Give GOP credit. Unlike Democrats ó whose collective IQ seems to register somewhere between a í58 Buick and box of rocks ó Republicans are astutely aware of their political surroundings. Thatís why they win and Democrats donít.
In reality, Democrats arenít dumb.
Anyone who was privileged to bask in presence of former Gov. Joe Kernan know him as a passionate leader who truly cared for Hoosiers. The sharp mind of former Democratic Party State Chair Kip Tew was an asset to party. And former Lt. Kathy Gov. Davis was bright, witty, and personable. In short, they were a class act.
No, Democrats arenít dumb. Theyíre asleep.
The GOP, by contrast, paid close attention to elections in 2003 when Libertarian Greg Dixon took nearly 15 percent of vote in his bid for Indianapolis City Council. That put a sizeable ding in confidence of his Republican challenger. More bothersome was fact that Libertarians proved they could plan and execute an effective campaign. The GOP took note. The Democrats snoozed.
That same year Libertariansí candidate for mayor in Carmel snatched nearly 25 percent of vote from Republican incumbent. That was no small task, considering Hamilton County is a bastion of Republicanism. In nearby Noblesville, GOP saw over 40 percent of its vote go to Libertarians in two of their City Council races. In Wayne County, Susan Bell flat out squashed her Republican opponent and became Hoosier stateís first Libertarian judge. All told, twelve Libertarians are holding office across state.
To ears of Republicans, above has ring of an alarm clock. To Democrats itís a lullaby.
Simply said, GOP gets it. Indiana has three political parties. They are vulnerable. In 2004 they responded accordingly and won.
The Democrats donít get it. One would think party of Birch Bayh would have good sense to exploit Republicans' soft spot. Exploit it? They donít even seem to know it exists.
Consider, for example, GOPís gubernatorial primary in May of 2004. Eric Miller, a pro-life, sun-tanned poster child for religious right, challenged man who would ultimately become next governor. The Republican Party was divided. To thinking folks, that translated into vulnerability. To Democrats ó who are not thinking folks ó it meant nothing.