Tuesday, January 12, 2010
New Council President Presents Myopic, Backwards Vision of GOP Country Club Past as Republican Future
Today's Indianapolis Star contains a story on the newly-elected President of the Council, Barnes & Thornburg attorney and lobbyist, Ryan Vaughn. In the headline of the article, the Star's editors (the editors write the headlines not the writer) suggest that Vaughn offers a "new vision."
In the article, the writer, Francesca Jarosz, observes that Vaughn will pursue a better working relationship with the Mayor's Office.
While Vaughn might offer a vision, it is far from "new." It is a vision straight out of the 1970s-1990s when Republicans dominated Marion County politics. It is a vision that embraces insider politics, conflicts of interest, and making Indianapolis elites wealthy at the expense of Indianapolis taxpayers.
Vaughn, despite his youth, is the epitome of the insider, Republican country-club politics which has doomed the Marion County GOP organization to minority status. Vaughn promises stronger leadership than former President Bob Cockrum and few doubt he will deliver. The only problem is that, in demanding fealty to the Ballard administration agenda, Vaughn is leading fellow Republican council members off a philosophical cliff in 2011. Vaughn has sworn allegiance to every tax/fee increase proposed by the Ballard administration (of which there have been many)and is now the chief supporter of a public safety appointee who, along with Ballard, has demonstrated a hostility to the most Republican-leaning interest group out there, gunowners. Vaughn is certainly not a conservative. He is an opportunist, one with myopic vision who is too young to understand that his coziness with insiders will forever limit any political future he will hope to have as a Republican in this Democratic-leaning county.
Vaughn may survive his own suicidal leadership due to the relative safeness of his district, but many of his fellow Republican council members will not. That's unfortunate. If council members want to win in 2011 they need to set sail on a more independent course than to follow the "vision" of a leader who only looks backwards to the country club past we Republicans need to leave behind in order to succeed in the future.