A line between evil, a felony
There was a reason it took members of the John Edwards jury nine days to decide the case. They were making the most difficult judgment call there is in a courtroom: overlooking the repugnant moral character of the defendant and making their decision only on an honest assessment of the evidence.
And in the end, that evidence was found lacking. There were six felony counts alleging Edwards misused nearly $1 million in campaign finance funds to hide his pregnant mistress during his 2008 Democratic presidential run. The jury acquitted him on one charge and deadlocked on the other five.
If there’s a lesson here, it can be found in the words of Edwards’ lead attorney, Abbe Lowell: “This is a case that should define the difference between a wrong and a crime, between a sin and a felony.”
Choice program is going well
School choice supporters are right to point the sheer number of participants as evidence of the success of Indiana’s voucher program after one year. Already 4,800 students have signed up to move from public to private schools this fall – that’s about 800 more vouchers than obtained the first year, and the deadline is still months away.
But the real proof that vouchers are the right way to go will come only if the program demonstrably improves the performance of Hoosier students.
That won’t be easy to gauge – to many factors are involved – but if the case can be made, it will be here. We have the strongest voucher program in the nation – giving freedom of educational choice once only enjoyed by the well-off not just to the poorest Hoosier students, but to all of them.
What they're leaving out
An Associated Press analysis makes much out of what Indiana’s U.S. Senate candidates are leaving out of their campaigns, apparently in their search for those mythical moderates and independents. Republican Richard Mourdock isn’t saying much about the evils of bipartisan cooperation, which he so passionately pummeled in the primary. And Democrat Joe Donnelly is silent about President Obama’s health care plan, which he strongly supported and voted for as a U.S. representative.
There’s still plenty of time for the candidates to explore these issues before the November election. But just in case our vote counts, we offer this advice. To Donnelly: Stay silent on health care; the more Hoosiers learn about it, the less they like it. To Mourdock: Criticize bipartisanship just as strongly as you always have; it’s a winner.
Elections were a turning point
If America ever comes to its senses and starts downsizing the federal behemoth leading us to the financial cliff, historians searching for starting points might focus on two momentous elections just a month apart.
The first was conservative firebrand Richard Mourdock’s thrashing of more moderate Richard “proud to work with the other side” Lugar in the Indiana GOP primary. Hoosier Republicans thoroughly repudiated the kind of compromising made by longtime incumbents of both parties, a pragmatic attitude that saw government growth as both natural and unavoidable.
His victory was one more sign that the tea party, prematurely declared dead, has become even more effective by moving its “taxed enough already” belief from the protest phase to the ballot box.
Interim step to four-year degree
Community college leaders in Indiana, Virginia, Louisiana and North Carolina believe their schools’ roles in providing an affordable education and job training are undervalued. So they have formed a coalition called Rebuilding the Middle Class to raise the profile, both among the public and with lawmakers, of the institutions, which have been seen as “high schools with ashtrays.”
In fact, community colleges such as Ivy Tech here in Indiana fill a vital role in higher education. At a time when more employers are requiring some kind of postsecondary education, the cost of attending four-year colleges has skyrocketed. Community colleges provide all the education after high school some students need, and for others they offer an interim step for those who want a four-year degree but aren’t quite ready.