By Scott Tibbs, January 14, 2010
About 100 people showed up at the Indiana Memorial Union on Saturday night to protest as Baron Hill held a fundraiser featuring White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The Bloomington "Tea Party Patriots" organized the protest, which drew people not only from Bloomington, but elsewhere in the "Bloody Ninth." People had put together a number of creative signs, including one with Baron Hill's face sandwiched between Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi that had Obama kissing Hill on the cheek.
I was the one wearing the Barack Obama mask with the "Pinocchio" nose. It was quite a popular getup, and I must have had 20 people take my picture. I can't say I'm creative enough to come up with that myself. A friend had the idea and made the mask for me before I arrived.
I take the turnout as a bad sign for Baron Hill. Normally, an event like this would go unnoticed, especially this early in an election year when filing has not even opened. A few College Republicans might show up if any were back in Bloomington, but you would not have so many people showing up to let Hill know how unhappy they are with his party's policies. That this many people showed up indicates a level of frustration with the ruling party that could be a sign that Hill will lose his seat again. (Voters fired him in 2004, and he won his seat back in 2006.)
To add to the discontent with President Obama, remember that John McCain won the 9th District in 2008. What makes that significant is that McCain was a pitiful candidate who became the first Republican to lose Indiana since 1964, despite the fact that Republican Governor Mitch Daniels was re-elected with 58% of the vote. This means a large number of Daniels voters crossed over to vote for Obama. 2010 will be much less favorable for Democrats statewide than 2008 was, and Baron Hill will be closely tied to Obama's policies.
There was a Hummer limousine in the parking lot at 6th and Dunn, close to the IMU. I was curious who that limo belonged to. If anyone knows, feel free to post in the comments or send me a tip via e-mail.
There is more coverage of the protest (including pictures) at HoosierPundit and Fuzzy Conservative.