Civil Discourse Now

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Tully: Ballard and Hogsett are the major parties' two "best" for Mayor---Tully's flawed reasoning again.

   The column was below the fold, but still on page one of Sunday’s edition of what was a fairly good newspaper.  The Indianapolis Star consists of a lot of ads (to make money in a time when many people read the stories the day before on the internet the paper prints the next day; such is technology), sections provided by McNew a/k/a USA Today, a few good articles, and, well, the rest.
   Matthew Tully did not disappoint (if one anticipated he would provide his usual contribution to “the rest”) in his column, “Mayoral race is looking like a blockbuster.”    
   First, he says, in a race between incumbent Republican Greg Ballard and Democrat Joe Hogsett whose resignation as United States Attorney has sparked speculation Hogsett will run for Mayor of Indianapolis “the two parties have their best candidates.”
   Really? Mayor Ballard’s seven years as Mayor have been terrible. He has reneged—this is Indiana, so allusions to euchre are legitimate—on various of his campaign promises. The most glaring has been that public safety would be the top priority of a Ballard administration. Perhaps candidate Ballard was not specific. He may have said “a” Ballard administration, just not “his” Ballard administration. A Ballard wanders the American landscape, somewhere, whose goals is to protect the people. Councilor Christine Scales is a Republican who speaks her mind. There is one candidates better than Ballard whom I could suggest.
   Joe Hogsett is the “best” candidate the Democratic Party can run?  First, although he will not run, I’d suggest Councilor Zach Adamson. I disagree with him on several issues—as I disagree with Councilor Scales—but he is honest and works hard for his constituents.
   Hogsett lost in a race for Congress. Also, during Hogsett’s entire tenure as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Greg Ballard has been Mayor. As Ballard’s cronies have jumped into the public trough with all four hooves and the snout, and no-bid contracts have been let, and public assets have been given away to political contributors, there has not been a prosecution of a major Ballard administration member. Perhaps Ballard and company simply have committed acts of corruption within the lines of the law. I have written about the corruption of this administration as being out-front and obvious.
   Let us return to Mr. Tully’s column.  Tully poses several questions, in bold print, as major points to consider.
   First: “Will Ballard run again?” As Tully points out: “Remember, being mayor is a stressful job and running for a third term is particularly tough.  Hgis last re-election campaign was a bruising affair that, by all accounts, Ballard did not enjoy.”
   1) Being mayor is not a stressful job if one avoids contact with adversaries, the public, and anyone who disagrees with one. The stress is relieved by frequent trips overseas in search of “jobs” much like O.J. Simpson searched for his ex-wife’s killer.
   2) What “re-election campaign was a bruising affair”? A lot of us wish the 2011 Indianapolis Mayor’s race HAD been a bruising affair with the Democratic Party candidate hitting Ballard for the pay-to-play system of his office. Unfortunately, there were no such aggressive tactics employed. Instead, one had the impression the same interests that benefit from Ballard cronyism pulled the strings on the other side. Unfortunately, the two political parties in Indianapolis have become beholden, it seems, to the same interests.
   3) If Ballard thought the campaign in 2011 was “bruising”—what’s this thing with “by all accounts”?—that only is a gauge of how sensitive Ballard’s thin skin is.
   Second: “How will the crime issue play?”  At least we’re reassured by Tully about the fickle nature of the public—“the public mood often changes from week to week, depending on the latest news” and refers to the shootings in Broad Ripple during the July 4 weekend—and, hence, the voters will have forgotten about crime by November, 2015. Tully points to Ballard’s recent announced policy that links pre-school education to a public safety program. Really, that’s a long-term concept worthy of merit. However, that is not what Ballard has proposed.
   Third: “How strong are the Democratic numbers?” On this, Tully offers this insight: “Ballard has overcome the numbers”—i.e., a very strong Democratic Party base in Marion County—“before.”
   The first time Ballard won, voters were pissed off at Bart Petersen because under Petersen’s administration, taxes were hiked. Ballard won the second time because the Democratic party candidate effectively stayed home. If the eventual Democratic Party candidate runs, with minimal competence, a campaign against Greg Ballard, Ballard will receive news of his loss early in the evening, a check mark for “winner” next to his name alongside the figure of “1%” for precincts reporting.
   Fourth: “Which candidate will run the stronger, more energetic campaign?” Here we are offered another great insight: “Ballard is not a fan of the back-and-forth of political campaigns.” No kidding: the man cannot take criticism. He loses his temper if someone asks the most anemic of questions. That said, the Democratic Party might stay home again.
   Fifth: “And there is the most basic question of all: Who will voters like more?” If the real Greg Ballard shows up, and if local media, one source of which is Tully’s employer, provide any meaningful coverage, very few will “like” Greg Ballard. Even the people who pull the current Mayor’s strings probably find it hard to “like” Ballard.
   The people of Indianapolis deserve better. I have the feeling no matter who wins, the owners of the Colts® and the Pacers® will claim as theirs any public funds they see floating around. Taxes will continue to rise. Corporatism will continue to be the dominant political and economic ideology.
   And I sit here and pose a question, as Tully posed several in yesterday’s column: What if the Republican candidate for Mayor is Christine Scales and the Democratic Party candidate for mayor is Zach Adamson?
   In “Back to the Future” part 1, Professor Brown returns to the McFly residence in his modified De Lorean and, amongst other details about the future, says the Chicago Cubs win the World Series in 2015. Scales versus Adamson? A Cubs World Series championship in 2015?
   One can always hope.

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