Craig Dunn: The drivel from John Gregg's mouth
Friday, October 07, 2016 12:03 PM
KOKOMO – Just listening to the drivel falling out of John Gregg’s mouth can give you first class case of the Hoosier heebie-jeebies. As I listen to the political flatulence that passes for the Gregg for Governor advertising campaign, a wave of emotions washes over me. The wave of emotions is somewhat akin to the feeling I would get if I was told that I had an incurable flesh-eating bacteria. You know it will eventually end, but how much misery will you have to go through to reach the end.
It never ceases to amaze me that Democrats still think they can get away with the politics of the big lie. I suppose if I knew that the army of fact checkers were either on my payroll or working pro bono through the mainstream media, I might try and get away by telling a few whoppers myself.
Now I know that there might be a few people reading this who might say, “But Craig, whatever are you talking about? John Gregg would never tell a fib in the pursuit of his election to governor. Surely, you must be mistaken.” Well, I’m old enough and experienced enough to not just rely on my own political party’s communications mill. I’m here to tell you that I lived through John Gregg’s enlightened leadership of the Indiana House while he served as both majority leader and speaker.
During his tenure in Democratic leadership I served as a member of a local school board. The state’s payments to our school corporation were delayed six months and in an effort to help us avoid financial disaster, the Democrats came up with their “rob Peter to pay Paul” strategy of allowing money from the capital projects account to be transferred to our operating budget. Students and teachers were adversely affected. The quality of education suffered because of Democratic leadership. Perhaps if John Gregg spent a little less time kowtowing to his teachers’ union paymasters and more time studying education issues, he’d learn that in the last budgetary session, Indiana education received its largest increase in history.
So exactly what changes would John Gregg make in Indiana education? He says he would stop teachers “teaching to the test.” Well that ship has sailed and significant changes are coming in the way students are tested. What John Gregg really means is that he wants to kill charter schools. He wants to kill school choice. He wants to kill right-to-work so that teachers’ unions can once again force teachers to financially support what is essentially nothing but a political machine.
During John Gregg’s tenure, I also got to witness another one of his sleight-of-hand techniques in order to keep plowing forward with his tax-and-spend drive in the Indiana Legislature. My wife works for a not-for-profit that works with mentally and physically challenged children and adults. Once again, monies owed by the state were withheld for six months, driving many social service organizations to the precipice of bankruptcy. This was bad for fragile children and for severely impaired adults. What Gregg won’t tell you in his slick, huckster-like television ads is that Democrats tried to balance their state budgets on the backs of children and the disabled.
The “new” John Gregg is a “Kumbaya” singing proponent of live and let live when it comes to the RFRA issue. The “old” John Gregg, the one that ran for governor in 2012, supported an Indiana Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The hypocrisy of Gregg’s magical and mystical transformation into a rainbow-flag-waving crusader is staggering. What is even more staggering is Gregg’s claim that Indiana was economically damaged by RFRA. First, it is a claim that is almost impossible to prove. Secondly, virtually all economic, tourism, convention and job growth data flies in the face of Gregg’s claim.
The “new” John Gregg is deeply concerned about our roads, and yet as majority leader and later speaker, he did nothing to deal with the problem. In fact, as the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, John Gregg fought against Gov. Mitch Daniels’ visionary approach to funding our highway infrastructure improvements through Major Moves. Every step along the way, Gov. Daniels had to battle a tight budget and Democratic intransigence.
Finally, John Gregg just doesn’t like the direction that our economy is going. Say what?
Indiana either leads or is among the leaders in virtually every type of viable economic measurement used as a yardstick to measure the economies of our states. The incredible economic turnaround crafted by Gov. Daniels and continued by Gov. Pence has become legend throughout neighboring states and across our country. We are increasing wages and workforce participation. We are decreasing unemployment to unheard-of levels. Just what direction does John Gregg want to change? Can his entire strategy be dependent on low information voters who sit at home and play Nintendo instead of going to work? Look at the help-wanted ads for proof!
I understand that no candidate for governor is ever going to step up to the microphone and declare that they don’t have a single plan for improving the state. It will never happen. Instead, big union money will hire political strategists who will mince and parse words and facts in an effort to confuse issues and to look like a meaningful candidate. Indiana deserves better than this. The turnaround orchestrated by Gov. Daniels and Gov. Pence has been nothing short of amazing. Why Hoosiers would want to turn back to the sad, ineffective days of Democratic do-nothing leadership just beats the heck out of me. In the end, I don’t think they will.
At the finish line, I believe that Eric Holcomb will be elected as your next governor. When Gov. Daniels was advocating for Major Moves, local government restructuring, property tax reform and government streamlining, the man on the tip of the governmental spear was Eric Holcomb. He led the fight in the trenches for governmental and education reform that put our children first. It is only natural that after fighting and winning so many critical legislative battles that the people of Indiana would put their trust in him.
I trust in Hoosier common sense to reject the specious Democratic argument for a change of leadership.
The Hoosier ship of state was just about crushed on the shoals of doubt, debt and despair during the leadership tenure of John Gregg. Big money and big lies don’t alter big truths. Indiana is better off under Republican leadership in the governor’s office and Eric Holcomb is the man to lead us forward.
Dunn is chairman of the Howard County Republican Party.