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Saturday, December 03, 2016
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Evan and Birch Bayh (top left) just prior to U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly's swearing in in 2013; Richard Lugar at the University of Indianapolis in 2015; and Sens. Lugar and Birch Bayh during the four years they served in the Senate together from 1977 to 1981. (HPI Photo by Mark Curry)
Evan and Birch Bayh (top left) just prior to U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly's swearing in in 2013; Richard Lugar at the University of Indianapolis in 2015; and Sens. Lugar and Birch Bayh during the four years they served in the Senate together from 1977 to 1981. (HPI Photo by Mark Curry)
Friday, December 02, 2016 1:26 PM

INDIANAPOLIS - For 50 years, from 1963 to 2013, there was either a Bayh or a Lugar representing Indiana in the U.S. Senate. Birch and Evan Bayh won five elections, while Dick Lugar lost a 1974 showdown with the elder Bayh, then rattled off six victories. All told, these two dynasties accrued close to 15 million votes.

A good part of their combined successes were prodigious political and state organizations that raised the bucks, stroked allies as well as the media, and dealt swift retribution for anyone who got out of line. There was an obsession for detail. I remember as a political reporter for the Elkhart Truth in 1988 when Evan Bayh was running for governor, my phone rang and there was Bayh’s campaign manager, Joe Hogsett, on the line. “How ya doing’?” he asked. “What are you working on. Anything I can help you with as far as our campaign goes?”

The political careers of the two Bayhs and Lugar, all once invincible, ended in defeat.

Birch Bayh lost to Dan Quayle in the 1980 Reagan landslide. He governed in big style as a liberal in a conservative state, authoring two constitutional amendments, Title IX, parting with President Lyndon Johnson on the disastrous Vietnam War while attempting to retire the Electoral College. He never won a Senate race by more than a few percentage points. Because of such risky positions, he stood the chance of getting washed out in a national wave that occurred with son as his campaign manager.  Evan Bayh won a term as secretary of state, two gubernatorial terms, the second in landslide fashion, then won two Senate terms with more than 60 percent of the vote. But Evan Bayh had national ticket ambitions, he governed in a cautious style as to not ruin his chances, and in 2010, sensing the aroused and zealous Tea Party movement and a controversial vote over Obamacare, he ducked a reelection bid that initiated his party’s six-year slide into oblivion.

Like the senior Bayh, Lugar governed at an epic level, rescuing Chrysler Corp in his first term, denouncing the election of Philippine tyrant Ferdinand Marcos, convinced President Reagan to oppose South African apartheid, and with the collapse of the Soviet Union, joined forces with Democrat Sam Nunn to systemically round up, destroy and protect Russian nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Act was a presidential-level achievement that probably saved civilization from a catastrophic terror attack on a Hiroshima scale. In 2006, Lugar was so strong, Democrats didn’t even oppose him. Believing an ascension into worldwide statesmanship, Lugar let his state organization wither. County chairmen couldn’t coax him to a Lincoln Dinner, and in 2012 he was defeated in the Republican primary, skewered over the fact he didn’t live here. The irony for a senator who had achieved policy that should have earned him a Nobel Peace Prize is that the Indiana Republican Party hasn’t even bothered to honor him.

Like Lugar, Evan Bayh fell this past November on the residency issue.
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    INDIANAPOLIS – Let’s get excited about our upcoming 201st year of Indiana statehood. We are a good place to do business because of the comparatively lower costs to employee our people and power our factories. We are leaders in the ever increasingly important areas of agriculture and life sciences. Our institutions of higher education and medicine are some of the world’s best. And the elections are over! What a relief for all of us. It is time now to set aside the inclination toward competition. It is time to work together, all of us, to resolve those lingering issues that negate our advantages and keep all of our people from sharing in our successes: Addiction. Low Wages. Hunger. Sexual violence. Illiteracy.  Poor health. Civil rights. The reality is this:  Too many of our citizens live lives with problems not a lot different than people in developing and yes, even war-torn, nations. We like to think of ourselves as living in a happy and wholesome place, and Indiana certainly has the potential for greatness. But we won’t achieve greatness unless we tackle our very complicated and serious challenges. Consider that Indiana is one of the most obese states in the nation. We have had a surging suicide rate. Nearly 10 percent of the babies born here are born opiate-addicted. Our infant mortality rate is shameful; among African-Americans, it is the worst in the nation. By so many measures, the fabric of family has frayed for too many in Indiana.

    KOKOMO – These are heady days for the Republican Party.  A new Republican president will take office with a Republican-controlled House and Senate.  In addition, Republicans control 31 governorships and have a piece of governmental leadership in all but six states.  Indiana is no exception. Republicans now control every statewide office with the exception of Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly. Republicans hold seven of the nine congressional seats. The GOP also has super majorities in both houses of the Indiana Legislature. This is all pretty amazing stuff for a political party that was written off back in July and August. You remember the headlines don’t you?  “The End of a Republican Party: FiveThirtyEight.”  “Are You Ready for the End of the Republican Party: Esquire.”  “Fareed Zakaria:  The End of the Republican Party.”
    BLOOMINGTON – Cooperation between the President and Congress should be far more assured than in the last six years. But the commitments and promises made during the campaign will be very hard to carry out. As hard as the campaign might have been and the transition is proving to be, Donald Trump’s challenges are really just beginning. Governing after a toxic election in which the results awarded him an ambiguous national mandate – his opponent, after all, got more votes – will require finesse, a clear-eyed view of his role in the world, and no small amount of luck. There is no question that, come January, President Trump and the Republican majority in Congress will be in firm control of the government. They will be able to call the shots on policy, and cooperation between the president and Congress should be far more assured than it has been for the last six years. He will soon find, even under these circumstances, that the commitments and promises made during the campaign are going to be very hard to carry out.
    MERRILLVILLE – There are some Lake County Democrats who are reluctant to talk about the future of the party. At least they are reluctant to talk on the record. The party is at its lowest point in decades, considering what happened Nov. 8 and has happened since. The two strongest party leaders over the last half century are gone. Stephen R. Stiglich, who served as county sheriff, died a decade ago while heading up the party. And, longtime chairman Robert A. Pastrick passed away a couple weeks ago just short of his 89th birthday. The only other chairman in recent years was Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. Buncich was elected chairman when McDermott stepped down. He said being chairman could hurt his planned run for governor. Yet, McDermott is riding high as his lock on Hammond continues to get stronger. And in the May Democratic primary, his wife, Marissa McDermott, ousted Lake Circuit Court Judge George Paras. Marissa McDermott, a political newcomer, acknowledged that her victory was a result of her husband’s name-recognition. So, the McDermott name is riding high. Could 2020 be the year Thomas McDermott actually runs for governor as opposed to just talking about it?
    BEAN BLOSSOM, Ind. - Here’s a holiday trivia quiz: Name a Hoosier running for executive office who didn’t poll a majority of the popular vote even though this person won both times. That would be Vice President-elect Mike Pence.  The Donald Trump/Mike Pence ticket now trails Democrat Hillary Clinton by more than 2 million votes out of 126.4 million cast. In 2012, the governor won with just 49 percent of the vote here in Indiana in a three-way gubernatorial race. To the victor go the spoils, as the old saying goes. But simply winning an election doesn’t mean a mandate. Grasping the helm of a roiled nation requires a different type of leadership. What happened to Gov. Pence after his 2012 win is instructive. He governed in mandate style, signing several pieces of socially divisive legislation like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, while polls showed public sentiment going in the opposite direction. In the four polls conducted this cycle by WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana, we found Gov. Pence to be one of the most polarizing figures in modern Hoosier politics.
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  • Trump, Pence rally Carrier jobs, vow to cut taxes, regs

    INDIANAPOLIS - Donald Trump and Mike Pence began their presidential victory lap at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis Thursday afternoon, claiming credit for saving 1,100 jobs from migrating to Mexico. “United Technologies stepped up,” Trump told workers of a coming $16 million investment or more. “Companies are not going to leave the United States any more without consequences.” “We’re going to be lowering our business tax from 35% to 15%,” President-elect Trump vowed, adding he will take aim at regulations. He noted that 216 new federal regulations have passed in the last eight years, including 53 that impacted the Carrier plant. “We have to have a fair shake.” “I want to let all the other companies to know, there’s no reason to leave any more,” Trump said. “You’re taxes are going to be low and your regulations are going to go. Most of the regulations are nonsense. These companies are not going to be leaving any more. They are not going to be like Carrier, announcing they are leaving.”
  • Holcomb advises legislators of Trump impact on 2017 session
    ZIONSVILLE – Governor-elect Eric Holcomb is advising members of the Indiana General Assembly to expect a potential “mid-course correction” in the upcoming session after President-elect Donald Trump takes office. “We find ourselves in this unique situation where governors and legislative leaders are putting together their budgets all over the country, and we have to do that in January, of course,” Holcomb told Howey Politics Indiana in an exclusive interview Sunday at Trader’s Point Creamery. “The president will be sworn in on Jan. 20 and he’ll have some executive orders to tend to that will have an impact on our budgets. His legislative package, and Congress’s will likewise will have implications to our own,” Holcomb said. Calling Trump the delegator-in-chief, Holcomb added, “You’ve got this president-elect who has spent a career in the private sector excelling and he didn’t get there without delegating and hiring good people around him to get the job done. He’s got as his partner and vice president, a Hoosier Mike Pence who understands instinctively that it’s governors who are people closest to citizens who can better get the job done. I look for governors of both parties across the country to seize the day.” What should legislators expect in the next three to six months? “We’re in unprecedented territory,” Holcomb explained.
  • Verma forged health compromises in Indiana
    CNHI Statehouse Bureau

    INDIANAPOLIS – Democrat Charlie Brown and Republican Patricia Miller don’t agree on much politically, but a decade ago the lawmakers set out to insure more of the state’s working poor. Joining them was Seema Verma, a consultant steeped in the issue from working with Eskenazi Hospital, which oversees care for the capital city’s poor. The result, said Brown, was a politically palatable compromise that Miller, a former nurse, could sell to her conservative colleagues as a “hand up, not a hand-out” program. Designed in detail by Verma, the novel Healthy Indiana Plan both expanded Medicaid and required those who are newly insured to make small monthly payments for coverage. It also built in incentives for preventative care and to steer patients away from costly emergency rooms. “Verma was the go-to person for everything we needed to know and do. She was the person with all the right answers,” said Miller, now retired, who was chairwoman of the Senate Public Health Committee. On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump picked Verma to head the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where she may push to replicate Indiana’s model in other states as part of a promised overhaul of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
  • HPI Interview: Holcomb describes his epic 2016 odyssey
    ZIONSVILLE – Perhaps you could include Mike Pence and Dan Quayle as Hoosier politicians who have ridden the whirlwind into national prominence. But when it comes to saddling up and literally riding a tornado, that would be Governor-elect Eric “Hickory” Holcomb. He was riding a 100-mph beeline down U.S. 31 as Kokomo lay in tatters. He went from the widely perceived third-place candidate in the U.S. Senate race to becoming lieutenant governor designate last February. He was sworn into office in March, won a Republican primary with Gov. Pence, only to watch the boss ascend to the national ticket on July 15. Eleven days later, he faced an unprecedented Indiana Republican Central Committee caucus to be followed by the “100-day campaign.” He was an underdog in all of these roles.
  • Speaker Bosma cites Hoosier D-Day invader to inspire colleagues

    INDIANAPOLIS - Inspiring his fellow lawmakers with the heroic tale of a Bronze Star Hoosier Normandy invader, the now five term Speaker of the House Brian Bosma laid out his plan for the upcoming session in his leadership acceptance speech. Bosma called the problems facing Indiana “a great challenge and a great opportunity” for the 120th General Assembly and that the leadership shown by the selfless acts of D-Day soldiers provides an example to Indiana lawmakers. “What we do in comparison is easy, don't forget that.” Bosma had the family of Sgt. Julius “Rusty” Houck in the gallery and presented them with American and French flags from Bosma's trip to the Normandy cemetery earlier this year. Houck was killed by German machine gun fire as his 101st Airborne Division D Company sought to disable the final of five big guns bombarding American invaders at Utah Beach on the morning of June 6, or D-Day.
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  • Daniels calls on Trump to tackle the $14 trillion in national debt
    “It is an enormous impediment to long-term growth in this country. The president-elect didn’t cause this problem, but I think he is that president for whom it will not wait another four years. I’ve said in at least two presidential election cycles, this country cannot wait out another presidency without getting serious about this problem. I’m pretty sure I’m right this time.” - Purdue President Mitch Daniels, calling on President-elect Donald Trump to tackle the $14 trillion national debt. Daniels made his comments as one of three co-chairs of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan budget watchdog group. In 2011 as the former White House budget director positioned for the 2012 presidential race, Daniels cited the "great red menace" of national debt in a speech to CPAC, then wrote about the topic in his book "Keeping The Republic."
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HPI Video Feed
Pence lauds Carrier deal
Gov. Mike Pence talks about the Carrier jobs deal with Scott Pelley on CBS.

President-elect Trump's Thanksgiving video
President-elect Donald Trump outlines plans for his coming administration in this Thanksgiving video.

2 videos
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Trump taxes

Should Donald Trump release recent tax returns, like every major party nominee has done over the past 40 years?


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