The brightest day.

When I was apparently the only Democrat living in northeast Indiana, I longed for a day like today, when I would wake up to read a story like this…

More than a third of the top fundraisers who helped elect George W. Bush president remain on the sidelines in 2008, contributing to a gaping financial disparity between the GOP candidates and their Democratic counterparts. Scores of Bush Pioneers and Rangers are not working for any Republican candidate, citing discontent with the war in Iraq, anger at the performance of Republicans in Congress and a general lack of enthusiasm. More than two dozen have actually made contributions to Democrats.

…and then a story like this…

In a strong repudiation of a fellow Republican, Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, yanked his support Tuesday from GOP mayoral candidate Matt Kelty, who is under indictment on perjury and campaign finance charges. “My endorsement of Matt Kelty does not stand,” Souder said in a two-page statement released shortly after 7 p.m. He painted a picture of spurious statements from Kelty’s inner circle and said the “indictments were substantial, not superficial.”

…and then a story like this…

Fred Thompson got into the Republican race with great expectations. And sure enough, just after he got in last month, polling showed Thompson and Rudy Giuliani were just about tied for front-runner. But since then, Thompson’s taken a lot of flak for a lackluster campaign from party activists in Iowa and New Hampshire. Support for his campaign has also wavered.

…and I would think I had died and awakened in the Land of Just Desserts, or that I’d lived long enough to see the pendulum finally come swinging back. And I would pour a great cup of coffee and wander around crowing at random Republicans, “sucks to be you!”

But I don’t feel like doing that. What is this strange thing inside me that stops me from gloating? I believe it’s called “empathy.” We Democrats are long on empathy; it’s what makes others refer to us as bleeding hearts. Well, my right-wing friends, be grateful for that big leaky muscle today.

Actually, the story that most interests me is the second one, the one about the Fort Wayne mayor’s race. It’s instructive to my vast international readership (“16,836 visits came from 96 countries/territories” — Google Analytics), so please, don’t skip down to the bloggage just yet. What’s happening in that mid-size city far off the beaten path is a microcosm of what’s happening elsewhere in the party; the insulting cake is sort of a local, sweeter version of the war in Iraq. And what’s happening is this: The GOP is finally coming to grips with who’s been living under their big tent with them, and screeching, “There goes the neighborhood!”

Republicans, like Democrats, have always fallen into subgroups that have less in common with one another than perhaps was evident back when they were winning elections. For every country-club Republican who thinks some taxes are necessary and abortion should remain legal, there’s one who would happily turn every street into a toll road rather than pay for ones s/he never uses and throw women in jail for using birth control. Until recently, they thought they were all on the same team. Turns out they aren’t. Hence, delamination.

They need a Sister Souljah moment, stat. For now, I’ll just sit back and watch the show.

Anyway, none of this matters, because the deadly bacteria is going to get us all. I read about this stuff every night when I’m combing the globe for health-care news, and let me tell you, it can affect your outlook. The other day I was passed by a car with a vanity license plate: MRSA. All I could think was, “Why would someone get a plate commemorating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus?” I was home before it occurred to me that it might have been some lady proud to call herself Mrs. Adams.

So, bloggage:

Why do I keep getting 20-percent-off coupons by mail for a chain store in Michigan, when I lived about the same distance from an identical store in Fort Wayne and never got anything? Zipskinny will tell you why. Try the comparison feature and see whether you’re moving up in the world. (And note how numbers lie; according to stats alone, the Zip code for the University of Michigan is one of the poorest in the country. I guess when you consider work-study incomes of dorm residents, sure. But please. Forest, trees, etc.)

NFL wide receiver says he never tips the pizza delivery guy, is challenged to do the job for a shift, accepts. I’m sure he got a real sense for what the job is like, what with all those TV cameras following him around.

I am refusing to root for the Tribe because that will curse the Tribe. So I am not rooting for the Tribe. But on behalf of my long-suffering, Tribe-loving friends and colleagues, I am cautiously hopeful for a pleasing outcome.

How’s that for weasely? Have a swell day, all.

Posted at 9:08 am in Current events |

45 responses to “The brightest day.”

  1. Peter said on October 17, 2007 at 9:39 am

    So many things to chat about today! Well, I’ll limit my comments to one subject: Best of luck to Cleveland in beating Red Sox Nation. I can’t forget their old stadium with real swarms of bugs and the guy in a nearly empty stadium who banged a huge drum the whole game – and how about Nickel Beer Night? As a member of White Sox Neighborhood who sat through Disco Demolition Night – kudos to you guys!

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  2. nancy said on October 17, 2007 at 9:45 am

    I saw the Rolling Stones at Cleveland Stadium in 1975. The water pressure was so low that the drinking fountains couldn’t so much as dribble. I had to go to the first aid station to keep from dehydrating. A real dump.

    Although it was also the venue for 10-cent beer night, one of the great disasters in modern sports history, recounted amusingly here at Lawyers, Guns and Money.

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  3. Julie Robinson said on October 17, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Back when the hubby was in advertising sales, he’d tell me about some of the data they had available to pinpoint where the circulars should be delivered. Forget zipcode; they had the demographics on each street. Your neighbor around the corner may get different ads inserted in their paper than you.

    But it was still fun to look up our zipcode. It confirmed that it is white, white, white at 89.8%. How many places are that high? I’m a little ashamed.

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  4. Marie said on October 17, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Yowza. 96.9% white here. I kind of assumed, but seeing it in print is a little shocking.

    I’m not rooting* for the Tribe, either. This Cubs fan has to have someone to cheer for at this time of year, and sadly, it’s never the Cubs.

    As for Kelty… There are no words, but make sure you read the JG letters today for an explanation of The Cake.

    *In the same way you’re not rooting, in case the Internets muddied my message.

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  5. LA Mary said on October 17, 2007 at 10:06 am

    65.7 percent Latino, 15 percent Asian, 15 percent white. I’m not surprised. It is getting a little gentrified around the edges here, so it’s going to change in the near future, I bet.

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  6. nancy said on October 17, 2007 at 10:14 am

    I’m Mrs. White from Whiteland: 93.7 here. But it’s second only to my Ann Arbor zip in post-secondary education, and it’s close to the water. It’s all about tradeoffs, I guess.

    Oh, and the cake explanation: Beyond. Belief.

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  7. Kirk said on October 17, 2007 at 10:31 am

    Nance, you’ll not be surprised to hear that my ZIP is 93.3 percent white.

    My favorite memory of Cleveland Stadium: We went to a midweek day game in May, 15 or 20 years ago. We had great seats behind the plate, but we were in the shade, it was windy and we got cold, so we headed to the only sunny part of the park, the rickety wooden grandstand in left field. We spoiled the day for the only guy who had been sitting out there, peacefully watching the game and smoking dope. Once others saw us in the sun, lots of other folks came out and Mr. Reefer Guy disgustedly got up and left. The same beer guy who had been serving us behind the plate followed us out to left field.

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  8. Dorothy said on October 17, 2007 at 10:32 am

    I just have to look around me at the grocery store, church, and in traffic to know how white it is here. 96.6%. It’s not the way I’d prefer to live but we came for the jobs. At least I get into Columbus twice a month, and go visit family in Pittsburgh once in a while where it’s more balanced.

    I’ll always be a Pirates fan first, but I admit it’s fun to be rooting for the Tribe this year! Mike wanted us to go see a game right after I moved here because they were in contention. But I demurred. Now if they win the World Series, I think they can thank me for staying away and keeping that Bucco bad karma away from them. Waiting since 1948 is a L-O-N-G wait!

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  9. Judith said on October 17, 2007 at 10:40 am

    You’ve got it right, Nancy, that the tent of the Republican party includes a fringe element. But so does the Democratic tent. What happened in Fort Wayne in the spring primary was that so few people voted (I think it was 14% of those eligible) that a fringe candidate was elected. So, the fringe sees the victory as a sign they can rule, and the scent of power brings destructive acts. They think that enough voters will vote R no matter what. Then they think that uninformed voters will vote for Kelty who are anti-tax and anti-smoking ordinance to bring his victory. I hope they are not right, but how did Mark Souder get re-elected against the superior candidate Tom Hayhurst?

    Fort Wayne leaders have worked to get Verizon to bring fiber optic availibilty throughout the city. They have researched what other similar cities have done to revitalize the area, and found that new businesses with young college graduates want to see good schools and a vibrant downtown with many options for recreation. Hence Harrison Square completes the picture with the wonderful library, nationally known for its geneology section, the Embassy theatre, and the convention facilities. And they’ve managed to do this using creative thinking. But Kelty hopes to use dissatisfaction with Harrison Square to elevate him to office. I hope the voters will not be so inclined.

    The letter to the Editor written by Marvin Hoot in today’s JG is so disgusting. First of all, he admits his wife baked the cake and is so condensending. He encouraged the little wife to follow her right to free expression and bake the cake as a labor of love. He’s sorry if anyone was offended (like our Rep. Souder). Why didn’t she feel free to explain the cake, instead of letting the strong husband speak for her? Hoot goes on to state that “Big government oppresses its people.” and hopes people will vote for Kelty “the little guy, a powerful voice for us.”

    Hoot didn’t explain Kelty’s first answer to Nelson Peters about the cake, which in essence was Cake, what cake?

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  10. nancy said on October 17, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Also, isn’t there a photo extant of Kelty holding the outhouse from the cake in his actual hand, and smiling? He made it sound like the whole thing was exclaimed over, photographed and disassembled in another part of the room, which he never came CLOSE to, then someone cut it up and handed him a slice, and how was he to know?

    I asked a fellow FW ex-pat what he’d heard about the mayor’s race this year, and he said, “That the Republicans nominated a liar and an incompetent.” That’s sort of it in a nutshell.

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  11. Kirk said on October 17, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Marvin Hoot: what a great Indiana name.

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  12. alex said on October 17, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Hoot’s one of those local gadflies who’s so loud, abrasive and full of shit that he got voted off of the East Allen school board. That’s the place, some of you may recall, that a journalism teacher got the shaft for letting a student write an opinion piece urging tolerance.

    The Angry White Trash faction of the local GOP has no one but themselves to blame for Matt Kelty’s misfortunes. Their ravings only compound the image problems of an already very weak candidate.

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  13. Mindy said on October 17, 2007 at 11:54 am

    I’m whiter than white here at 96%. In Leo, the town half a mile away from my door with another ZIP code and only a four-way stop to handle the traffic, they’re 97.1% white.

    Last night I got my first opportunity to play with fondant icing in the cake decorating class I’m in. Kept my ears open hoping to hear mention of the Kelty cake but heard nothing. Proves that once again I was the only Blue Hoosier in the room.

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  14. alex said on October 17, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Mindy–are you doing a Wilton class with Christine Lussier? You may have been one of two Blue Hoosiers.

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  15. nancy said on October 17, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Mindy and Alex are hereby commanded to read “Eating it, Too,” Hank Stuever and Linda Perlstein’s diary of their experience making a colleague’s wedding cake. With fondant.

    It’s long, but funny. I hope I’m not giving anything away to reveal that the fondant never quite worked out.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on October 17, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    I guess we’re not as lilywhite as I thought.

    The high percentage of pro-Kelty letters to the editor leads me to fear that he might just win. And I can’t say I’m impressed with the Henry campaign team. We have a Henry sign in the yard but have been called 4 or 5 times to ask for our vote. We keep telling them we’re a safe yes and that they need to spend their time calling the undecideds.

    Hayhurst won in FW, but didn’t have the name recognition in the outlying areas. I hope Souder’s next opponent will learn from that. Hayhurst was the strongest candidate we had in many a year.

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  17. Dorothy said on October 17, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    What are the chances of there being more than one cake decorating class in Fort Wayne on the same night?! The mind just boggles…

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  18. 4dbirds said on October 17, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks for the tip on zipskinny. My zip in Northern Virginia is 67% white, 89% have HS or better, 32% have a Bachelors or better. Our unemployment rate is 1.8% and over 60% of us make 50K or better a year. Although that HS completion rate should be higher, I’m pleased with the diversity, education and the economics.

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  19. nancy said on October 17, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Diversity is frequently hard to find, at least around here, which is pretty aggressively self-segregated. Our Realtor guessed the black population of all five Pointes as 10 percent; it’s more like 2. But if you stuck the pin of a compass in the peak of my roof and drew a circle two miles across, the mix would be far richer, because you’d cross the Detroit city limits.

    I was so shell-shocked when we arrived here that my list of real-estate desires was pretty short: 1) the best schools we could afford; 2) a non-onerous commute downtown; and 3) proximity to recreational H2O. Anything else was gravy.

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  20. brian stouder said on October 17, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    I thought this was worth a chuckle

    Best line in this story, about Barak Obama being an 8th cousin to Dick Cheney(!), from an Obama representative –

    “Every family has a black sheep”

    Made me laugh out loud!

    Regarding Kelty, one thing about the story I’ve found interesting is the nasty spot it seems to have put people like Mitch Harper into. Think of it: the Kelty story is one of the top two or three things that Fort Wayne is pondering or talking about, and FWOb – which is almost always right where the action is – has spent 10 days on refugees from Myanmar, construction of a new Target store, an Amazon warehouse for Munster….ANYthing except the Kelty trainwreck!!

    On one hand, Harper certainly doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of his own party, but even news of Souder’s slithering away from the corpse of the Kelty campaign produced exactly zero commentary.

    I begin to think that Kelty might crater so completely that he exerts a sort of black-hole effect, dooming even worthwhile Republicans such as Harper. (certainly, the ‘black hole’ effect is killing what would otherwise be lots of FWOb commentary)

    I have no idea whether Harper is playing this well; but my guess is that it has caused lots of indigestion over there

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  21. Jolene said on October 17, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    We are neighbors, 4dbirds. I’m in 22304, which is substantially more diverse than wherever you are, but pretty similar in terms of the other characteristics you mention.

    Your comment re the idea that the HS graduation rate should be higher made me laugh because I’d just read a blog item by Marc Fisher on the HS dropout rate in DC–42% according to the report he cited. We should all be proud.

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  22. nancy said on October 17, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Brian, I just spent a chunk of my lunch break talking about that on another site. My comment’s down in the mix, here. At least, I think it is.

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  23. alex said on October 17, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Julie, I wouldn’t take letters to the editor as representative of the general public any more than the online poll on the News-Sentinel web site recently showing Kelty way ahead of Henry. Both are skewed by a relative handful of people who need to get a life.

    When the issue isn’t Kelty it’s evolution. How many letters do you see in defense of evolution? Zero. That doesn’t mean zero people in Fort Wayne believe in evolution. It means zero waste their time arguing with idiots. And so it is with Kelty.

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  24. brian stouder said on October 17, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Nance – read your comment, and all I have to say is –

    Yay, Nance!

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  25. Julie Robinson said on October 17, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    According to the Journal Gazette story about Souder’s endorsement withdrawal, Souder has been threatened by Kelty supporters. Maybe they’ll withold their support of Souder in the next election. One can only hope.

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  26. alex said on October 17, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Again, Julie, it’s probably an inconsequential handful of people and Souder can afford to kiss them off. Unfortunately.

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  27. Dorothy said on October 17, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Hey gang – I just had my first face-to-face meeting with a fellow nn.c member. Pastor Jeff and his lovely wife Joyce stopped in very quickly to say hello. Isn’t that cool?! It made my day!

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  28. brian stouder said on October 17, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Very cool, indeed!

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  29. Jeff Pruitt said on October 17, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Ah c’mon Nancy, go ahead and gloat a little bit. Kelty doesn’t deserve the empathy…

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  30. nancy said on October 17, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Word to that. I was thinking of our Republican friends and their sad, sad faces, their trembling chins, the look of bleakness in their watery eyes…

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  31. brian stouder said on October 17, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    I was thinking of our Republican friends and their sad, sad faces, their trembling chins, the look of bleakness in their watery eyes…


    I’m looking forward to Keith Olbermann (et al) switching to defense-mode for President Clinton-44

    (although on further review – Bush and his legacy will be the ‘gift that keeps on giving’ for national-level Democrats, for at least the next 10 years – much as Jimmy Carter was a useful voodoo doll for the GOP up ’til Bush-41)

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  32. brian stouder said on October 17, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    pssst, Nance – the latest post on fwob provides a nice opening for you to copy/paste your brief, incisive comment (with maybe a little customization) on the challenges that real journalism impose upon serious blogs (or blogs that want to be taken seriously)

    (edit: apropos of nothing – I love the word “weasely”)

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  33. 4dbirds said on October 17, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    I’m in Sterling, Jolene. I’m maybe a hundred feet in Loudoun County. We’re not as diverse as Alexandria that’s for sure but the county has been getting browner and browner over the last few years. This has the anti-immigrant people in a fit. They want to lock up and deport people regardless of the effect on families and they want to deny services even if it means fellow human beings can’t visit an emergency room. (Thankfully federal law prevents many of their wishes.) They say it isn’t about color but I have a feeling if all the illegal immigrants were fair-skinned and spoke with an Irish accent, there would be no problem.

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  34. Mindy said on October 17, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    I believe that there is a Christine in my Wilton III class, Alex. Wow, two Blue Hoosiers in the same room! (Sounds like the name of a high school basketball team, doesn’t it? “The Fightin’ Blue Hoosiers of Finefield, Indiana.”)

    Poor Linda, poor Hank. Talk about biting off more cake than they could chew. Yesterday’s cake effort went to my husband’s labor camp today so that it wouldn’t be around to taunt me and now one of his coworkers wants me to bake her birthday cake. I’m terrified.

    My cake instructor, Bethami, is full of hilarious cake tales. A bride wanted her cake to have raspberry filling and the baker obliged but neglected to dam the filling with a thick line of regular icing to keep it contained. During the reception the raspberry filling gradually seeped out and made the cake look like it was bleeding. When I was in another class two years ago, Bethami’s brother was planning his wedding, his third marriage and the bride’s fourth She was hoping at the time that the cake would be cut before the divorce. I must remember to ask if she got the cake served before the papers were served.

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  35. Jolene said on October 17, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Yes, 4dbirds, I read about what is happening in other VA suburbs re immigrants everyday. I just shake my head about the fact-free, ahistorical universe that some of the “antis” are living in.

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  36. nancy said on October 17, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    Sorry, Brian, I’m not getting involved in that one. To me, Tracy has the better point — why waste time on a party that’s not even serious? They’re running Gloria Diaz, for pete’s sake.

    Since the number of elected libertarians can be counted on one hand, it’s all theoretical. The best you can hope to be is an influence; it’s not a party, it’s just a way of looking at the world. It’s like playing one of those fantasy card games, where you roll dice to determine your powers and you get to shoot fire with your fingers, and all that shit. And Dungeons & Dragons is probably more fun.

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  37. brian stouder said on October 17, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    Fair enough; and agreed – Warner has the better of that specific argument.

    More generally, it just struck me as a somewhat ‘cheap-shot’ from Harper to use that disagreement about what makes a candidate newsworthy (part and parcel with his site’s oft reiterated journalistic ambitions), as a jumping off point for a general criticism of Fort Wayne’s two newspaprers –

    when his own blog has emitted nothing but ROARING SILENCE regarding the political story of the year in Fort Wayne!

    (and in any case – I submitted a somewhat stilted paragraph in response to the fwob piece, which probably will not so much as dent the Cone of Silence)

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  38. basset said on October 17, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    a “Sister Souljah” moment? wasn’t she the one who said there should be a day for shooting white people?

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  39. nancy said on October 17, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    Yes, and then Bill Clinton criticized her for it, demonstrating a willingness to criticize his own side for the sake of the greater good. Thus: Sister Souljah moment.

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  40. basset said on October 17, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Bill Clinton’s “own side” involves shooting white people?

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  41. alex said on October 17, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    If it does, it’d be da cracker ‘jacks.

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  42. brian stouder said on October 18, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Hey – here’s my Indiana Republican Sister Souljah moment –

    The current headline story at msnbc is this, from the NY Times

    Law firm’s gifts to Democrats bring questions
    Despite scandal, top candidates still taking donations from Milberg Weiss

    And I do not care about this story, except to the extent that I think it’s only really grist for the gotcha mills – the exact same muck that Media Matters and TPM (and their nodding minions, such as ‘outraged Olbermann’) have used to try and define the incumbent as the Most Corrupt Politician, In the WORRRRRLD!…and who will no doubt (after January of 2009) fall quite silent on such matters.

    All I want from campaign finance laws is transparency; if you wanna give $400,000 to Pat Paulson’s campaign, you should be able to do it directly, without need to ‘bundle’ the bundle so as to skirt Federal maximums.

    The stories about Bush’s ‘pioneers’ (and all the rest) never bothered me a bit (serious national campaigns cost serious money, and they always have, and they always will), and similar stories about the D’s won’t either

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  43. Jim in Fla said on October 18, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    I agree, Brian. Transparency is what we need. This whole “Let’s get the special interests out of politics” movement has been an abysmal failure. Report who the politicians are beholden to, and let the voters decide on election day if they can live with it.

    The whole Kelty cover up just boggles my mind. If he had accepted the money (legally) and reported the donation (as per the requirements) most voters in the Fort would have said “eh” and moved on.

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  44. ashley said on October 19, 2007 at 1:49 am

    My street cred: 51.3% Black; Bachelor’s degree or higher: 38.5%; Below poverty line: 26.2%

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  45. Deb said on October 20, 2007 at 2:05 am

    Your observations on the GOP are spot on and if you needed any validation, the story about the hateful radio ad by the American Family Assoc and for Kelty as well as Steve Shine’s condemnation of it should be all you seek. The fact that Kelty says now that he has not heard the radio ad is not relevant to your point, but so relevant to the mayor’s race here in FW.
    See the Change Fort Wayne blog to llisten to the ad. It is awful.

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