Monday, June 30, 2008

why didn't the Democrats...

get rid of subsidies to oil companies?

They like to complain about them-- quite reasonably-- but unfortunately, they have not taken action in eliminating them.

the two 2006 debates

In case you haven't seen them and are interested, here are the links for the Bloomington and Jasper debates from the 2006 campaign.

In the Bloomington debate, notice Baron's passionate desire in his opening remarks to talk a whole lot more about gas prices! What happened to that passion? LOL!

I did ok in my first debate (in Bloomington) but better when I had one under my belt (in Jasper).


Schansberg pumps gas in Salem, criticizes Hill and Sodrel on energy policy positions

On Tuesday July 1st, Dr. Eric Schansberg, the Libertarian candidate for Indiana’s 9th District, will be the guest on WSLM’s live show “Coffee Talk” (Salem; Channel 17; 8:00-8:30 AM). Afterwards, he will pump gas and talk with voters at S&S Petroleum in Salem (1306 W. Mulberry St.) from 8:45-9:45 AM.

Schansberg also took the occasion to criticize Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel for their remarks last week on gas prices and energy policy.

About Hill, Schansberg remarked: “Baron seems to think that regulating markets is the answer. He pushed for tighter fuel efficiency standards, but higher gas prices will encourage people to demand more fuel-efficient cars quite naturally. And he wants to regulate the futures market and reduce the number of investors. At best, that’s pandering and it may make things worse by limiting competition in the futures market.”

Continuing, Schansberg said, “I agree with Baron about reducing the size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). But strangely, he seems to think that a modest reduction in the SPR will have a dramatic impact on price, while increasing oil production by far more will do nothing to the futures market.”

About Sodrel, Schansberg commented: “I agree with Mike that drilling off the Gulf Coast and in ANWR is a no-brainer. But he wants to take money from taxpayers to give to oil companies and to companies developing alternative energies. In this time of massive government debt—which weakens the dollar and has dramatically driven up the price of oil—more spending is not the answer.”

Continuing, Schansberg said, “Mike talks about the power of market incentives, but then he argues for government subsidies. There’s so much money on the table right now—all the incentive needed for entrepreneurs to innovate. Why should the government take money from taxpayers and try to pick winners?”

did you know this about political ads?

They must be pre-paid!

Of course, that wouldn't be necessary in my case, but I certainly understand why that's the industry norm.

When I'm paying for my ads, I typically say "I can understand why you don't trust politicians. That's one of the reasons I'm running!"

Friday, June 27, 2008

why didn't the Republicans...

Thought for the day:

Why didn't the Republicans take care of the ban on drilling for oil when they controlled Congress all those years?

See also: Why didn't the Republicans get rid of federal funding for Planned Parenthood when they had the opportunity-- year after year?

suburban vs. rural/small town voters

Generalizing from what I've observed from my 1.5 campaigns in the 9th District...

Going into my congressional run in 2006, I suspected that I would have an easier time connecting with suburban, more-educated voters. But my three lowest vote percentages were in the most "suburban" counties, including Clark and Floyd where I've lived for 8 years and worked/taught for 16 years! (Ironically, my highest percentage came in Jackson County-- home to Baron Hill!)

Trying to explain this surprising result...

My first theory was paid media-- that we had bought a lot of radio time in rural/small town areas, but had not been willing to pay a lot of money for little coverage in the suburbs. For example, to advertise in Clark and Floyd, we had to buy Louisville media-- a lot of money for little (relevant) coverage for our campaign.

I still think that story carries significant weight. But now, after walking the business districts, I have another theory.

First, let me back up a step and talk about a key observation in political economy: "rational ignorance and apathy" in the general public. In a word, because people have little to offer within a political market (a vote and maybe a modest campaign contribution), the costs of becoming (more) informed and taking action are simply too high to justify much investment. Thus, it is "rational" for voters to lack knowledge and desire to become involved at anything more than a very shallow level. The result is that people typically vote on the basis of one issue (a "special interest"), political party, name recognition, anti-incumbency, etc.

Again, this is a (gross?) generalization, but here's theory #2:

Rural/small town voters tend to vote the person and suburban voters tend to vote for a particular issue or with a particular party. In my case, I'm having an easier time with voters in Huntingburg and Brownstown because many of them don't respect my two opponents all that much &/or they have a sense that things just aren't right in DC and they want (true) change. Combine that with a credible third alternative, I'm in pretty good shape if I can get the word out to those people!

Another observation and perhaps a corollary: Rural voters make more principled choices (just choosing the best candidate) while suburban voters are more pragmatic (strategic). For example, I have rarely heard the "lesser of two evils" argument in rural/small town settings but I hear it a lot in the suburbs. Putting it another way: suburban voters take their votes too seriously and are willing to lose sleep in choosing an inferior candidate. I need suburban voters to be more principled and less pragmatic!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

we're at 4.3% in the latest poll...

Last week, Survey USA released a poll showing Hill with a 51-40 lead on Sodrel. I had 4% with 5% undecided.

We wanted the results of the poll to build on our 2006 election results (4.5%). And when I was dreaming a bit, I was hoping for double-digits, which would have created a tremendous buzz!

The most likely explanation: If done well by Survey USA, they would pick up the fact that there are many more likely voters in a presidential election year, including a high proportion of those who would be less informed about my campaign.

An interesting result: It appears that we continue to get votes, in about equal measure, from those who would otherwise vote for Sodrel or Hill. (Not that this will probably not persuade those who will seek to scapegoat me if their preferred candidate [or "the lesser of two evils"] is defeated and the margin of victory is less than my vote total.)

Biggest result for me: 14% of independents

Biggest questions: Can Sodrel recover from this early deficit? Can my campaign get enough above the radar to make me-- not only the best candidate-- but a viable third choice in the race?

adult movie actor vs. thieves, liars, hypocrites...

With news of Sonny Landham's bid as a Libertarian for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, given an aspect of his professional career from 30 years ago, we have statements of embarrassment in the blogosphere and wise-acre comments from a political science professor.

On the one hand, I can understand the former and I'm amused by the latter.

But shouldn't we be more embarrassed and snide in our response to politicians who are currently liars, hypocrites, thieves and so on? One says he supports the Macro stimulus package and is now opposed. One demands a debate on gas prices one year and refuses two years later. One votes to take your money to give to Planned Parenthood and then tries to make it an issue against his opponent without apologizing for his own vote. Almost all of them are quite pleased to take our money to give to all sorts of corporations. And so on.

Let's get embarrassed and fired up about larger, contemporary issues...

Press Release: Business Districts, County Fairs, First Radio Ad

Schansberg completes tour of business districts, looks forward to county fairs and campaign's first radio ad

On Tuesday, Eric Schansberg, the Libertarian candidate in Indiana's 9th District for the U.S. House, completed his tour of the 9th's business districts. Schansberg walked through 38 cities and towns, meeting small business owners and their employees.

Schansberg said, "Most of the time, it was just a brief introduction. But I really enjoyed talking at greater length with many people—talking with them about economics and public policy and hearing their desire to have someone new in Washington."

On Thursday, Schansberg will campaign with his wife Tonia at the Dearborn County fair—the first of 20 county fairs in the 9th District over the next six weeks.

And next week, Schansberg will debut his radio ad of the campaign—on gas prices. The 60-second ad will run more than 500 times on 10 different stations across the district over the next five weeks. The ad can also be heard at

Schansberg said, "The price of gas is the burning issue of this campaign so far. Baron has been unwilling to debate me—despite his repeated demand for a debate on gas prices in May 2006. I'm sorry to see Baron's hypocrisy but understand why he'd be embarrassed. We should start drilling for oil off the Gulf Coast and in ANWR—and we should stop devaluing the dollar through massive government spending and debt. We hope to turn up the heat on Baron through these ads."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

satire: "I'm voting Republican"

Funny stuff-- a video satire on why one would (not) vote Republican...

Of course, it'd be easy to add quite a few for why one would (not) vote Democrat...

-I'm voting Democrat because I want someone who will verbally oppose our on-going efforts in Iraq, but repeatedly vote to fund that effort.

-I'm voting Democrat because I want someone who claims to be representing the working poor and middle class, but says nothing about the payroll taxes that oppress them far more than income taxes.

-I'm voting Democrat because they proudly spend a lot of our money and ring up a lot of government debt (as opposed to Republicans who pretend not to).

-I'm voting Democrat because I admire the impending privatization of the government's provision of Senate dining services (due to low quality and high costs) and am sure they'll extend the same logic to end the government's monopoly power over elementary and secondary education.

-I'm voting Democrat because they so vociferously defend Social Security's negative rate-of-return for African-Americans.

-I'm voting Democrat because they love corporate subsidies and earmarks.

-I'm voting Democrat because they trust 14-year-olds to get controversial medical procedures without a parent's knowledge, but don't trust the same parents to make competent decisions about their own retirements, their children's schools, the medicines they can take, and so on.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Monday AM on WHAS

I was interviewed by Tony Cruise this morning-- to be aired on his show next Monday!
His early-morning, drive-time show runs from 6-9 AM on WHAS (840-AM).
I think it will run for two segments or 15 minutes.

A great opportunity!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Hill finds time to talk about gas prices-- instead of acting to fix them or debating them

When Baron made his excuses for not wanting to debate me on gas prices, his spokeswoman said he "is worried about acting on the problems, not debating them".

There are many problems with this claim:

-Hill repeatedly demanded debates from then-Rep. Mike Sodrel in May 2006, insisting that debates were quite important-- and presumably more important than Mike "acting on the problems". It seems (odd and convenient) that action is now preferred to debate.

-Hill made time on Saturday to talk about gas prices-- with people in a grocery store. He showed up at the Jay-C Food Store in Sellersburg to talk about gas prices for an hour. While I appreciate Baron's desire to be in touch with his constituency, the District would have been far better served by an hour of talking with me publicly about the issues.

-Hill will not take any significant and useful actions on this issue.

From Mary Jane Maytum in the Jeff/NA News-Tribune, we read that Baron is considering "re-regulating the commodities markets as a short-term solution". Huh? I guess that's why he doesn't want to debate. You can say that sort of thing to someone in a grocery store-- in what could have been a private discussion. But try saying something like that on camera in a debate with an economist nearby!

Then again, that may the best card Baron has to play on this issue (aside from reducing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve--a good but modest idea). The Dems like to restrict supply a lot, so that's a big problem. Baron, like most of our reps in Congress, votes for big spending and debt, so he likes to weaken the dollar and drive up the price of imported oil.

Baron is in a catch-22 on this issue: he ought to debate, but it'd be quite painful for him to do so...