A look at Joe Donnelly and IN-2
by aguila del norte, Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 07:36:18 AM EDT
A poll taken today might very well show Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly a few points ahead of incumbent Chris Chocola in Indiana's 2nd district congressional race. Bolstered by Chocola-fatigue, anger over the policies of Gov. Mitch Daniels, mistrust of President Bush and, most recently, a series of ads in the district by MoveOn.org, Donnelly has come on strong after the May primary as a very clear and present danger to Chocola's incumbency.
Chocola has responded with a pair of ads designed to paint Donnelly as a conservative Republican's worst nightmare: a "tax and spend liberal". As old and tired as that charge continues to be (I think that charge has been levelled at every Democrat since Jefferson), what was surprising was just how early the ads began to air: May 31st. Chocola is no stranger to the practice of saturating the local airwaves with ceaseless attack ads, but this year that old habit may very well bite him in the...
Karl Rove was recently profiled by a piece on MSNBC.COM by Howard Fineman. Specifically, his strategy for countering the Republican Controlled Congress' dismal approval ratings was outlined. Rove plans to sidestep the question of whether or not President Bush has broken any rules or laws and paint a picture of what Rove believes a Democratic controlled Congress would look like. To him, the Democrats would immediately mire both chambers in impeachment proceedings and investigations, begin a humiliating withdrawal from Iraq and roll back the President's tax cuts. These images are designed to appeal to those conservative Republicans who may (or may not) be disappointed or disinterested enough to consider staying home this November. With the spectre of two years of Democratic control hanging over their heads, Rove figures, his base will come out in droves to keep their movement alive. Not to mention the hot button issues of flag burning, immigration and gay marriage.
The night of May 2nd (when Donnelly and Chocola won their respective primary elections) Chocola reportedly said that Donnelly would "raise taxes and raise the white flag". Hence the first two ads that use Donnelly's criticism of President Bush's tax cuts as evidence that he opposes tax cuts and, therefore, must support raising taxes. In reality, Donnelly would have broken with his party leadership and supported President Bush's tax cuts WITH THE EXCEPTION of the cut for the top 1%. Presumably since Chocola (who, according to a recent report in the South Bend Tribune, has an estimated worth between 12 and 35 million) would be among the elite who would be affected by a tax on the top 1%, he does not credit Donnelly for this independent stance.
Most people in the district see Chocola's attacks for what they are: the desperate flailings of a Republican incumbent in trouble. Northern Indiana, and Indiana in general, is not a safe haven for incumbent Republican legislators and Chocola is feeling the heat. His ties to Bush, Delay, and fat cat lobbyists are open and clear to anyone with eyes and ears. MoveOn has pointed out the duplicity in his voting record and the contributions he has taken, and now the district is primed for a change. It will not be easy, but it can be done. Indiana has the opportunity to unseat three Republican House members this fall; the 8th and 9th districts have gotten a lot of press, deservedly so, but those are races the Democrats should win. The race in the 2nd district is symbolic of those that we need to win to take back control of the House in '06. Rove is in the clear, indictment-wise, and looking for vindication. Let's spoil his comeback bid and send one of the Republican's top lackeys back to the golf course!