In southern Indiana an impressive young candidate of the Mitch Daniels-Paul Ryan persuasion hopes to unseat a cocky if toothless Blue Dog.
From the rolling hills of Brown County to the banks of the Ohio River, the stretch of land that constitutes Indiana’s 9th Congressional District is strikingly serene. You would never know it’s a war zone.
Since 2002 the 9th has been home to the third most competitive congressional race in the country. And it has been the site of ferocious fights between candidates whose fortunes are largely linked to the nation’s political pulse.
November’s election, likely a referendum on President Barack Obama’s agenda, will be more of the same. But with one difference: This year, Republicans, increasingly looking to thoughtful, policy-oriented candidates to revive the party’s fortunes, may have found a rising star.
<;span>Meet Todd Young.
At a quick glance, Young, the Republican suitor for the seat currently held by Democrat Baron Hill, appears to have all the qualities of a promising politician. He is a 38-year-old father of four and a Marine-turned deputy prosecutor with television-ready good looks and natural charisma.
But Young is more about ideas than image. During a recent interview in his spare campaign office near Bloomington’s downtown, he discussed policy and philosophy with a wonkish zeal.
This should come as no surprise since his education includes degrees from the Naval Academy and the Universities of both Chicago and London. Because of this brainy bent, Young seems cut from the same cloth as Indiana’s Governor Mitch Daniels, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, and other Republicans who are attempting to steer the GOP towards an intellectually grounded innovation agenda.
And like Daniels and Ryan, Young, a Tocqueville aficionado and Margaret Thatcher fan (he once worked for the Iron Lady), is comfortable embracing the party’s libertarian roots.
“I’m a libertarian-conservative,” admits Young. “I believe the state should focus on defending lives, rights, and property instead of depriving its citizens of their God-given liberties.”
Unsurprisingly, his thinking is heavily inspired by Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Freidman. “They understood that government is ill-equipped to plan complex societies. And just as importantly, they realized that markets can be incredible forces to better the condition of mankind.”
Given these beliefs and America’s brewing battle between statism and free enterprise, Young is a timely candidate; his opponent, Hill, a perfect proxy for the policies now emanating out of Washington.
The hallmark of Hill’s career (with the exception of a forced two-year foray into lobbying after the 2004 election, he has been in Congress since 1999) has been a carefully affected patina of moderation. But like most Blue Dogs, his bite is largely toothless. In fact, he has been an enthusiastic cheerleader for Obama’s adventures in government growth, regardless of the consequences to his state and district.
He voted for the $9 billion stimulus bill, passed on a promise to keep unemployment under 8 percent. Like the national average, Indiana’s unemployment now hovers around 10 percent.
He voted for Obama’s health care overhaul even though it will hammer Indiana’s prosperous medical device manufacturing industry with taxes and its expansion of Medicaid will likely necessitate the end of the Healthy Indiana Plan — the state’s popular consumer-driven health care program for low-income Hoosiers.
He voted for the stalled, but not yet abandoned, cap and trade energy tax despite the fact that its costs would disproportionally impact Indiana, which derives most of its electricity from coal.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?