THIS IS A BIT UNCOMFORTABLE. I am going to laud the performance of a professional politician. And in full disclosure, he is a longtime friend to some of us here. Nonetheless, it has to be don
Close observers of the political scene have noticed something different about Jim Banks. Unlike the rest of Indiana’s congressional delegation, his emails and posts actually include useful information independent of any political aspirations, indeed some of it counter to that. It is information that helps constituents understand the challenges facing our society and the options available to it.
As suspicious as it may sound, Banks, who represents the Third Congressional District, seems to be fulfilling an ideal of American office — representing his constituency as a friend and neighbor, not as an amoral agent sent to Washington to press our interests in exchange for wealth and sinecure.
On my screen is a FaceBook post yesterday by the representative. I have not seen anything like it in almost 50 years of covering politics. The man is calling out as liars the most powerful lobbying influences in our state, telling them in effect to stop trying to manipulate the democratic process and mind their own business. Here it is:
“Eli Lilly intensely lobbied against State Sen. Erin Houchin’s election security bill S.B. 353 at the Statehouse. They focused on criticizing the part of the bill that required ID verification for absentee ballots.
“Right now in Indiana, ID is required to vote in person but not for absentee voters, and a majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents support voter ID requirements for all types of voting.
“But that didn’t stop Eli Lilly from implying the voter ID provision is racist and claiming there have been no accusations of voter fraud in Indiana, so the bill is a “solution in search of a problem.”
“Unfortunately, their smear campaign worked. The watered-down version that eventually passed the House doesn’t require ID verification of any kind for absentee ballots requested by mail.
“I’m glad to hear that Senator Houchin dissented on what the House passed and intends to continue her efforts to strengthen voter ID laws in our state.
“Eli Lilly’s campaign against S.B. 353 was a shameful disinformation campaign.
Here’s the problem: the most common forms of voter fraud target absentee ballots. Absentee voting should have more stringent security measures than in-person voting, not less.
“And there have been proven and consequential instances of voter fraud in Indiana involving absentee ballots. In 2003 Indiana’s Supreme Court overturned the 2003 Democratic mayoral primary in East Chicago because of widespread absentee ballot voter fraud. 47 people were either convicted or pled guilty for playing a role in absentee ballot voter fraud in Indiana.
“Hoosiers should be very wary of corporations that lie in order to make our elections less secure. They don’t care about voter representation and they don’t care about democracy. They are trying to sabotage both.”
Wow. And in addition, Banks in recent months has consistently defined as his central political position the protection and repair of the Middle Class — yes, us deplorables.
Now, agreed, all this may be a trick, a sneaky way of getting re-elected. Banks, an experienced and accomplished political tactician, may be merely assuming the stance envisioned by the Founding Fathers, that is, to challenge the inevitable attempts by the powerful to centralize authority and impose their particular brand of tyranny,
Well, so be it. If Banks is a professional politician, he is my kind of professional politician. — tcl