Friday, October 28, 2005

Another Day, Another Smoking Ban

This time, it was Greenfield. All the characteristics remain the same: a largely Republican governing body proposed a ban on smoking in private places of public accommodation, without consulting with affected business owners or employees as to the effect a ban might have on them, in disregard of property rights. Link to Greenfield Daily Reporter report.

Today's GOP: Anti-small business. Anti-property rights.

Who is pro-small business and pro-property rights? The Libertarian Party.

The LP of Hancock County appeared before the City Council meeting wearing blue to counter the pro-ban forces who were wearing red. The Libertarians met with affected business owners to offer support for their right to run their business their way.

I spoke with Ann Tomey before the meeting. She owns Annie's Restaurant, and she permits smoking in a section separated from a no-smoke section. She's just devestated by this ordinance. Her job is to serve her customers. Some of them smoke, some of them don't, so she tries to accomodate them all. She's concerned that her smoking patrons will dine out in Greenfield less upon the passage of this law.

Observe some of her comments from the Greenfield Daily Recorder article that preceded the vote.

Tomey said today has been especially difficult because, not only could the city vote the proposed ordinance into law, it is the anniversary of her husband’s death. He died of cancer.

“I don’t want people to have sympathy for me, I want them to support that I’m a business owner and I have a free choice,” she said on the verge of tears. “I fight every day to stay in business and make a living and these people are looking at the smoking issues, but there are worse things then this.

“Cigarettes are legal; the government hasn’t made them illegal. This is what (ticks) me off.”

Tomey said if the city is concerned about health issues and wants to ban smoking perhaps they should also prohibit the sale of cigarettes.

“Then tell all the taxpayers they have to pick up the bill for all the taxes raised by cigarettes,” she said. “They need to stop and think about a lot of things. It’s not just the smoking.

“I’ll stand here and yell about it until the day I die, and I’ll probably die of cancer because it runs in my family. But I invest my life in my business and this is my life they are talking about.”

Tomey said prior to owning her restaurant she and her husband had owned a construction company, but her heart wasn’t in it.

“This is a fight and it shouldn’t be,” she said. “I could have done anything, but this was my dream. I’m fighting a losing battle where I can’t even run my own restaurant.

So, in order to pass a feel-good ordinance, the Republican-dominated Greenfield City Council makes Ann's life harder. She invests her life in her business, and she is treated like a criminal.

Annie: Over-taxed, and now, over-regulated.

Let's be clear on this. I do not smoke. In fact, I don't like second-hand smoke. But, I'm an adult with enough common sense that when I walk into a restaurant or bar that is too smoky for my liking, I turn around and head for the exit. Let the smokers have it, I'll go elsewhere. Why is it that so many people perceive that can only get what they want by imposing their will on others forcibly?

This is the shame of our nation and the demise of our freedom.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Lessons Continue

Why do political campaign advisors urge against having an active blog or engaging in dialogue with opposition? Because it's bad enough to have negative linkage to one of your blog entries, but worse if they start hammering you with repetition. Most advisors will tell the candidate- dump the blog and ignore the blogger.

Consider the dialogue. I said I thought his analysis was too literal, extracting a few words at the expense of the spirit of the commentary. He turned that around to suggest that I should therefore never be taken literally, on anything, especially on policy issues. His third post willfully ignores the fact that my comments were on a radio network, which is an interest of mine, and tied it to my candidacy. It's a ridiculous stretch, but that's what opponents will do, which is why you shut up; stick to the talking points; be an empty suit; and if you're going to blog at all, keep it to tales from the trail and pictures with farmers, auto workers, and retirees.

Oh well, I guess it's just not my style. For one thing, I tend to agree with the Oscar Wilde wisdom on being talked about or not. I have faith that many of the readers of his blog will read what I've said and not find it a reason to actively campaign against me. True, others won't be so open minded, but that being the case, I probably never would win them over anyway.

Really, if anyone wants to put my picture and name in a prominent place on their blog, all I ask is that you link back to this blog or my campaign site and spell the name correctly: K-O-L-E. I'd be delighted if a 1,000 bloggers assailed my comments on Air America within the next three days. Or, perhaps Daily Kos could. That would be delightful!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Lesson For A Candidate?

Quite a few people have advised me to kill this blog, or at least turn it into milquetoast, such as most other candidates have.

I don't especially like that advice. I'm not most candidates. I don't like their empty suit presentations that are long on smiling pictures and anecdotes about places they've been, and very short on what they think. I have a wide variety of interests, and I like to talk about them. I like to talk about social and cultural trends, too. What's the harm? Must I only offer safe, boring fare, devoid of taking a position? Must I always and only speak on-message, and in soundbites?

I found out today why candidates do avoid speaking freely:
  • The more you say, the better the chance someone will disagree with you.
  • Many people will dismiss you on just one area of disagreement.
  • Some will even dismiss you despite 99% agreement elsewhere.
A blogger found one article I penned on Air America, found my source biased, and dismissed me out of hand. (There was irony in the dismissal of my right-wing source, while touting left-wing Al Franken's new book in the same entry.)

What about the several hundred other articles I've written? Nevermind that. There's this one area of disagreement.

The lesson most candidates will learn from an experience such as this is to shut down the blog, to shut up as regards innocuous topics, and speak only on message.

As I said, I don't like that lesson. I want well-rounded candidates. Do you?

Don't you want well-rounded candidates? Aren't you completely underwhelmed by soundbite speak and empty suits that try to limit their entire dialogue to three talking points vetted by polling data? I know I am.

This isn't unrealistic, is it? I don't expect to get total agreement from people. My own experience is that I've never met a single person I held complete, 100% agreement with. Should I shut them down because of the differences? Isn't it better to build bridges on the areas of agreement?

I say 'YES' to that latter question, but the reality is that most people zero in on disagreements with candidates for office. This blog entry helps illustrate the point.

Because I am committed to being the best candidate I can be, I really have little choice but to seriously consider my presentation. I have to consider streamlining my subject matter and my words, lest I unnecessarily alienate potential supporters and voters.

I am very interested in public comments on this. Please chime in!
What Does Your Team Stand For?

Several months ago, I was repeated observing that the two major political parties were ignoring the wishes of their bases, and crossing over to the other side. The main point was that when you vote, you give 100% of that vote to whomever it is cast. If you give $100 to a candidate, they got 100% of that money. Are you getting 100% value in return?

OK, politics is a game of compromise. So, are you getting 50% value in return? Remember, you still gave 100% on your end. If you are a Republican, keep in mind that I penned this column prior to the Bush nomination of Harriet Miers, and prior to all of the smoking bans that have been proposed for imposition on Hoosier businesses.

You Have To Know What Team To Root For

The beauty of being a sports fan is that it is always easy to root for your team. Whether you pull for Purdue, IU, or Notre Dame, for the Pacers, the Colts, or the Komets, you’ll root for the team wearing the right colors, no matter what players are wearing them.

That’s important, because players come and go. College teams completely turn over every four years. Colts fans have been pretty lucky in that the high-flying offensive nucleus of Peyton Manning, Reggie Harrison, and Edgerrin James has been powering an exciting team together for six seasons.

Five years down the road, the blue and white could become a defensive juggernaut. A problem for Colts fans? No way- they will be thrilled and will cheer the Colts, hopefully to a Super Bowl victory.

It doesn’t matter who is on the team or how the game is played. As long as your team wins, you’re happy.

That’s a fair summation of Hoosier politics these days, too.

For 16 years, faithful Hoosier Republicans have been pulling for their team in the hopes of an electoral Super Bowl victory. For 16 years, the Democrats retained the governor’s office, even while slowly losing their grip on the legislature. Finally, this past November, the GOP won all the trophies, with Mitch Daniels elected governor, and a Republican majority in both statehouse chambers.

Republicans were ecstatic- at first. But, just eight days after his inaugural, Daniels used the platform of the State of the State address to announce his support for a temporary tax hike on Hoosiers earning $100,000 or more. Republicans in the club seating were stunned by the move.

While there is nothing quite so permanent as a temporary tax increase, they swallowed hard and cheered, but because they support their team, and their team is in charge!

The Indiana Constitution requires the state’s budget to be balanced. This posed the new governor with a challenge, as the outgoing government left Daniels with a $600 million deficit. The quickest way to erase a deficit is to cut spending, and with Daniels earning the nickname ‘The Blade’ while on President Bush’s staff, this seemed like a lock. However, Daniels’ budget would have spent $1 billion more than with the previous budget. The two highest percentage increase items? Teacher retirement up 73%, and something called ‘general government’ up 29%.

Hmm. Well, Daniels is just the quarterback, and he’s a rookie. Why dwell on him when the Republicans have a whole team of players on this winning team to idolize?

Early in the legislative session, Senator Beverly Gard (R-Greenfield) authored a tax on food and beverages. Not to be outdone, Representatives Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) and Matt Whetstone (R-Brownsburg) co-authored two bills that would tax food and beverages. Republicans leaving their seats thought about heading for the concession stand after the first quarter, but then chose to mill around the hallway instead.

Representative Timothy Brown (R-Crawfordsville) authored a bill giving the green light to counties to raise taxes on gasoline from 4 to 8 cents per gallon. Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale) introduced another gas tax bill, but with a tax per mile formula that makes the tax specific to your vehicle. Senator John Waterman (R-Shelburn) has even written a bill that would forbid retailers from selling gasoline at below cost. If someone wants to sell gasoline at a loss right now, I want to declare him a hero, not send the Attorney General after him. Can we go back to the huddle?

Politics and sports goes together so well that Peyton Manning stopped by the Statehouse and threw passes to the lawmakers. Soon afterwards, several Republican lawmakers forwarded a game plan of tax packages in support a new stadium for the Colts.

Reps Luke Messer (R-Shelbyville), Michael Murphy (R-Indianapolis), and Ways and Means Chairman Espich all issued plans that combined taxes and gambling. Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) offered yet another plan, minus the gambling, but including taxes on most service industries in Marion County. Not one of them thought of leadership as using the prestige of their office to bring prospective investors together to create a private investment. All went straight for tax packages.

When the fiscal conservative looks at the GOP team in their uniforms, they will see that the familiar elephant logo is there, but the Gipper’s government-off-my-back players are on the sidelines. Those are the Libertarians.

Governing is not sports. When governing, the policy is far more important that the colors the winning team is wearing. If you are a fiscal conservative, what is the point in continuing to back the Republican Party? The GOP has run the ball to the wrong end zone and scored a safety for the Democrats.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Learning From Others

Some are complaining that Tom DeLay's mug shot is too upbeat, glib, or stinking happy to befit the occasion of his booking.

Let's just assume that Mr. DeLay has taken the opportunity to learn a lesson from others who have found themselves in the unfortunate position of having their mug shot taken.

Lesson: Just because you are the Senate majority leader, you shouldn't lose sight of presentation just because you've been indicted on money laundering charges. The day in court means the opportunity to debate what the meaning of the word 'is' is, so the charges may or may not stick. The mug shot, however, is forever.