This year, voters have a clear choice in local, state and
federal election races. There are real differences between the two major
political parties that make voting more than the all too familiar choice
between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.
Porter County Issues
In Porter County Republicans
are more likely to support the Regional Development Authority (RDA), South
Shore extension to Valparaiso, a hospital in Liberty township and partnership
with, or encouragement of, developers.
Democrats are more likely to
seek changes in the RDA, oppose the South Shore extension, favor a hospital
in an existing city or town and support limits on development in rural areas
while preserving open space.
These differences have
emerged despite the initial bipartisan support for creation of the RDA and
the sale of the once-public Porter Memorial Hospital.
The striking thing is that
these positions are mostly consistent from Republican to Republican from
Democrat to Democrat. It is almost as if we really do have two political
parties contesting the elections on the issues.
There are still areas of
bipartisan agreement. Neither party wants a local tax for the South Shore
extension. Both favor holding developers accountable for following through on
promises made during the zoning process. Both share frustration at state
property tax confusion.
Oddly the Democrats are
critical of the RDA despite support for it from their own county chairman.
While this doesn’t change much for the voters, it does raise puzzling
questions about what is going on internally within the party.
At the state level
Republicans are more likely to favor sale or perpetual lease of state assets
such as the Indiana Toll Road and the Hoosier Lottery and the privatization
of state government. They are also more likely to favor the proposed
restructuring of local government to eliminate many local elected officials
in favor of a single county executive. Republicans are more likely to favor
sales tax hikes, such as the one passed last year, oppose income tax hikes
and favor restructuring property taxes to cut taxes on businesses.
State Democrats are more
likely to oppose sale of state assets and defend local government as being
closer to the people and more responsive. They tend to be skeptical of
privatization of government services. They also are less likely to support
sales tax hikes and more likely to oppose tax shifts away from business and
on to wage earners and homeowners.
Federal issues / the Presidential Race
The national election is
overshadowed by the emergence of the worst global economic crisis since WWII.
Neither political party has
yet completely adjusted its message to the growing crisis. Both are still
repeating lines from the spring primaries even as economic news gets worse
Name calling and red herrings
are distracting attention from the serious challenges facing the nation.
The stakes are high. The last
time there was a worldwide depression —in the 1930s— thousands of businesses
went bankrupt wiping out the life savings of millions of Americans. A third
of American workers were thrown out of work and others were forced to take
jobs that barely paid a living wage. Millions of out-of-work Americans took
to the road going from town to town looking for soup kitchens and handouts.
In the 1930s Republicans
wedded to the free market were unable to adjust to the deepening crisis.
Democrats did better, but in the end only the draconian enforced rationing
and universal military conscription for World War Two was able to lift the
nation (and the world) out of the Great Depression.
While we hope it won’t be as
bad this time, the threat that it might should be taken seriously. A promise
not to raise taxes doesn’t do much good for a family or business without
This election, Republicans
are more likely to believe that the market solves all problems eventually.
They are less likely to support government programs to turn the economy
around or ease the pain of an economic collapse.
Democrats are more willing to
use government to help the market restore itself and more willing to enact
programs to help the victims of hard times.
These differences are mostly
a matter of degree. Both parties agree on the importance of the free market.
Both parties favor government regulation and remedies such as Food Stamps and
We stress party policies and
not the personalities of the two candidates because neither presidential
candidate has the experience or education to make the right decisions on the
economy by himself.
One may have more experience,
the other may be better educated, but for the winner next Tuesday, the key to
success in his first term will be who he picks to advise him on the economy.
It is this writer’s opinion
that events of the past two months have shown that Democrat Barack Obama is
better able to pick the right people while Republican John McCain is too
quick to choose, too easily impressed.
Cast an Informed Vote
We urge all Duneland voters
to cast an informed vote.
Take the time to read what
the candidates are saying about their records and their views.
See for yourself if our quick
summary of the issues above is accurate.
Don’t vote a straight ticket
unless you are sure that each candidate of your party is the best candidate.
The Chesterton Tribune
has profiled candidates for county and state offices. These profiles are
available in back issues of the newspaper and on the Tribune Website,
This editorial was chiefly
written by Tribune Managing Editor David Canright. Canright serves as a
Democrat on the Porter County Parks and Recreation Board and the Porter
County Convention Recreation and Visitor Commission. In both cases he was
appointed to those county government boards by Republican elected officials.