May 2008

By: Chris Riley

Definitions of “leadership” vary among the many volumes that reduce leadership to bullet-points by authors hoping to debut on the bestseller list. But implicit in any definition–no matter how erudite, no matter how basic–lays this simple truth: a leader must demonstrate basic awareness of the most pressing issues.

Barack Obama, with electrifying platitudes and purposeful ambiguity, earned a reputation for saying nothing despite saying much–a trait evoking Voltaire’s classic line: “men use speech to conceal their thoughts.” Yet, on those occasions where he actually does say something, it ain’t all that pretty.

In an unusually specific campaign video, Obama promises to “slow the development of future combat systems.” He vows that he will not weaponize space and will instead “cut investment in unproven missile defense systems.” And, in Mondale-like manner (I once thought no one would ever duplicate Mondale), he will “not develop new nuclear weapons” and will “reduce our nuclear arsenals” by negotiating with Russia. (You can view the video simply by visiting our website here.)

So much for peace through strength.

In the waning days of his indolent presidency, James Buchanan introduced himself as the “last president of the United States”–a tacit acceptance of the confederacy to come. He said nothing while the House tabled a resolution authorizing the president to call out state militias. He acquiesced when the Senate requested funding reductions in the War Department. He failed to see the most pressing issue of his day. And

nearly three percent of the nation’s population died in the four years that followed.

Obama demonstrates similar aloofness. At a time when Iran daily rattles its sword and insists upon nuclear missile production–at a time when we remain engaged in a vigilant (and distant) war on terror–at a time when the world’s dangers are multiplying, he wants to cut resources devoted to national security.

Thanks for the specifics. But what about a little thinking to go along with it?

Memorial Day presents the sadly annual occasion for us to remind ourselves that freedom isn’t free. Freedom comes with a heavy price tag–both in lives and money–because of the many who, for their own reasons, want to take it away. Obama’s commitment to discount shopping for national security proves that he doesn’t fully understand the issues. And it proves, more vividly than any missing lapel pin, that the man isn’t ready to be a leader.

Chris Riley, an Indiana attorney, is the St. Joseph County, Indiana Republican Party Chairman.  The presence of this guest, or any other guest, does not indicate their endorsement of every view expressed on this website.


Editor’s Note: The author and owner of this blog has weighed in on the Republican nomination race for Indiana Attorney General. The Indiana State GOP Convention, which will decide between the two candidates is June 2nd.

By: Brian Sikma

With the Indiana Attorney General’s race heating up on the Republican side, here is a look at where Jon Costas and Greg Zoeller differ on critical points. Issues of electability are important, but with both candidates about even on that front (Jon Costas did win one contested mayoral race with the help of labor unions and trial lawyers, so perhaps he’s slightly ahead on that front) what it comes down to is experience and philosophy.


Greg Zoeller has significant experience working in the Attorney General’s office as chief deputy to the Attorney General.

Virtually all of Jon Costas experience has little relation to the duties of the Attorney General.

Fiscal Conservatism

Jon Costas has strong ties to the big Indianapolis law firms that benefited from the millions of dollars in contract work awarded to them by Attorney General Karen Wilson. During his 2003 and 2007 mayoral campaigns, Jon Costas received over eleven thousand dollars in campaign contributions from three of largest law firms in Indianapolis.

Under the leadership of Attorney General Steve Carter and chief deputy to the Attorney General Greg Zoeller, the Indiana Attorney General’s office has spent less money on contract work and saved Hoosier taxpayers millions of dollars. Greg Zoeller is a proven fiscal conservative.

Smoking Bans

As mayor of Valparaiso, Jon Costas proudly fought for the passage and implementation of one of the state’s toughest big-government smoking bans. The ban not only impacts government buildings and publicly owned places like parks and sidewalks, it also mandates how private businesses and restaurants should conduct their business.

Greg Zoeller has consistently stood up for the principle that the private sector should not be run by big-government. Hard working business owners need to be free to make judgments about what works best for their business.

Legal Philosophy

In 2005 the United States Supreme Court declared that government jurisdictions could take private property away from one citizen and give it to another private entity if such a redistribution of wealth is for a broadly defined “public purpose.”

Inspite of the fact that the new approach to eminent domain was contrary to an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, Jon Costas abused his power as mayor of Valparaiso to successfully lead the city’s effort to take a shopping complex from one private company and sell it to another private company that wanted to redevelop the site. When Jon Costas had an opportunity to demonstrate a more conservative approach to the Constitution he chose to follow a liberal philosophy that trampled on freedom.

Greg Zoeller strongly believes that private property rights are essential to the organization and maintenance of a free society. Greg Zoeller is the only Attorney General candidate who will cons istently respect the constitutionally protected rights of the people, regardless of what judicial whims may allow.

Political Philosophy

Jon Costas styles himself as a “progressive” leader. The term “progressive” is often used by those on the left who seek greater government interference in the lives and businesses of the American people. When you consider his hearty support for a government imposed smoking ban and his work to remove the private property rights of a landowner, it’s easy to see that Jon Costas likes more government interference in the lives of Hoosiers.

Greg Zoeller is a solid conservative who has dedicated his professional life to the principles of limited government and a respect for the rights and responsibilities that go with freedom. His approach to public policy is based on principles that empower people and do not increase the size and scope of government. Greg Zoeller is prepared to put Hoosiers, and not government desires, first.

Campaign Style

Those supporting and advocating for the nomination of Jon Costas have not only attempted to make the case for their candidate, they have also taken the extra step of twisting arms and bullying those they want to support their candidate. It is unfortunate that Jon Costas has failed to repudiate the tactics of his supporters.

At the start of the campaign for the Attorney General nomination, Greg Zoeller declared that the race would be “a gentleman’s race.” While his opponent’s supporters have disgraced themselves, the party, and the process, Greg Zoeller has continued to campaign on substantive issues that really matter.

The Republican party doesn’t need a third-grade school yard fight style approach to the Attorney General’s office.


Jon Costas has accepted over ten thousand dollars from unions during his 2003 and 2007 mayoral campaigns. He has publicly boasted about his close ties to labor leaders.

Greg Zoeller recognizes the right of workers to join unions while simultaneously supporting the view that unionization should not be forced on any worker as a condition for his or her employment.

At the end of the day, one has to conclude that Greg Zoeller is the most conservative and most experienced candidate running for the Republican nomination to be the next Attorney General of Indiana. I encourage the delegates to the Indiana Republican Convention to cast their ballot for the conservative, bold, and principled, Greg Zoeller.

By: Brian Sikma

Although the majority of 2nd District Democrats cast their vote for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, today Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN02) announced that as a Democratic party super-delegate he would be supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Rep. Donnelly made his announcement via a press release from his official congressional office. Although Donnelly has been emphasizing lately in the local press that he is only interested in working on district issues while he’s in Washington, apparently he’s very much interested in fulfilling party obligations while on taxpayer time. Also of interest is the fact that Donnelly chose to endorse Sen. Obama only after he received $7,500 in campaign contributions from the Hope Fund PAC run by Obama.

Donnelly cited Obama’s ability to build “bipartisan majorities” and his work for affordable health care as some of the reasons behind his endorsement. It does appear that Sen. Obama will have a difficult task building bipartisan majorities since he was rated as the most liberal member of the United States Senate by National Journal and has received accolades from some of the most liberal groups in American politics.

Joe Donnelly’s support for Sen. Obama’s nationalized health care proposal illustrates the choice that 2nd District voters will face this fall. Canada, Germany, and other nations have nationalized their health care systems with disastrous results. The only people who win in a government controlled health care system are the bureaucrats.  Standing in contrast to these proven policies of failure is Luke Puckett, the Republican candidate running against Joe Donnelly.  Puckett is advocating for a market based solution to the rising cost of health care, a solution that puts consumers first and unleashes the ingenuity of the American people in a way that Barack Obama and Joe Donnelly seem to fear.

Originally posted here.

You wouldn’t think it would take much thought on the part of churches and denominations when it comes to protecting the definition of marriage.  Although the subject of same-sex marriage is considered to be a political hot potato by some, for churches who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, adhering to the biblical mandate that marriage is one man and one woman (for the record, the Old Testament practice of polygamy was not sanctioned in the Levitical law).


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