Bosma warns the candidates
Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma last week reminded Indiana’s gubernatorial candidates of something they sometimes act as if they have forgotten: They are not the only dogs in the hunt.
Tax cuts being pushed by Republican Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg “are not guaranteed” a rubber stamp from lawmakers, he said after his GOP House caucus rolled out its 2013 agenda.
“I stopped the last governor from raising taxes, which he felt from a short-term view needed to happen, but we were convinced the state could get through two budget cycles without a tax increase and that’s the way it turned out. And I’ve been thanked a couple of times,” Bosma said of the efforts of Gov. Mitch Daniels to raise the income tax on the state’s high-earners when he first took office.
It's too easy for the lazy
Because of the much-looser campaign finance regulations these days, the contest in Indiana for U.S. Senate has entered the pricey political stratosphere usually occupied only by the gubernatorial contest. So far, Republican candidate Richard Mourdock and Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly or those supporting them have spent roughly $10 million for TV air time. And the rate of spending is going to accelerate in the last 30 days of the race.
Such lavish spending has many effects, one unfortunate being that is getting easier all the time for the lazy voter and the stupid voter to stay uninformed right up till the time they vote. When a candidate senses defeat, that candidates ads start to go negative, because they work. That brings negative ads from the other side, and the contest descends into the depths of character assassination.
Getting along to get along
Now that he’s leaving the governor’s office for the presidency of Purdue, Mitch Daniels can afford to disparage the partisan politics that got him elected twice. Later this month, it has been announced, he will join political and religious leaders to discuss “how to overcome partisanship to seek the common good.”
He’s been here before. When it seemed he might be a GOP presidential
contender, he shocked his party (especially its most conservative members) by suggesting that addressing the national debt was such a “mortal threat” that a truce should be called on social issues. Translation: Let’s mute all the talk on the big, divisive philosophical disputes and concentrate on something that can be fixed with pragmatism and common sense.
But getting along for the sake of getting along is pointless in politics. The idea is to get something done.
Medical device wrecking ball
One of the many ways in which the November election offers voters a clear choice is how it will affect Obamacare. If President Obama wins re-election, his Affordable Health Care Act will certainly survive intact. If Republican Mitt Romney wins, that doesn’t mean an automatic and immediate scrapping of the law in its entirety. But at a minimum it will mean a serious look at the law and major revisions.
What the choice means overall is too complicated to fathom right now. The law is so massive and reaches so far into the health care system that it will be years before we understand all the consequences. We just know that the effects will be profound and could increase the health costs it was supposed to lower and further burden the economy it was supposed to help.
So let’s consider one area: medical devices.
Pence, Gregg and supermajorities
In their first debate Wednesday night, Republican Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg both stressed the need for bipartisanship, but Gregg wasn’t buying it from Pence. As Indiana House Speaker, he said, he earned a reputation as a moderate who could work with both sides of the aisle. Pence, on the other hand, has been one of the far right’s “lead attack dogs” when it comes to Democrats.
The truth is that Gregg must be a compromiser and a moderate if he’s elected. He will be working with a House and Senate dominated by Republicans. Pence, on the other hand, can afford to be a passionate conservative, sticking to principles instead. Many of his proposals will get a friendly reception without any particular effort at persuasion on his part.
The only question is just how strong the GOP control of state government will be.