An image
Login | Subscribe
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
An image
An image
Monday, December 6, 2021 9:36 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Braun and the future of abortion

For a half century, Roe v. Wade has redefined our parties and created the political skirmish lines. There was a time when the Republican leader of the Indiana House was pro-choice, and the Democratic speaker was pro-life. No more. Indiana's GOP has become monolithically pro-life, with a policy position tantamount to whether one would move up the political ladder. After last week's U.S. Supreme Court case involving Mississippi, many are expecting an outright Roe repeal. So, what's next for Indiana politics?

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun was pressed by Meet The Press  host Chuck Todd for the future of abortion in Indiana. He had few specifics. “When it comes to things like abortion, I think it's clear it's time to turn it back to the states, let the diversity of this country show forth," Braun said on Sunday. "It eliminates a lot of the contention to where we become the Hatfields and McCoys on many of these issues. The beauty of our system is that it's federal. It's got all of these different ideas. And when you try to nationalize, federalize the way the other side of the aisle is doing on more than just this, I think you're constantly in that area of contention.” 

Todd pressed Braun, saying, "Every elected official is going to have to state very specifically now" on future restrictions, saying that they had been "hiding behind Roe." Braun: "In my case when you believe in the sanctity of life, you want abortions eliminated from the landscape if you can." He said that the issue won't likely be "settled in a homogenous way." How would you enforce a ban on abortion? "You leave that to the states," Braun responded. "You try to find that right mix. I'm not saying you got that right in Indiana." Todd: What's your idea? Braun: "It needs to be different from where it is. I don't have the silver bullet." Todd: Do you criminalize abortion? Braun: "We just need to take off from where it is and return it to the states."

2. Our COVID divide

With Indiana hospitalizations reaching near pandemic highs, former state health commissioner Dr. Richard Feldman told IN Focus on CBS4, "Most people are not taking this seriously. They’re not wearing masks, they’re not doing any mitigation, [the pandemic] is over for them.” On the same show, U.S. Sen. Todd Young urged Hoosiers not to "over react," saying, “Hoosiers should continue to follow the guidance of doctors and public health experts, as most Hoosiers are.” A total of 5,659 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the state on Friday with 2,408 Hoosiers hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday. Currently 26.7% of ICU beds are in use by coronavirus patients. 
3. Only 62% of National Guard vax

Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports that only 62% of Indiana National Guard members have received the COVID vaccine, while 88% of airmen have. Gov. Eric Holcomb: “I have 100% confidence in Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles, and he's following the law and will continue to do that.” Indiana Guard: “The health and well-being of our service members are of paramount importance. Our guardsmen protect our nation and help our state in times of need, and they should protect themselves as much as possible from COVID-19 to be ready at a moment's notice. Ultimately, this is a matter of readiness, and the best way to help maintain the Indiana National Guard's readiness is for our troops to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” the statement continued.

4. COVID killing more Republicans

National Public Radio: Since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for President Biden. People living in counties that went 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.7 times the death rates of those that went for Biden. 

5. R.I.P. Bob Dole

New York TimesBob Dole, the plain-spoken son of the prairie who overcame Dust Bowl deprivation in Kansas and grievous battle wounds in Italy to become the Senate majority leader and the last of the World War II generation to win his party’s nomination for president, died on Sunday. He was 98. HPI: I covered Bob Dole's 1996 presidential nomination while reporting on Sen. Richard Lugar's campaign that year. He was a steady, partisan Republican juggernaut. David Letterman asked Dole on Nov. 8, 1996 — three days after Dole lost the presidential election - "Bob, what have you been doing lately?" Dole: "Apparently not enough." In 2017, my father Jack Howey accompanied by my niece Alice Deer went on a World War II Honor Flight and there at the World War II Memorial greeting these veterans was Sen. Dole. Rest in peace, senator.

Thanks for reading, folks. It's The Atomic!
An image
    INDIANAPOLIS – There have been two types of Mike Pence for president stories in recent weeks. The first has been about Pence taking his nascent campaign to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, preparing for an upstart 2024 campaign. The second is the many articles saying he has little to no chance, particularly if former president Donald Trump runs. And now comes the Mississippi abortion case that was heard Wednesday morning by the U.S. Supreme Court, described as the most direct challenge to Roe v. Wade since the Casey case three decades ago. According to the AP, the Supreme Court had never agreed to hear a case over an abortion ban so early in pregnancy until all three Trump appointees – Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – were on board. While we won’t know whether this Mississippi case overturns Roe, or changes the dynamic of the timeline for fetal viability for several months, this represents the culmination and goal of Mike Pence’s political career. And should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, it would become his most profound achievement. Pence spoke at the National Press Club on Monday at a Susan B. Anthony event, saying, “Today as the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in those hallowed halls, we are here to declare with one voice ‘no more.’ I’m very hopeful and I do believe that Roe v. Wade will be overturned whether it’s now or in the future.”
    ANDERSON – In a recent speech, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy chastised President Joe Biden for failing to deliver on his promise to get the pandemic under control. “I took President Biden at his word,” he said. “I took him at his word when he said he was going to get COVID under control. Unfortunately, more people have died this year than last year under COVID.” McCarthy didn’t mention, of course, that it has been mostly members of his own party standing in the way of delivering on that promise. A survey in mid-September found that 90% of adults identifying themselves as Democrats had been vaccinated compared to 58% of adults identifying as Republicans. This divide has caused Republican politicians across the country to engage in a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, many call on constituents to follow public health recommendations and get vaccinated. On the other hand, some of these same politicians actively fight administration efforts to stop the coronavirus from spreading.
    BLOOMINGTON – It would be fair to say that for a good bit of our history, Americans paid scant attention to redistricting. The redrawing of congressional and legislative lines every 10 years, sparked by population shifts captured by the Census, tended to pass unnoticed. Unless, of course, it involved some particularly outrageous instance of gerrymandering. For line-drawers, especially in the age of the computer, this was just fine. When your basic laptop can so easily create any desired political complexion for a district, the politicians who were usually in charge of the process were quite happy to get the chance to choose their voters without much public notice. This would give the party in power in a state a lock on as many seats as possible—never mind the damage it did to competitive elections and, more generally, our representative democracy. An interesting thing happened after the last redistricting round, however. As overt and divisive partisanship ratcheted up around the country, so did public concern about partisan line-drawing. In several states, reform advocates were able to create citizen-led redistricting commissions, including in Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Virginia. 
    SOUTH BEND – Polls show that voters, when asked about a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, are signaling a tossup, with Trump slightly ahead in some samplings. This is a reflection of the plummeting approval ratings for President Biden. On June 1, the Real Clear Politics average approval for Biden in national polls was 53.32%, with a plus percentage over disapproval of 11.3%, higher than Trump ever approached. By the middle of last week, Biden’s average polling approval percentage was 41.3%, with a negative gap of 12.1%, down where Trump dwelled. Now, to put this in perspective: The 2024 presidential election is three years away. Whether there will be a Trump vs. Biden rematch is uncertain. Polls, even a few days before an election, don’t always show the outcome. They certainly can’t be regarded as highly accurate forecasts this far out.
    MUNCIE – Thanksgiving is upon us again, bringing to mind the Pilgrim story. That is a fine tale of religious refugees, which is probably the most enduring and evocative American experience. But rightly understood, the American Thanksgiving comes to us from Abraham Lincoln. It was made by his proclamation of Oct. 3, 1863, while the Gettysburg dead were still being gathered, on an autumn day in the shadow of our nation’s darkest hour. If Mr. Lincoln could find reason to call us together for a day of gratitude, we can now have no cause to do otherwise. Shifting focus to our most recent year, America’s factories have recovered and produced more goods this summer than at any time in history. Our ports are full, sending a record value of these goods abroad. At the same time, ships bring more goods to our factories and stores from trading partners abroad. Our American dollar rules the globe, denominating everything from global oil shipments to taxicab trips in Bangladesh. All of this happened in the wake of the biggest economic shock in global history. Today, Americans have never been richer. Indeed, we are so affluent that our standard of poverty lies slightly above the global average income per household. Thus, a very poor American is richer than half of all living people. One out of three Americans has wealth that places them in the top 10% world wide.
An image
An image
  • Atomic! 'Disastrous' winter coming for unvaxed; Rader's warning; Braun v. mandates; Kamala & Pete Show
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Kokomo

    1. A bleak winter ahead

    "Disastrous.” That's IU-Northwest Economics Prof. Micah Pollak's forecast for a second COVID perilous winter, mostly among the 50% of Hoosiers who are unvaccinated. Pollak told WRTV on Thursday that while herd immunity is achieved at 80%, states with vaccination rates of 60-70% are experiencing increases in cases. “So that kind of just means that Indiana's kind of stuck where we are because there's no way we're getting to 80% in the next few weeks,” Pollak said, adding that state and local leaders need to be “shouting from the rooftops” about the need for people to get vaccinated. “We're going to have a big wave and we're going to have maybe a new variant here before too long, and do it for yourself at least if not for, you know, your family and friends and relatives and acquaintances.” WIBC's Eric Berman: 5,653 new Indiana #coronavirus cases, second straight day over 5K, with 10.7% of today's batch of tests coming back positive. The 7-day positivity rate, which runs a week behind, continues a monthlong rise to 12.7%, highest since Jan 17. Goshen General Hospital: 41 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID, 35 of whom are unvaccinated. That’s the highest number of COVID patients so far this year (WNDU-TV).
  • HPI Analysis: House GOP takes aim at COVID mandates

    INDIANAPOLIS – For the 3.4 million Hoosiers who have received the two or three COVID-19 vaccinations, the proposed HB1001 unveiled by House Majority Leader Matt Lehman on Monday will have little impact, unless the omicron variant turns into a microbe monster. Fully vaccinated Hoosiers are pretty much going about their business, attending Colt and Big Ten games, going to restaurants and bars, enjoying holiday festivities with friends and families. If there’s a breakthrough COVID infection, the risk is on par with a case of the flu or a bad cold. There are now Lilly antibody treatments available for these breakthrough cases that pretty much prevent hospitalization. HB1001 is designed to protect federal funding for SNAP and Medicaid and maintain voluntary state vaccine clinics. Or as Lehman put it on Monday, “This proposal covers the three items the executive branch asked for as a condition for lifting the state of emergency, while also strengthening the rights of individual workers throughout Indiana.” But the other key thrust is for the 50% who have opted not to vaccinate.
  • Horse Race: Braun seeks to shutdown federal government

    INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Sen. Mike Braun will seek to shut down the U.S. government on Friday. He might want to check in with former congressman Marlin Stutzman to see how that stunt worked in 2013. Citing “multiple GOP sources,” Politico Playbook said that Braun was part of a group of “conservatives on both sides of the Capitol are privately plotting to force a government shutdown Friday in an effort to defund the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate on the private sector.” Even if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell convinces his members to abandon a shutdown showdown, the fight over President Biden’s vaccine mandates on Capitol Hill is not going away. As early as next week, Braun plans to force a vote to disapprove and nullify Biden’s vaccine mandate through a process called the Congressional Review Act. He already has all 50 Republicans lined up to back the issue, and they’re hoping to flip one moderate Democrat.
  • Atomic! Pandemic pi; Omicron threat; Holcomb extends emergency; USS Indy's Celaya dies
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Pandemic pi: It was a horrified Purdue Prof. C.A. Waldo who in 1897 learned of a bill by State Rep. Taylor I. Record to redefine the mathematical concept of "pi", rushing to quell what would have been a national embarrassment. Memories of that episode has resurfaced after Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Rodric Bray called a special session originally scheduled for today to "end the pandemic." After testimony last Tuesday on a draft bill by House Majority Leader Matt Lehman, that session was scrubbed on Wednesday due to what Bray called "the ongoing complexities" and "potential unintended consequences" of moving on the draft bill that would have prevented vax mandates that apparently lacked votes in the Senate. On Friday, the "Omicron" variant of COVID-19 was officially recognized by the World Health Organization, the Dow reacting by falling nearly 1,000 points, and Americans girded for yet another "not again!" episode of this pandemic where vaccination is readily available (and free!) but 50% of Hoosiers and 40% of Americans are rejecting. On Nov. 24, Indiana topped 4,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time since Sept. 17; with 9.2% of that day's batch of tests came back positive; 61 counties had positivity rates +10%; and 12 are over IDH's 15% high-risk red line. 
  • HPI Analysis: Pete and Mike angle for 2024 presidential race

    NEW YORK – Right now Donald J. Trump is sucking much of the oxygen away from other potential 2024 presidential contenders. But by the time that election cycle hits primetime, there could be two Hoosiers seeking the nation’s highest office. Mike Pence is already running. He’s maintaining a busy nationwide schedule and that is expected to increase as he stumps for Republican congressional candidates in 2022, collecting an array of potential IOUs. And U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has positioned himself in a way that conjures Theodore Roosevelt’s influential stint as assistant secretary to the Navy in the McKinley administration. Secretary Pete will play a crucial role in the Biden administration’s disbursement of an unprecedented $1.2 trillion infrastructure law funds, while Vice President Kamala Harris chafes about her difficult policy portfolio and bad staffing. Biden is signaling that he will seek reelection at age 82 in 2024. “He is, that’s his intention”, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this week. But many Democrats aren't convinced, setting off speculation as to who is heir to the Democratic mantle.

An image
  • Purdue poised for first No. 1 ranking
    "It's pretty cool for our fans and our players. It's a really neat thing if it does happen; it sounds like it will. I'm just happy for our fans and happy for our players." - Purdue men's basketball coach Matt Painter, as the undefeated Boilermakers are poised to become the AP's No. 1 ranked team for the first time in history.
An image
HPI Video Feed
An image
An image

The HPI Breaking News App
is now available for iOS & Android!

An image
Home | Login | Subscribe | About | Contact
© 2021 Howey Politics, All Rights Reserved • Software © 1998 - 2021 1up!