Like many Indianapolis neighborhoods after last week's storms, this week's Indiana Republican Party convention was sorely lacking in energy.
The party faithful, who couldn't quite fill a huge hall at the Indiana Convention Center, seemed to be going through the motions at a convention marked by lackluster speeches, tepid applause and delegates who seemed most interested in taking care of business as quickly as possible so they could be home in time for dinner.
Perhaps it had something to do with the dire predictions facing Republicans this election year. Maybe it was because the dark convention hall had all the charm of a cave. Whatever it was, the event lacked the buzz of the party's 2004 convention, when delegates ecstatically cheered the nomination of then-candidate Mitch Daniels.
The governor did his part by giving the convention's only rousing speech. But even he had to work to rally the crowd this time around; it's always easier to get excited about a fresh candidate than a guy whose been doing the job for nearly four years.
Well, Tully was right about one thing. Gov. Daniels gave a "rousing speech" but it was more. He delivered as effective of a substantive speech in support of the many accomplishments of his administration as he possibly could. He's passionate about the work he has done for the state these past four years, and he's very convincing in making the case for four more years. I wouldn't envy any candidate who has to go up against his record and his ability to convince people he has the state on the right track. If this isn't the case, then why is Jill Long Thompson having so much trouble finding a running mate?
Tully bought into it hook, line and sinker that Zoeller's win over Daniels' choice for Attorney General, Jon Costas, was an expression of displeasure by the party faithful towards him. Nothing could be further from the truth. To his credit, Tully does pick up on the rift within the Marion County delegation. According to Scott Fluhr's analysis of the AG vote, Marion County's delegation voted by a margin greater than 60% for Costas, the choice of Gov. Daniels and Marion Co. Chairman Tom John. However, if you exclude the 103 delegates appointed by John, who presumably all voted for Costas, Zoeller had to win the vote of the elected delegates by a margin of 62%-38% according to Fluhr's analysis. Will Brizzi be hurt because of his rift with John over this election. He shouldn't. How can you blame a guy for backing a person he has known professionally and personally for more than ten years? What kind of guy would Brizzi be if he supported a guy he didn't even know over a personal friend?
As for the reason delegates were in such a hurry to leave the convention, it was 5:00 p.m. on a Monday, delegates had been stuck at a convention center without any operating concession stands, the room was hot and many people had a long drive ahead of them.