Gail Williams (gail) Thu 30 Mar 06 12:33
I've been thinking... since the Dean campaign there has been a lot of talk about the net as an organizing tool, or a political fundraising tool. Do you see state or local candidates using the web effectively yet?
Doug Masson (dmasson) Thu 30 Mar 06 12:52
Not around Indiana, but then the local blogosphere wasn't very noticeable last campaign cycle. It's hard telling if someone will excite the local grass roots, such as they are. I'm somewhat encouraged by the fact that today I was notified by a candidate for Indiana's 4th District that he had updated his website. Sure enough, it had been upgraded from a miserable one page affair to a site that looks pretty good upon initial review. . . . Hah! Thanks for asking the question Gail. I was verifying the URL to post a link -- it's <http://www.sandersforcongress.org> but I mistakenly typed in ".com" and I got Sanders' primary challenger Rick Cornstuble on a redirect. New blog entry coming.
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 30 Mar 06 12:53
Doug Masson (dmasson) Thu 30 Mar 06 13:22
Now to see if anyone cares. I know other active Democrats and local news reporters read my site fairly often. But Indiana's 4th District probably isn't going to be competitive. I expect the Democratic candidate will be a nearly unfunded sacrificial lamb to Steve Buyer. Maybe a minor scuffle like this can get Sanders some media attention at the expense of Cornstuble. Until now, I didn't really have a preference, but with Cornstuble doing something underhanded, I guess I support the other guy.
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 30 Mar 06 13:29
What's the permalink to your explanation of what he did?
Doug Masson (dmasson) Thu 30 Mar 06 13:33
Oops, meant to post that: <http://www.masson.us/blog/?p=1316>
Hal Royaltey (hal) Sun 2 Apr 06 13:12
> I'm reasonably > confident that if one party is leaving a vacuum, either the other > established party or a new party will fill it reasonably quickly. I'm not quite to sanguine about someone rushing in to fill a political vacuum. For example, the Democrats apparent strategy of trying to be Republican Lite has created a political hole left-of-center. Some of the Canadian and European members of the Politics conf here on the Well continue to note that our "left-wing" politician would be considered center to center-right anywhere else in the world. Yet for nearly 10 years now no one has been able to claim that territory on the left. The so-called "screaming lefty" Howard Dean is clearly quite centrist if you examine his actual voting record. He was labeled a lefty because of his opposition to Bush's insane war in Iraq. The Clintons are hardly rabid leftys. Their idea of health care reform amounted to a different scheme for paying off the health insurance companies than the one we have have now; it wasn't even remotely close to single-payer. Clinton presided over NAFTA and much of the outsourcing currently plaguing our economy. He let Wall Street bond brokers run the Treasury in the person of Robert Rubin. The lefty cred he earned with me was the budget balancing tax increases he asked for. THe real courage in the tax battle, however, came from Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky when she cast the deciding vote for the tax bill, and it cost her her seat in Congress. Yet Dean and the Clintons are The Powers That Be in the Democratic Party. I think maybe the real problem here is that there really *isn't* a "left" in the US anymore. No party will rush in to fill a void so shallow.
Doug Masson (dmasson) Mon 3 Apr 06 08:01
It is possible my faith is misplaced, but I guess I'll wait and see. I tend to think the impetus for the budget balancing in the 90s came in significant part from Perot and his Reform Party. If he hadn't made such a ruckus about the deficit -- in a way that resonated with the public to judge from his 20% showing -- I don't know that President Clinton would have gotten his tax plan passed. But, as you mentioned, he was not a particularly good friend to ordinary workers. I don't think that has been especially clear until lately. For now, it is common enemy time on the left. I don't think anyone is yet ready to splinter off and give control to the current batch of Republicans. But, if the DLC runs another lackluster effort in '06 and '08 that brings no results, I think we'll see a populist movement either within or outside of the Democratic Party. If the Democrats are successful in the upcoming cycles but don't do anything to hold ordinary workers, I think their successes will be short lived. Even if I'm right, however, I'd certainly agree that this movement occurs so slowly that there is a great deal of pain in the interim as the public's needs go unmet.
RJ Johnson (rmj) Mon 3 Apr 06 15:21
Hi, Doug. I'm a northern Indiana ex-pat (born in Gary, raised in Merrillville, college at Purdue) and it is nice to see your blog and your presence here on the WELL. I echo your comments about Indiana being a split state. The northwest counties that are on central time along with Chicago tend towards Chicago-sentiment politics (at least back when I lived in the region 6 years ago). Downstate Indiana is similar to downstate Illinois in the way it will vte Republican. The obvious difference is population balance; NW IN has nothing at all analagous to the Chicago Democratic base. I also think one problem Indiana Dems have had in getting strength downstate is that the Lake County Dems have more in common with Chicago and NW IN voters get far more information about Chicago & Illinois politics than downstate Indiana. Has the net started to change that trend or do you think it can?
Hal Royaltey (hal) Mon 3 Apr 06 15:56
A little help please? What's "region 6" and where is Lake County? [As an aside : how's the first workday on DST going for Hoosiers?]
Peter Meuleners (pjm) Mon 3 Apr 06 16:01
<scribbled by pjm Mon 3 Apr 06 16:05>
uber-muso hipster hyperbole (pjm) Mon 3 Apr 06 16:05
uber-muso hipster hyperbole (pjm) Mon 3 Apr 06 16:12
http://www.eciwib.org/plan.htm "Indiana Region 6 is made up of Blacford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison and Randolph counties."
Rich Johnson (rmj) Mon 3 Apr 06 16:17
I was living in "the region" 6 years ago; not living in region 6. By region I meant the Chicagoland region, not The Region which is shorthand for the Calumet Region in Lake County. Lake County, Indiana is the northwestern most county in the state.
Rich Johnson (rmj) Mon 3 Apr 06 16:18
Also, I live in the Bay area these days (and I work 3 floors above the Well offices).
uber-muso hipster hyperbole (pjm) Mon 3 Apr 06 16:40
Funny quirk that there actually is a Region 6!
Doug Masson (dmasson) Mon 3 Apr 06 19:01
Hehe. Yeah, "the Region" is barely considered to be part of Indiana where I grew up. It's just part of Chicago that happens to be across the state line. And even when I was working for the legislature, the sense I got was that, in return for being given a pile of money and being left alone, the legislators in the Region would cast their votes for the pet issues of their fellow Democrats. I haven't really gotten the sense of folks from northwestern Indiana participating in the Indiana blogosphere. The strongest presence for some odd reason seems to be from Fort Wayne. The web is lousy with Fort Wayne blogs. Indianapolis has its fair share of contributors, just by virtue of its population I suspect. Evansville makes itself felt somewhat as well. Other than that, the state seems mostly dark to me. That's mostly blog authors and frequent commenters to my blog forming my opinion. I couldn't say where the readership comes from particularly. And, like I've mentioned before, the Indiana blogosphere has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year. Who knows what the next year or two might hold.
Doug Masson (dmasson) Mon 3 Apr 06 19:14
I'm digressing here a bit, but every so often I'm reminded of what a gifted crowd hangs out at the Well. In the past couple of weeks, that's happened twice in the context of my Indiana related blog activities. Last week, a commenter to my blog lectured me (mildly) on Godwin's Law. It was all I could do to say something like "Godwin's Law? Let me tell you something. I know Mike Godwin and you sir, are no Mike Godwin." But, I didn't because a) I don't know <mnemonic> all that well, and b) it wasn't particularly relevant to the point at hand. Then this evening, one of the Indiana gay issues blog posted a John Carroll column. <http://www.bilerico.com/2006/04/001201.php> It was a bit disorienting. I see <jrc> on the Well so much, my first unprocessed thought was that he had posted something. Then the absence of typos brought me to my senses and I realized it wasn't well denizen <jrc> but rather renowned columnist John Carroll. Bringing it around a bit to this topic, reading and writing on the Well has been excellent training for blogging. Many of the political, economic, and philosopical ideas I write about have been honed to one degree or another from discussions here.
Hal Royaltey (hal) Mon 3 Apr 06 23:24
Further odd Well connections: In an different Well conf mention is made of the Kinsey Institute's upcoming photo exhibit "Expressive Bodies: Contemporary Art Photography from The Kinsey Institute". I'm always sort of mildly surprised when I'm reminded that the Kinsey Institute is located at Indiana Univ in Indianapolis. It's really temptingly easy for those of us on the coasts to dismiss the states in the interior of the country as filled with Mrs Grundy's or various Bible thumpers, forgetting that the "liberal Left Coast" is really just a thin strip along the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Chicago has been mentioned as a powerful Big City force in Indiana. How powerful an effect does Indianapolis (or Fort Wayne or Evansville) have on the culture of the state? Is the cultural divide between (for example) Indianapolis and downstate sharper than the divide between ohhh ... Seattle and Spokane?
Doug Masson (dmasson) Tue 4 Apr 06 04:31
It's actually the main Bloomington branch of Indiana University that is home to the Kinsey Institute. And, frankly, I'm surprised as well. But I suppose it's something of the luck of place, time, and person - with more emphasis on the time and person for the success of Kinsey. I have a hard time believing that Kinsey would be as successful these days. I don't know enough about Seattle and Spokane to compare, but to me there seem to be three principle parts of Indiana: Indianapolis, the Region, and everywhere else. Indianapolis exerts a huge force cultural and otherwise on the state. The Region seems to be more successful in escaping Indy's gravitational pull due to its own significant population (Gary, East Chicago, Hammond, Michigan City, Merrillville, Valparaiso, Munster, Highland, Schererville, and Dyer) and its proximity to Chicago. The rest of the state tends to be more rural in nature and subject to Indianapolis's influence, but somewhat resentful and resistant to that influence. The citizens in Indianapolis tend to forget that the rest of the state exists. (Of course I'm generalizing horribly, but that's the sense I've gotten from living in various parts of the state.)
Rich Johnson (rmj) Tue 4 Apr 06 06:23
I think it is the proximity to Chicago that makes the difference, primarily. Growing up I knew more about Chicago politics and Illinois politics thanks to the TV news coverage coming out of the city. These days I know of Pete Visclosky and Chet Dobis primarily because my mom still lives in the state and has no qualms about pestering her elected representatives on issues important to her. At its heart Indiana political geography is similar to Illinois's with the exception that Chicago comprises nearly half of its state's population while Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties (the three counties that touch Lake Michigan) account for only about 12-15% of Indiana's population. I think ... well, I'll be honest; I don't know where other Democratic enclaves in the state are. I was surprised that Bayh got elected governor when he did.
Doug Masson (dmasson) Tue 4 Apr 06 07:10
At some point, I really have to do a red/blue map to see exactly where the parties fit geographically into the state. I know the Region and South Bend have a lot of Democrats. I presume without being able to name any specifically that a number of Democrats come from Indianapolis. I know Evansville is home to more than a couple. But currently there is a 52-48 split in the Indiana House and up until the 2004 election, the Democrats had controlled the House since '96. So it's not just Evan Bayh.
RJ Johnson (rmj) Tue 4 Apr 06 10:32
Wow, I had no idea the lege was split that closely. I'd be curious to see how each district voted for both its state rep and for President in 2004.
Hal Royaltey (hal) Tue 4 Apr 06 11:14
Seattle vs Spokane ... Seattle is not quite as liberal as San Francisco, but you can thank Seattle and King County for the fact that Washington has two Democratic women as US Senators and a Democratic woman governor. Think nice, liberal city with lotsa coffee and rain. Spokane is essentially Idaho.
Doug Masson (dmasson) Tue 4 Apr 06 12:38
FWIW, John Kerry got about 39% of the vote in Indiana. For some reason, Hoosiers are not willing to entertain seriously the idea of voting for a Democratic President. And yet at the state level, the Democrats controlled the Governor's office from '88 to '04 and (as I mentioned) the House from '96 to '04. Evan Bayh has comfortably won two elections to the Senate. Granted, Indiana Democrats are probably quite a bit more conservative than New England or west coast Democrats, but still, the state isn't as much of a GOP lock as outsiders probably think.
Members: Enter the conference to participate