Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Is Indianapolis Mayoral Candidate Melina Kennedy Playing It Too Safe?

Over the holiday weekend, Indianapolis Star' Matthew Tully had a column on the Indianapolis Mayoral candidates' education agenda.  Basically Tully's analysis came down to this - while Melina Kennedy had proposed education plan lacking in substance, she is still ahead of Mayor Greg Ballard who does not have an education agenda.

Melina Kennedy
Tully is of course right that Ballard could be more aggressive in highlighting his plans for education reform, which failure I ascribe mostly to a bad campaign. The Mayor of Indianapolis, after all, is the only mayor in the country who can sponsor charter schools.   Add that fact to the bully pulpit position of the office and the dismal state of IPS which affects all things Indianapolis, the public has a right to expect that the mayoral candidates will have a position on education reform.
Tully in his column though was being too kind to Kennedy.  The fact that Mayor Ballard comes up short in articulating an education agenda surely does not excuse Kennedy's vague, non-descript education "plan." 

From watching Melina Kennedy's campaign performance thus far, I am reminded of those football teams that are sitting on a lead trying to run the clock out by running the ball up the middle every time.  In playing the mayoral political game, Kennedy seems to have employed the strategy of trying not to lose. 

Contrary to what some people think, Mayor Ballard is a relative long-shot to win re-election.  In 2010, a year Republicans won virtually everything in Indiana, Republicans were losing Marion County races by 10%.  It is unlikely that the turnout of 2007 will be repeated.  Also, Mayor Ballard does not have any popular issues to campaign on and has handed the Democrats a boatload of issues to use against him.  Ballard's plunge in the polls and 10% or so loss is virtually inevitable.

I have said the only thing that can stop Melina Kennedy from defeating Ballard is a felony.  That was a joke.   It would behoove the Kennedy camp to throw the ball once in awhile.



My hunch is that Kennedy would advocate in favor of throwing even more money at failing schools.

SW Lane said...

It is also June (ok, tomorrow it will be). I am sure there will be plenty of attack ads, all of them fair, for the most part against Ballard-as the time draws near to the election.

Jon E. Easter said...

Huh? I think Melina's been fairly aggressive. She's taken on gun control opponents and now is tangling in a place where Mayor Ballard has been stunningly absent.

Indy's Mayor can grant a charter school because of Bart Peterson's advocacy. That had nothing to do with Greg Ballard. I believe that policy was hatched when Melina Kennedy was deputy mayor. So, if Ballard tries to play that card, it's easily disputable. He has done nothing on his own in the realm of education.

Plus, Paul, it's only June. I look for this thing to heat up like Indy in July and August.