Indiana has no election in 2013, and the year off should give all of us a chance to focus on finding solutions to the problems facing our state and nation.
At a national level, we’ve had two years of partisan gridlock, with Republicans and Democrats finding themselves at loggerheads even on seemingly routine matters. Both sides blame the other, and both accuse their colleagues across the aisle of being unwilling to compromise.
Sadly, the result of Tuesday’s election could spell more of the same.
The Kokomo TribuneIf one thing is clear from last week’s election, it is that we can no longer look to our elected officials to solve our biggest issue: what this country means and what it should stand for. Government officials are deeply divided on that question because we are deeply divided on it. We cannot keep sending our surrogates to Washington and expect them to achieve the agreements that elude us.
Our divisions and reluctance to confront them cause us to send sharply mixed signals to those who would serve us. As pollster Scott Rasmussen points out (see column at the bottom of the page), the voters “are demanding change, but didn’t change politicians … They’re unhappy with the status quo in the country but left the political status quo in place.”
At some point, we need to forget the politicians … and have our own conversations.
TuesdayYou have heard about clout, haven’t you? Well, for the next few years you’ll have to be content just reading about it. You aren’t going to experience many of its effects in the Hoosier state.
The state’s delegation to Capitol Hill will be its least experienced in many years, former longtime Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton said in a recent interview. In addition to the loss of Republican Richard Lugar after 36 years in Washington, last week’s election results means that seven of our nine House members will be in their first or second terms. The state in all has lost 78 years of congressional experience.
And that, Hamilton reminds us, means less seniority, which means less clout, which means fewer handouts from the federal goody bag.
If this were still a sane world, with Washington having its proper place on the power grid, clout wouldn’t matter.
WednesdayThe deadline is approaching for Indiana to decide whether to implement a state-based health-insurance exchange to make it “easier” for people to get “affordable” coverage when they buy insurance under the provisions of Obamacare. A decision is due by the end of the week, and Gov. Mitch Daniels and Gov.-elect Mike Pence are being pressured by Obamacare advocates to say yes.
They should continue to resist. It is a false argument the advocates make that, because the federal government will set up the exchange if the state doesn’t, doing the job ourselves would amount to more autonomy and a victory for “states’ rights.” But it would be illusory autonomy. States’ rights do not come from federal edicts or coercions. Jumping off a building at the point of a gun is not the exercise of freedom.
ThursdayEndorsing Republican Richard Mourdock over Democrat Joe Donnelly for the U.S. Senate was an easy call for us. In a time when mounting deficits, a crushing national debt and unsustainable entitlement programs threaten the very existence of the nation, only the fiscally serious need apply. That seemed to us a much better description of Mourdock than Donnelly, who as a member of the House went along with Obamacare, the stimulus package and other big-government initiative.
But some of the things Donnelly has been saying since he was elected sound encouraging. He wants to extend all the so-called “Bush tax cuts” at least a year, in defiance of President Obama’s insistence on ending the one for the wealthiest Americans, and he also wants to reduce spending “in a very significant way,” he said in a recent interview.