Ouch: Indy Star Takes Bauer, Dems to Task for Squandered Opportunities

And you thought Jon Stewart was giving Jim Cramer a hard time this week.

In an editorial today, the Indy Star Editorial Board takes House Speaker Pat Bauer and opponents of township and education reform to task for letting cronyism trump the needs of the citizenry. It’s straight, to the point, and if you’re looking to close out your week with kittens and rainbows, you might want to look elsewhere. The Star asserts:

This is the time in the long discussion over local government reform in Indiana that we could, justifiably, write an opinion so blistering that young children and other gentle souls would risk life-long consequences if left too long in its presence.

Today, however, we will spare you that stew of scorn and outrage.

It’s not that members of the Indiana House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee don’t deserve strong censure for once again shielding their cronies in township government from public accountability. They most certainly do.

Disapproval, however, should be reserved for those for whom there’s still hope, who have yet to dive willingly into a dark pit, filled to the brim with disdain for the public’s best interests. Observers then would have a responsibility to try to rescue them from their fate.

However, it’s too late for Democrats in the Indiana House, under the authority of Speaker Pat Bauer (we withhold the word leadership). They already have plunged willingly and deeply into that pit. They have, in fact, sunk so low that they now pretend that the muck they have stirred up can be sold to the gullible as a form of preserving "local control.”

Most Hoosiers, however, have smelled both rose petals and cess pools. And they know the difference — no matter what cynical politicians might tell them.

The first two months of the current legislative session have brought a string of decisions so embarrassing that almost any elected leader outside the Indiana House would by force of conscience stand on the corner of Market and Capitol and apologize profusely to every citizen who passed. Thus far, representatives have raided reserves to cobble together a one-year budget (instead of the standard two-year plan), but later handed casinos millions in tax breaks. A moratorium on charter schools was passed when education reform is more necessary than ever. And now local government reform appears dead for another year, even after the commonplace inequities and inefficiencies of townships have been widely exposed.

The long-suffering residents of this good state can find comfort in the fact that Bauer and his troops must depart, by order of state statute, from the Statehouse in another 48 days. The damage they already have done is great, and may be worse still before the end mercifully arrives. But the closing gavel now carries the best hopes for those who value good government and thoughtful leadership.