TERRE HAUTE —
Don’t you feel it?
That overstuffed, can’t-move, what-was-I-thinking, worse-than-Thanksgiving sensation? The juices aren’t flowing, nothing is digesting. What’s been consumed is just lying there, rock-hard, intact. Meat belly at its most severe.
Every year, it’s the same, mindless overindulgence. We open our jaws, the political process shoves a massive beast in front of us and we swallow the whole pig.
Months later, when the muscle and fat, skin, bones, organs, hooves and hairy snout have been broken down and moved along — just when we’ve begun to smooth out — the process begins again.
Each midterm election year, we swallow two whole pigs. Each presidential election, we swallow four. Day in and day out, we are either swallowing or trying to digest whole pigs. There is barely a break in the routine.
And, boy, are those pigs getting expensive.
This midterm election, some $4 billion went to fatten the pigs we swallowed as a nation. Four billion. With unemployment still just under 10 percent, dozens of states’ unemployment insurance funds in hock, home foreclosures still mushrooming, and local governments wondering which basic services to cut to keep cops and firefighters on the streets, we swallowed $4 billion worth of pig.
Former eBay executive Meg Whitman forked over $162 million — $142 million of it her own money — for the California governor’s race. She said she did it for the sake of the country.
Granted, $4 billion won’t make a dent in our $13.7 trillion national debt, but huge pockets of the USA could have put Whitman’s $162 million to a lot better use than she did. An astounding $107 million went to buy television time to diss her opponent, the Phoenix-like Jerry Brown. He spent “only” $30 million to diss Whitman — and he won.
In Ohio and Illinois, the totals didn’t reach California levels, but were fairly awesome by fly-over country standards. Incumbent governor Ted Strickland and his challenger, John Kasich, spent $34.5 million. Kasich, who hammered Strickland over Ohio’s mightily depressed economy, won.
The Illinois governor’s race between Pat Quinn and Bill Brady cost $33 million, about $10 million more than the same contest four years ago, when the recession was a distant concept. Add in the cost of the primary election, and $63 million was spent vying for the Illinois governor’s office.
As the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform put it in a post-election report: “That’s about twice what Illinois government will spend this year in state tax dollars to assist job creation through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.”
The political reform watchdog group also noted that 15 state legislative races cost at least $1 million each. The 49th Senate District race cost $2.67 million. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride had to raise $3.2 million just to be retained.
Back in April, when President Obama was injecting stimulus money into the national economy, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said, “During the last 100 days, we have seen an orgy. It would make any local smorgasbord embarrassed.”
Mixed metaphors aside (and what does an embarrassed smorgasbord look like?), Bachmann just participated in a pretty impressive smorgasbord orgy herself. Final tallies won’t be in until January, but by Oct. 1, Bachmann had raised $10 million for her re-election, $5.4 million of it in the third fiscal quarter. The $5.4 million was more than any Minnesota congressional candidate had ever amassed for an entire election.
Not that accounting is Bachmann’s strong suit. This past week she fumed about the “$200 million a day” that will be spent on the president’s trip to Asia. The White House and Pentagon responded that Bachmann’s figures had “no basis in reality,” were “wildly inflated,” and “a lot of creative writing.”
A Bachmann spokesman said the congresswoman couldn’t be blamed for using bad numbers because “she cited a press article … so all we have to go by is the press.” The article Bachmann cited was from a news report in India, which got the $200 million figure from an unnamed Indian government official.
Closer to home, Gov. Mitch Daniels was so enthused about his party’s chances for success in the Indiana House, his PAC kicked in $1 million to 27 GOP candidates. That helped offset the $1.5 million raised by the Indiana State Teachers Association, not known for its support of Republicans. Bob Heaton, who received $185,000 from the Daniels PAC, beat Bionca Gambill for the District 46 seat, a contest that cost nearly $1 million.
House minority leader Brian Bosma told Mary Beth Schneider of the Indy Star he figured at least $18 million was spent on races for state seats.
The day after Hoosiers and the rest of the nation swallowed the two whole Election 2010 pigs, the state Budget Agency announced that Indiana tax revenues for October were $23 million less than the most recent official forecasts and $81 million less than the amount projected in the state budget. The collected revenues also were $6 million less than Indiana took in last October.
If only we could have gotten our hands on a small percentage of the money that was spent to fatten the pigs in the U.S. Senate contest in Nevada. Together, Sharron Angle and Harry Reid racked up a $50-million campaign record for the state. Angle raised $14.3 million in the third quarter alone, 80 percent of it from outside the state.
On the morning of the election, Angle told a crowd gathered in Reno, “I want to say thank you to God. This is one nation under God. In God we trust and we owe our future to him.”
Angle lost to Reid, so apparently God decided she and humanity would benefit more if she did something with her time besides move to Washington to shrink the federal government. In her concession speech, Angle told her supporters, “I’ve never seen the kind of patriotism I’ve seen displayed over the last 20 months.”
That’s a novel way to describe a nation still digesting four whole pigs and preparing to swallow two more.
Stephanie Salter can be reached at (812) 231-4229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
Don’t you feel it?
EDITORIAL: It’s happening, and it’s here
There’s nothing to do in Terre Haute or in Vigo County.
Or Marshall, Ill. Or Brazil. Or Paris.
EDITORIAL: A timely call-out of NSA critics
As if it couldn’t get worse, politicians in Washington have again tied themselves in knots.
Yes, we know. What else is new?
READERS' FORUM: June 19, 2013
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RONN MOTT: Why Syria?
Russia is making a lot of noise in favor of Syria. They are supplying Assad’s army with more armaments and basic things such as ammunition and such.
LIZ CIANCONE: Another beloved dog goes to heaven
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READERS’ FORUM: June 18, 2013
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MAX JONES: For loyal readers, a bit of news from the T-S newsroom
As journalists toiling to create a content-rich, relevant and compelling community newspaper each day, we feel a special bond with our legions of readers across the Wabash Valley and beyond.
GUEST COLUMN: One Million Bones exhibit meant to raise awareness, inspire action to end genocide
The National Mall: A grassy corridor in Washington, D.C., lined with America’s greatest museums and monuments.
Ending at the U.S. Capitol building, it is a symbol of our belief in the power and greatness of America. Last weekend, we turned it into a mass grave.
EDITORIAL: Insisting on ISTEP quality lawmakers’ primary duty
Now that everyone, on both sides of the aisle, seems backslappingly happy to agree that this spring’s ISTEP school testing debacle was unacceptable, that at least some of the results lack credibility and that the issue carries high-stakes significance, what next?
The Obama Debate: Is he a liar or incompetent?
I read the letters on the opinion page daily and I find an unusual silence from your liberal progressive contributors lately. Could it be because they don’t have anything to expound upon? Well, maybe I can give them some material.
A Fathers Day Tribute: Transition — from child to father
Transition seems like a big word to use as his story unfolds. Transition was probably never used in conjunction with speech, his speech, but it demonstrates his life, as it does in many lives lived in his generation.
READERS' FORUM: June 16, 2013
Horrible crime cries out for stern justice
Confused about groups’ merger
Global warming fraud exposed
The Obama Debate: President has served us well
I have not heard a positive thing by those in this area about this president since his 2008 election and 2009 inauguration. Why this manifestation, I just can’t understand.
RONN MOTT: Not hurried a bit by 21st century tech
Unlike so many of you, I do not get up in the morning and run to turn on my computer. In fact, if you need to reach me in a hurry, I would say that 19th century invention of Alexander Bell’s would be the best way. If you do email me or use some other electronic convenience, better give it a couple of days because I am not in that big of a hurry.
READERS' FORUM: June 15, 2013
America needs another hero
EDITORIAL: And now we wait for justice
It is a word we would rather never have on our front page — homicide. That we had to use it twice on Wednesday’s front page is sad, but unavoidable.
READERS' FORUM: June 14, 2013
Mott statements contradict history
Display the flag
RONN MOTT: Kill the Umpire!
I don’t know who appointed Major League Baseball’s umpires “Gods,” but if they have been appointed “Gods,” they have appointed people who cannot see or think very well.
READERS' FORUM: June 13, 2013
Bad odor from gas prices
Build personal library
Morning after? No worries
EDITORIAL: Remembering Sister Jeanne
Terre Haute is mourning the loss this week of an accomplished and beloved community activist and leader whose life’s work is an inspiration to all who strive to serve.
EDITORIAL: Embrace the value of traffic planning
Never underestimate the value of a good plan to deal with a crisis, large or small, even if the final analysis of the management of a specific crisis is, “It could have been worse.”
READERS' FORUM: June 12, 2013
Like it or not, change coming
RONN MOTT: What’s happening?
I know I may have looked at these situations differently when I was in my twenties. The world, my life, my career, and the growth of my family all lay ahead of me. So perhaps now, many years later, I see it differently.
READERS’ FORUM: June 11, 2013
• Great support for local cause
• Another idea on housing issue
LIZ CIANCONE: Withdrawn society not very social any more
My Best Friend and I went out for lunch the other day. It was a sit-down place with our own “server” (in my day I was called “a waitress”) and everything offering personal attention. The manager even came over to ask if everything was all right.
READERS’ FORUM: June 10, 2013
• What is the cost of our austerity?
• Vintage campers to gather at rally
• Seek a healthy food alternative
EDITORIAL: It’s time to assess ISTEP
Later this month, the company behind this spring’s abysmal online administration of ISTEP testing for 27,000 Hoosier schoolchildren is being called to the principal’s office.
Readers’ Forum: June 9, 2013
• Taking time to help the world
• Reform by politics will not improve education
• Questions from a wondering mind
FLASHPOINT: Storm chasers must heed warnings, remember why we chase storms
The tragic death of noted weather researcher and former Discovery Channel storm chaser Tim Samaras has shaken all of us in the meteorological community.
Will you be happy if you win the lottery?
A Psychology Today article titled “What Will You Do if You Win the $550 Million Powerball Lottery?” caught my attention. Helping lottery winners with their money is my long-time gig.
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