Saturday, October 15, 2005

I Said, GOP Leads Charge Against Property Rights

Same stuff, different day. This time the Republican Mayor of Carmel, Jim Brainard, shows the way away from Ronald Reagan and towards control and command. From Saturday's Indy Star:

Smoking in many Carmel public establishments might soon be extinguished.

On Monday, the Carmel City Council will introduce an ordinance to impose tighter restrictions on smokers, patterned after the workplace smoking ban approved by the Indianapolis City-County Council in May. The council is expected to vote on the plan next month.


Mayor Jim Brainard said it's important for Carmel to be consistent with Indianapolis because they share the 96th Street border, a popular strip for restaurants. Plus, tighter smoking restrictions will save lives and taxpayer dollars, he said.

"All society pays the cost of people who get cancer and other diseases from breathing secondhand smoke," Brainard said. "We just think it's a quality-of-life issue and an economic issue."

John Livengood, president of the Restaurant and Hospitality Association of Indiana, said the proposal is another example of government trying to take away citizens' rights. He fought the Indianapolis ordinance.

"We are against a government-imposed smoking policy," Livengood said. "We think that ought to be left up to the consumer to make up their own decision if they want to patronize that establishment."

That's true, but only if you believe in property rights. Mayor Brainard and the Republicans clearly do not support property rights. Look for the pub crawl soon.

And check out that load of hooey the Mayor tried to pass off as reasoning: Indy does it, so we should too. Say, Carmel residents... Do you want your city to resemble Indianapolis in any way? Many Carmel residents fled Indy to avoid the sort of policy mistakes made there. Why re-invent Marion County in Carmel?

Friday, October 14, 2005

GOP Leads Charge Against Property Rights

Greenfield is the latest Indiana community to advance anti-smoking legislation that would extend into private business establishments. Per today's Indy Star report:
Smoking would be prohibited at virtually all Greenfield businesses under an ordinance that won initial approval Thursday from the City Council.

Despite the 5-2 vote, the ordinance is not a done deal. Council members will have a second chance to discuss, tweak and vote on the measure in the future.

Be sure to note that all seven of the Greenfield City Councilors are Republican. The vote would have been 4-3 had Libertarian Phil Miller been re-elected in 2003. As usual, they bought this as a health issue while ignoring the property rights angle. Business owners, of course, did not miss this assault on them.
But the operator of Zoobie's, a local restaurant and sports bar, disagreed. "It's my right as private enterprise to run my business in the best way I see fit," said Sam McClarnon, 46, a smoker and the restaurant's general manager.

Government regulation is the wrong device for attacking the problem of secondhand smoke or influencing businesses' practices, said Jennifer Bradshaw, a nonsmoker.

Instead, she advocated "voting with your pocketbook, voting with your feet."

Jennifer is a Libertarian, but the paper failed to mention political affiliation throughout the story. I'm not sure why the identifications were deemed unimportant.

Fortunately, there is time for those who advocate the right of business owners to set their own policy to get into action to persuade the Council to reverse itself. A pub crawl that visits Zoobie's and other Greenfield establishments would be an extremely effective way for Libertarians to show that we are on the side of business owners, the rights of property, and the right to choose, while the Republicans are on the side of trampling property rights and eliminating the right to choose.

Marion County's pub crawl got Indianapolis City-County Council Greg Bowes to show up in order to defend his position, and to allow bar owners to see that he had to acknowledge their participation- something he wouldn't have done without the pressure the crawl caused. Hamilton County's crawl was instrumental in helping defeat a food & beverage tax in Fishers, after the Libertarians got front page coverage in the Noblesville Daily Times.

If the Libertarian Party of Hancock County holds a pub crawl, I'll give my support and participate.

Side Note: As usual, the market responds quickly to new laws. A German brewer is developing a beer called NicoShot, which includes nicotine in the brew. That sounds disgusting to me, but I'm a beer snob who insists on beers that satisfy the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. For others, this allows smokers to stay in the smoke-banned bar to drink the spiked beer to get their nic fit instead of running outside for a few quick puffs.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Meeting With Notre Dame Libertarians

Tuesday's meeting with the Notre Dame Libertarians was quite an exciting evening, as about 20 or so enthusiastic members attended. They allowed me the opportunity to discuss my campaign. Brad Klopfenstein spoke about the state party's recent successes and the opportunities that lie before us. I hope that most of them will remain in Indiana after graduation. These future leaders will be an asset not only to the Libertarian Party, but to the state as a whole.

I am flanked by some of the Notre Dame Libertarians, along with Brad Klopfenstein at the far right.

A summit of Hoosier College Libertarians is in the offing, probably in February of 2006. In the meantime, I will plan to visit other CLs across the state.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mitch's Reading List

Brian Howey's recent article features Governor Mitch Daniels and his perspective on the new shape of policy. He looks past left-right, and thinks in terms of stasis-dynamism.

The source of this new outlook? Libertarian Virginia Postrel, former editor of Reason magazine, in her book, "The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress." Interestingly, when I was an MBA student in 2001, I gave copies to fellow students and professors. We had lengthy discussions over coffee.

Governor Daniels is apparently deeply influenced by Postrel's book. From the Howey Report:

“In my view, we have a new politics shaping up in this state,” Daniels explained. “The dividing lines, the fault lines, are not quite the ones we are so familiar with for most of our past. They are not the old categories: the party, left-right ideology, even geography. Those things were all deemed important and I think they are a little less important now. The new fault lines in Indiana politics are between the forces of change and the forces of standing still.”

Gov. Daniels turned to the book by Virginia Postel: “The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress.”

Daniels said that Postel identified reactionaries which she called "stasists," people who are wont to keep things as they are, make few if any changes, and "dynamists," those who are comfortable with change, moving forward, finding new solutions.“

She made a very important point,” Daniels continued. “There are two kinds of reactionaries or stasists. One kind are those who are naturally apprehensive and fearful. And that's a very human thing; we're all a little that way.

“There's another sort of stasist and those are the people who know exactly what they are doing,” Daniels said. “The status quo serves them well. They organize and lobby for it. They form special interests. It puts money in their pockets, it puts power in their brief case. And these folks have very, very specific reasons for opposing change of any kind.”

Libertarians are also part of the fracturing of the old fault lines. Fiscal conservatives used to mean Republicans, but no longer. Daniels may have missed a point when opposing the status quo that exists for its' own sake: Change for its' own sake is no better. Creativity and productivity should not be unduly restrained. Government can employ creativity and greater efficiency, and should, but it should also be restrained as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

More Drumbeat

The ability of true believers to bury their heads in the sand is at once amazing and frightening. Many fiscal conservatives have noticed that the Republicans they have elected are spending like drunken sailors and have begun to react, anywhere from grumbling to fleeing. Other notice and pretend it isn't happening. A check of the Indy Star's message boards reveals a great deal of this latter.

The latest intellectually honest conservative think tank to rat out the GOP is the Heartland Institute. Joe Bast reminds fiscal conservatives of who pays taxes in this country, compares our current tax burden to that which helped spark the American Revolution, and the degree to which the GOP is making things worse- all worthy considerations. From Bast's article:
If government is too big, as Republicans love to chant, why is it growing larger and at a record pace with a Republican president and Republicans in control of both houses of Congress? Why did it grow at a slower rate when Bill Clinton was in the White House?

Meanwhile, state governments have been indulging in their own spending orgy. Between 1990 and 2000, total state spending grew by a staggering $512 billion, or 89 percent. All of that new built-in spending is moving through today's budgets like a pig through a python, causing state politicians to cry about "budget cuts" even as they reap record revenue increases due to the reviving national economy.

Voters need to hold to the fire the feet of elected officials, and especially Republicans who pretend to be pro-taxpayer. Officials who cut taxes and balance budgets need to be rewarded with success at the ballot box, and those who raise taxes and increase spending should be targeted by taxpayer groups and lose elections.

The best way to get what you want is to support the Libertarian Party before the elections. Why?

1. If you are a libertarian philosophically, and believed voting Republican the best route to get your policies enacted, you probably should have been voting Libertarian as a means of empowering those who agree with you more completely.
2. If you aren't a libertarian philosophically, but agree with Libertarian fiscal conservatism, you should use Libertarians as a lever. If the GOP sees its' support drain away from them and over to the Libertarians, they will investigate and figure out why. They will at long last begin to reclaim you and focus on cutting government instead of growing it.

It's all about getting what you want. No matter how you slice it, the Libertarian Party can help. Support us!
Check Your Date Book

If you are a Hoosier Libertarian and looking for something to do, tonight's your night.

Radio talk show host Neal Boortz will be on the north side of Indianapolis signing copies of his Fair Tax book. WXNT 1430-am will host a special reception for Neal with a small number of its listeners. Info.

The LP of LaPorte County and Monroe County host their monthly meetings. The Notre Dame Libertarians are also meeting tonight. LPIN calendar page.

For me, as a candidate, this presents a problem I like to have: so much to choose from that I cannot possibly do it all. Memo to those who want me to appear: Schedule me sooner rather than later. Indiana is jumping with Libertarian activity, even on a year like this when there isn't even a ballot.
Isabel at 4 Months

It's amazing how fast time flies with a newborn. It's only about 120 days, but the development in that time is incredible. She rolls on her side with ease, and sometimes onto her tummy. If you place her on her stomach, she'll do a little push-up, propping her head up.

Here are two pictures of Isabel on her 4-month birthday. She's ready for hockey season, just like her daddy.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Road Trip!

Brad Klopfenstein & I will be heading up north tomorrow to visit the Notre Dame College Libertarians, and then we'll head over to Elkhart, where Rick Bowen is hosting a meet & greet coffee. I am excited for both events.

The College Libertarian groups are becoming amazingly energized across the state. Tomorrow's leaders are coming from these groups. We'll talk strategy for the 2006 cycle. Ultimately, I want to have a statewide CL summit, probably in February. It would be quite a great thing to get the groups from the numerous schools talking to one another and building a statewide team.

The meeting of the Notre Dame College Libertarians is Tuesday at 6:30PM in the McNeil Room of the Lafortune Student Center--directly across from Subway.

Rick's coffee is an excellent outreach tool, and one we should use more frequently. I have personally attended these kinds of events for organizations like PETA and ACLU- not because I have great affinity for the groups, but because friends of mine are deeply involved with these groups, and they asked me to attend their functions, so that I could learn more about them.

I believe that Libertarians have outstanding policy solutions and candidates, and yet, more people get introduced to largely misguided groups like PETA, only because their supporters do a better job than ours do of setting up personal, intimate meetings on the strength of friendship or relationships.