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Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Saturday, September 13, 2014 10:44 AM
INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s a viewing assignment:  A July 29 edition of the PBS Frontline series titled “Losing Iraq.” You can watch it by clicking here. I ask you to view this because for the third time in the early years of a century, an American president has had to thrust military force, or the “big stick,” into remnants of the Ottoman Empire to take on rogue armies and navies. President Jefferson found himself dealing with the Barbary pirates terrorizing American shipping in 1801. In 1904, it was President Theodore Roosevelt who reacted to Sherif Mulai Ahmed ibn-Muhammed er Raisuli, Lord of the Rif, who kidnapped American citizens.
This brought Roosevelt’s “speak softly and carry a big stick” response. Those two forays were the proverbial picnic compared to what we face today. When I watched “Losing Iraq,” I was filled with anger at the Bush and Obama presidencies. We can’t seem to get anything right in a fight we picked and then walked away.
On Wednesday night, Americans, war-weary and frightened after witnessing the beheadings of two American journalists, found a defiantly speaking President Obama vowing to use a “broad coalition” to destroy what he called “a group of killers.” His target will be the “Islamic state” led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, occupying parts of Syria and Iraq and threatening a region-wide caliphate. Obama becomes yet another American president drawn into a faraway conflict with little confidence that this opponent can be vanquished the way Jefferson and Roosevelt were able to prevail. “In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality,” Obama said. “They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. In acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists, Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.”
The problem we face, and is vividly captured in the aforementioned “Frontline” episode is that modern American leadership and a polarized citizenry plunge into places we don’t fully understand. We don’t appropriately prepare. And for these sins of ignorance and omission, we pay with the blood of our sons and daughters.
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    BLOOMINGTON – There is great unease in the land, concern about economic inequality, disgust with scorched-earth politics in Washington. But the long reach of our history teaches that when an aroused public forces political leaders to focus on finding solutions to problems, we can overcome differences and make progress. Despite these last few months of hot and lazy days, it’s been hard not to notice a cold political wind blowing through the country. The magazine Foreign Affairs captured it with its latest cover, a mockup of a travel poster featuring a crumbling U.S. Capitol with the tagline, “See America: Land of Decay and Dysfunction.” Americans are clearly uneasy. I know it anecdotally, because at virtually every public gathering I’ve addressed over the last few months someone has spoken up with his or her worry that our nation is in decline. And the polls bear it out. In June, a Washington Post article, “Is the American Dream Dead?” noted a string of polls showing majorities of Americans believe their children will be worse off than they are. 
    MUNCIE –  Most of our current problems are at the local level: Schools, crime, housing, unemployment, and poverty. Small government sentiments run strong in Indiana, and we can be pleased with many of the outcomes it fosters: Low taxes, a more thoughtful regulatory environment and more personal freedom. Still, I think much of the small government movement thought in Indiana targets the wrong problems. In so doing its supporters quite perversely weaken their arguments and lessen their influence. Our founders lived in a world with a very small and limited federal government, stronger states and typically quite robust local governments. In the mid 20th century, power flipped to the federal government as it dealt with World War I and II, the Cold War and domestic problems of depression, poverty and civil rights. 
    INDIANAPOLIS – There are 17 legislative interim summer study commissions operating in Indiana. From these will come the blueprints for legislation in the next session. These commissions cover a wide area of legislative responsibility affecting most households and businesses., but you cannot be sure what they are studying from their titles alone.  The Commission on Business Personal Property and Business Taxation will hold its first meeting on Sept. 15. Then we’ll get an overview of individual and business taxes in Indiana, including the distribution of those tax burdens. It should be a sensational session if the public, beyond the heavyweights of the business community, shows up. Let me guarantee a topic that will not be on the agenda if even mentioned. It is a topic forbidden to be discussed in the halls of the General Assembly. In fact, a prominent legislator once told me it would be mentioned “only over my dead body.” Wishing ill to no man, I mention it here: The return of part of the Indiana sales tax to local governments. 
    SOUTH BEND - One of Indiana’s most bombastic politicians left softly, so quietly that many Hoosiers didn’t notice he had scurried from the Statehouse four months before his term as state treasurer was to end. Richard Mourdock, with saturation name recognition two years ago as he thought he was headed to the U.S. Senate, was headed nowhere politically now. He was pretty much out of the news. But Mourdock was still state treasurer, elected to serve in his second term in that office until the end of the year. His letter of resignation came on the day it took effect, the Friday of Labor Day weekend, not timing to capture coverage or public attention. The timing also enabled Mourdock to avoid a cut in his state retirement benefits, a cut effective for public employees retiring after August.
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Bayh won't run for governor in 2016
WRTV interviews former governor Evan Bayh after his decision not to run for governor in 2016.
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  • Evan Bayh won't run in 2016; Gregg, McDermott assess


    NASHVILLE, Ind. - Former Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh will not seek third term for governor, telling HPI the decision "was really a governing one, not a political one."
    "After serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for Governor in 2016," Bayh said. "I hope that my decision will enable others to step forward and offer their ideas for making Indiana an even better place to live, work and raise a family." The news prompted the two most likely contenders - former 2012 nominee John Gregg and Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. - to assess their opportunities. "I am strongly considering a run," Gregg told HPI Friday morning, saying he would make a decision after Election Day in November. "I have a record of getting along with Republicans when I was co-speaker of a 50/50 House. I got along with the Republican Senate." McDermott told HPI, "I am going to absorb this and see what it means for the future. I’m young and time is on our side.” Bayh told HPI on Friday afternoon, "My decision was really a governing one, not a political one."

  • Bucshon, Brown statewide health tour brings conclusions
    INDIANAPOLIS – Last April House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown and U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon launched an 11-stop statewide health care tour. Since both are physicians, an ER doctor and heart surgeon, respectively, it was a unique set of circumstances in which so much health care expertise was in high office for the state. At the beginning of that tour they sat down with Howey Politics Indiana for an exclusive interview. We discussed a wide range of subjects but focused mainly on what was driving health care cost inflation and how the state should expand its Medicaid program under the ACA. Last Thursday HPI sat down again with both doctors at Moe & Johnny’s in Broad Ripple to recap what were the key lessons from their statewide tour. “At the state level, things really don’t start happening until we get organized officially,” Chairman Brown told us, “but in my role I try to manage three issues I have worked on and that we heard (on the tour).”
  • The Evan and Mike Show 'clear as mud'
    INDIANAPOLIS – Is Mike Pence running for president? Will Evan Bayh seek a return to the Indiana governorship in 2016? Could the two end up in a head-to-head clash? There were scenarios this week that could have cleared up the picture, with Gov. Pence venturing to Iowa for a U.S.-Japan Conference and Bayh speaking to the One Region conference in Merrillville on Wednesday. Instead, we got, as the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette observed, a picture “clear as mud.” Bayh left the question dangling on Wednesday, telling the NWI Times, “I don’t have any announcements today. I have had a lot of people asking me about running for governor in 2016. I loved being governor. I loved being an executive. I just find something noble and good about being able to help people on a daily basis. I’ll have an announcement fairly soon. I’ve said publicly it’s unlikely for a number of reasons, but . . .  So before long I’ll have a decision.” The key word there is “publicly.”

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  • Merrillville Officer Schultz eulogized
    “There are six people who are alive today because of Nick and his family’s sacrifice. In the Bible, it says there is no greater love than to lay down your life for someone else. He’s our hero.” - U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, eulogizing Merrillville Police Officer Nickolaus “Nick” Schultz, who was gunned down in the line of duty and died on Sept. 7. Schultz was the fourth Indiana police officer killed by gunfire in the past year.
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Obama ISIS

Did President Obama make the appropriate case for U.S. and coalition military action against ISIS?


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