Saturday, March 7, 2009

Marion County Republican Convention: Endorsing Failure as a Political Strategy

Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana report on this morning's Marion County Republican convention that apparently was lacking in enthusiasm.

Welsh's analysis of Brizzi's re-election chances as Prosecutor is dead on. I think the only way Brizzi wins again is if the Democrats nominate someone who is even more inexperienced than 2006 candidate Melina Kennedy. Thankfully for Republicans that is a possibility. Apparently former State Representative Democrat David Orentlicher has announced he will run for Marion County Prosecutor. Former Rep. Orentlicher is a doctor and law professor. I'm not sure he's ever tried a case in his life. If the Democrats do nominate him, Brizzi would actually have a chance. I agree with Welsh though that Brizzi's reputation is not what it was four years ago.

Welsh does a good job of outlining the increase in the Democratic base vote in the county. In 2006, the spread was 8 points in favor of the Democrat candidates against Republican candidates. In 2008, the spread was 20 points. While some of that might be accountable to the popularity of President Obama, given that Republican Governor Daniel handily won Marion County in 2008, it is certain that the 20% baseline figure is probably not inflated more than a few points.

It is in his explanation of the 2007 election and the lost opportunities since that Welsh belts it out of the park:
What is clear is that the only year the party fared well, 2007, was when public discontent with skyrocketing property taxes and a 65% increase in the income tax, along with ethical issues involving CCC President Monroe Gray and lack of transparency in presenting and adopting a budget, overwhelmed Democrats. In just a little more than one short year, the GOP has squandered those issues. Serious ethical problems are brewing with two of the GOP's top council leaders, Ryan Vaughn and Lincoln Plowman. Ballard has basically turned to the same old country club crowd for advice on running his office and declined an opportunity to open up the books and investigate serious problems with the water company and the Capital Improvement Board, effectively assuming the baggage the Peterson administration left behind. Ballard is now seeking double-digit increases in water and sewer rates and higher taxes for the CIB to further subsidize the billionaire sports team owners. Ballard has also appointed a slew of conflicted individuals and lobbyists to key boards and abandoned the aggressive ethics reform proposals he touted during his 2007 campaign. Grassroots supporters have been completely shut out of his administration and have since come to a point of disillusion that he is unlikely to win their support back, effectively dooming his re-election prospects in 2011.

The future is not at all bright for the Marion County GOP. Part of that problem relates to the shifting demographics of the county. People fed up with rising taxes, crime and poor services, are fleeing to the wealthier suburban counties where good schools are plentiful and taxes and crime are lower. Those migrating out of the county are leaving behind a growing poor and minority population heavily dependent on government services. The immediate demise facing the party, however, must be blamed on its failure to keep its promises and govern differently than the Democrats. A majority of Marion County residents voted to put Republicans back in control of City Hall because they wanted change. Instead, all they are hearing is an echo of the past.
Exactly, Gary. Republicans, with a 40% base vote, can no longer win in Marion County playing country-club politics where taxpayers are shoved aside in favor of cuddling up to the wealthy corporate interests that for decades dominated the politics of both parties in Indianapolis. That day for Republicans ended in the middle-1990s. It's time for Marion County Republicans to chart a new course to a majority in Marion County. Unfortunately what transpired this morning at the convention was to assure the Republicans will cling to a past that holds no promise of success in the future.


Jon said...

How about the Republican Party returns to the party of the people rather than another party endorsing big government? To call the Republican Party a conservative party has become an oxymoron.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Exactly. Republicans have always traditinally opposed welfare programs. But apparently welfare for big corporations is okay.