thoughts on Sodrel's announcement
A hat tip to HoosierPundit for putting Mike Sodrel's announcement on his blog.
It was interesting to watch/hear it-- both for what Sodrel said and what he did not say.
In his opening, he criticized both major political parties at length, by putting himself in the shoes of voters: we're not happy with Congress now (or two years ago); we're not happy with either D or R; we're tired of empty campaign promises; and so on. Of course, he's correct-- and sounds just like me in that regard!
It was interesting to hear a former Congressman try to make the "outsider" argument. In one sense, it is accurate; he's not a professional politician and contrasts starkly with Baron Hill in that regard. But whatever claim he had on the outsider label, he largely forfeited when he voted so often like an "insider" as our elected representative-- most notably on federal spending, the War in Iraq, and illegal immigration.
Then, Sodrel turned to libertarian rhetoric on the desirability of limited government-- that strong governments result in weak people, etc. He pointed out the absurdity of a "bidding war" by each party to spend our money-- and through debt, the money of our children.
In this context, he said all of the right things-- at least from my perspective. The problem is that his voting record simply doesn't square with his spoken vision. (If it had, I wouldn't have run in 2006 and wouldn't run in 2008. I'd be quite happy doing other things!) Going forward, I suppose he could apologize for his record, but such regrets are politically difficult to execute.
From there, Sodrel picked out two issues to emphasize: the Fair Tax (in the midst of giving the IRS a general beating) and border security. On the latter, he apparently continues to oppose significant enforcement against businesses which hire illegals (the "Sullivan Amendment" in the 2005-06 Congress). In contrast, a serious approach would require diligence in both external and internal enforcement.
Beyond that, I don't think he said anything on the War or on social issues. On the former, it'll be interesting to see what he says about the War going forward and how much he emphasizes it. And in omitting the latter, perhaps this is a sign of less emphasis on social issues-- or hopefully, a more civil tone to his campaign against Hill.
Sodrel finished by ably explaining his humble beginnings and his hard work-- trying to preemptively challenge Baron Hill's absurd and appalling critique of Mike as a millionaire. As good as the explanation was, it will probably not be enough to deflect Hill's name-calling if he decides to get nasty again in his campaign against Sodrel.