Contributing columnist issues his endorsements
Anticipating that my buddies, Current Publishing owners Brian Kelly and Steve Greenberg, soon will publish their endorsements for this year’s campaigns, I’d like to take this opportunity to submit mine – for the half-dozen or so of us Hamilton County Democrats (and bear in mind I’m not speaking for Current as I make these).
Now keep in mind, this used to be a more difficult task for me. In fact, I used to pride myself on never having voted a straight ticket. But since Sen. Richard Lugar last ran in the 2006 general election, I can’t say any Republican has earned my vote.
While I’m certainly disappointed in many of President Barack Obama’s decisions (or lack thereof), I can’t imagine actually voting for someone who espouses the exact same policies, which plunged the U.S. economy into its worst economic crisis in eight decades. In fact, not only does former Pennsylvania Gov. Mitt Romney want to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, he actually wants to cut their taxes another 20 percent. Unlike Bush, I have to believe Romney would not start unnecessary wars, but “closing tax loopholes” (in other words, deductions that you and I need and use regularly) will not begin to cover what his new tax cut will do to the deficit. How will he make up the difference? By cutting vital, established benefits, such as Medicare and Social Security.
Has Obama been perfect? Far from it. What was sold to us as European-style single-payer universal health care quickly morphed into the biggest giveaway to the private insurers in American history. However, millions more Americans now are covered, and my pre-existing condition won’t deter me from changing carriers, if that situation should ever arise.
So my pick for president goes to Obama. Ironically, the other choices are actually easier than that. I hate to even mention the U.S. Senate race, but even without that crack about God’s supposed intention of seeing to term babies born of rape, there is no amount of money or lottery tickets that could ever force me to vote for Republican candidate Richard Mourdock. He’s said that he will not cooperate with Democrats, that his No. 1 goal as senator would be to see that additional Republicans from other states are elected to the Senate chamber, and he freely admits he would have voted against the automobile bailout, thereby costing Indiana thousands of jobs.
It almost doesn’t matter who’s running against Mourdock. I’m supporting the other guy. In this case, the Democrats have chosen to run a very socially conservative Congressman, Joe Donnelly, a pro-life moderate who probably doesn’t believe God intends for babies to be born of rape and incest. Plus, Donnelly gives us the added benefits of having voted for Obamacare (again, seeing that millions more low-income Hoosiers now have medical coverage, and keeping my pre-existing condition from allowing insurers to deny me coverage), and he voted for the auto bailout (again, keeping thousands of Hoosier jobs from hitting file thirteen).
So, no question there. In the governor’s race, I’m really only considering two candidates. I’ve never endorsed Mike Pence for anything, and never will. I may agree with Pence’s economic policies (I don’t), but I refuse to vote for someone who wants to inflict his own very personal religious beliefs on me. I know we’re both Christians, but I’d be more inclined to vote for Andre Carson, a Muslim, than for Pence. Pence led the effort in Washington to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, thereby denying millions of low-income American women access to reproductive health care, and dare I say, birth control? You remember birth control? It’s used to prevent pregnancies, resulting in thousands fewer abortions every year. And why does Pence want to show Planned Parenthood the door? Because they perform abortions! Now show me the logic there? Carson? Yes, I’m a Christian and he’s a Muslim. But his goal is not to thrust his religious beliefs on me. Or on thousands of low-income Hoosier females! (I realize Carson isn’t my Congressman, but I’m merely using him as an example.)
So that leaves us with John Gregg, another very socially conservative Democrat, who won’t let his personal religious beliefs get in the way of his sensible plan for more Hoosier jobs. In fact, I don’t even know Gregg’s religious beliefs. And I like it that way! I also considered former “Survivor” star and Libertarian candidate Rupert Boneham, but Libertarians want to remove all government regulation, and deregulated banks caused the worst mortgage crisis in history, so I’m sticking with Gregg.
I hate to say I don’t know much about either candidate running for our U.S. House district, but I’m endorsing Scott Reske. Why? Because while she’s been shockingly quiet about her political views, Republican candidate Susan Brooks has received campaign assistance from not only Mike Pence but also from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Did you see Christie at the Republican convention? I rest my case.
I don’t much care who Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is running against (Indianapolis attorney Kay Fleming). I’m voting for the other guy (or other gal, in this case). Why? Because Zoeller actually used my tax dollars to file a no-chance-in-hell lawsuit against the Obama administration for enacting the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare, for short). Again, this law is nothing but a big giveaway to the private insurers, but thousands more Hoosiers are now insured because of it. Pre-existing conditions no longer result in coverage denials. My kids are 21 and 19. They’re now covered until they are 26. This law has some obvious benefits, and Zoeller’s lawsuit was ridiculous.
I will never endorse Tony Bennett for superintendent of Indiana schools. He’s running education like a business, and it is not one! He’s championed charter schools (no disagreement here), but he’s done so at the expense of our basic Constitutional right of public education. He has instituted even more student testing, at the expense of classroom time spent on the actual learning of concepts and ideas. Plus, he’s made it easier to become a teacher. With his constant badgering of the teaching profession, don’t you think he’d want to make teacher requirements more stringent? His opponent is, get this, an actual teacher! Her name is Glenda Ritz, and she easily earns my endorsement – if only for the mere fact that she disagrees with everything Bennett has done.
So an exceedingly easy set of endorsements for me this year: Obama, Donnelly, Gregg, Reske, Fleming, and Ritz. And my favorite non-Democrat running for anything this year? A non-Republican named Rupert Boneham. I’m afraid the days of Republicans worthy of my endorsement are long gone. By aligning with the Tea Party, today’s GOP has swerved so far to the political right-wing that I simply cannot endorse any of them. I hope that will change. I love voting for one of two candidates I love (such as the Frank O’Bannon vs. Paul Helmke governor’s race from 2000) rather than simply voting against the candidate whose ideas I despise.