Thursday, December 2

Back Home Again

SO last week was taken up with all the excitement of Black Friday and a royal wedding (and I've given up trying to understand how this perpetually bunting-bedecked Republic comes to go gaga over every trivial incident involving the same inbred rotters whose expulsion gave it birth, and am now looking for someone to explain how the Saxe-Coburg und Gothas morphed into Prince Charming and the Very Glass of Fashion something like six weeks after estranged sister-in-law is caught hawking access to her ex-husband the way some trailer-park denizen might peddle an infant, not that I'm expecting an answer to that one, either), but there were a couple of news items I did want to mention.

First, both the President and Vice-President came to Kokomo a couple days before Thanksgiving, to herald the success of the Stimulus in the auto industry. Kokomo's a parts-manufacturing town, and it's still suffering, but there's little doubt that that suffering has been lessened by the administration's program.

Political visit? Yep. But this is Indiana, where Eric Estrada is still a star of the first magnitude because he did some reality wannabe cop show in Muncie. It's the place where anyone who spent six months of his childhood here, then got the fourth lead in a sitcom which was cancelled after half a season can count on a lifetime's free publicity whenever he changes planes here. Florence Henderson is considered the First Lady of the American Stage in these parts. Hell, Axl Rose could probably still get laid here.

Presidents? Even in primary season a Presidential visit gets treated like a gift from the Gods, and fly-ins for fundraisers are treated like royal visits. I remember an enormous hoopla over Nixon coming to town in '71. Even the second-term George W. Bush came and went twice with little more than a mention of the slime trail in his wake. Fuck, Fred Dumbo Thompson made himself available for local interviews during his fifteen-minute (eight of them awake) campaign, and he was allowed to swat fungoes.

There are a couple of exceptions, both named Clinton: Bill's visit to the Speedway caught some flack, in light of the disgraceful eight years of prosperity he'd presided over, and Hillary Clinton ordered a shot in a Crown Point dive, was given Crown Royal, and didn't immediately cuss the barkeep and demand rotgut. Jim Shella, the Dean Broder of local political reporters, was still gettin' a laugh over that one a month after it had been explained that she didn't ask Who Among Us Wouldn't Order a Single Barrel Scotch and Spring Water? but accepted what the 'tender tendered.

So I think maybe you see where this is going: the President of the United States comes to Kokomo to tout the success of his economic programs in a place where those programs have had quite an effect, and it's time to call in the analysts. At least on the two channels I caught. On 8 Shella asked whether Obama's claims were true, then proceeded to answer "Sort of", which at least kept the proceedings neat. This is the same Jim Shella who sat through the 2008 gubernatorial race where for nine months every other commercial on his program was a Mitch Daniels promo that lied outright about his economic record. But then, I suppose pointing that sort of thing out wouldn't be Balanced. (It didn't seem to occur to Shella, or at least to faze him, that in pinning how horrible things had been in Kokomo he was slagging Daniels as well.)

Imagine, if you will, what sort of fucked-up punditological climate produces a guy who questions the validity of a program which gave hundreds of his fellow citizens the opportunity to buy the crappy products that keep him on the air, at least between political ad seasons.

Speaking of Small Things, the revolving door scandal with Mitch's Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission keeps getting worse, despite the quick, affirmative action Daniels took when he got over his Shock! Shock! that the IURC was playing footsie with Duke Energy. The scandal has now reached Daniel's Chief of Staff Earl A. Goode, meaning--you might want to sit down--that the thing went higher and was known a lot longer than has been previously suggested. Duke, for its part, fired its Indiana President (there's apparently a redundancy, so all's well) in its Shock! Shock! that, in violation of clear company guidelines, he didn't hide his side of the Trail any better, and the IURC ethics officer has been reassigned and, presumably, given a less comfortable chair. All of which raises a couple of questions: 1) Why did Mitch Daniels need the legislature to create his own Permanent Inquisitor General if the whole state can collapse in misfeasance without him noticing? and 2) The IURC has an ethics official?

Finally, there's the big scary talk of a Teabag challenger to Dick Lugar in 2012, about which you should note three things: the local Teabaggers are talking about a Republican primary challenge, not looking for a Democrat to run against him in the general, a more than passing odd stratagem for an extra-party grassroots movement; the Teabag bench is worse than the Timberwolves'; and anybody saying this sort of thing doesn't know shit about Indiana.


Sator Arepo said...

This is remotely off-topic, but you started it.

Canadian Whisky is the foulest, most vile commercially marketed spirit there is (and, hey, I've had *Bacardi*, which is both poison AND evil).

Canadian Whisky is the high school lunch mystery meat of drinks. Any substance whose composition is -legally- allowed (and, even, it seems, encouraged) to comprise up to and including 9.09% "flavorings" (which are, by the way, utterly undefined, but in practice are mostly beet sugar juice, rum, and prune juice [sic!]) is just...nasty-ass.

Can I say that? Do those kids still say "nasty-ass"?


mds said...

Yes, it's Indiana, the state that has twice elected Mitch Daniels, and foisted Mike Pence, Doctor of Fucking Imbecility, on the House of Representatives. Yes, Baron Hill has lost yet again, this time for being slightly sane about something. Yes, the Teabaggerie have tasted blood and developed even more of an affinity for it. Yes, based on last month's results, stupid deranged shits across America can successfully demand to be represented by other stupid deranged shits. But even as a non-Indianiananster, I'm aware that knocking out Richard "Dick" Lugar isn't happening. And if it does, it will be a wave year that will elect President Palin, in which case, Amen. Even so, come, Lord Cthulhu.

timb said...

Yes, but once Dick heard about, he ran over to the Garrison radio show to shore up that Tea Party base.

Still, Doghouse's observation about the chosen venue for the Tea Partiers is dead on: they are Republicans and, as such, not new or interesting.

Jim Shelia, however, deserves more snark. He deserves entire websites devoted to mocking his drunken, right wing leaning ramblings. I'll never forget him giving Murdock a pass for filing a Court challenge to the Chrysler bankruptcy, which was surely the stupidest thing done in Indiana in 2009.

Unemploydemented said...

Mitch Daniels sure is the Ethics Warrior isn't he? He wanted to show what an ethics advocate he was by nipping Hardy in the bud (what would the First Lady say?!) while conveniently forgetting his good buddy Goode had told him there would be a problem (or at least I'm sure Goode told Mitch because that was the first and only time Mitch has acted to kibosh an ethics violation in his entire term of office).

I can't wait until more and more ethics violations come to the fore, and they are coming more quickly, come hell or Inspector General's office blocking the stories. You know, at an "Ethics Conference" set by the IG's office and attended by hundreds, Mitch's mouthpiece Jokey Janie Jankowski "...told 6News that ethics reform is working and that fraud is at its lowest point in state government." Of course the Ethics Warrior had already left and Jane said he was unavailable for comment, but I'm sure he would agree with her comment.

Too bad two separate watchdog groups' leaders felt COMPLETELY differently: "'We have a governor who has promised an open and transparent government and it appears he has delivered the exact opposite,' [Julie] Vaughn [Policy Director, Common Cause Indiana] said.

'I think it (the conference) takes on extra special meaning,' said Kerwin Olson with the Citizens Action Coalition. 'We certainly have a lot of work to do.'"