Scott Tibbs
blog post
February 18th, 2005

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More on Kilmer's resignation from the Plan Commission

As the fallout continues from Herb Kilmer's resignation from the county Plan Commission, some are saying that there is a significant distinction between Andy Ruff's insult directed at Brian Nichol of INDOT and Kilmer's harsh criticism of "Green democrats" on the county Plan Commission.

First, let's review what Ruff said:

If we were truly using scarce federal money, why would the government allow some twerp like (INDOT Commissioner) Brian Nichols -- this lawyer, this young punk bureaucrat political wannabe -- make a decision about the investment of billions of truly federal money?"

That was pretty harsh. On Tuesday night, Kilmer used the terms "left wing radicals" and "solid left-wing wacko people" to describe members of the Plan Commission.

So, how is Ruff's statement somehow different from Kilmer's? Answer: there is no difference between the two.

  • Ruff, like Kilmer, used more than one pejorative.
  • It is irrelevant that Kilmer's target was local individuals while Ruff's was not. Civility does not know geographical boundaries.
  • It is weak, at best, to argue that Ruff's attacks on Nichol were somehow less connected to his temper than Kilmer's were.
  • The argument that Ruff's insult was accurate while Kilmer's was not is nothing more than special pleading.
  • The argument that Ruff's insult was somehow more acceptable than Kilmer's because Kilmer targeted elected officials is just plain silly. Elected officials choose to make themselves a target for criticism when they file to run for office; they are certainly a more legitimate target for criticism than someone who does not place himself/herself before the voters.

Meanwhile, the Herald-Times has no leg to stand on criticizing Kilmer's choice of words, or Andy Ruff, for that matter. This is because the H-T has engaged in its own hyperbolic personal attacks in staff editorials, such as denouncing the county's "goofy far-right wing" in a January 16 editorial. Would the Herald-Times have us believe that "goofy" is acceptable while "wacko" is not?

Just a few days earlier, the H-T pontificated that Republicans in the Legislature missed a political opportunity by not passing a bill to enable a food and beverage tax. Why? Because, after passing the bill, they could have then blamed the tax on Democrats. The H-T, of course, was advocating dishonest politics. (The reason why that tactic is dishonest should be obvious.) The H-T would have been the first in line to denounce it had the house GOP done what the Herald-Times so cynically recommended.

Of course, who can forget when the H-T lumped someone who called the police on a drunk driver with people who committed attempted murder and sexual molestation, murder, and murder for hire? Before the Herald-Times starts lecturing Kilmer about civil politics, perhaps they should start by looking in the mirror.


Update: March 7, 2005 Tell the truth, H-T!

The March 5 editorial in the Herald-Times comes close to lying about Monroe County Commissioner Herb Kilmer's decision not to serve on the county's Planning Commission. Kilmer did not simply leave because Democrats took over the Plan Commission. Kilmer issued an ultimatum to fellow Commissioner Joyce Poling: either appoint someone other than Richard Martin or he will resign from the Plan Commission.

Knowing Kilmer's position, Poling sided with Democrat Iris Kiesling and re-appointed Martin over her fellow Republican's objections. It is poor journalism for the H-T to leave out this important fact.

The way I see it, Joyce Poling was the one who decided that Kilmer would no longer serve on the Plan Commission. Why can't the Herald-Times tell the whole story?