Pharos-Tribune

Columns

April 15, 2012

Why can’t our state be heard?

I was disappointed last week when Rick Santorum announced he was suspending his presidential campaign.

I wasn’t necessarily going to vote for him. I just wanted him to stay in the race.

In fact, I wanted all the presidential candidates to stay in the race. It might have been interesting to have a half dozen or more candidates still in the running.

Even two, though, would have been nice.

I was thrilled four years ago when Indiana found itself at the center of a spirited Democratic primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

We actually had both candidates visiting our state. Clinton’s husband, Bill, the former president, actually came to Logansport.

Our own mayor issued an endorsement. The national news media was actually paying attention to how folks around here might vote.

Indiana mattered in a presidential primary for the first time in decades.

I was thrilled when it looked like that might happen again, this time in the Republican primary.

I was looking forward to a campaign appearance by Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney.

Maybe one of them would actually deliver a major policy speech right here in our hometown.

It would have been fun. Maybe even a little bit exciting. And it ought to be.

There is no reason that Indiana should be an after-thought every four years when the major parties choose their presidential candidates.

Hoosiers should not be forced to watch as voters in other states sift through the candidates and narrow the choices to the point where what the folks in Indiana think no longer matters.

Todd Rokita, the current 4th District congressman, had a plan when he was secretary of state that would have given more states a voice in the process. At least occasionally, Indiana would have cast ballots early enough to play a role in the selection process. That’s a plan that should be revisited.

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