Mike, Mike, Mike…

I am all for transparency in government–but that’s not the same thing as transparent bull—-.

In yesterday morning’s Star, we learned that the state had “abruptly” terminated its costly contract with a national PR firm–a contract necessitated by the disastrous publicity generated by Indiana’s passage of RFRA.

Thursday afternoon, Chris Cotterill, executive vice president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., cited strong employment numbers, national recognition for the state’s business-friendly climate and cost management efforts in the decision to cancel the contract with Porter Novelli.

Gov. Mike Pence said through a spokeswoman he supports the decision.

“Given the record-setting pace of job creation by businesses across Indiana, Governor Pence supports the decision by the IEDC to conclude the contract with Porter Novelli and continue current efforts to promote the advantages of doing business and creating jobs in our state,” said press secretary Kara Brooks.

And I have some swampland in Florida to sell you.

That “national recognition” of Indiana’s “business friendly” climate evidently is a citation to one of those notoriously unreliable magazine lists (the ten best places to retire! the 25 best cities for people with allergies!). And Indiana’s method of calculating its job-creation numbers has been the subject of criticism for years.

It’s fairly obvious why the Governor terminated the contract: he’s running for re-election, and the fact of that contract, its cost, and the administrative decisions that necessitated it have been subject to significant ongoing criticism. So…Voila! Suddenly, Indiana’s RFRA troubles are all behind us.

But they aren’t.

In San Francisco last week, tourist areas were dotted with Air BnB advertising signs saying “Dear Guests from Indiana, Just know you are always welcome here. (We’ll even share our pizza).” Teeshirts at New York pride celebrations proclaimed “Too gay for Indiana.” And sober Hoosier business executives share the conviction that the damage done by RFRA remains deep–that (as Arizona learned a few years ago) the attendant publicity conveyed an unfortunate message about the state’s civic climate that remains a substantial drag on tourism, business relocation decisions and convention business–a message that will not soon be eradicated.

If the Governor¬†really¬†wanted to improve the state’s image without spending money on a PR campaign, it would be simple enough to do: he could take a high-profile position in favor of amending Indiana’s civil rights laws to include protection from discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.

If anyone thinks our culture-warrior Governor is likely to do that, I still have that swampland in Florida….


  1. This could be listed as an addendum to yesterday’s blog, “Bought And Paid For”. Another waste of taxpayer’s hard earned dollars to cancel paid for lies regarding general conditions in the state of Indiana on all levels in an attempt to erase all memory of the quickly forgotten national shame and ridicule regarding his RFRA fiasco. Cancelled at a high cost using additional paid for lies to keep Pence in the headlines and the race for governor. Where was he during IN Pride Festival? Can’t accuse him of lying by appearing in public to support a major issue we all know he remains against; his brief contact with truth and facing the reality of his actions. I’m sure Festival planners could have found a “Pride” tee shirt in his size.

  2. Don’t rain on Mikey’s parade…

    Well- that’s just what “god did” as storms blew threw his headline appearance at a closed used-car lot event in southern Indiana yesterday.

    Gov Dense – “gay late and dollars short”; maybe he’s ready for prime time and will try yet another press conference or, better yet, take 4 on an interview with Stephanopolus.

    Gov Dense- Hoosiers’ gift to the national assemblage of stupid governors of America collectors cards. Hopefully, these will be a very limited offering.

  3. I wonder what the cancellation fee was for this PR firm’s contract? Same cost as the original fee? Pence didn’t save Hoosiers a dime, I bet.

  4. Indiana has a lot of good people. But it is the home of the first KKK group. There is still a lot of the old thinking in the state. Maybe the progressives will champion the way of bigger hearts and greater minds!

  5. The Republican Candidates for President are all howling at the moon about same sex marriage. Now, they are trying to figure out how to defeat it. They probably know they cannot, but need they need to appeal to the Bible Thumping Base. The Right has put themselves in full siege mentality, SCOTUS said OK to Obama Care and same sex marriage. The Right is also busily defending the Confederate Flag of Traitors as part of Southern Heritage.

  6. The original contract would have paid the PR firm up to $2 million. By cancelling it after spending $365,000, the gov will probably claim he saved the state $1,635,000.

  7. Joy in Indy, I doubt that the PR firm did no billable work after being hired. I bet Indiana has a large bill for services. But Pence won’t announce that part.

  8. One of the basic themes that consumer based fascism (oligarchy) builds their case on is exceptionalism. The goal of advertising is to create dissatisfaction with what everyone has and a way to do that is to build the case for entitlement. What better way to start that then you are exceptional. You live in an exceptional country, are of an exceptional race and religion and sexual orientation and culture and economy and language and, and, and. Because you are exceptional you deserve more than you have. In fact, on top of all of that you should be so proud of your exceptionalism that it’s doing the world a favor to impose you on others. People who aren’t exceptional. They’re ordinary.

    The confluence of business and politics.

    Your Governor merely works his magic by reinforcing the exceptionalism of those fortunate enough to have been selected by God for residence in an elevated state.

    But of course politics and business must focus on majorities so by default they become the entitled.

    Gays don’t represent much business or many votes. They do represent a potential border though between those who are exceptional and those who are ordinary. After all if everyone is exceptional nobody is.

    So the exceptional state of Indiana is entitled to exceptional people and they are entitled, no, required, to bring to the base groups the fact of exceptional versus ordinary. In a perfect world than the ordinary would see the light and become white and wealthy and Christian and English speaking and Republican and gun toting and male.

    It is all so sensible.

    Unless one believes in egalitarianism and freedom and democracy and accepting what and who they are. Then the fight begins.

    I suspect that your exceptional Governor wakes up every day surprised at the fuss. Why can’t the downtrodden accept the hand that they were dealt and the position that it dictates? Why do they expect to dilute the exceptional with their ordinariness?

  9. Totally pathetic on all counts. This man has not only damaged the image of the State of Indiana but has also damaged the stature of the office of Governor as well. It is stunning that he apparently thinks that with the wave of Chris Cotterill’s IEDC magic wand he and his political /ideological cronies can put all of this behind them.

  10. I find it interesting that the IEDC denied a request from the Star for the recommendations or reports made by the NY PR firm. What specific PR work was done by Porter- Novelli? What did we get for that $365,000?
    Also interesting from the Star article is that after the Supreme Court’s validation of marriage equality, our governor was “disappointed,” but Porter Novelli demonstrated its support for the decision by changing its company logo from orange to rainbow colors on its website. Then the contract was cancelled.
    Speaks volumes.

  11. When we lived in Mexico it struck us that the poor there (really poor by our standards) were not as unhappy as ours. We decided that it was a combination of Latino fatalism and no access to TV. No one told them that others were entitled and special and they were missing out. Of course the wealthy with TVs knew that they were unhappy and only more stuff in the race with their neighbors would temporarily relieve that.

  12. Indiana has not yet adapted to the Civil Rights progressions, integration of teachers in all the schools, then for all the citizens. Instead, they are in critical condition (ill) before ever reaching the peak paying years, as employers of their own educational attainments, knowledge and personal life-guarding abilities. Now we should at least have Pinnochio-quality Republicans if they want to be “real” administrators of public laws, rules, regulations and accounts receivable and payable. Mike Pence is simply a very good example to others in our States and Americas (1492 to present only) of an educated (schooled) Hoosier doer.

  13. Ah, yes. If you really don’t want to accomplish something, but can convince people, through smoke and mirrors, that it’s done, you might not have to do any of it.

  14. AgingLGrl: Front page article by Tony Cook in the Indianapolis Star on Friday, July 3; ‘Pace of job creation’ cuts short PR effort.

    Paragraph 2; “In an announcement Thursday, Chris Cotteril, executive vice president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., cited strong employment numbers, national recognition for the state’s business-friendly climate and cost-management efforts in the decision to cancel the contract with Porter-Novelli. The state will pay the firm $365,000 for work already completed.”

    State employment figures are reported regularly so this couldn’t have been part of the PR effort. Was the “…national recognition for the state’s business-friendly climate…” accomplished by anything Porter-Novelli actually did to gain this recognition? The only part of that paragraph I understand is, “…cost management efforts in the decision to cancel the contract…” What I don’t understand is WHO oversaw the cost management efforts and reached the amount of $365,000? Was this effort done by Pence, IECD or Porter-Novelli?

    Paragraph 4; “But what what that work entailed is unclear. The IEDC denied a request from The Indianapolis Star for reports or recommendations furnished by the New York-based company.”

    Neither IEDC spokeswoman Abby Gras “…or Porter-Novelli representatives would say whether the firm made any recommendations about civil rights protections for gays and lesbians – an issue likely to become a flashpoint during next year’s legislative session and 2016 gubernatorial election.” The article also states, “There is little doubt that Pence and the global PR firm have a difference of opinon on gay rights.” This makes me wonder just how qualified Pence is if he hired someone to clean up his reputation who is diametrically opposed to one of his basic beliefs which he turned into law recently.

    If we had any trustworthy elected officials in this state, this entire situation would have been investigated from start to finish; but Indiana is sadly lacking in legal protection from it’s own government. And the elected judicial officials are already being paid so no contract is required or tax dollars wasted… no more than is already being wasted on them due to their lack of insight on questionable actions taken by Pence, et al.

  15. For some reason I just remembered President Obama’s comment during our RFRA national level fun and games that he and Joe Biden had become so close over the past 6 1/2 years that they wouldn’t be able to buy pizza in Indiana. Ya gotta love that man; he gets to the heart of every issue and gives it the attention it deserves.

  16. Why are you afraid to let people comment on Facebook? Hope your jaundice is due to Hepatitis.

  17. If San Franciscans and New York homosexuals don’t like Indiana, I’d say Gov. Pence has done a great job to improve the State’s image.

    Californians ruin everywhere they go, and the homosexual advocates are just unwanted noisome shrillness. I don’t mind one bit if they go somewhere else and spare Indiana their destruction.

  18. More jobs — no thanks to you Mike Pence. Thousands of Hoosiers would still be in unemployment lines rather than working on assembly lines thanks to your opposition to the auto bailout. Thank goodness you’re position failed.

  19. Someone should sue the Pence campaign for the cost of the PR contract, which properly should be paid from his campaign fund, not the taxpayers. (to be honest, I’m not sure this is possible, as he and the General Assembly have immunity, even from the blatant stupidity of passing a bill marginalizing a group solely to pander to their base, but it would make a statement). Pence’s stupid grandstanding when he signed the first RFRA bill was campaigning, pure and simple. Why else did he have people in religious garb standing there, applauding him while he signed the bill? Then, to fix his image, he uses our tax dollars to hire PR firm. Next, after being roundly criticized and having it proven, even to his satisfaction, that this was a waste of taxpayer dollars, he terminates the contract, citing lack of necessity due to made-up lies about Indiana’s alleged “successes”. Is such fraudulent conduct sanctioned by those right-wing religious groups who oppose marriage equality?

  20. As usual, Gopper has captured how the rest of the world sees us–for good reason. But I would think that even you would have the decency to say ‘thank you’ to one of the Blue states, whose economies support the red states. Guess that makes you an ungrateful welfare queen, GOPer. As usual.

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