Notes from Indiana-2: God, Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi

Jackie Walorski wasn’t shy about sharing the good news with the good people of Kokomo, Indiana: This race – Indiana 2nd – is now officially a tossup.

US voter scratches head 311 (photo credit: AP)
US voter scratches head 311
(photo credit: AP)
Jackie Walorski wasn’t shy about sharing the good news with the good people of Kokomo, Indiana – at least those 300-400 of them who came to hear her remarks Thursday evening, at the big hangar of Stephens Machine: This race – Indiana 2nd – is now officially a tossup. Proof: RealClearPolitics had moved the race from lean Democratic to the column of too close to call.
Walorski is battling the incumbent, Democrats Joe Donnelly, with the help of three – the order changes from one sentence to another: God, Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi. God, as was evident from the remarks made by most speakers of the evening is definitely a Republican. The minister had said so, the talk show host had said so, the candidate had said so, and the crowd seemed to agree without much hesitation.
As for Pence – he’s also supportive of the Republican, but that isn’t much surprising. Mike Pence was the guest star of the evening, the one authoritative enough to declare that “the time has come”. He is “No. 3 in the House Republican hierarchy, a position he was elected to by GOP members of the House nearly two years ago”. And an “unnamed source was quoted this week in a Capitol Hill newspaper as saying Pence would step down from that post if he plans to run for one of the other offices he’s been rumored to be considering: Indiana governor or president”. Yesterday, he certainly seemed like someone seeking higher office, running from one town to the other in his grand “Road Team Bus Tour” that brought him to Kokomo, a town located at the southern tip of the district.
We exchanged a couple words. Obviously, there was nothing in this event related to my points of main interests – American policy in the Middle East, Israel, Jewish vote. But Pence was willing to tell me that this election cycle is “more important than ever before” for those seeking the bettering of relations between the US and Israel, and those wanting to ensure the “strong alliance” between the two countries. Pence had said not long ago that he believes "the Obama administration is the most anti-Israel administration in the modern history of the state of Israel and our relationship with her". But yesterday he seemed to have taken a more cautious path, saying that “support for Israel is bipartisan” and “should remain so”, while reminding that the Obama administration was “denouncing Israel” for “building in Jerusalem”. He suggested that the new, supposedly Republican Congress, will “balance” the White House’s tendency to side with the Palestinian side.
As I’ve said, Walorski enjoyed the support of three – God, Pence and Pelosi. I counted the times Pelosi was mentioned in speeches in the course of little more than an hour: 28. Much more than President Obama, much more than the Democratic rival, Donnelly, more than “Obamacare”, more than “abortion”, more than almost anything. “If you want to fire Pelosi – you have to hire Walorski”, was Pence’s line. Pelosi’s name drew the loudest cheers, the most vocal denunciations.
“This seat is literally in our hands right now”, Walorski had said – which might be true. “In many of the latest political polls on District 2, the race between incumbent Joe Donnelly and challenger Jackie Walorski is now a dead heat”. And Pence mocked the partisan TV networks: MSNBC that is predicting no more than “few Republican gains” and Fox News, predicting Republican takeover of “all 435 seats”. The crowed gave him good laugh – clearly familiar with such election-eve exaggerations.
It did not laugh, though, when Walorski suggested her own version of grandiosity: “the nation is looking at a place called Kokomo”.
Update: Here's a story in Politico on Pence's no-compromise message. He will say it in Florida - but the people of Kokomo had heard it Thursday evening.
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