More ridiculousness from Puckett and Zirkle

[Wow, what else is there to say but wow. – DW]

Article published Mar 6, 2008
Congressional contender critical of energy policy
Puckett chides Donnelly, supports drilling for oil in Arctic preserve.

Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — Congressional candidate Luke Puckett says the United States needs to tap into domestic oil reserves, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, in order to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.

Puckett, a Republican from Goshen, had a news conference Wednesday at a South Bend filling station to respond to a radio address given Saturday by incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, of Granger.

During his five-minute address, Donnelly talked about the rising cost of fuel and energy and what can be done about it.

Donnelly mentioned that the House on Feb. 26 passed the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, which he said would repeal a number of tax subsidies for the big oil companies and “reinvest that $18 billion into providing incentives for the use and production of renewable energy.”

The problem, according to Puckett, is that the bill would not produce any energy, would not reduce the cost of a barrel of oil, and would not lower the cost of gasoline at the pump.Instead, Puckett said, it would provide tax credits for energy sources that do not exist, such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and production of cellulosic alcohol fuel.

Donnelly also talked about investing billions of dollars in clean renewable energy to produce electricity, including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower. Other financial incentives would be offered to help electric cooperatives use renewable fuels, and to help promote “green” industries.

Puckett agreed, but said the Democratic plan is flawed.

He called on Donnelly instead to support the bipartisan American Made Energy Act, which has provisions for nuclear and solar power, renewable energy and biofuels.

The act would “unlock billions of barrels of oil in Alaska,” Puckett said.He chided Donnelly and others in Congress for opposing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“We have not built a new oil refinery in the United States since the ’70s,” Puckett said. “We have oil just waiting to be refined in ANWR, but the Democrats and environmental alarmists will not let us touch it.”

Donnelly voted last June to prohibit energy exploration at various sites, but Puckett said he disagrees.

“I say, ‘Let’s go get it,'” he said.


Article published Mar 6, 2008
GOP head distances from Zirkle
Suggestion that U.S. should debate segregation by race termed ‘asinine.’

Tribune Staff Writer

The Republican Party chairman for St. Joseph County sharply denounced Tony Zirkle’s suggestion that the United States should debate segregating by race.

Zirkle is one of four people seeking the Republican nomination as the 2nd District U.S. representative. In a story in Tuesday’s edition of The Tribune, Zirkle said he wasn’t saying which side of the debate he’d take but that segregation might be a way to deal with the high rate of black men in prison and out-of-wedlock births among blacks.

“These comments are antiquated and asinine and are the childish machinations of a publicity hound,” said Chris Riley, St. Joseph County Republican chairman. “In no way does this notion of segregation reflect the views of the Republican Party. This is just taking publicity hunting to a whole new low.”

“I’m very upset that someone who carries the Republican shield has made these remarks,” Riley added.

Thus far, the Republican Party is embracing only one candidate for the congressional seat, Luke Puckett — the only guy, Riley said, who’s talked with him about running a campaign. Puckett also is dismayed with Zirkle’s comments. Joseph Roush of Culver, who also wants the party’s nomination, said of Zirkle: “I couldn’t believe anyone in this day and age would take this archaic approach.”

On the other hand, Roush said, “It makes me look about as normal as possible,” explaining that his own views don’t jibe with the national mainstream Republican Party.

Roush says he lines up more with Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul than with John McCain. For example, Roush feels the United States should pull out of the Iraq war immediately.

Will Zirkle’s comments hurt the Republican Party or help the Democratic Party? St. Joseph County Democratic Chairman Butch Morgan said it’s too soon to tell. Riley is certain: It won’t hurt Republicans, he said.

But what of the 30 percent of votes that Zirkle garnered in the 2006 Republican primary race for the congressional seat against incumbent Chris Chocola? Back then, Zirkle also made controversial proposals like using the guillotine to punish child pornography “pimps.”

Back then, at least, Zirkle touched on issues that people care about, like pornography and prostitution, Morgan said. Not now, he added.

“That was a different time,” Riley said, explaining that there was a backlash against Republicans in general and Zirkle seemed to voters an alternative.

The backlash is over, Riley said. Now voters hunger for debates on serious issues like the “war on terror,” the economy and jobs, he said.


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