Monday, October 24, 2011

Melina Kennedy and Her So-Called Negative Campaign for Mayor of Indianapolis

The 2011 Indianapolis mayoral campaign has been one of the least contentious major campaigns I have ever seen.  The suggestion this has been a dirty, negative campaign is laughable. Both candidates have focused on the issues and not made personal attacks.  Both candidates have pretty much stuck to verifiable facts, albeit facts often creatively spun.

Melina Kennedy
For some people though that's not enough.  Especially when it comes to Democratic challenger Melina Kennedy, the mere fact that she challenges Ballard's record brings criticism that she is being "negative."  Those people suggest that Kennedy should stick to talking about her own qualifications and what she would do as Mayor.   To them, it's wrong to challenge Ballard's record or whether he has kept his campaign promises.


When a challenger faces off against an incumbent, especially an incumbent who is in an executive position like Mayor, Governor, President, the election is a referendum on the incumbent.  A challenger who approached a campaign by ignoring the incumbent would be committing nothing short of political malpractice.  

Rather than being too aggressive in her attacks on Ballard's record, Kennedy appears to be far too passive.  Kennedy hasn't mentioned in her ads the 50 year parking meter deal, the $33.5 million giveaway to the Pacers, the $100 million North of South deal, the Broad Ripple Parking Garage giveaway and other insider deals the Ballard administration cut at the expense of taxpayers and the future of this City.  While Kennedy has mentioned no bid contracts going to campaign contributors, she has only done so in a very general manner.  To have a powerful impact, Kennedy would be much better advised to be specific.  Ballard has no defense for his highly unpopular Pacer giveaway and the parking meter contract.  Kennedy could be using those issues to drive voters away from Ballard, in particular people on the left and right who hate corporate welfare.  Kennedy has not done that.

Maybe she won't have to.  At the end of the day, Marion County is a Democratic County.  It is even more Democratic today than it was 2007. 

Kennedy is doing nothing wrong in her campaign strategy.  She is doing what she's supposed to do, telling voters why they shouldn't re-elect the incumbent.  She hasn't lied about issues, she hasn't attacked Ballard on a personal level.  It's been a good clean campaign.  Her only fault from a strategic standpoint is her failure to be nearly aggressive enough about attacking Ballard's record and his broken campaign promises.  That's not what Republicans want to hear, but it's the truth.


marksmall2001 said...

Ballard's campaign went low-road a la Drew Young's old campaign for prosecutor. Last night I saw an ad where Kennedy is shown, mouth moving slowly, while images are flashed of big wigs (presumably) in backrooms sipping scotch (they're Dems; they wouldn't sip single malt) while (one is to infer) they cut deals. Those ads sunk Young (the first Republican for whom I ever had voted because he was, in my view, a better lawyer).

M Theory said...

If Kennedy's mayoral administration wastes money like her campaign does, our city will be broke inside of a year.

Year after year, I receive multiple copies of huge overblown campaign flyers from her and other democrats. No one bothers to audit the addresses of who gets duplicate mailers.

If Kennedy does not care about her campaign donors resources, she sure as heck will not care about taxpayer resources.

When I get those duplicate flyers, the message I see is one of waste and there is never a time that I only receive one flyer. I ALWAYS get multiple copies.

Any self-respecting environmentalist should run as far as possible from the Marion County democrats.

Maple Syrup Maven said...

Paper wasted on mailers is trivial compared to the money squandered in the parking meter sale, etc.

Crossed said...

Maybe its because you have a home business? One for the business one for you?