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Monday, October 25, 2021
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Monday, October 25, 2021 11:33 AM
By JACK COLWELL

SOUTH BEND - How do you defend the Big Lie without lying?
     
That’s a problem for many Republicans in Washington. They know, after all the failed court challenges, recounts, audits and lack of any suspicious traces of bamboo on Arizona ballots, that Donald Trump lost the presidential election.
     
They also know that Trump continues to promote the Big Lie that he actually won. And he demands obedience in furtherance of that delusion from Republicans in the House and Senate and other elected offices around the nation.
     
Trump stresses that his base won’t support Republicans who reject harping about a stolen election. Woe to any admitting that fraud allegations have been thoroughly and conclusively disproven. 
     
Trump warned bluntly in a recent statement: “If we don’t solve the presidential election fraud of 2020 - which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented - Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”
     
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana confronted the problem in a Fox News interview. When asked repeatedly if he believed the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, Scalise won a dance contest, avoiding a direct answer and contending only that some states didn’t follow their standard election laws  - true because of the pandemic but not changing vote results.
     
Why did Scalise dance? Why not flat-out lie? Why not claim, as Trump does in his obsession with blotting out an ego-shattering defeat, that Joe Biden isn’t a legitimate president?
     
Well, Scalise knows the election was long ago decided and he doesn’t want to go down in history as a liar. 
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  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    INDIANAPOLIS –  Sen. Todd Young seems to have it all these days. He raised a record $1.6 million for his first Senate reelection campaign this past quarter, sitting on a lofty $5.6 million cash. He doesn’t have a primary opponent. The three Democratic candidates have raised a combined $100,000. But Todd Young is lacking what may count most: The endorsement of former president Donald J. Trump in a state where he won twice with 57%. According to Politico, Sen. Young’s campaign made inquiries for a Trump endorsement last winter, not long after the Jan. 6 insurrection and then Trump’s second impeachment trial, when Young voted to acquit the former president. Politico: “Trump’s revulsion to even minor instances of disloyalty only intensified. As an example, they noted that Trump is currently withholding an endorsement of Indiana Sen. Todd Young after Young called Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘an embarrassment’ to the Republican party last month.” On Jan. 6 in a statement, Young said, “As Congress meets to formally receive the votes of the Electoral College, I will uphold my Constitutional duty and certify the will of the states as presented. I will not violate that oath.” In normal times, such statements wouldn’t be a problem. But over the past year, Trump has only amplified claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen” despite little evidence and pushback from Republicans like Attorney General Bill Barr, Vice President Mike Pence, former veep Dan Quayle and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • By DAVE KITCHELL
    LOGANSPORT – When former Gov. Evan Bayh took office in 1989, one of the first things he did was combine agencies under the umbrella of a new title, the Indiana Department of Transportation. The move made sense from a state coordination standpoint. For a state that bills itself as the Crossroads of America, it made perfect sense. Intermodal facilities need to be located at the nexus of highways and railroads. Ports on the Ohio and Lake Michigan have to have access. A growing reliance on small airports to transport executives was burgeoning. Now more than 30 years later, it’s hard to believe there was a time before INDOT. But if we turned back the clock and magically asked Hoosiers in 1989 if they thought there would be fewer passenger trains today and no high-speed rail at this point in history, they’d probably scoff at the notion. But that is what has happened.
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND – Former Sen. Joe Donnelly appears to be a perfect choice for U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. Perfect for representing President Biden, described by Donnelly during the presidential campaign as someone he knows to be sincere in faith “because I know Joe Biden, and I come from the same Irish Catholic faith tradition.” Perfect for Pope Francis, who can express church concerns for moral issues from climate change to world hunger to an ambassador who knows the president and knows the faith. Perfect for Senate confirmation prospects, with quick bipartisan support from Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young, who said: “Joe is a devout Catholic and longtime public servant, and I know he will serve the nation well and represent the best of our Hoosier values.”
  • By LEE HAMILTON
    BLOOMINGTON – As Americans, we tend—understandably—to focus on the Constitution as the source for our representative democracy. It is, after all, our basic operating document, the blueprint for the system we’ve been shepherding for the last 234 years. But the Constitution did not arise out of thin air; our forebears marked key steps along the way with other documents as well. Here’s a quick tour of some of them. The first was the Mayflower Compact, signed in 1620 by 41 of the male colonists, including two indentured servants, aboard the Mayflower after it made land in Massachusetts. There is no historical certainty about who actually wrote it, though it’s often attributed to William Brewster, one of the leaders of the community. It’s not long, and it essentially says that the colonists – who at the time were divided between the Pilgrims, who had intended to settle in Virginia, and the merchants, craftsmen, servants, and others who’d gone along for the ride –would work together to establish the colony and enact the “laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices” the colony needed.
  • By MICHAEL HICKS
    MUNCIE – Inflation talk continues to animate the airwaves, or at least cable TV, and remains part of the political conversation. Economists should have something to say about this; after all, it has been a central area of research for much of the past century. Still, we should approach the issue with an abundance of epistemic humility. Those who warned about high inflation in the wake of the Great Recession were wrong. A casual observer might view this with some relief, since we nearly all erred in overestimating inflation. Still, this should be of no comfort. The mathematical models we use to understand and predict inflation perform poorly, and there is plenty of opportunity for symmetry of error, so there is a real possibility of underestimating the risks of inflation this time. The fiscal and monetary stimulus following the pandemic recession is much larger than that of the Great Recession. Of course, the economic damage of the pandemic is far worse. One great unknown is whether we have too much or too little stimulus today.
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  • Atomic! GOP protects Leninist Bannon; Banks & Cheney clash; Rep. Pence abstains; Mike Pence cashes in; Trump's 'Truth Social'
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Bannon and Congress: In the old days, before Donald Trump's assault on an array of American institutions, if you were called to testify before Congress on an act that might land you in jail, you just took the 5th. But in today's Congress, we find 202 Republicans voting against holding Steve Bannon in contempt for snubbing a House Jan. 6 insurrection panel subpoena.  Bannon claims "executive privilege" even though he had exited the Trump administration years ago and was a podcaster. In a Jan. 5 podcast, Bannon said this: "All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. So many people said, 'Man, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington.' Well, this is your time in history." That fit his Leninist "burn the establishment to the ground" mantra. House Republicans are willing to pervert congressional subpoena power for . . .  Steve Bannon. If Bannon isn't compelled to testify, why in the world would anyone else? U.S. Rep. Jim Banks made a spectacle of himself, complaining on the House floor that Speaker Nancy Pelosi prevented him from serving on the House committee. CNN: And yet, Banks sent a letter to at least one government agency falsely claiming that he is ranking member of the committee in his signature. Fellow Republican Liz Cheney, who serves as vice chair of the committee, called Banks out for his actions. "He noted that the Speaker had determined that he wouldn't be on the committee" Cheney said. "So I would like to introduce for the record a number of letters the gentleman of Indiana has been sending to federal agencies."


  • HPI Analysis: Sen. Young has it all (except Donald Trump's endorsement)
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Sen. Todd Young seems to have it all these days. He raised a record $1.6 million for his first Senate reelection campaign this past quarter, sitting on a lofty $5.6 million cash. He doesn’t have a primary opponent. The three Democratic candidates have raised a combined $100,000. But Todd Young is lacking what may count most: The endorsement of former president Donald J. Trump in a state where he won twice with 57%. According to Politico, Sen. Young’s campaign made inquiries for a Trump endorsement last winter not long after the Jan. 6 insurrection and then Trump’s second impeachment trial, when Young voted to acquit the former president. Politico: “Trump’s revulsion to even minor instances of disloyalty only intensified. As an example, they noted that Trump is currently withholding an endorsement of Indiana Sen. Todd Young after Young called Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘an embarrassment’ to the Republican party last month. Young’s comments came shortly after Greene claimed she received Trump’s ‘full support’ during a phone call with the former president. Trump’s ‘money and his endorsement and engagements [are] very valuable. It’s political currency to a lot of these candidates and he plans to keep tighter reins on that,’ said a former senior Trump administration official.”

  • Horse Race: Biden swoons, ports clog, IRS snoops and Pete stays home
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS –  The dog days of August have dissolved into autumnal discontent with the Biden administration. A Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday gave President Biden a 37% approval as his legislative agenda faltered in Congress, container ships stacked up off the U.S. coasts and illegal immigrants flooded across the Mexican border. There are three distinct red lights flashing for Democrats. One is the Treasury Department’s proposal for the IRS to collect additional data on every bank account that sees more than $600 in annual transactions. The other is the empty grocery store shelves and prospects 0f a turkeyless Thanksgiving, and no presents under a phantom Christmas tree in December. In a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday, 62% of American voters say the administration’s policies are either somewhat or very responsible for increasing inflation, including 41% of Democrats, 61% of independent voters and 85% of Republicans.
  • Horse Race: Sen. Baldwin listed as Oath Keeper

    Howey Politics Indiana

    NOBLESVILLE - State Sen. Scott Baldwin has been identified in a ProPublica article as a member of the Oath Keepers. Dozens of Oath Keepers have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, some of them looking like a paramilitary group, wearing camo helmets and flak vests. But a list of more than 35,000 members of the Oath Keepers — obtained by an anonymous hacker and shared with ProPublica by the whistleblower group Distributed Denial of Secrets — underscores how the organization is evolving into a force within the Republican Party.

  • HPI Horse Race: With Joe in Rome, who runs for INGov Democrats in 2024?
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Three years is the proverbial “eternity” in politics, but in modern Indiana political history, many gubernatorial campaigns take root 24 to 18 months out from election. So while it’s early to begin assessing the open seat 2024 gubernatorial field, Indiana Democrats had their first big jolt of the cycle last Friday. That’s when the White House announced that President Biden was nominating former senator Joe Donnelly to be U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. It’s a plum gig for Donnelly, a devout Catholic and Notre Dame graduate. He told Howey Politics Indiana that he wouldn’t be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2022, but seemed to leave the door open for further cycles. “It was a great honor to serve our state in the U.S. House and Senate,” Donnelly said last March. “During the last two years, I have had the chance to teach U.S. national security at Notre Dame, to practice law, to work on Hoosier renewable energy issues, and to work with Indiana businesses to create more jobs. I remain open to being involved in public service again, but I will not be a candidate for public office in 2022.” With Donnelly at the Vatican, the 2024 gubernatorial field could take shape.
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  • Mayor McDermott won't hire unvaccinated Chicago cops
    "This mayor is not interested in the head cases from Chicago coming to the Hammond Police Department. Officers willing to throw their career away over a political issue? I just don't want that. The number one killer of police officers across the country right now is COVID-19. If you're willing to throw all that away over a shot, during a pandemic; if you're that rigid, I don't really want you in the Hammond Police Department, I'll be honest with you. Because I imagine you're going to be a pain in my ass a couple years down the road also and you're going to be a pain in the chief's ass. You can't be a police officer and not take orders from the mayor." - Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., on his Left of Center podcast, reacting to U.S. Sen. Mike Braun's call to welcome unvaccinated Chicago cops to Indiana police forces. McDermott is seeking the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 2022, seeking to challenge U.S. Sen. Todd Young.
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