Friday, December 22, 2006

Election Notes #5, Precinct Results

This is just a very thin scan of the precinct results that make me feel good, in response to a comment on my Election Notes #4. I'll only post a few in detail because it takes up a lot of space. Besides, this sort of analysis is what the County Chairs are supposed to do. Anyhow, LPIN State Chair Mark Rutherford has a blog entry with links to the LaPorte, Wayne, and Henry County results.

My best numbers were in areas where we have strong local Libertarian candidates and/or strong local Libertarian Party affiliates. So, I did especially well in Wayne County, where Rex Bell ran an outstanding campaign for Indiana House, and where Susan Bell is the elected Hagerstown Judge, and where Conley Tillson was just elected to Township office. Check out this precinct result, in Wayne County, Hagerson, Jefferson 1:
TODD ROKITA (REP). . . . . . . . . 152 42.94
JOE PEARSON (DEM). . . . . . . . . 122 34.46
MIKE KOLE (LIB) . . . . . . . . . 80 22.60
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Total . . . . . . . . . . 354

TIM BERRY (REP) . . . . . . . . . 168 49.85
JUDY ANDERSON (DEM) . . . . . . . . 169 50.15
Total . . . . . . . . . . 337

RICHARD E. MOURDOCK (REP) . . . . . . 176 52.85
MICHAEL W. GRIFFIN (DEM) . . . . . . 157 47.15
Total . . . . . . . . . . 333

THOMAS E. (TOM) SAUNDERS (REP) . . . . 111 31.09
DAVID G. SADLER (DEM) . . . . . . . 82 22.97
REX BELL (LIB). . . . . . . . . . 164 45.94
Total . . . . . . . . . . 357

Thanks for the Coattails there, Rex! Interestingly, when compared to the other statewide offices, it appears I took more votes away from the Democrat than the Republican, even though I clearly drew down both of them. That certainly flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Rex took a lot away from both of his opponents, to be sure.

Here's another from Wayne County, Hagerstown, Jefferson 2:
TODD ROKITA (REP). . . . . . . . . 165 47.28
JOE PEARSON (DEM). . . . . . . . . 105 30.09
MIKE KOLE (LIB) . . . . . . . . . 79 22.64
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Total . . . . . . . . . . 349

TIM BERRY (REP) . . . . . . . . . 201 57.76
JUDY ANDERSON (DEM) . . . . . . . . 147 42.24
Total . . . . . . . . . . 348

RICHARD E. MOURDOCK (REP) . . . . . . 194 55.91
MICHAEL W. GRIFFIN (DEM) . . . . . . 153 44.09
Total . . . . . . . . . . 347

THOMAS E. (TOM) SAUNDERS (REP) . . . . 122 34.27
DAVID G. SADLER (DEM) . . . . . . . 79 22.19
REX BELL (LIB). . . . . . . . . . 155 43.54
Total . . . . . . . . . . 356

Same situation. Well, I made more than 10 campaign appearances in Wayne County, with I think six of them in Hagerstown. This is the hometown of Rex & Susan Bell. Put it all together, and you get these numbers. Here's one from Wayne County, Perry, Economy:
TODD ROKITA (REP). . . . . . . . . 86 44.79
JOE PEARSON (DEM). . . . . . . . . 76 39.58
MIKE KOLE (LIB) . . . . . . . . . 30 15.63
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Total . . . . . . . . . . 192

TIM BERRY (REP) . . . . . . . . . 102 53.13
JUDY ANDERSON (DEM) . . . . . . . . 90 46.88
Total . . . . . . . . . . 192

RICHARD E. MOURDOCK (REP) . . . . . . 107 56.91
MICHAEL W. GRIFFIN (DEM) . . . . . . 81 43.09
Total . . . . . . . . . . 188

THOMAS E. (TOM) SAUNDERS (REP) . . . . 65 32.66
DAVID G. SADLER (DEM) . . . . . . . 42 21.11
REX BELL (LIB). . . . . . . . . . 92 46.23
Total . . . . . . . . . . 199

In this area Rex still whupped 'em, but my numbers dipped a bit, and I was drawing more from Repulicans. Still, these are great numbers!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

No Spin, Indeed

I was listening to Bill O'Reily today, because I wanted to self-flagellate for some private guilt. It was horrible! He was talking about this wrestling match or boxing match between Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell. My sins were absolved, and I got to hear O'Reilly get to the essence of what he believes.

He said, and I'm working from memory here, 'the day we are for the individual instead of the common good, we are done'.

So, for those of you who thought O'Reilly anything other than the collectivist populist that he is, there it is. He was very plain. Individualism is bad. Collectivism is good. The power of the state is good so long as it serves you!
The Star Has It Wrong

The Indy Star published an opinion on annexation this morning. It's the usual Star brand of milquetoast, taking no solid position, aiming for some amorphous, gray, middle of the road.Along the way, they said some stupid things:

But lawmakers should use caution in hobbling annexation efforts. Had Indianapolis been foreclosed from annexation, it could be a Byzantine collection of tiny communities. Resistance to annexation led to the passage of Uni-Gov, effectively a wholesale annexation that many credit with helping Indianapolis become the Cinderella of the Rust Belt.

Wow, that's chock full of stupid.

For instance, what's wrong with a Byzantine collection of tiny communities? Tiny communities tend to be tighter-knit, with more common ground from one side of town to the other, and better still, with a government small enough to be responsive.

When the whole region is one municipality, many decent areas suffer being dragged down by the worst areas in town. Consider: Why do people from Lawrence, Washington, and Pike townships flee for Hamilton County? To escape the higher Uni-Gov taxes, to escape higher sales tax rates, to escape the horrible IPS schools, to escape the higher auto insurance rates, to escape the higher home insurance rates, to escape the domination of Center Township politics... just for starters.

You might consider how Crows Nest, Beech Grove, and Speedway are pleasant oases within Marion County. Yes, it's those Byzantine tiny communities, with their sense of identity and pride- and of not being Indianapolis.

Cleveland is a good counterpoint to Indy. Yes, Cleveland is one dismal city, but people there tend more to flee the city, not all of Cuyahoga County. Sure, the lousy suburban communities suffer flight, but that's as it should be. For the most part, people still happily reside in most of Cuyahoga County's inner and outer ring suburbs, embracing their schools and their communities. If Strongsville or Bratenahl suddenly became incorporated into Cleveland, you would see for sale signs spring up and wholesale flight throughout the formerly independent towns, because the well-to-do would want to get their kids out and to protect their assets. Annex Beech Grove into Indy and you would see the same thing. On the other hand, offer the Broad Ripple area the opportunity to break away and become its own municipality and you would see an amazing flowering happen there, beyond the interesting things that are already there.

In fact, Marion County would be greatly served by dismantling Uni-Gov, and creating a Byzantine collection of tiny communities. You might start to see better schools, less government waste, and less flight as people have more reasons to choose to identify with their communities. I'm proof. I fled Indy after just two years. I removed my son forevermore from IPS schools after just one semester. There was absolutely no way I would permit my family to live within the city limits of Indianapolis so long as I had children.

Indianapolis, the Cinderella of the Rust Belt? Bwaahahaha! Just check out the murder rate for a reality check on that puffery. Then, the schools.

Then, let the people decide whether or not they want to be a part of a city. They chose to live where they are on the basis of what the place is. In Geist, Home Place, and Southwest Clay, it's township living. It should be almost impossibly hard for a city or town to annex. The burden of petitioning should be on the entity that wants to gobble its neighbor, not on the defenders.

Being annexed into Carmel or Fishers is obviously not as detrimental to one's bottom line or safety as is being annexed into Indianapolis. Still, the right to self-determination should be paramount. And no matter how good a government is, the smaller it is, the more responsive it is. Thus, the urge to annex should be curbed.

(This opinion was first posted to the Hamilton County Libertarian Blog. I post there along with three other Hamilton County Libertarians. Check it out!)

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Election Notes, Part 4

Immediately after the election, I was pretty down on my results. I'm not used to losing, and while I accepted going in that the overwhelming odds were against me and that I needed to take stock in the secondary objectives, I found that easier to say than to do.

Mainly, my numbers were less than our candidate for the same office the last time around. Indiana Libertarians improved in every category but one- mine. So, I found myself questioning my strategies.


I am convinced that in terms of this years results, making 200 campaign appearances made no difference. I could have done 1000, and my numbers would have been the same. I was actually advised not to run a real campaign, but to sit back and raise money exclusively. I rejected that advice, so I can't complain too stridently. In short term thinking, I was plainly wrong.

Long term, though, I believe the results will be better for future candidates because of the full-scale campaign. I was at so many events where my R & D counterparts failed to turn up that it was literally becoming front page news. We improved relationships with the media and the hosts of events, especially by turning up in Clark County, Knox County, LaPorte County, and others on the remote corners of the state.

Also, the bar has been raised up high. It will be tough for any future statewide candidate to run the way we used to, as paper candidates, and not have some scrutiny come their way. This is good, because if we are going to compete, running a real campaign is one key component. Raising a million remains the other significant one.


I also came to question my focused message. Having heard the complaints from media and voters while observing other campaigns about irrelevant candidacies (running on drug war opposition while seeking the office of surveyor!), I was determined to be germaine. I was running for Secretary of State, so I endeavored to learn about the office and to formulate policy positions aimed at improving that office to the extent I could. This means, I couldn't eliminate the office, but I could make it less wasteful, less a tool for self-promotion, more adherent to the core functions prescribed by the Constitution and by law. I could further lobby to change the law.

This bored our base and the undecided voters alike, but especially our base. While very few had enough interest in improving my campaign, or even the courage of their convictions to question my message directly to me, there was plenty of sniping going on about the boring nature of the campaign. Well, Secretary of State is a boring office. I don't think you get anywhere by turning the campaign into a circus. Some Libertarian candidates get short-term media hits by flashing part of their anatomy, but many of those hits happen on News of the Weird. Oscar Wilde was wrong. Sometimes it is better to be ignored than covered, if you're being an idiot. No, the goal was to further the growing opinion that Libertarian candidates are serious candidates and not charlatans.

You have to know that I really questioned this after seeing the results. It would have been a lot more fun for me to talk about the issues that really rile me up. Many times I said to myself, "I should have cut loose! I should have just gone off! The results would have at least been the same, but maybe a bit higher." But really, while that would have been self-satisfying, I was running for something bigger than my own short-term satisfaction. I was running to assure continued Libertarian Party ballot access as a minimum, and to build the esteem of the Libertarian Party of Indiana. This was achieved. That will give me long-term satisfaction.

Bridge Building

I began seeing this with greater clarity once Bob Barr signed on to be a representative on the Libertarian National Committee. Bob Barr is a former Republican Congressman. As it happens, the LP was instrumental in defeating Barr in his re-election attempt, as we targeted him on his drug message, running a candidate in that race and turning the district over to the Democrat. Barr hasn't entirely walked away from his position on drugs, and this has upset many Libertarians. This recalled for me the fact that there isn't a single person alive that I agree with 100%. Believe me, I've looked.

So, Barr is with us enough to become a life member with a contribution of $1,000 and to take a large leadership role. Why isn't that good enough? So, he doesn't agree with the whole platform? He is willing to advance the Party, thus, the platform and the principles that the candidates will espouse.

There was a great comment on Reason Hit & Run from a Gerry Tripwell:
Welcome Mr. Barr to the party and give him some time and slack. I became a Libertarian 15 years, mostly in response to Bush I's war in the middle-east. I accepted the party's positions one-by-one and the last one that I accepted was the oppposition to the war on drugs.

Liberty applies to the whole scope of human affairs. Is it better to embrace a man who has a 95% appreciation of liberty, or to alienate him for the 5% he can't see?

I say it's better to embrace one who even only gets liberty on one issue. Show appreciation and affection, and soon enough that person will begin to see it on more and more issues. Indeed, some of the more ardent Libertarians I know came from other parties and with reservations. Today, they are the staunchest, most stalwart Libertarians you could ever hope to meet.

I was a Democrat as a teen. I got liberty on exactly three issues. For the rest, the coercive power of the state was excellent, as far as I was concerned, especially where money was involved. In time, I came to see the injustice of state interference in every area of life. It took time- until I was 25. If a Libertarian had gotten in my face about an issue, it would have hindered my acceptance of liberty, not accelerated it.

So, I did what I thought was the respectful thing, and tried to find the area where a person had affinity with liberty, and talked it up. It seemed so entirely pointless to learn the area where we had disagreement and to zero in on that and let the person know he was wrong and stupid, and that I had the right answer. No, I worked to build a bridge on our agreement and encouraged them to seek out our positions in other areas of life.

After seeing the comments on Barr I finally got over my disappointment with the numbers. I found some peace with my campaign. I have no regrets. I believe I did it correctly, long term.

Update: Bob Barr's position on the War on Drugs is already moving towards a more pure libertarian philosophy, per Reason Hit & Run.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Glad I Fled Marion County, Part 8

The City-County Council Democrats showed where they have their priorities. From this morning's Star:
The City-County Council tabled a 3 percent pay raise for county elected officials and introduced a 2008 pay raise of 75 percent for themselves Monday night.

Me, me, me, me, me, me, me. There's the spirit of public service for all to see. But, here's the finest Allow-Me-To-Insult-Your-Intelligence line of 2006:
"I think it's long overdue," said Monroe Gray, the council president. "It's not for us; it's for the next council."

Bwaahahahaha! What a load. If you believe that nonsense, please contact me right away for the real estate bargain of the century. Meanwhile, the City-County Republican comments reflected their usual stellar best- 35% correct.
Philip Borst, the Republican leader, said the timing is not right to raise council salaries. The city already faces more than $100 million in shortages for public safety and other needs, he said.

"He's doing it the right way, but it sends the wrong message," Borst said.

Read with clarity, he means that the timing is poor because the municipal elections are coming up in 2007, and this thing could hurt them all. Doesn't Rozelle Boyd, who introduced this measure, understand that the time to do anything obviously controversial is immediately after elections? That way time passes and the people forget.

Indianapolis has a murder rate this year that makes people think well of Washington DC and Detroit, and these clowns are thinking about giving themselves raises. Harumpf!

Yessir, I'm glad I fled Marion County!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Check Your Premises

Thanks to Jeff Pruitt for offering the thought provoking response to my previous post! I disagree with him at the most fundamental level, but his comments made me think about privatization beyond it being a mere function.
I think the fundamental difference is that government is responsible to the people (directly) and private entities are responsible to the shareholders. What is good for the shareholders is not always inline with the common good.
I think that it's safe to say that along these lines, one of the common leftward criticisms of capitalism is that it creates winners and losers.

It's time for some intellectual honesty here, with regard to the "common good", and "winners and losers". But first, I will give my intellectual honesty.

Capitalism does create winners and losers. Those who offer little to employers tend to get little in the way of rewards, and are losers. Those who offer much to employers thend to be greatly rewarded. I believe that to be just. I like it. I work hard myself to be one of capitalism's winners.
I always bristle at the notion of the common good. I find it rather a falicy. For instance, stalwart Republicans would tell you that a ban on gay marriage is for the common good. The majority of Americans support a ban on gay marriage, so it must be so. At the same time, stalwart Democrats would tell you that government intervention into health care is for the common good. A majority of Americans support government intervention into health care, so it must be so.

The proponents of doing things for the common good must recognize that they create winners and losers, if they have any intellectual honesty. Certainly, gay people are the losers in the first example. Certainly, people in good health who end up paying for the health care of others are the losers in the second. Both left and right need to own up to this.

The difference is, with capitalism, you can opt out.
  • Don't like Wal Mart? No problem. You don't have to shop there.
  • Don't like American social policy? Tough. You're in the minority. Suck it up.
See the differences? What's done in the name of the common good invariably oppresses the minority.

How you like them apples, those of you on the left?

Sure, government is "accountable to the people". That's the abstract of it. Don't like public policy? Just vote 'em out! But, something for nothing is very popular. The reality is that it is virtually impossible to remove an incumbent.
  • In capitalism, a 2% market share is enormous. You become wealthy on that. You're a winner!
  • In goverment, a 49% vote share is a bitter loss. You find something else to do afterwards. Your a loser!
Besides all this, I think it's important to question those who are high and mighty enough to let you know that they represent the common good. What kind of conceited, self-righteous powermonger does it take to issue proclamations that not only is their side "the common good", but that it's so "good" that even those who don't like it have go along with it? The worst kind, as far as I can tell.

To me, the hallmark of freedom is the ability to withhold your participation. I guess that's why I like capitalism. I can choose whether or not I'll eat at McDonalds, shop at Wal Mart, use Tide or Ecover in the wash. I don't suffer the insult of choosing to go to Kroger's and then endure having to buy brussels sprouts, beef liver, and Wonder Bread- all of which I detest.

But, that's how government works. I cannot choose government a la carte. I can't say that I will withhold my taxes if I oppose certain policy. No, I have to fund it against my better judgment and without my approval! I cannot say, well, I support having public police, fire, safety & rescue, and courts and am glad to pay for those, but will withhold that percentage of my taxes that goes to fund the war in Iraq, the war on drugs, and socialized football. These have all been adjudged by our elected officials to be, you got it, the common good. It's an all or nothing proposition. The taxes come out of our pockets, go into the meatgrinder that is the Treasury, and goes out according to all these things that are, we are told, the common good. Things that you may well regard as bad or worse so often get fully funded, and you get to contribute to it. Justice? My eye!

So, if doing things for the common good is part of your fundamental M.O., please do me a favor and acknowledge that you create more winners and losers than capitalism does, but only if you would like me to hold you in the esteem of one intellectually honest.