Ruth Holladay was always one of my favorite writers in the Indianapolis Star. So I jumped over her blog to check it out. As always her opinions are refreshing.
Her 10/10/08 blog asks the question "Is McCain Taking Indiana for Granted?" With all due respect to Ruth, it's been pretty clear for at least three weeks that McCain's plan for Indiana is to just let the chips fall where they may.
The question of the moment rather is whether Governor Mitch Daniels is taking his re-election for granted. There have now been 3 media polls showing his lead 4 points or less. Strangely though Governor Daniels and his staff have spent considerable effort disputing the validity of those polls and assuring supporters he has a big lead. Politics 101 says that to fire up the troops, candidates are supposed to emphasize how close the race is and the critical need to get out the vote. Instead, it appears the Daniels' people are encouraging Republicans not to worry...that the Governor has the race in the bag. Strange. Given the enthusiasm gap between Obama and McCain supporters and the incredible registration effort the Democrats have had, it would seem the worst possible time to test that unorthodox strategy.
Further, Daniels' political strategy has not adjusted to the new economic realities of the past few weeks. Tonight I saw the green text commercial - no pictures - which brags about how well Indiana has done under Daniels in a number of areas. That was a good ad four weeks ago. It's a very bad ad today. The worst thing you can do in an economic downturn is to tell people they shouldn't believe what they are experiencing, things are in fact really going well. People want their elected officials to understand what they're going through and sympathize with their plight. While I don't believe there is a lot that the Governor can do about something that is a national if not an international problem, it is still critical that the Governor comes across as someone who is listening to people's problems and sympathizing with Hoosiers.
If Daniels' political strategy does not change, Hoosiers may very well wake up on November 5th with a new Governor.
It sounds like the same strategy that the Mitch team used at the Republican state convention. The word on Grapevine Street at the time was that Jon Costas was a shoe-in for AG since he was endorsed by the Governor, but it didn't quite turn out that way, did it? There are many Republicans who do not support all of Mitch's measures, including the time zone change, and especially his support for the Kernan-Shepherd plan. Small town Hoosiers don't like it much. These have been my observations anyway.
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