Monday's editorial page will be devoted to the "top 10 arguments of 2005" as selected by the editorial page staff -- basically, me and editorial writer Bob Caylor. In defining a good argument, we didn't consider only the ones in favor of a cause or effort we supported. A good argument just needs to be effective, based on one or more of several criteria. Was it especially eloquent for or against something in particular? Did it energize a political base or wake up the opposition? Did it advance our understanding of a complicated issue or shed new light on an old controversy? Did it elevate the conversation about an important subject?
Following, in no particular order, is the short version of our top 10, with links to the arguments so you can judge for yourself:
- Rep. John Murtha, calling the war in Iraq a "flawed policy wrapped in an illusion," said it's time to bring the troops home.
- President Bush responds to Murtha, better explaining why we are in Iraq and trying to define what victory might mean.
- The pope, in his "Instruction concerning the criteria of vocational discernment regarding persons with homosexual tendencies, concerning their admission to the seminary and to Holy Orders,” made it clear that, though the world might change, the church's traditions won't.
- George Will wasn't the only conservative who argued against the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, but he made one of the most convincing cases. And his defection, along with that of fellow conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, marked the turning point in the White House's continued defense of Miers.
- Gov. Mitch Daniels, in his inaugural address, made it clear that he wasn't kidding around when he campaigned on bringing a lot more change to state government than Hoosiers were used to.
- After years of conflicting ideas, inertia and false starts on downtown Fort Wayne, city leaders undertook a comprehensive process that involved looking at all the area's strengths and weaknesses, getting massive public input and coming up with a plan that it hoped most people could buy into. The result was BlueprintPlus, a remarkable, 60-page combination of vision and pragmatism.
- No court ruling in recent memory has sparked as much debate in Indiana as that of U.S. District Court Judge David Hamilton, whose decision basically told Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma to knock off his attempts to muscle in Christian sectarian prayers as almost the sole openers of House sessions.
- Just because you're on the losing side of the immediate debate, that doesn't mean your argument won't resonate in the public arena. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's stinging dissent (starts on Page 27) in the Kelo vs. City of New London case became part of the arsenal of weapons used by people woken up by the decision who started the fight to take back their private-property rights.
- U.S. Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana's 6th District emerged as THE spokesman for a revival of small-government conservatism in a GOP that had seemed to lose its way. In a series of no-nonsense speeches, he argued that his party had increasingly begun to see government as the solution to every social ill.
- The 41 CEOs of the Northeast Indiana Corporate Council authored a blistering indictment of local officials who can't even agree on occupying the same building, let alone think about something as complicated as cooperating or, heaven forbid, trying to consolidate government.