I’m a big fan of "The Daily Show." I watch every episode, in fact. So I was pretty enthused to see the governor of our great state on the program last night. Mitch Daniels appeared to promote his new book, "Keeping the Republic" — and was asked some pointed questions about his economic philosophies. So how do you think he did?
Presidential Medal of Freedom winner and famed journalist Brian Lamb began Wednesday’s Economic Club of Indiana presentation in Indianapolis by poking fun at the C-SPAN networks he created and runs. The audience rolled with laughter as Lamb played satirical journalist Jon Stewart’s commentary on the admittedly dry nature of C-SPAN’s 24-hour congressional coverage.
With all joking aside, Lamb, a Lafayette native and Purdue alum, used archived C-SPAN video to share a variety of Hoosier success stories. Lamb demonstrated the massive archives’ true value with his uncanny ability to connect incredible happenings with the often tiny details of their origin. Lamb recently made C-SPAN’s entire 30 years of video history free and available online in hopes that educators will start making similar connections for young minds.
Going where cameras have never gone before
C-SPAN is regularly credited with gaining unprecedented government access for all media outlets – increasing the public accountability of elected officials. Not all of this access has been welcome or easily won.
“Our whole effort is public meetings and you would be surprised how hard it is to get into public meetings,” Lamb explains.
Lamb described how resistance from congressional leadership has increased over the past couple of years, but stated his belief in the need for private meetings to occur.
The times they are a changin’
Lamb, well known for avoiding even the slightest hint of his personal political views, did comment on broad changes in political media and the increasingly argumentative tone.
“I think we’re probably better off when people are at each other’s throats and challenging each other on bills,” Lamb offered, adding, “The stronger the voices are, the better…”
Lamb spoke of the three networks that dominated news when he was growing up and how much government happened behind closed doors because of the lack of available coverage. He welcomes the advent of blogging and social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.
One aspect of media evolution that Lamb views as negative is the increasing impact of money on the trade – pointing to Walter Cronkite’s hiring of a talent agent in 1952 as the first link in this chain.
The next Economic Club event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 4 and will feature Mark Miles, president of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership discussing economic development in Central Indiana.
Learn more about the Economic Club of Indiana.
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.