Category Archives: 2010 Senate Races

Dan Coats Moved Indiana Jobs to Mexico

¡Trabajadores apesadumbrados!

Congressman Brad Ellsworth points out corporate shill Dan Coats’ profiteering at the expense of Hoosier jobs in this latest campaign video. Ellsworth, the Congressman and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, explains why this is important in this election as follows:

A couple of years ago, my opponent’s employer, Cerberus Capital Management, sold off the GDX Automotive plant in Wabash and shipped its operations to Mexico. Eight hundred Hoosiers lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and the impact on the community has been devastating.  Families depended on the income from those jobs to put food on the table, save for college, and provide basic health care.  The ripple effect the closing of this facility had on other local businesses has, likewise, been catastrophic.

Earlier this week, I traveled to Wabash.  We talked to some folks in the community who have been affected by the plant closing, and I wanted you to hear their stories directly from them.

This is an important issue in this campaign.  In the Senate, Dan Coats was a vocal supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which provided incentives for companies like Cerberus to move jobs out of America.  But it’s Coats’ direct work for Cerberus that is even more troubling.  At the same time the company was firing hundreds of hardworking Hoosiers, it was paying Dan Coats thousands in consulting fees. We cannot keep sending people to Washington who are working to stack the deck against everyday Americans: loopholes that allow government contractors to ship jobs overseas, trade agreements that put American workers at a disadvantage, and economic policies that reward greed over a job well done. I have seen the strength and determination of Indiana workers, and with a level playing field, I know we can compete with anyone in the world.  This election is a chance to turn things around. Together, we can make sure Washington works for everyday people again – creating good American jobs, protecting workers’ pensions and retirement, and laying the foundation for Indiana’s long-term economic strength and prosperity.

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Deficit Neutral FMAP Stimulus Moving Through Congress Despite Lugar and Other Obstructionist Rs

We’ve discussed the FMAP stimulus legislation here at ALO before (http://aloyalopposition.in/2010/06/18/fmap.) Well, it is coming to a head and despite the fact that cuts have been made to make the Murray-Harkin-Reid-Schumer amendment to the FMAP/edujobs bill completely deficit neutral, Senator Dick Lugar and the rest of Governor Mitch Daniels anti-teacher brigade continue to oppose it solely to bring failure to the Obama administration.

"Seriously Dick. Gimme some rock." "No way Bam-Bam."

Learn about this bill yourself and then call Senators Bayh and Lugar to encourage them to vote for the Murray-Harkin-Reid-Schumer amendment to the FMAP/edujobs legislation.

Hear State Senator Vi Simpson (D-Elletsville) discuss the stimulus needed in the FMAP bill here on The Dave Crooks Show. And here are just a few of the key points to know about this legislation that will help keep Hoosier schools from closing, keep teachers in the classrooms and keep class sizes from ballooning:

•  The economic collapse created a disaster for states and schools across the country, and it’s going to take a long time for them to recover, even after we turn the corner.
•  States and schools are facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis. While the economy is starting to improve, states face a cumulative budget gap of $200 billion in fiscal year 2010 and $180 billion in fiscal year 2011.
•  A recent report by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers found that 35 States cut funding for K12 education and 37 States did so for higher education in Fiscal Year 2010, with 31 States planning to impose additional K12 and higher education cuts in Fiscal Year 2011.
•  Education jobs and services have already been slashed to the bone. Schools have raised class sizes, instituted unpaid furlough days, laid off teachers, and cut back on programs our kids need to be successful.
•  According to a study by the University of Washington, even though ARRA prevented an education catastrophe, 87,019 K12 jobs were eliminated this past school year.
•  Overall, since August 2008, State and local governments have eliminated 242,000 jobs.
•  Up to 400,000 workers could lose jobs in the next year as states, counties and cities grapple with lower revenue and less federal funding, says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com.
•  Schools are facing as many as 300,000 layoffs of teachers, counselors, school nurses, and other critical staff.
•  A recent Center on Education Policy report, School Districts’ Perspectives on the Economic Stimulus Package, found that “While nearly two-thirds of all school districts have used the federal stimulus money from the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to save or create teaching jobs in the 2009-10 school year, as many as three quarters of the nation’s school districts expect to cut teaching jobs in 2010-11 due to budget decreases…”
•  Losing these education jobs wouldn’t just affect the individuals getting pink slips. It would have a catastrophic ripple effect across communities, dragging our economy downward again.
•  For every 100,000 education jobs eliminated, 30,000 other jobs, including those in the private sector will also vanish.
•  The $10 billion education jobs fund in the Murray-Harkin-Reid-Schumer amendment is fully offset (without the House-passed education offsets) and will not increase the deficit.
•  According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), spending $10 billion to save education jobs will only have a net impact on the deficit of only $4.75 billion, after accounting for an increase in GDP. Thus, since the entire $10 billion is offset, the education jobs fund will actually reduce the deficit by $5.25 billion.
•  According to the Education Commission of the States, a $10 billion education jobs fund would save at least 136,758 education jobs.
•  President Obama on June 12th said that an education jobs fund is “among the most cost-effective ways of promoting economic growth, as measured by the Congressional Budget office and numerous independent experts.”
•  Even those advocating for long-term deficit reduction recognize the need for an education jobs fund. “Right now, I think that there’s still a case to be made for some aid to the states if it is a pretty direct form of injecting stimulus.” Robert Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition.
•  According to a recent Gallup poll, the American public, by a 60-38 percent margin favor “additional government spending to create jobs and stimulate the economy.”
•  Morton Kondracke, Roll Call Executive Editor, on June 17th strongly urged Congress to approve an education jobs fund, “At long last, Congress is getting serious about containing deficit spending, but it would be ridiculous to show it by allowing more than 100,000 teachers around the country to lose their jobs… So it’s time for Congress to do what it’s hired to do: set priorities. Keeping teachers working should be close to Job One.”
•  Just as we start to see signs that our economy is turning around, there could be nothing more short-sighted than ripping a gaping hole in our schools and communities.
•  These are jobs at the core of our communities – teaching our kids, keeping class sizes manageable, providing summer school, preparing students to enter the workforce, and providing the foundation of our economic future.
•  We can’t afford not to do the right thing, to keep teachers in our classrooms, our schools on track, and our education system improving.
•  We can’t improve the economy and reduce unemployment by increasing public sector unemployment.
•  Ensuring quality education for children pays off. Individuals without a high school diploma are three times as likely to be unemployed as those with a college degree.
•  The language in the Murray-Harkin-Reid-Schumer amendment prohibits states from using funds for rainy day funds or to reduce state debt obligations.
•  The funds may only be used to save or create jobs for teachers and other educators.

Also of note here are some key points for thoise who doubt stimulus has helped the economy. Note the following charts from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:


Here He Comes!

Those of you who have been wondering “where are Congressman Brad Ellsworth’s ads?!” can stop waiting.

Look for these to run all July right on the heels of Congressional Quarterly moving the race from “Leans GOP” to “Toss-up.”

Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) today released his first ad in his Indiana Senate campaign. In the 30-second spot, Ellsworth, a former sheriff, talks about how he developed “zero tolerance for bull” in his old job and how that prepared him for his current post on Capitol Hill.

Ellsworth, who was nominated by party officials in the wake of Sen. Evan Bayh‘s (D) retirement announcement earlier this year, will face former Sen. Dan Coats (R) in November.

CQ-Roll Call rates this race a Tossup.

Check out the ratings for other Senate contests with our election map.

We especially like this one. We know the track says “One thing that twenty-five years as a sheriff teaches you is zero tolerance for bull.” But we could swear he says bullshit. Maybe we are just being hopeful.

And of course the Matt Tulley piece in the Indianapolis Star is pretty stellar:

Some answers for those asking, ‘Brad Ellsworth?’

The Indianapolis Star
By Matthew Tully

Election Day is less than four months away, but many Indiana voters still don’t know much about Brad Ellsworth, the Democratic nominee for Senate.

That could change shortly, as he began airing his first campaign commercial Tuesday. It’s none too soon. As a congressman from Evansville, he could walk down the street in many parts of the state without being recognized.

But he’s not worried.

Four months is a lifetime in a political campaign, and with a rare open Senate seat at stake, there’s little doubt his race against former Sen. Dan Coats ultimately will receive gobs of attention.

“Absolutely not,” Ellsworth said Tuesday morning when I asked him if he was a household name. “But when the regular campaign starts up, when the TV ads start and we get out more during the (congressional) recesses, it will pick up.”

It’s been a strange race in many ways—from Sen. Evan Bayh’s last-minute decision not to run for a third term to Coats’ decision to come back to Indiana in the hopes of winning back his old seat. Now, it’s a dash to Election Day.

Tuesday, Ellsworth, whose face was sun-splashed from walking in Fourth of July parades, met with me to talk about the campaign.

He has taken on a tough task, running during a year in which Democrats likely will suffer a beating. He faces many voters still angry that he voted for the federal health-care bill, as well as ridiculous charges that he’s a liberal lapdog of national Democratic leaders.

In reality, he is probably the only candidate his party could have fielded this year, other than Bayh, who had a chance of winning the election. A moderate Democrat and former sheriff, Ellsworth is preaching a message that used to be common but isn’t heard enough in these ultra-partisan days.

“The problems that face this country do not have a D or an R attached to them, and neither party has a corner on the market of good ideas,” he said. “Guys like me—whatever you want to call me: a centrist, a moderate, a conservative Democrat—we want to be those guys who reach across the aisle.”

He continued:

“We can’t be head-butting all of the time. On issues like labor, education, the oil spill. Trying to blame a party? Give me a break. Let’s fix it.”

It’s probably fitting that this campaign has been truncated. It’s going to be a relatively simple one. Democrats will hammer Coats for being a D.C. lobbyist, and Republicans will attack Ellsworth for supporting health-care reform and other pieces of the Obama agenda.

It won’t be pretty.

As I’ve written before, that’s too bad. Because both candidates seem like decent, serious-minded men.

As for Ellsworth, he tells voters who are upset with the new health-care law that “it’s not a radical bill” and that, while flawed, it was a “step in the right direction” after decades of inaction. He voted against his party on “cap-and-trade” energy legislation and laughs at those who try to label him a liberal, pointing to positions on guns, abortion and other issues that led Republicans in D.C. to casually raise the prospect of him changing parties.

In recent weeks, Republicans have mocked Ellsworth for downplaying his time in Washington. He no doubt has. He knows his two terms as a sheriff play well. And despite four years in Congress, he insists he still tries to approach issues the way he did during nearly 25 years in law enforcement.

“When we got called, we didn’t ask if the person was rich or poor, white or black, or Republican or Democrat,” he said. “You just went out and tackled the problem. You looked for the common-sense approach to fix the issue.”

It’s a great campaign line. But it’s also a great philosophy.

TalkingPointsMemo.com points out the following about the race and Ellsworth’s new ad:

Dem Ellsworth Takes Indirect Jab At GOP Opponent’s Lobbying Past In New IN-SEN Ad (VIDEO)

Eric Kleefeld | July 6, 2010, 3:34PM


Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN)

Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), the Democratic nominee for the open Senate seat of retiring Dem Evan Bayh, has launched his first TV ad of the campaign. Ellsworth cast himself as an anti-Washington candidate taking on Washington lobbyists — a not-so-subtle attack against his Republican opponent, former Sen. Dan Coats, who had been a lobbyist for the past decade.

“One thing that 25 years as a sheriff teaches you is zero tolerance for bull. There’s too much at stake. But out in Washington it’s like they live and breathe the stuff,” Ellsworth says. “They waste our money. They take care of special interests. And they don’t care if lobbyists write the laws or if our jobs get shipped overseas. I’m Brad Ellsworth and I approve this message because the special interests and lobbyists already have enough senators on their side.”

Ellsworth never directly mentions Coats in the ad, but appears to be laying the groundwork for further attacks down the road. Ellsworth begins this general election as a severe underdog, with the TPM Poll Average giving Coats a lead of 49.4%-33.6%.

Coats’ Crap Sandwich Tour Continues: Compared to John McCain & Martha Coakley

Here is a quick round-up of stories surrounding Dan Coats’ Crap Sandwich tour.

"We there yet?"

Monroeville Libertarian activist Melissa Lineberry posted the contents of a letter to her from John Hostettler’s Senate campaign on the Campaign for Liberty Teabagger site.

"How dare they compare me to Coats. My comb-over is way better than his!"

Similar to Marlin Stutzman’s efforts, paints Coats with a variety of left-leaning failures, but from paragraph 5 on does not miss a chance to morph his face into John McCain:

Voters have a choice this Tuesday as to whom they will support for US Senate.

While five great Christian men are running, polls indicate the race has largely come down to Dan Coats and John Hostettler, and while the other three men in the race are all great, a vote for any of the other three is basically a vote for Coats.

Coats is a fine man but while in office he had a tendency to vote against the 2nd Amendment and for radical far left Supreme Court justices.

Coats voted for the Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban, and voted to put ultra-far-left extremists like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor on federal benches including the Supreme Court.

Last year Coats made close to a million dollars representing some of the most nefarious players in the Wall Street bailout scandal, but far more troubling is his relentless work to get John McCain the GOP nomination for President in 2008.

McCain, who nearly left the GOP in 2000 and 2004 because it wasn’t liberal enough, supports universal health care, cap and trade, amnesty for all illegals, open borders, and a host of other hard-core leftist positions similar to his chummy rival in 2008, Barrack Obama.

As Coats was a tireless crusader for McCain it is fair to say that these are the positions that Coats would like to see in a GOP President.

John Hostettler, by contrast, never once in his 12 years in the US House of Representatives let his conservative values be bought by high priced lobbyists.   If returned to Washington Hostettler would be one of, if not the most, conservative member of the Senate.  Hostettler would never betray the constitution or the voters that sent him as their representative.

This Tuesday, I believe we not only have a choice to make but a duty to fulfill.  We can send John McCain’s left-leaning bipartisan buddy back to the Senate, because he has name recognition, or we can do what is right for our children, grandchildren, and this nation, by sending a proven conservative to give Washington a fiscally and socially conservative kick in the pants.

If that isn’t a sign of the Tea Party eating the Republican’s lunch, then perhaps this piece from today’s US News and World Report, better known as FOX Lite, makes the impending Republican civil war more clear.

[The Teabaggers] have vigor, they have the media’s attention, and they have numbers. In March, the Wall Street Journal reported a 134 percent increase over 2006, in Republicans running in congressional primaries. Most will fail, but there are enough serious backlash candidates to spur talk of a GOP civil war with the outrage gang as insurgents. You can be sure that Republican incumbents like Sens. John McCain in Arizona and Bob Bennett in Utah, along with establishment-backed Senate candidates in California, Colorado, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Nevada, noticed Crist’s GOP flameout.

The next battle, and the right-wing insurgents’ next opportunity, will take place Tuesday in Indiana, where the GOP will select a candidate for the Senate seat that Democrat Evan Bayh is vacating. Former Sen. Dan Coats was expected to cruise through both the GOP primary and the general election in November. But the wingers don’t like him, grousing about his voting record, his establishment support (he is seen as a Washington recruit), and that he had quit in the face of a tough Bayh race 12 years earlier.

And in an angry, anti-Washington, year, Coats looks a bit like a Martha Coakley of the Midwest. He is a registered lobbyist (making more than $600,000 last year from his Washington law firm, according to his financial disclosure records). And a devastating video surfaced in February, of Coats telling North Carolina delegates to the 2008 GOP convention not to “tell the good people of Indiana,” but that in the Tar Heel state he had found a “better place where some of these older bones” could reside, and that he looked forward to voting there.

His fundraising has been soft (though Democrats note contributions from at least three dozen current or former lobbyists). He recently loaned his campaign $200,000 and—serious Coakley echoes here—jetted off to Washington for a pair of $1,000-per-person fundraisers in his honor Wednesday, six days before the primary. None of this plays well in Indiana, a state so leery of outsiders that “anybody who may have gone to Washington on an eighth-grade junior high school field trip is automatically tainted,” says veteran Indiana political analyst Ed Feigenbaum.

Coats is vulnerable, but the insurgents have, typically, split. GOP gadfly DeMint and others support Marlin Stutzman, a 34-year-old state senator, while Tea Party godfather Ron Paul has endorsed former Rep. John Hostettler, a religious conservative grass-roots favorite. Feigenbaum, who has watched Indiana politics for 25 years, says he’s never seen such an inscrutable primary—Coats, Hostettler, or Stutzman could win. The only public poll, released Thursday, had Coats leading with 36 percent to Hostettler’s 24 percent, and Stutzman at 18 percent.

They finish the piece by paraphrasing the Irish chestnut of “Let’s raise a glass to the enemy of my enemy.” I’m not sure who they were toasting, but I like when they compare Coats to Martha Coakley. Does that make Ellsworth Scott Brown. I am told that Ellsworth better qualifies as “dreamy” than Senator Brown does.

"I wish now I had posed for those nude shots in college."

Why Kansas is so interested in this race befuddles us, though we think they, like the Star, bear a William Randolph Hearst-like lust for the Teabaggers, but The Witchita Eagle likes to quote anti-Coats people:

Republican Dan Coats is back – back in Indiana and back pursuing a Senate seat he last held 12 years ago.

The path back, however, hasn’t been as smooth as the Republican Party envisioned when it recruited Coats to challenge Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who later decided he wouldn’t seek re-election. Coats’ long Washington record, years away from the state and challenges from the right have raised some doubts about him securing the nomination in the May 4 primary.

Consider this: Days after he announced he would run, Coats stopped by a local deli to talk to voters. The first question from a married couple: “Where do you live?”

Coats explained that he had just leased a home in Indianapolis and would be selling his house in North Carolina, but the encounter proved emblematic of a fitful campaign.

Coats remains the favorite in a crowded, five-person field, and time is on his side. But there’s a growing sense that his two chief opponents, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman and former Rep. John Hostettler, are gaining on him and that Indiana has the potential to illustrate just how dissatisfied Republican voters are with their party.

Most political observers believed Coats would cruise. Instead, a combination of factors – a bumpy opening with continued questions about his work as a Washington lobbyist and feisty primary competition – are conspiring against him.

Whatever the voters decide, the stakes could hardly be higher: Any path to a Republican Senate rolls through the corn fields of Indiana and a poor selection by the GOP will give Democrats, who secured their top recruit for the race in 51-year-old Rep. Brad Ellsworth, an opportunity to hold onto the seat.

Any primary upset will be because of voters like Jack Edwards. He hasn’t decided whom he’ll vote for, but he is certain it won’t be Coats.

“We need a fresh face,” said Edwards, 71, of Carmel, Ind.

Michael Lewinsky, 65, of the northern Indiana hamlet of Pleasant Lake, drove to Indianapolis earlier this month to attend a tea party rally with about 3,000 others at the Indiana Statehouse.

“Dan Coats was a party pick and that doesn’t stand well for him,” Lewinsky said.

From the moment the popular Bayh announced he wouldn’t be seeking re-election, Republicans began to talk up their chances. Their hopes were bolstered by the enthusiasm for a political comeback by Coats, 66, who announced his interest in the race days before Bayh dropped out. Coats had retired from the Senate in 1998.

After a decade representing Indiana in the Senate, Coats enjoyed wide name recognition. National Republicans envisioned him as a strong fundraiser. Though he has outraised his opponents, with $446,000 as of April 14, he hasn’t delivered the sort of knockout blow that many predicted. His campaign cash has been enough to put him on the air with television ads, likely through the primary.

On the campaign trail, Coats has emphasized his Washington experience. He served on the Senate Intelligence Committee and was ambassador to Germany under President George W. Bush.

“I have had to deal with foreign policy and national security issues on an hour-by-hour, day-to-day basis,” Coats said during a recent debate.

He has called for repeal of the health care law and argued that sending him back to Washington will restore conservative values…

…Both Stutzman and Hostettler have tried to cast Coats as the less conservative candidate, noting his vote to confirm Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a nominee of President Bill Clinton.

Stutzman, a 33-year-old state legislator, family farmer and trucker with a base in the northern reach of Indiana, won a prized endorsement when Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., called him the conservative choice in the race. Stutzman has locked in other high-profile conservative supporters, including David Keene, the chairman of the American Conservative Union.

While Stutzman raised $263,000 through mid-April and had $44,926 on hand, DeMint’s backing has led to a $100,000 boost in fundraising, Stutzman’s campaign said.

Stutzman’s pitch to voters has been that he is a fresh face, untarnished by ties to Washington.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see how the federal government affects our state,” he said. “I understand the long arm … and how it affects our freedoms and our state government.”

Hostettler, 48, has a tight-knit operation run out of his congressional district’s churches. His fundraising has been anemic – he had raised $52,195 as of April 14, with about $10,000 on hand – but he has a history of being outspent drastically in House races and still coming out on top.

With the backing of former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Hostettler has sought to sell himself as the true conservative in the race.

“I’m hearing all over Indiana that what Hoosiers are longing for is a voice not only for conservative values … but a voice that will be consistent,” Hostettler said.

Democrats have targeted Coats’ work as a lobbyist for banking firms. State Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker criticized Coats on Tuesday for failing to file a personal financial disclosure report with the Senate Ethics Committee that was due April 4. Parker said that Coats was “engaged in a cynical and deceitful attempt” to hide his income as a lobbyist.

Coats spokesman Pete Seat said the disclosure report is being reviewed for completeness and accuracy before being filed before the primary.

Coats is dominating the primary money race (though he has struggled badly against the likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Brad Ellsworth, in that regard.) He raised $379,000 between his February campaign kick-off and March 31. Stutzman raised less than $80,000 in the whole quarter and Hostettler raised less than $40,000. And a recent poll shows Coats with a significant lead in the primary heading into tomorrow. The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for The Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, shows Coats leading the five-way field with 36% of the vote. Hostettler is second with 24% and Stutzman is third with 18%.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) — the tea party movement’s main man in Washington — backed Stutzman on April 20 after the former state legislator won a string of tea party-sponsored straw polls in Indiana. DeMint’s reasoning? Coats is a nice guy but all that past record stuff is just a bit too much baggage.

“I like Dan [Coats]. I like John [Hostettler],” he told Fox News, “But we need new faces here.”

Stutzman is the one conservatives are counting on to cost the GOP establishment a victory. He has a mini-following on the right that cite him as the pure conservative option.

Hostettler is among those who say Coats isn’t conservative enough. He cited Coats’ vote for the 1993 assault weapons ban as evidence that he doesn’t pass the 2010 conservative purity test.

“I voted to repeal it,” Hostettler huffed to the Gary, IN Post-Tribune. But Hostettler hasn’t always marched lock-step with his party’s most conservative wing either — he was among just a handful of Republicans to vote against the Iraq War in 2003. Decisions like that endeared him to Ron Paul — long a vocal opponent of the war — and earned him Paul’s endorsement last month.

The gun issue has been a tough one for Coats. The NRA has taken him on, but that hasn’t seemed to scare Republicans in Washington, who still think Coats is going to win easily. They point to prominent conservative Coats endorsements from Rep. Mike Pence (R) and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson as evidence that he’s got plenty of support on the right.

But RedState and other national conservative voices are clearly not on board the Coats train and, try as they might to suggest otherwise, the party establishment seems to be in the midst of another civil war in Indiana. At the buzzer, signs suggest this is a battle the establishment could win.

We will wait and see if you don’t mind.

Remember to vote Tuesday!

Republicans Only Have A Hammer So They Will Treat Everything Like A Nail

The psychologist and philosopher Abraham Maslow wisely pointed out that, “to the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.”

"To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail." -Abraham Maslow

We are reminded of that as we consider the Republican/Tea Party attack and dispute against passage of the health-care reform bill. From ugly shouters and spitters to mischaracterizations and out-right lies about the content and consequences of the bill, these are the acts of a party that lacks more in its toolbox than a hammer.

Even though this bill is practically a basic moderate-Republican bill. It has passed with more than 200 Republican amendments, but no Republican votes.

It passed without the public option and with market-based solutions that are most reminiscent of the health-care bill introduced by President Richard Nixon.

It passed with a Congressional Budget Office estimate that shows it will lower the deficit by nearly $150 billion.

It passed with a planned executive order that will guarantee no federal dollars will be used for abortions.

It passed with all these key Republican points of interest and more and yet the Republicans will only use it as a hammer with which to bludgeon the Obama administration.

Mike Pence, as he has in the past (note this misrepresentation of the CBO numbers and taxes from MSNBC) continues to mischaracterize the bill as “government-run health-care” and calling a presidential executive order “a piece of paper.”

Pence just loves to throw around that flag-drapped rhetoric that rarely has a basis in the day-to-day lives of Americans. Mike Lupica calls Pence out on this:

Here is what President Obama said on the weekend, urging House Democrats to remember why they came to Washington in the first place.

“This is one of those moments where you can say, ‘Doggone it, this is why I came here,'” the President said. “‘This is why I got into politics.'”

But we’re not supposed to believe that, or him, not in the insane political culture where Obama is constantly painted as an enemy of the state. There was Rep. Mike Pence, Republican from Indiana, saying again this weekend that he and all good Republicans plan to stand “with the American people and oppose this government takeover of health care.”

You always want to ask guys like Pence, conditioned to oppose anything this President does except sending more troops to Afghanistan to get more arms and legs shot off, which Americans he is talking about. And you want to ask patriots like Pence if his America includes the 32 million people without health care who will finally get it because of this historic bill.

You gotta respect their ability to stay on message though. Pence, Steve Buyer, Mark Souder & Dan Burton’s press releases all read as though written buy the same pedantic intern. It reminds us of the kids in class who would just look for four or five key phrases from notes which they often didn’t really understand and just repeat them sporadically in their term papers as they kept checking word count to make sure they met the teacher’s required length.

They will continue to beat this as their sole message until November. But in order to do so, they will also have to vote. If they want to continue to hammer the president, they will be voting against the American people’s desire for greater consumer protection, a cleaner environment and better schools, as those are the next big proposals expected before this congress.

They are now and will continue to be the party-of-no-friggin’-way-because-we-don’t-like-the-president-we-don’t-care-who-voted-for-him-or-how-much-voters-want-these-protections.

As they continue to press, they will further ally themselves with the shouters and spitters and N-word spouters that will only serve to crank up the ugliness.

This is not a policy. This is a fatwa in a misguided jihad .

We at ALO congratulate Indiana’s five Democratic Congressmen, Peter Visclosky, Joe Donnelly, Andre Carson, Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill, who bravely took the principled stand for the American people, especially those 32 million who will now get coverage and those people with pre-existing conditions who will now be able to stay covered when they take a new job.

We congratulate them for realizing that taxpayers are already paying for medical treatment of the uninsured and that drives up costs and deficits.

We congratulate the victory for rational thinking.

Ellsworth Must Follow Through

It was brave to vote for it before Congressman Brad Ellsworth. It’s even braver now. And, we think, smarter.

We realize it is a heftier request now that you are a candidate for Senate and there are teabaggers (though fewer than before) showing up giving Congressman Mike Pence douchey sound-bite opportunities (who, by the way, just loves pork when it serves him) that let him drown the fact that he is passing out sizable bonuses to his staff while his constituents continue to drown in joblessness.

And those angry anti-taxation for any reason teabaggers are also offering Governor Mitch Daniels cover under which to hide his administration’s either inability or incompetence to forecast economic activity. Seriously though, wasn’t he the head of the federal Office of Management and Budget? Didn’t he say the Iraq War was gonna cost like $200 billion MAX? Didn’t he brag about how his restructuring of the state’s budget system into an Indiana Office of Management and Budget was going to cure all the uncertainty in our economic forecasting? You remember that too, right?

And of course they all love to call it a costly government take-over when nothing could be further from the truth. But seriously, wasn’t Iraq THE costly government take-over?

But put all that aside. All that teabag crap said Congressman Ellsworth, now is the time to support what is right. Now is the time to finish what was started.

If you are worried about what Hoosiers want then think about this piece from the wise Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com:

Two Pictures Tell the Story on Health Care Debate

by Nate Silver @ 12:01 AM

//

Gallup did something pretty cool in connection with their latest health care survey, which was to provide the verbatim responses (.xls) of the rationales given by people who would tell their Congressman to vote for or against the current health care bills, respectively.

I ran the responses through Wordle, a word-cloud generating tool, omitting certain words that were parts of speech or were otherwise non-germane.

Here are the words that were used most frequently by the 45 percent of the country who would tell their Congressman to vote for the health care bill:

And here are the words used most commonly by the 48 percent of the country who would tell their Congressman to vote against it:

In some sense, this is a very old-fashioned debate about the proper role of government. The message that the pro-reform voters have taken away comes through loudly and clearly: ‘PEOPLE … NEED … INSURANCE’, whereas concerns among the anti’s boil down to ‘GOVERNMENT’ and ‘COST’.

As I’ve argued before, some of the anti-health care sentiment may be based on a misunderstanding about what exactly the bill would do: its hardly a government takeover, leaving the private insurance industry largely intact although certainly enacting a number of important new regulations and restrictions. Nevertheless, it’s clear that anti-reform advocates have coyly tapped into a lot of fears about the role of government — fears which were probably buoyed by the extremely unpopular bailout and somewhat unpopular stimulus package.

On the pro-reform side, meanwhile, it’s been the moral arguments that seem to have broken through — words like ‘PEOPLE’, ‘NEED’, ‘EVERYONE’ and ‘EVERYBODY’ — along with a few hints of populist sentiment (‘COMPANIES’, ‘AFFORD’). Very few people have been persuaded by the discussions about bending the cost curve, on the other hand. Although the word ‘AFFORD’ is used more often by proponents of the legislation, terms like ‘COST’ and ‘MONEY’ are used far more often by those opposed to it.

You’ve done polling. You know that most Americans and even specifically Hoosiers want the individual items in this bill, but hate what they have been told this bill is.

It is up to you to make the right vote and then use your skills and the information at hand to make the case to Hoosiers that you supported the health-care bill FOR THEM! Not whatever Reagan-era welfare mother caricature they have in their noggins.

This is the week for hard decisions. We know you will make the right one for the tens of thousands of Hoosiers who will finally get health insurance under this bill. I met several of them last summer. People who have worked hard for years. Several have been the small business entrepreneurs that both sides of the aisle like to say are the incubators that will create tomorrows jobs, yet for one obtuse reason or another have been denied the simple safety net of health insurance in what we have been told over and over by the Republicans is the home of the greatest health-care system in the world.

If those tens-of-thousands aren’t good enough, then think of the tens-of-thousands that are covered but soon won’t be after the coming collapse in coverage that both sides of the aisle and the insurance industry itself see as an absolute certainty if nothing changes.

Best yet, look right here in Indiana at Wellpoint for the example of how health insurance companies are raising rates and forcing employers to a) not hire and likely b) fire workers.

It is an important vote.

We know you will do the right thing.

And when you do, we will help you make the case.

Johnny Cougar for Senate?

When FOXNews says it, it has to be true right?

John Mellencamp, the iconic rocker made famous by his songs about growing up in a small town, may be ready to move to the big city.

Speculation is swirling that the liberal Mellencamp may put down his guitar and run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Evan Bayh.

The Indiana Democrat announced Monday that he will not seek election to a third term in November, sending party leaders scrambling for a viable replacement and boosting Republican hopes of winning the seat. Indiana is generally considered a Republican state, though it went for Barack Obama in 2008.

Support for a Mellencamp bid is gathering momentum; a “Draft John Mellencamp For Senate” Facebook page has emerged with more than 200 members.

Mellencamp is no stranger to politics or to Washington. He asked John McCain to stop using his music during the 2008 presidential campaign. He performed at President Obama’s inauguration and has played at the White House, most recently last week at a celebration in honor of the civil rights movement.

He initially backed John Edwards in the 2008 Democratic primaries, then shifted his support to Obama after the former North Carolina senator bowed out.

Mellencamp has generated a lot of goodwill among potential voters with his participation in Farm Aid concerts. Among his  hits are “Small Town,””Jack and Diane,” “Hurts So Good,” and “Our Country.”

There’s no rush for Mellencamp to announce his intentions. A May primary was scrapped after cafe owner Tamyra d’lppolito, the only Democrat seeking to run for the Senate seat, missed out on qualifying for the primary ballot by Tuesday’s deadline.

The Democratic state central committee now has until June 30 to pick someone to replace Bayh on the ballot.

U.S. Reps. Baron Hill and Brad Ellsworth are among the other names being floated. But so far, Mellencamp’s name is drawing the most attention.

Mellencamp’s publicist did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Now over at a very pissed-off blog going by the name The White Sepulchre, they already have their knives out for The Cougar especially his working-class, Farm-Aid image as compared to the $1.14 million dollars in corn subsidies his family apparently takes in.

Politics is a dirtier business than the record companies ever were John. Beware.