Posted on

Young ending campaign illustrates flaws in system

Maybe it was too much to hope for ‘ another local man with a shot at being governor. State Sen. Richard Young, D-Milltown, would have been a good one. He’s honest, fair, concerned about Indiana and, as anyone who has met him knows, a heck of a nice guy.
Young dropped out of the governor’s race last week, citing problems with raising enough money to grease the wheels of a campaign that preferred to squeak and to actually address issues that are important to the well-being of working Hoosiers and their families. With the present administration, many of the people I’ve talked to believe those values have been discarded and replaced with a huge business machine that sucks up anything Gov. Mitch Daniels can throw their way.
Indiana has its problems. Many counties are presently trying to do the bidding of state officials who don’t have a clue. Tax bills in many counties have been delayed, putting too much strain on local officials to make ends meet, starving agencies that keep everything going and wrecking havoc on budgets that can’t absorb additional interest payments on borrowed money needed to pay the bills. New taxes are being added, such as those on cigarettes, and old taxes, including property taxes, are increasing. Meanwhile, the state’s budget has almost doubled.
It seems, these days, issues matter far less in campaigns than money. It has been said that the ongoing campaign for president will cost at least $1 billion. And as the cost of these campaigns increase, why doesn’t the information on issues and policies increase? Why do political opportunities for those who aren’t rich or well-connected decrease?
Television coverage and almost daily polls have changed campaigns into popularity contests. Take the 2008 presidential campaign, for example.
On the TV news every evening, we’re told how much money Hillary Clinton has raised and how far she’s ahead in the polls. And we’re told how much Rudy Giuliana has in his coffers and how he is overcoming the abortion issue to pull ahead of the rest of the candidates. As far as most of us can determine, the rest of the candidates are just chopped liver.
How many times has the nightly news mentioned Democrat Dennis Kucinich or Republican Ron Paul, both of whom are respectable and knowledgeable candidates? There are nine other Republican candidates and seven other Democrats who are getting little TV coverage, even though, in my opinion, they often have much better ideas than the supposed front-runners.
Wouldn’t it be great if campaigns were run in newspapers only? All candidates could submit their platform to be published a specified day. By the primary election, every candidate would have had equal time, less money would be needed, making it less likely to influence elections, and the candidate’s platform, policy plans and promises would be in writing, which they couldn’t deny later.
Wouldn’t it be nice to go through a campaign without having to put up with all the mudslinging and negative commercials, the misleading statements and promises that are never kept? And wouldn’t it be great to read about John Edwards’ health-care plan or Mitt Romney’s plan for Iraq? The same could be done on a state level.
A lot of good public servants, like Sen. Young, have fallen victim to the cash cow that has controlled elections for years.
It has been said recently that Daniels already has more than $4 million in his reelection wallet. Wouldn’t it be nice to know where that actually came from and what the donors want in return?
We should all be proud of Young for standing up to the guys in Indianapolis and for hoping to make positive changes in a system in which many of us have lost faith. His efforts makes it clear that Indiana is still worth fighting for and that anyone, including the governor, should never be allowed to hang a ‘FOR SALE’ sign around the necks of Hoosiers.
We’ve learned a lesson with the present administration, and let’s hope we don’t forget it as time passes and a new election approaches. Daniels did most of his dirty work early and now tries to portray himself as squeaky clean. It’s up to us to hold his feet to the fire, to hold him accountable for the privatizing that has taken place and hasn’t helped one iota, and for trying to run government like a business ‘ his business, not ours.
Young was refreshing in that regard. He still said things with conviction, and his platform wasn’t about winning a political race but about running a fair government. These days, that may not be the way to win politically, but it’s a way to win the hearts of good Hoosiers.