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Bush takes it on the chin at Democrats’ J-J dinner

Bush takes it on the chin at Democrats’ J-J dinner
Bush takes it on the chin at Democrats’ J-J dinner
Fifth grader Tori Trout, 11, of Crandall sings The National Anthem Friday night as Debbie and Dennis Coleman listen at the Democrat Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner. (Photo by Randy West)

If George Bush were the CEO of a big corporation in America, he would be fired for 3-1/2 years of bad leadership, said David Lewis, the clerk of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals in Indiana, at Friday’s 2004 Harrison County Democrat Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner at North Harrison High School in Ramsey.
Bush would be fired, Lewis said, for turning a powerful company with the biggest budget surplus it ever had into the greatest deficit, for ignoring stockholder advice, for losing jobs, and for alienating the company from other companies with whom it had once-profitable partnerships. Company stock had plummeted down, and the company had lost its credibility.
After years of running a company in this manner and following the CEO’s periodic review, ‘There’s not a company in this world that would have that man back to run that company again,’ said Lewis, as the 150 people in the NHHS auditeria applauded enthusiastically.
Lewis, 31, is a Ball State University graduate, former special assistant to Joe Kernan when he was lieutenant governor and an intern with Sen. Evan Bayh.
Lewis said Democrats have several key objectives in the next general election:
1. Remove George W. Bush from the White House. Lewis said the national recession and the war in Iraq ‘have hit us hard,’ our soldiers are dying every day, and our credibility around the world has dissipated.
2. Re-elect Baron Hill to Congress. Lewis said Hill represents Hoosier common sense and Hoosier values.
3. Send Evan Bayh back to the U.S. Senate. Lewis worked in economic development for Bayh. He said Bayh ‘knows what this country and Indiana need. He’s the real deal.’ He said Bayh would make an excellent running mate for Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry.
4. Lewis urged the party faithful to support Kerry and Gov. Joe Kernan. He said Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels is running away from his record and represents other people.
‘This (campaign) is gonna get ugly, and we have to get ready,’ Lewis said.
He said the Republicans have had the ‘audacity’ to attack Kernan for fiscal irresponsibility when the Bush White House, when Mitch Daniels directed the White House office management and budget, went from a record surplus to a record deficit.
Lewis told the audience that at the state Democrat J-J dinner the previous Saturday night in Indianapolis, Bayh said his three objectives in this campaign are: ‘1. Elect Joe Kernan, 2. Elect Joe Kernan, and 3. Elect Joe Kernan.’
Bayh’s Republican opponent is Dr. Marvin Scott, a sociology professor at Butler University in Indianapolis.
Friday night in Ramsey, Bob Schickel of Lanesville introduced Joe Pearson, the assistant commissioner of agriculture in Indiana. Pearson said the late Gov. Frank O’Bannon persuaded him to leave his large grain and livestock farm in Hartford City to return to the Dept. of Agriculture. Pearson extolled the record of his new boss, Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis, a graduate of MIT in engineering and Harvard in business administration. He also praised other local Democrats with whom he has worked: Gov. Frank O’Bannon, Congressman Baron Hill, State Sen. Richard Young, and State Reps. Paul Robertson and Dennie Oxley.
Pearson emphasized the importance of one vote. Three Presidents have been elected by one vote. Five states were admitted to the union by one vote. One person can truly make a difference, he said. ‘If you don’t stake your claim, others will come in and stake it for you,’ he said.
Harrison County Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Donahue introduced Congressman Hill. (Donahue interned in Hill’s Washington office in 2000.)
Hill thanked everyone in the trenches for their hard work, and he encouraged everyone to support Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee. ‘He might be more liberal than you, and he might be from Massachusetts, but he is a true American hero,’ Hill said. Kerry won three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and Silver Star in Vietnam.
Hill said that after 9/11, the whole world was supportive of the United States. ‘Since 9/11, in a very short time, this president (Bush) has squandered all that support.’
Hill said the United States is stuck in Iraq, but, ‘We can’t cut and run. We must make it work. It’s ours to own, and we must put the pieces back together. But we need international support to legitimatize the process and democratize Iraq. This president can’t get that help.’
Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger Davis, who introduced Lewis, took his moment at the microphone to make some personal observations. He said reasonable people can disagree with what’s going on in the country, but he said some things are ‘objective fact.’ For example, on the national level, the federal debt has increased by record numbers. The budget deficit is increasing by record levels. More jobs have been lost since Herbert Hoover’s Administration. Nations around the world have been alienated by ‘the man in the White House.
‘I think, although some will disagree, that this group of people failed to protect the country prior to Sept. 11. It’s pretty clear to me that these people have been deceptive, misleading and deceitful.’ The nation’s leaders have been naive, foolish and, worst of all, ‘wasteful of the lives of young men and women. People are dying as a result of some pretty foolish decisions.’
The judge continued in a low voice, ‘I think it’s fair to say that the war on terror is mismanaged, the war in Iraq and the economy at home are mismanaged. I think it would be hard to find somebody worse than this group of people (in the White House). They’re dangerous, not only for this country but also for the world.’
Joan Schickel gave the necrology report, remembering the late Maurice Lieber, Eugene Kirkham and Gov. Frank L. O’Bannon.
Lieber, who died Aug. 10, 2003, at age 74, was a precinct committeeman for South Franklin Township for 12 years.
Kirkham died Sept. 13, 2003, at age 79. He was Harrison Township Assessor for 16 years.
O’Bannon died Sept. 13, 2003, of a stroke in Chicago, during his second term as governor. He was 73.
Schickel said, ‘Perhaps growing up in the days of the Depression helped mold Frank in the down-to-earth, common-sense values for which he is so well known. Frank exemplified the old-fashioned Hoosier values of family, community, education and hard work.’
Party chair and J-J dinner emcee Steve Haggard said the Harrison County Democrat Party has set up its headquarters on East Chestnut Street in Corydon, next to the Moose Lodge, and now has a Web site.
The National Anthem and ‘God Bless America’ were sung by Tori Trout, 11, a fifth grader at North Harrison Upper Elementary School and daughter of Jim and Sandy Trout of Crandall. Tori takes voice lessons in Nashville, Tenn., and is already writing country-western songs. Her father was the IHSAA Trester Award winner in the state basketball finals in 1970. He played for Loogootee.
In the door prize awards near the end of the 3-1/2 hour meeting, Haggard presented the biggest prize, a TV set, to Buddy Bosler.