By Scott Tibbs, September 11, 2006
On Thursday morning, I reported that Baron Hill's supporters excluded taxpayers and citizens of his district from a speech on campus. I e-mailed my concerns to the Baron Hill campaign, which has yet to respond to me. Because I thought this was a newsworthy event, I carbon-copied several media outlets in the Ninth District. To date, I have not been contacted by the Herald-Times, despite the e-mail and the fact that I left a voice mail.
Here is a quick rundown of the facts of this case:
Why was Baron Hill's speech announced on the front page of the Indiana Daily Student, which is Monroe County's second largest newspaper and is distributed around Bloomington in addition to on campus, if it was going to be a student-only speech?
- Baron Hill is a three-term former Congressman and current candidate for Congress.
- Baron Hill was giving a speech on the campus of a public university.
- Baron Hill's speech was announced on the front page of the second-largest newspaper in Monroe County, a newspaper that is distributed throughout downtown.
- Baron Hill's supporters acted to prevent registered voters in his district from even attending and listening to his speech.
Some local Leftists are trying to spin the incident by focusing on the fact that the meeting announced by the IDS and was not a formal announcement from the IU College Democrats to the people of Bloomington and Monroe County. So where did the IDS get the information that Baron Hill would be speaking? By osmosis? Telepathy? Or maybe, possibly, from the College Democrats themselves?
What is Baron Hill afraid of? Why would a three-term Congressman and Congressional candidate give a speech on a public university campus and then limit the speech to only students? Why does Baron not want the taxpayers and voting citizens of Indiana to hear his speech?
When the IU College Republicans have had sitting members of Congress or Congressional candidates speak, they did not close the speeches to the public. What is different about Baron's speech? What is Baron Hill trying to hide? Was he afraid I was going to disrupt the meeting? In that case, I could have easily (and justifiably) been ejected. Was he afraid of a question I might ask, perhaps about the fact that the Corydon Democrat reported that "(Baron) Hill also expressed disgust that the Democrats have allowed themselves to be painted as... pro-gay."
If Baron Hill truly believes in debate and informing people of the issues, why is he even speaking at a closed meeting, especially one that was announced on the front page of the IDS? This was a meeting that featured a speech by a three-term former Congressman and current Congressional candidate on the campus of a public university. Yet it was closed to the very public that Baron Hill claims to want to communicate to.
If the situation was reversed and a Republican Congressman or Congressional candidate was speaking to the IUGOP, what would local Democrats say if a prominent local Democrat was prevented from attending the "student-only" meeting? They would object and express concerns just as I have, and every one of them knows it. Sometimes, the hypocrisy in politics is boundless.
Baron Hill has also not agreed to a proposal for an open-format debate on AM 1370's Afternoon Edition. Some of Hill's supporters are defending this by pointing to the primary voting record of Darryl Neher. This is beyond silly. Neher is one of the most fair and balanced (to steal a phrase) people I know of in the local media. From what he says on the Afternoon Edition, he is politically moderate. Baron Hill has no reason to be afraid of appearing on the Afternoon Edition with Neher as the moderator.
Baron Hill claims to want open, honest debate, but his words are meaningless when his actions show that he does now want any such thing.