Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mayor Ballard's Mystifying Political Strategy; Mayor Goes on TV to Support $33.5 Million in Taxes Being Given to Billionaire Herb Simon

Over at Advance Indiana, Gary Welsh does a wonderful point by point refutation of Mayor Ballard's statements made on the Channel 13's Sunrise program during which Ballard supports giving the Pacers $10 million. It's an excellent piece, and I would encourage everyone to read it.

As someone who is political strategist at heart, I am constantly judging the moves made by politicians to determine the impact those moves will have on public opinion and ultimately the politicians' fate at the polls. This is especially true when the politician is an elected official going into a difficult re-election year, e.g Mayor Ballard.

I don't know who all is advising the Mayor, but there is not a scenario by which the City's giving $10 million a year of our tax dollars to the billionaire Herb Simons becomes a popular move. I bet the numbers would be about 85%-15% against, with the 85% angry and highly motivated to vote against anyone who supports the bailout. This is even more so when the headlines are of libraries and bus service being cut.

Sending the Mayor out to defend the (total) $33.5 million taxpayer giveaway, and forever linking him to the Pacer bailout, is possibly the stupidest political move ever. All Ballard is doing is associating himself with something highly unpopular and creating video footage for Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy to use against Republicans (it will also be used against council members) in the 2011 election. There is not a scenario by which Mayor Ballard convinces the public that the million dollar giveaway is a good idea. There is no upside to his doing TV interviews supporting the deal.

If as a political strategist I had to choose between dealing with a candidate being photographed in a strip club putting dollar bills down dancers' g-strings or the candidate being on TV promoting a multi-million dollar giveaway of taxpayer dollars to a billionaire sports owner, I'd take the stripper scandal in a heartbeat. A candidate can bounce back from giving dollars to a stripper. A candidate can't bounce back from being seen giving millions of dollars in taxpayer money to a billionaire sports owner.

Who in the world thought that was a good idea for the Mayor to be appearing on TV programs promoting the Pacer million dollar giveaway of tax dollars? Idiotic.

I know that on the Mayor's 2009 campaign report Jennifer Hallowell was shown getting paid $10,000 a month for political advice. Either Hallowell is the worst political adviser in the history of political consulting or the Mayor isn't listening to her. Regardless, it is clear that the people around Mayor Ballard are determined to use him as much as possible to line insiders pockets with our tax dollars, not caring one bit that Ballard's TV promotion of the Pacer deal is political suicide. The sad thing is his political moves are so bad he's not only going to take himself down to a resounding defeat, he will take the council majority down with him.


dcrutch said...

They say be grateful to live in interesting times. It definitely is that. I'm beyond words for some of this stuff.

Thanks for the efforts of yourself and Mr. Welsh.

guido said...

A little off topic but speaking of taxes, just received my newest property assesment. Hmm, still in a recession, lowest home sale values in years( remember all the rage over valuation). Well the state has seen fit to raise my property tax valuation 39,000....what happened