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Sunday, September 22, 2019
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Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the Indiana Statehouse. Goodnight was one of 10 Hoosier mayors to endorse Buttigieg for president. (HPI Photo by Brian A. Howey)
Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the Indiana Statehouse. Goodnight was one of 10 Hoosier mayors to endorse Buttigieg for president. (HPI Photo by Brian A. Howey)
Saturday, September 21, 2019 10:35 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS – It took nine months after South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg kicked off his long-shot Democratic presidential campaign before he landed his first spate of Indiana endorsements. Ten Hoosier mayors – Tom McDermott of Hammond, Dave Kitchell of Logansport, Brent Bascom of Rising Sun, Gay Ann Harney of Rockport, Ron Meer of Michigan City, John Hamilton of Bloomington, Gabriel Greer of Peru, Greg Goodnight of Kokomo, Ted Ellis of Bluffton and Hugh Wirth of Oakland City – were part of a group of more than 50 mayors to endorse this upstart presidential campaign. 

Beyond his fellow mayors, Buttigieg hasn’t picked up much support from the Democratic Indiana political establishment. U.S. Reps. Pete Visclosky and André Carson aren’t on board, nor is former senator Joe Donnelly, who attended Buttigieg’s campaign kickoff last April. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett was also there, but didn’t endorse this past week, presumably concentrating on his own reelection bid.

The 10 Hoosier mayors and 40 of their national counterparts explained their endorsement: “We have watched Mayor Pete over the last eight years as his steady and inspired leadership has revitalized his city. It was no surprise to us when his constituents reelected him with 80% of the vote. Pete has transformed South Bend, and now he is showing what American leadership can and should be in the years ahead. That kind of empathetic leadership is desperately needed in the Oval Office.”

We are now about five months before the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary and so, you may ask, does Mayor Pete have a snowball's chance in a Nelson’s Golden Glo fire pit to actually win the nomination? I would characterize his chances as low, but not impossible, particularly here in the Donald Trump era. He's running fifth in Iowa with a Real Clear Politics polling composite at 7.5%, and fourth in New Hampshire with 8%. The national polling composite has him fourth at 5.8%, trailing Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Biden has led this race throughout consistently polling in the 28 to 30% range, though Warren is drawing Trump-like crowds in the 20,000 range.

Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who polls for NBC/Wall Street Journal, cautions about the impact of early polls. “What we see in September isn’t what we see in December,” Hart said.

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  • By TREVOR FOUGHTY
    INDIANAPOLIS – A large part of the appeal of Guinness World Records is the obscurity of the records they track. Indeed, obscurity has always been the point: Ireland’s most famous brewery began publishing the book in 1955 as a way to help settle arcane pub bets. I may not be very useful if you’re interesting in knowing where the largest collection of Batman memorabilia is located, but I do feel a bit like the Guinness folks when I’m asked about some obscure piece of Indiana political history. Of course, I also relish the opportunity to dig in a little more and provide additional context. Such was the case last week, when Brian Howey pointed out to me that not a single congressional district in Indiana has switched parties since our current maps were implemented for the 2012 election. That begs the question: If there is no change in 2020, will that be the first time Indiana has ever witnessed a congressional map that produced no partisan turnover? There isn’t quite a straightforward “yes” or “no” answer, which fortunately means I get to dig in and provide some context.
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND – Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders were separated by only a few feet, but by more than 40 years in age. Mayor Pete, 37, and Sen. Sanders, 78, were situated next to each other at the Democratic presidential debate Thursday night in accord with their standings in the polls. Is one too old? Passé? Is the other too young? Not ready? Is there some other candidate who’s just right, not necessarily with age but with electability? Viewers could draw their conclusions as they watched the performances of the 10 leading candidates for the Democratic nomination. It’s a diverse group. And the different approaches of Buttigieg and Sanders were shown clearly as they stood side by side in the long and tense debate.
       
  • By LEE HAMILTON
    BLOOMINGTON – A wave of protests is roiling Moscow. Millions of people, young and old, have been crowding the streets in Hong Kong. In Britain, members of the Conservative Party took to open revolt over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s move to sideline Parliament on Brexit. If democracy is dysfunctional and on the ropes worldwide, as many voices currently insist, you’d have a hard time making the case from these headlines. In fact, at a time of concern and, in many quarters, cynicism about democracy and its prospects, they remind us of a basic truth: People want a say in how they’re governed. As Winston Churchill put it back in 1944, “At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper – no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point.” To be sure, “democracy” is hard to define. The UN says that democracies are where “the will of the people is the source of legitimacy of sovereign states,” but that’s a broad definition.
  • By MORTON J. MARCUS
    INDIANAPOLIS — Newspapers and television news have pointed to declines in the shipments of recreational vehicles as a warning signal of a forthcoming national recession. It’s true that nationally RV shipments are down. They have been declining, compared to the same month a year earlier, each month from August 2018 through July of this year. For the year as a whole, shipments in 2018 were 4.1% below 2017. However, 2017 was a bonanza year for the industry, shipping 504,600 units, up 17.2% from 2016. Yet that does not tell the story well; in March 2018 alone, shipments reached 50,600 units, a vertigo height for RVs. 
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    NASHVILLE, Ind. - So there was President Trump in the Oval Office on Wednesday, mocking his most recently departed National Security Adviser John Bolton as a "Mr. Tough Guy." A few minutes later, President Tough Guy was seated with Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, announcing a ban on flavored vapes. “We have a problem in our country,” Trump said, springing into action after five vape-related deaths nationally, including one in Indiana. “It’s called vaping, especially vaping as it pertains to innocent children.” But if you want to talk about protecting "innocent children," the huge elephant on the table is the epidemic of mass shootings in our nation in places like Sante Fe and Marjorie Stoneman Douglass high schools in Texas and Florida, and, of course, Sandy Hook Elementary School where more than 20 little kids and educators were slaughtered. Most of these involved AR-15s and many other incidents have killed hundreds of people. And on this point, “President Tough Guy” might as well be “President Mouse.” Because we have no idea where he stands on several issues with widespread support.
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  • Atomic! Trump, Pence & Ukraine; Klopfer update; Young guns
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Trump & Ukraine

    Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: Covering the Trump administration is exhausting. Just as the Mueller/Russia Collusion probe receded, we learn that President Trump had a phone conversation with new Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, a former comedian, in which some sort of "promise" was made. Multiple reports indicated that the read-out from the July 25 call prompted a "whistle blower" from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to file an "urgent" report. Business Insider: "The complaint shocked the intelligence community. A former CIA official described it as a 'DEFCON 1' situation." Now Congress is attempting to get the DNI's inspector general report.
  • HPI Analysis: The double dog impeachment dare
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – If the act of legislating is considered “sausage making,” a reference to the often disgusting casing of meat into intestinal links, then the process of impeaching an American president is more like casu marzu (maggot cheese), Filipino century eggs or Kopi luwak. Impeachment is an American tragedy with messy, unsatisfactory outcomes and an array of unintended consequences. Presidential defenders like Indiana U.S. Rep. David Dennis in 1974 can find themselves betrayed by President Nixon. Fierce loyalists like U.S. Rep. Earl Landgrebe and four of his colleagues would go down to defeat that year. 

  • Horse Race: Mayor Pete picks up his first Indiana endorsements
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Nine months after Mayor Pete Buttigieg kicked off his long-shot Democratic presidential campaign, he has landed his first spate of Indiana endorsements. Ten Hoosier mayors – Tom McDermott of Hammond, Dave Kitchell of Logansport, Brent Bascom of Rising Sun, Gay Ann Harney of Rockport, Ron Meer of Michigan City, John Hamilton of Bloomington, Gabriel Greer of Peru, Greg Goodnight of Kokomo, Ted Ellis of Bluffton and Hugh Wirth of Oakland City – were part of a group of more than 50 mayors to endorse his campaign. 
  • Horse Race: Pub candidates in the INGov race
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS — Former Oklahoma QB and congressman J.C. Watts was once asked about why he wore his snazzy shades as the big man on campus, and he responded, “Pub, man, pub.”  Ahhh yes, publicity. In 2019 the new way to get “pub” is to run for governor of Indiana. So now we have What’s His Name from Carmel (nominally known as Brian Roth), running as a Republican businessman against Gov. Eric Holcomb. And on Monday, out came What’s His Face (otherwise known as Josh Owens), a gay Shelbyville native  who runs an Indianapolis tech firm who will take on Dr. Woody Myers for the Democratic nomination.
  • Atomic! Dr. Klopfer haunts; Oil shocks? Vinatieri's swan song?
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Dr. Klopfer’s haunting secret: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: For decades Indiana Right to Life and many Hoosier Republicans fought Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, who provided abortions in Gary, South Bend and Fort Wayne. But the most damning narrative comes after his death  earlier this month, when his family found 2,200 fetal remains on his property. This will be a galvanizing event in the lop-sided abortion debate here in Indiana. U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski described herself as “sickened” by the revelations. Now comes State Rep. Ron Bacon, who is calling for Attorney General Curtis Hill to investigate how fetal remains from Indiana ended up in Klopfer’s Illinois home. “
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  • Trump pressed Ukraine president for dirt on Hunter Biden
    “It doesn’t matter what I discussed." - President Trump, after the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal reported that a July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky had him repeatedly press his counterpart to investigate Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden, who is the Democratic presidential frontrunner. Trump said the request was "totally appropriate." The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump didn’t mention a provision of foreign aid to Ukraine on the call, according to its source. A whistle blower from the office of the Director of National Intelligence filed an "urgent" complaint on the call, triggering a showdown between Congress and the White House, which is seeking to keep the complaint under wraps. In a June interview with ABC News, Trump said he would listen if a foreign government gave his campaign "dirt" on an opponent. That prompted FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub to say, “Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.“ 
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  • The NFL's Century season
    The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers kicked off the 100th season of the NFL Thursday nigth, meeting for the 199th time. The Bear defense lived up to billing. But Chicago third year QB Mitch Trubinsky ... not so much, as the Packers won 10-3, much to the howling, growling chagrin to the Bear faithful at Soldier Field. This, despite a pre-game appearance by the Punky QB (Jim McMahon). 

    There were 10 original teams of the NFL, including two in Indiana: The Hammond Pros and the Muncie Flyers. The others were Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Tigers, Dayton Triangles, Decatur Staleys, Racine Cardinals, Rock Island Independents, and Rochester Jeffersons. The Staleys would become the Bears. 

    The NFL wouldn't return to Indiana (beyond the Bears training camp at St. Joseph College at Rensselaer where Dick Butkus once said the statues were so ugly the pigeons wouldn't crap on them) until the Colts arrived in Indianapolis in 1984. It took 15 years before consistently great quarterbacking would establish itself in Indy, first with Peyton Manning and then Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett is now on the clock. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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