Friday, May 05, 2006

Another Star Letter

The Star carried a second letter responding to the Tully column, defending the Libertarian Party as worthy of inclusion, and as a party contributing value to the process. David Falls of Indy writes:
Tully acknowledges, "In many debates, the Libertarian candidates actually provide the straightest answers." If The Star and other news media were to include such comments, along with those of Republican and Democratic candidates, citizens would have more varied perspectives to consider.

Even if third-party candidates are never elected, their straight answers during the campaign can help create the context in which those who are elected function.

Similarly, if The Star were to make citizens aware of good proposals offered by third-party candidates, citizens could work to realize them, regardless of whether their proponents receive the most votes on Election Day.

This is one of the things I pointed out to Tully, but wasn't printed: Much of the third-party agenda of the early 20th century Socialists and Progressives became law. Think only of labor relations to see how they got their agenda across while rarely being elected. Minimum wage laws, the 40-hour work week, and child labor laws are just a few of the ideas those parties of yore put forth.

Similarly, while Libertarians run to win, there are secondary objectives that can be achieved, win or lose. You may recall the effect Kenn Gividen had on the gubernatorial debates of 2004, as Mitch Daniels repeatedly complimented Kenn on good ideas. In particular Kenn touted a plan to eliminate property taxes. In 2006, the legislature began considering ways to reduce and even eliminate property taxes. They haven't gotten the job done yet, but the item is on the table, and it wouldn't have been if not for the inclusion of Kenn Gividen and the Libertarian Party. Kenn is now running for State Senate.

This is one of the things I intend to do this year- put issues on the table for co-opting by the other parties. When I start polling in the 10s and 20s, my opponents are going to take note, and they are going to steal my issues in an attempt to hammer my numbers down. That's a victory. They begin carrying my agenda.

This is why Libertarians are pushing a 1% across-the-board budget cut. Republicans haven't been rushing in to cut spending, even though everyone knows it needs to be done. When they see this resonating with the voters, someone will take it from us. Great! Then we start pushing for a 2% budget cut, and a reduction in the state income tax to 2%.

As you can see, there is great value in having the Libertarian Party on the ballot. Keep the positive letters coming!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Excellent Response in Nuvo

Steve Hammer's article in defense of the Libertarian Party is greatly appreciated, after and in response to the Tully hatchet job. Sure, Nuvo likes to take shots at the Star whenever possible, but Hammer makes key points on major media today. The Star talks a good game on diversity, but how strong are they on actual inclusion? Choice jems from Hammer's column:

It does, indeed, suck when a journalist has to cover all of the aspects of his or her assigned beat, instead of relying on press releases from the Republican Party, and Tully wrote passionately about just what an inconvenience it is.

He mocks a Libertarian candidate who e-mailed him asking for more press. And when the candidate responded to a Tully phone call, Tully mocks him again for calling him back.
Libertarians don’t get the attention given the other candidates because political reporters are trained to ignore the important issues and instead focus on things such as poll numbers, intraparty fighting and attack ads.

Candidates who insist on sticking to the issues are ignored and attacked. Is it any wonder that our elected officials are mostly Ken and Barbie dolls who preen for the cameras without ever actually saying or doing anything?

Tully may not like the Libertarians because they could cause him more work, but the message the party has to offer is interesting and vital information for the state.

I will say this: Tully spelled my name right in his column, and used it several times. I'm very grateful for that. Had he included the campaign website, that would be even better. Indeed, he is cordially invited to trash me monthly so long as he includes the campaign website, and perhaps has the paper print my campaign logo:

Hammer's and Nuvo's response is greatly appreciated. We do focus on issues. We do stay away from attack ads. And, we do return phone calls.
Ten Amendments Day?

A great, underpublicized idea is out there- a day of celebration for the Bill of Rights, for May 7.

I like it. The Bill of Rights- the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution- enunciate many of what Americans consider their basic freedoms: the right to free speech, free assembly, and a host of others.

Hint: I'd list more, but I agree with Star Columnist Sheila Suess Kennedy's assertion that most people are unaware of the 10 Amendments, either having never read the Constitution, or having forgotten their civics lessons of so many years ago. You should read it! Heck- even the ACLU, who should be a defender of all 10 Amendments, conveniently omits the 2nd Amendment from its consideration, and was silent on the 5th as regarded the stadium and NK Hurst Co., which is important to consider in eminent domain cases.

Three great paragraphs from Kennedy's column:

Whatever the reason, Ten Amendments Day is a great idea. Too few Americans know much early American history; fewer still have ever read the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, or the Federalist Papers and the arguments for and against the addition of a Bill of Rights to America's Constitution. Without that background, it is impossible to appreciate how radically America's constitutional system changed what was then thought to be the natural order of things.

Before the United States, the right of a government to exercise authority over its individual subjects was taken for granted -- indeed, it was thought to be divinely ordained. America's Founders asked audacious, previously unimaginable questions: What is the proper role of the state? What are the limits of its legitimate authority? Do individual citizens have rights that governments must respect? If so, what are those rights?

Democratic processes are important, but America was not originally conceived as a democracy as we currently understand that term. The emphasis was on individual liberty, and the creation of checks and balances intended to limit the reach of official power. As important as many other governing innovations were, and have been, the real genius of the "American experiment" was this recognition that government's power over the individual conscience must be limited -- that the important question was not "who is right and who is wrong" but "who gets to decide." (Emphasis is mine.)

Doesn't sound like the consideration given to the people by our Republican and Democratic lawmakers, at any level, does it? These are the considerations Libertarians give first to their policy proposals.

Read the Bill of Rights some time soon. You'll be mightily impressed with the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, and yet the simplicity of the document. Link to info on

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Good Coverage From Michigan City

The MC News Dispatch covered the Libertarian state convention, with some nice quotes from my acceptance speech included. (You may need to complete a free subscription to view the full article.) From the report:
Even though the Libertarian Party was not on Tuesday's primary ballot, the party made a bit of news with the announcement of several candidates for state office.

Mike Kole was announced as the party's candidate for secretary of state.“My candidacy is a referendum on the Mitch Daniels administration,” Kole said, adding that frustrated Republicans and Democrats can voice their displeasure by voting for Libertarians. “Across the state, the Republicans have taken their majorities and their advantages and have run roughshod over Hoosiers.”

Kole said daylight saving time and the Toll Road lease were examples decisions by Republicans that ran counter to the wishes of the public.

“With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?” said Kole, who made his comments at the statewide Libertarian convention in Indianapolis this past week.

Michigan City is in LaPorte County, where the populace is on fire over Major Moves and DST. Incumbent Republican state representative Mary Kay Budak was unseated in her primary election, largely because she ignored the interests of her constituents and served the governor first with her votes.

The Libertarian positions on these issues resonate strongly in LaPorte County. We held that the toll road should not fuel a redistribution of wealth program, with the people of the northern counties paying to build roads in other parts of the state. Libertarians are not socialists. We held that DST should have been left to a vote of the people on a county-by-county basis. Libertarians believe in the right to self-determination.
Radio Ad Text

The following is the original text from the radio ads that the Kole Campaign ran in the days leading up to the Primary Election. Unfortunately, while it was a great speech, it was much more than a 60-second radio ad. It was significantly edited to fit inside those parameters.

My name is Mike Kole. I’m a Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State. You won’t be able to vote for me when you vote in the Primary Election, and that’s worth thinking about.

Libertarians are not part of the Primaries. Even though it might be perceived that Libertarians are shut out of the process, we like it that way. We select our candidates at county and statewide conventions, sparing the taxpayers the cost of staging our private, political party business.

The Republicans and Democrats also like the primary process just as it is. That should be no surprise- they wrote the rules. They like that the taxpayers pay for their private business. They like the fact that when voters take a partisan primary ballot, they learn who their supporters are, and who to raise money from. They’re happy that Libertarians do not have this tool.

But, what’s good for the political parties can be bad for voter participation. In 2004, with all the star power of presidential and gubernatorial candidates, the turnout in Marion County was only 13%, and 21% statewide.

That trend will likely continue this year, as Hoosiers who scratch vote, or who consider themselves independents, and Libertarian voters often feel shut out of the process because they do not have an interest in taking a partisan ballot.

That’s a shame, because there are also important non-partisan races on the primary ballot, such as for school board.

School Board offices are very important, as the people elected to these offices have a great deal of influence on how our children are educated, and on the amount of tax dollars taken from the public to fund the schools.

While the Secretary of State’s office spent more than a million dollars educating Hoosiers about the new voter ID law, it didn’t even spend a penny to advise that any registered voter can vote in the primary, even if they don’t want a partisan ballot. It’s hard to figure why so much money was spent on educating people about having an ID for an election they probably aren’t going to participate in. Cart and horse, I’m afraid.

It is my hope that we can do away with the Primaries in Indiana in the near future,
sparing the taxpayers the expense of private political party business, and shifting the School Board races to Fall, when the turnout is higher.

Until then, I encourage every registered voter to exercise their civic privilege and vote in the Primaries. Please come out to vote on Tuesday, May 2. The non-partisan voter merely needs to ask for the school board ballot to participate.

Then in November, you’ll be able to vote for Mike Kole for Secretary of State, and a host of other Libertarians who believe in fair elections, lower taxes, and smaller government.

This message paid for and authorized by the Committee to Elect Mike Kole. Ame Langmack, Treasurer.

A later post will have the edited script, and an audio link to the actual ad.
Quick Election Return Notes

It was interesting to scan the returns this morning. All of my Republican friends lost their bids in the primaries. This surprised me initially, but then I started thinking about what they all had in common:

Good people, not running terribly active campaigns, and spending little or no money.

See, it doesn't matter much if you are a Libertarian, a Republicans, or a Democrat- if you don't have volunteers at polling places, go door-to-door, put up signs, or advertise, you don't win.

Conversely, our Libertarian success rate has been proportional to our activity. Where we have won, we have combined a well-known name with solid door-to-door, and hit a key issue. Where we have had near misses, we have had solid door-to-door. Where we have done moderately well, we might have had good press, or bought some advertising, or hit a key issue, but had no combination of these.

Lessons: There is no substitute for door-to-door. Combine that with two or more strong factors, and you will show well.

The strongest candidate who does the least is defeated by the weakest candidate who does the most.

Let's make sure to take our strong messages and combine them with solid activity and support, financial and otherwise. Then, we'll win.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Whine & Cheese

In response to the Tully column, we were thinking that we'd have some fun with it, staging a "Whine & Cheese" event. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, Indiana Blog review has written about my episode with the Star, and highlighted something I said about it:

Ironically, Tully was putting me on the spot to demonstrate the relevance of my party. Really, I'm hard-pressed to discover the relevance of the Star and of Tully's column. Based on the content, it's clearly nothing to do with the public discourse, the ideas therein, or even news. [emphasis added]

I like their emphasis.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Victory in Greenfield!

Two sides on a $99.9 million school bond issue collected signatures in Greenfield recently. Hancock County Libertarians backed the signing of the blue petition, which opposed the bond.

The blue petition carried the day. From the Indy Star report:
Opponents collected 3,912 signatures against the project compared to 3,301 signatures of residents supporting the districts plan, Superintendent Linda Gellert said Monday.

Gellert said she was particularly disappointed with the results given school officials' efforts to create a plan based on public input and consensus-building.

Given the results of the petitions, I'd say that the efforts to build consensus was won by the fiscal conservatives here, and not the school officials and the fiscal liberals.

Let's face it: $100 million is an awful lot of money. Consider that this figure was decided by littler more than 7,000 Greenfield residents. It is easy to see the value of getting involved and putting forth a serious effort. If just a handful fewer citizens carried the blue petition, the difference would have been $100 million. It's staggering to ponder.

Congratulations to the taxpayers of Greenfield!
Primaries Tuesday

Calling all voters! Make sure to vote! Sure, you aren't interested in taking a partisan ballot. Never fear- there are still important school board positions up for grabs.

Remember- if you aren't asking for a partisan 'D' or 'R' ballot, you are asking for a school board ballot. Libertarians, Greens, independents, and non-partisans are very much eligible to vote, even if the Secretary of State's office didn't spend a million bucks educating you about it they way it did for voter ID.

In Allen County, be sure to vote for Mike Sylvester. He is running for school board, is a Libertarian, is a fiscal conservative, and has been a vocal critic of the atmosphere for free speech by students at Carroll High School. Mike has my hearty endorsement!

Those who do pull a Republican primary ballot (tsk tsk!) may be interested in voting for Bill Larsen. He is the most knowledgable person I have ever met on Social Security issues. He is running against Mark Souder.

In Marion County, Barry Campbell is running for school board, for an at-large post. Barry has my endorsement. He is a solid Libertarian, and was an excellent candidate for Sheriff in 2002.

In Marion County's Washington Township, Greg Wright and Don Barr are endorsed by a host of notables, and by me. They are part of the Washington Township Concerned Citizens, who actively initiated a remonstrance and then negotiated a reduction to an enormous bond proposal. Libertarians Dan Drexler and Sam Goldstein are a part of the WTCC, a tri-partisan group that agrees that too much money is spent bonding lavish building projects. Notably, while Wright and Barr are backed by citizens in the Township, their opponents are backed by the teachers union.

Gregg Puls is running for school board in Hamilton County, Delaware Township. He is the former Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Hamilton County. Although he sold his soul to the Evil Empire, er GOP, I still like and respect Gregg tremendously. As I also live in Delaware Township, he gets my vote.

I have many friends in Hamilton County who also running on the GOP primary ballot. Although I won't advise anyone to take a partisan primary ballot, those who do may have an interest in voting for Bob Thompson in Fall Creek Township. Bob is a firm opponent of forced annexation, and that will almost certainly get him elected. Also, Darren Wilson is running for a Washington Township post. Darren's a good guy, and a fiscal conservative, which isn't always the case on the GOP ballot. Rick Ehlin is running for a Delaware Township post. He's a good guy too, and a new daddy, which has a way of making for an extra conscientious official.

Good luck to all of these folks! Remember- ask for the school board ballot.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Indy Star Notes

I scan many Indiana media websites every morning, to see what is, or isn't, being said about Libertarians. Given the recent hatchet job done on me by Matt Tully, it was interesting to do a search on the word "Libertarian" today on the Indy Star's website and find a new article link. Did the Star maybe provide some coverage for our convention? Perhaps a letter to the editor with my positions on the upcoming primary elections? Maybe- a guy can dream, right?- a follow-up to the Tully smear piece with a counter-article?

No. A nice, favorable article by Dan Carpenter on Bill Stant, who is trying to get the Green Party on the ballot by securing the needed signatures.

I was happy enough for Bill. His task is difficult, and thankless. I know because the Libertarian Party of Indiana has successfully done what he is trying to do, twice- in the 1980s, and then in 1994. It happened twice because the Ds & Rs in the state legislature increased the threshold by 4x after the Libertarian Party secured the necessary signatures and attained ballot access the first time. Moreover, I carried petitions for the Libertarian Party of Ohio when I lived there. Ohio's ballot access is even more difficult, with the threshold being a 5% result in the Presidential elections.

So, I have deep sympathies for Bill Stant and the Greens. My campaign manager Rob Place recently put in a call to Bill to wish him well, and offer our support for his cause of ballot access.

So, it was curious to read this line in the Carpenter article:
Breaching the gates without money has "quixotic" written all over it. The Libertarian Party, the only third party with Indiana ballot status, has negligible policy impact and has actually fought the Greens rather than seeking to coalesce.

Let me repeat that my campaign called Bill Stant to personally offer support. So, how is that we are fighting with them?

Another Star hatchet for the Libertarians? You make the call.