Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tully's Credibility Takes Hit with Ballard Piece

(Editor's Note and Update: Egg on my face. I guess I didn't see that Tully was writing another piece on why Ballard won't be re-elected tomorrow.)

The Indianapolis Star’s Matt Tully is a fine writer, and I find myself in agreement with him often. His latest glowing review of Mayor Ballard’s first term in office and how it has earned him a second term, however, is nearly laughable.

Tully’s piece, which ran Tuesday in the Star, is effusive in praise for the Mayor who Tully credits for many things. He credits Ballard for concentrating on the little things in city government such as potholes, sidewalks and upgrading the Mayor’s Action Center. He praises Ballard’s work in putting together a “strong team” of advisors and deputies. Tully calls Ballard “apolitical” and praises him for his work against “rigid partisanship” and claims that Dems have just missed the boat in underestimating Ballard.

There’s no underestimation at work. Greg Ballard is the weakest Indianapolis Mayor in the Unigov era. With visionaries like Richard Lugar, Bill Hudnut, Steve Goldsmith, and Bart Peterson (whether you liked them or not), Ballard had a tough act to follow. As I’ve stated in previous posts, Ballard did essentially nothing noteworthy besides taking control of public safety in his first two years. Since then, he’s adopted the “sell off assets for a quick buck” scheme, and he’s already looking for more. Ballard has been unresponsive to his constituents on these controversial moves.

Ballard’s so-called “strong team” has been a who’s who of previous Republican administrations, Republican politics, controversy, or a local law firm or two. Bloggers like Paul Ogden and Gary Welsh have hit the Mayor time and time again on the background of his advisors and where they came to him from. It also seems like Ballard has a direct line to the ear of City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn who, unlike Bob Cockrum, has become the Ballard Administration’s puppet on the Council.

Tully also praises the Mayor for “being there” in relation to his activities in the community. That’s, frankly, ridiculous. The job of the Mayor of Indianapolis is to get out and about to parades, community events, and summer barbeques. Suggesting that Ballard has done more than previous mayors in this realm is silly, and it’s even funnier to think that’s a reason why he should be re-elected.

As far as Ballard’s political leanings, if Tully truly believes that Ballard is apolitical, he needs to turn in his credentials as a political commentator. One needs look no further than Ballard’s refusal to meet with Democratic City-County Councillors over critical issues facing the council. I’ve heard multiple Democrats on the City-County Council tell me and tell others that the Mayor and his office seems to forget to return calls, e-mails, and other correspondence on key issues often responding only at the last minute.

Besides placing lipstick on the pig and spraying air-freshener in the sty, the piece stays away from the seedier side of the Ballard record. There’s no discussion of the current controversies between IMPD and the community or Ballard’s questionable and dubious business deals with Citizens Energy and ACS.

There’s also no discussion of the current political landscape in Marion County or how Ballard has lost many of his early grassroots supporters. Those folks now see Ballard as anything but the conservative new face they thought they were getting.

Tully thinks Ballard will get re-elected and with the campaign cash he’s raised, it’s certainly possible. Still, I just can’t believe it’s going to be as easy as Tully wants to believe it will be.


Blake Johnson said...

Just watch Jon...give it a few days and I bet you'll see a new piece from Tully talking about why Ballard won't get elected. I think he's being really clever here.

Anonymous said...

Tully's articles on IPS have been as off base as his article on Ballard. I think he is told what to write.

Paul K. Ogden said...


No, Tully is not being clever. There was actually a way that Tully could have done what he's doing and made a decent argument for Ballard's re-election chances. For example, he never mentions money. Ballard will be loaded with money...of course it's money his administration has shaken down government contractors - but it's money nonetheless.

The fact that Tully doesn't even mention the number one factor Ballard has going for him as a candidate says that it's poor political analysis.

Bob said...

His article (at least online) states:

"(Don't worry if you're a Ballard foe: My column Friday will look at the five main reasons Ballard won't be re-elected.)"