportunity to talk with them about our on-going efforts in Iraq-- an issue on which he and I largely agree.

My two oldest boys were there as well-- wearing their t-shirts, handing out pencils, and saying hi to the crowd.

Fortunately for my campaign-- but unfortunately for the voters in the 9th District-- I will be the only "anti-war" candidate in November (barring an amazing upset in the Democratic primary on May 6).

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hill thinks competition is good for democracy and economies

This little blurb caught my eye from a recent story in the Bloomington Herald Times...

In the context of Baron welcoming Sen. Obama to the ninth district, his press secretary Katie Moreau said (quoting the article writer) that Baron thinks competition is good for democracy.

I'm glad to see that Baron welcomes a good stiff political challenge from me and Mike. I'm not sure he really enjoys it, but it's a nice line. And of course, he's correct-- political competition is a good thing. The thing is that none of us really likes competition for the things that we sell. So, it would be quite natural for him to say that competition is good, but not to like the competition that he faces.

Competition is also a good thing for economies. So, it's troubling to see Baron espouse subsidies for corporations, the monopoly power of the government schools, and so on.

Why "change" isn't always so hot...

This line of argument is largely specious (hat tip: Chuck Muth). But Rep. Hill used it in 2006 on gasoline prices (in an attempt to ascribe blame to Rep. Sodrel), so he should have to lay in the bed he's made...

Remember the election in 2006?

A little over one year ago:

1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high;
2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon;
3) The unemployment rate was 4.5%.

Since voting in a Democratic Congress in 2006 we have seen:

1) Consumer confidence plummet;
2) The cost of regular gasoline soar to over $3.50 a gallon;
3) Unemployment is up to 5% (a 10% increase);
4) American households have seen $2.3 trillion in equity value evaporate (stock and mutual fund losses);
5) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $1.2 trillion dollars;
6) 1% of American homes are in foreclosure.

"America voted for change in 2006, and we got it!"

As I said during the last campaign, Baron campaigned on "change" as a slogan-- and he was change....spare change.

If people want true change, there is only one option for 9th District voters in November!

Sen. Durbin in New Albany: good news, bad news for Rep. Hill

A great op for me to meet some avid citizens and passionate voters. (There was one baby to kiss but I didn't get there.) I'm not a big fan of Obama, but he's the closest to my position on the war. So, it was a good op to tell a bunch of people that they'll have one "anti-war" option in November.

As for the event itself, an Obama volunteer named Megan started things off, Baron made a few comments, and introduced the main speaker: Sen. Dick Durbin (IL)-- 2nd in the Senate and an Obama supporter.

Durbin was very smooth/impressive as a speaker, with some charming stories and amusing jokes. He noted that he had been one of about two dozen Senators who had opposed the War in Iraq-- after much tossing/turning and weighing of the claims and evidences. And he made a nice point about our continuing efforts there: that it seems like a bad idea to get bogged down in one Middle Eastern country with most of our available military resources as we try to deal with terrorism and a variety of threats worldwide.

The interaction of Durbin's comments with Hill's positions was more complicated. Durbin properly painted Bush and his Congress as not fiscally conservative. By contrast, he claimed that the Democrats (including Baron Hill) are supposedly restoring "sanity" to the budget process. Nice try, but that's just a different kind of insanity! It is good to see them all trying to sell the same kool-aid to the voters.

On Iraq, Durbin was kind enough not to mention Hill by name. But Durbin's (self-described) principled opposition to the War necessarily made Hill look bad by comparison-- in his decision to support the War initially while looking at the same evidences. Durbin pointed to the courage of those who voted against the War. Again, Hill necessarily looked cowardly in comparison. Then, Durbin lauded Sen. Obama and his wisdom-- and so Hill looks even worse, lacking the same wisdom that a political novice like Obama had. (Durbin made a great, general point that experience is over-rated in that it often means a more compelling case for leading us into all sorts of error.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

to vote with the House Leadership or not: that is the question

A nice article from David Mann with the Jeff/NA News-Tribune...

The context of the article: Mann focuses on Baron Hill's voting record and how it lines up with House leadership. The results:

[Hill] voted with his party’s leaders about 89 percent of the time.

Commonly, it was budget matters with which he took issue. Hill also voted in favor of a bill which authorized U.S. monitoring foreign electronic communications routed through the country...He also voted against a patient reform bill that changes the methods for obtaining and challenging patient claims.

The only position he took against the party that could be considered more liberal was a vote against a ban on human cloning. Asked about it, Hill said he didn’t remember the vote and that he was against human cloning.

Beyond that, Mann wrestles with the extent to which consistent voting is a good or bad thing. And then, Mann turns to the question of its political impact:

Howey said such numbers are commonly tracked because they're a good indication of party loyalty. However, he added, “I’ll be amazed if it's an issue that helps or hurts Baron Hill in the primary,” he said....

Finally, some excerpts from Mann's interview with me:

Libertarian Eric Schansberg is also vying for the 9th District seat. Schansberg, an economics professor at IUS, ran last year and took about 5 percent of the vote.

Party struggles are not as much of an issue for him because there are no Libertarians in the House.

“For us it’s much more philosophical, than practical,” he said. There are debates about issues within the party — a small percentage of Libertarians support the war in Iraq, for example.

There are two big issues that stand out for him during the current term — continued funding of the war without a withdraw plan and the economic stimulus package. Both are issues that he would have expected to turn out differently considering that it’s a Democrat-controlled Congress....

Ironically, by this measure, my voting record would probably be seen as moderate-- because I would tend to disagree with both sides quite a bit!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Press Release: Hill flunks again

The National Taxpayers Union has just released their annual report on Congressional spending. (The report is available at: http://www.ntu.org/main/components/ratescongress/index2.php3.)

Rep. Baron Hill received his fifth F for his seven years in Congress. (The other two years, he received a D.) His score of 14% puts him in the NTU’s category, “Big Spender”.

Mike Pence again topped the Indiana delegation with an A. Dan Burton earned an A this year as well, while Steve Buyer earned a B+ and Mark Souder earned a B-.

In his two years in Congress, Mike Sodrel earned a B and then a C+.

(See: http://www.ntu.org/main/components/ratescongress/details_all_years.php3?house_id=912.)

As a Libertarian, Eric Schansberg expects to easily earn an A from the NTU.

About Hill, Schansberg said: “This is just one more indication that Baron Hill is a poser on the topic of fiscal conservatism. I understand why he wants the title, but his record simply doesn’t match the label. He might as well try to tell us that he’s pro-life and wants to bring the troops home quickly.”

About the campaign, Schansberg said: “It’s clear that I’m the only fiscal conservative in the race. If the size of the federal government and its budget debt are important to voters, then I’m glad to give them a voting option in November.”

Saturday, April 05, 2008

interview in the Republic

From my interview with Kirk Johannson in the (Columbus) Republic...

Hoosiers in Indiana’s 9th congressional District probably know U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, D-Ind., and Republican challenger Mike Sodrel.

They’re gearing up for a fourth showdown for the seat on Nov. 4.

Libertarian Eric Schansberg hopes voters remember him after the 2006 election, and he can build on the support he gained.

Schansberg received 4.5 percent of the overall vote, trailing Hill and Sodrel, while spending just $20,000 on the campaign. He captured 7.4 percent of the vote in Jackson County, 7.2 in Brown and 6.5 percent in Bartholomew.

Schansberg, an economics professor at Indiana University-Southeast, said he is running for a second time because he’s unhappy with Hill or Sodrel as candidates.

And, Schansberg hopes people remember the negative advertisements that Hill and Sodrel directed at each other.

“I hope they remember whatever pain they were in last time,” Schansberg said.

He said Hill should have demanded more aggressively that U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq, Schansberg said. Also, by voting for a higher minimum wage and the stimulus package, Hill has contradicted his self-professed fiscal conservatism.

“The stimulus package is bad for a lot of reasons, but politically it’s very difficult for him to oppose that,” Schansberg said. “I understand why he bowed to that temptation.”

Schansberg described Sodrel as more fiscally moderate than conservative, which he found surprising for a Republican.

“That’s what gotten us in all this debt in the first place with Bush and the Republican Congresses,” Schansberg said. “And, he still hasn’t said anything about voting to give taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, which I find deeply offensive.”

Neither the war in Iraq nor any other one issue will dominate this election, Schansberg. However, the economy, the nation’s debt and illegal immigration will weigh heavily.

During debates and while meeting voters in the district, Schansberg intends to make his beliefs clear.

“We need to distinguish our position more strongly,” he said.

Schansberg plans to connect with more voters in the district by running cable TV ads, something he could not afford in 2006.

He also will seek donations from people likely to give to a third-party candidate, including people who donated to the presidential campaign of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

Another try

WHO: Eric Schansberg

WHAT: Candidate for U.S. House 9th District seat; economics professor at Indiana University-Southeast

PARTY: Libertarian

PREVIOUSLY: Lost 2006 election to U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, D-Ind., who regained the 9th District seat from Republican Mike Sodrel. Schansberg finished third.

NOW: Hill, Sodrel and Schansberg again are running for the seat. Hill and Sodrel have battled for it in the last three elections.

ON THE WEB: schansbergforcongress.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Press Release: Schansberg completes successful 1st quarter of fund-raising

In their 1st quarter report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Schansberg's campaign had contributions of nearly $14,000 and cash-on-hand of almost $15,000.

Dr. Eric Schansberg, the Libertarian candidate for the U.S. House (9th District—IN), will be opposing the winner of the May primaries—most likely, Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel.

Schansberg said, "We're happy with the outcome. Last time, we were just getting started in April. This time, as we go into April, our cash-on-hand is almost as much as we raised in cash from individuals in all of 2006. We look forward to a vigorous campaign with thousands of radio and cable TV ads."

When asked how this compares to the fund-raising of Hill and Sodrel, Schansberg replied, "It's not nearly as much. But we're running a much leaner campaign. And we won't have to spend nearly that much to generate a lot of buzz about the campaign."

Schansberg also noted an irony: "When they raise more money, that means they'll be spending more money on attack ads and annoying mailings. The more they spend, the more they irritate a lot of voters."