Thursday, November 06, 2008

Republicans Hold Onto Top State Offices. Why?

Just in case, no one else knows State schools leader, AG chosen means Republican wins:
"Both races were close: Bennett had 51 percent of the vote in his race while Zoeller earned just over 50 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results tabulated by The Associated Press.

The GOP typically has an advantage in Indiana. Republican candidates may have also benefited from voter support for Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who easily won re-election Tuesday, said James McCann, a political science professor at Purdue University.

Democrats hoped support for Barack Obama, who was elected president, would give them a boost. They wanted young and first-time Democratic voters to cast straight-party tickets, helping Pence and Wood. But many Hoosiers found it easy to support Obama while voting for other Republicans, McCann said.

'We live in a political system where campaigning is candidate specific,' McCann said."
And Mitch stayed in as Governor. From the IBJ NewsTalk Blog comes Obama, Daniels and Indiana.

What does this tell you about Indiana voters? A state that in effect asked its governor for four more years of conservative reform also helped elect a president who plans to move the country away from the conservatism that has dominated for a generation.

Come now, Jill Long Thompson ran a lukewarm, under financed campaign. I suspected that many Democrats hoped the Obama effect would mean votes for them. Give Mitch credit for appearing fresh and interesting. Emphasis on appears.

Yes, we already have Republicans telling us why Mitch won:
Berron said a majority of Hoosiers clearly understand the depth of the daunting problems on the horizon. And that's why they overwhelmingly stuck with Daniels and his governing priorities of balanced budgets and aggressive attempts to court business expansion.

"His approach and philosophy was validated. That's a really, really important thing for Indiana," Berron said. "Now more than ever, in today's world, you've got to adapt and change."

Those paragraphs come from the IBJ's Biz leaders encouraged by Indiana elections and the IBJ's Longtime Republican calls for renewed focus give us this insight:

: "MacAllister gave Republican Sen. John McCain's campaign $5,000, much less than the $20,000 he gave President George W. Bush in 2004. He conceded that Obama's campaign organization was 'brilliant,' and was particularly impressed with its huge effort in Indiana. MacAllister was disappointed that McCain never mounted a serious challenge here.

'I don't know where the hell McCain was,' he said. 'You can't win by watching. You've got to get the word out.'

Today, MacAllister said, he'll contact Republican leadership to give advice on how to recover from the party's national defeat. He said Indiana has a perfect playbook to draw on, noting Gov. Mitch Daniels' landslide re-election. Going forward, MacAllister said, Republicans must present convincing arguments that appeal to broader demographics, including minorities.

I got to agree with the general outlines of Mr.MacAllister's analysis but strongly disagree with his specific about a "perfect playbook". What MacAllister says of McCain applies just as well to the Long Thompson campaign.

And we have Republicans telling us why McCain lost Indiana in Obama's win breaks long GOP streak in Indiana:

Republicans had hoped that the state's conservative leanings would offset Obama's unprecedented Indiana campaign, which spent millions of dollars on advertising and manpower that McCain was unable to match.

'Clearly they took a state that's not been typically a battleground state and turned it into a battleground,' said Luke Messer, the co-chairman of McCain's Indiana campaign. 'We certainly understand that Barack Obama had a lot more money to spend here and all that, but at the same time it is about winning and they won"

Which does not really explain why Mitch's organization could not swing the state for McCain. That is, not until I read Why they voted the way they did in Indiana. Only these two seem to close to applying to the governor's race:

BUSH'S JOB APPROVAL: A strong majority of Indiana voters said they disapproved of President Bush's job performance. The president's approval rating among Indiana voters this election was far lower than it was in 2004.

TOP ISSUES: A majority said the troubled economy was the top issue facing the country.

So far, Mitch has not been pinned with blame for economic failures as happened with his former boss.

If Hoosiers find the Republican's Man Mitch to be what we need and want, then why do the Democrats still control the Indiana House?

What most Hoosiers do not know - and what I think Mitch Daniels never understood - is that the governor is not exactly the President of Indiana. One big difference is the governor's veto can be overturned by a simple majority - that is by one vote in the House and the Senate. Indiana's governor cannot ramrod the legislature with a veto threat in the same way a President can the Congress.

Add a lack of power with the fact that all money bills must start in the Indiana House, the governor is not the most powerful individual in the State House. Indiana's governor, at best, shares the most powerful slot with the Speaker of Indiana's House. That person remains a Democrat.

The IBJ touches on this in Daniels looks ahead to aggressive agenda:

Many of those changes came during his first two years in office, with help from a House then controlled by Republicans.

Senate Republicans yesterday maintained their 33-17 advantage. They have controlled the chamber since 1978.

Daniels said recently that his first priority in a second term is keeping the balanced budget, especially given the tanking economy.

He has suggested that will be easier to accomplish with a GOP-controlled House, calling Democratic House Speaker Patrick Bauer of South Bend "an expensive date."

I do not accept that Indiana is schizophrenic but that we want do want change and the kind of politician who presents themselves with something that appears like dynamism. I will keep to that until and unless we start seeing data from the political scientists showing I am wrong.

Updated 11-7-08 with Updating Republicans Hold Onto Top State Offices. Why?.

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