By Scott Tibbs, September 17, 2010
On Tuesday evening, the Monroe County Election Board rejected satellite voting sites for the third time. The Republican appointee admitted that the rejection of the sites was political, saying "I think behind it is Baron Hill. I think he wants all those extra votes." She echoed the statement of Monroe County GOP chairman Les Compton.
The Democrats knew the sites would not be approved because the Republican appointee is intent on blocking the proposal, so the only purpose of bringing it forward is to embarrass the Republican Party - and it is working like a charm. The Democrats laid a trap and the Monroe County GOP walked right into it.
I cannot figure out why local Republicans are determined to take this stand. We are going to win the U.S. House of Representatives in November, which will hopefully include electing a Republican to replace Baron Hill. We might win the U.S. Senate. Barack Obama's approval ratings are in free fall. The Bloomington City Council punched a hornet's nest over the summer with the boycott of Arizona. (And it is a boycott, despite the lies the city has told about it.)
For the first time since 2002 (when the GOP won 3 of 4 county council seats, unseated an incumbent county commissioner and caused the Mayor of Bloomington to lose his own county in the secretary of state race) we have a national tide at our backs. Why are we putting that in danger by needlessly antagonizing Democrats, students and IU employees?
We were smashed in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 county elections, and it has been getting progressively worse. This year is the first year we have a shot at a good election since 2002. But the Republican Party is determined to tick people off before the election. This is going to cost us votes. Yes, the satellite sites will benefit Democrats but what we're doing is far more destructive.
Plus, how in the world are we going to get students to vote for Republican candidates if we are telling them we don't want them to vote at all? In some of the city council races - especially Steve Volan's 6th district and David Rollo's 4th District - we need student votes to have a shot at winning. If this carries over into 2011, it may even cause Brad Wisler to lose. Remember, he won by only 4 votes in 2007. Wisler is by far the best city councilor Bloomington has had since I moved here in 1993 and it will be devastating if he loses.
Why are we motivating students to vote for Democrats by making it more difficult for them to vote? Were students motivated at all by this election? What Republicans should be doing is using Obamanomics to motivate students. After a trillion-dollar failed "economic stimulus" package, steep tax increases on the horizon in January, and the increased government regulations of ObamaCare, it will be that much more difficult for students to find a job when they graduate. The Republican message should be "vote for us so we can fix this and create a climate that encourages economic growth.
This was just plain stupid. We have other battles we should be fighting - battles that are politically favorable to Republicans. This decision should be reversed.