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Thursday, July 18, 2019
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Thursday, July 18, 2019 7:12 PM

INDIANAPOLIS - Mayor Pete Buttigieg issued a clarion call for Young Democrats to pick up the mantle of leadership and make a generational shift from the Ronald Reagan chapter of American politics, telling delegates, "Young gets it done." 

"The young generation today is the largest and most diverse ever, and the size of our generation gives us the power to shape politics for the half-century to come," Buttigieg told a Young Democrats Convention at Union Station. "So it’s good news that we are the most Democratic generation alive. It’s natural that our generation be the most skeptical ever of Republican policies."

Buttigieg said that President Trump is betraying Reagan conservatism. "This is how the conservative era comes to an end," Buttigieg said. "Their movement is collapsing. That's where I come in."

He said that he sees an America "that lives in chapter," explaining, "The New Deal era lasted for almost 50 years, until it came to an end with Reagan. And then the Reagan era lasted the last 40 years, with even Democrats acting like the only thing you can do to a tax is cut it, like the only thing you can do with government is shrink it. But it didn’t work. We are what comes next. The New Deal era ended with Reagan. The Reagan era ends with us."

"It’s why I’m ready to deliver something completely different," Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg said that skepticism drove his activism as a young adult. "As I made my way through high school, I saw them tell us to keep cutting taxes on the wealthiest and it would somehow pay for itself," he said. "As I entered college, I saw them tell us climate change wasn’t really anything to worry about, and then keep saying it even as the scientists’ predictions started coming true. 

"Around the time I got my first job in the mid 2000s, I saw them tell us to deregulate banks... what’s the worst that could happen?" he continued. "As I started thinking about buying a home, I saw them tell us that American civilization pretty much depended on blocking someone like me from ever being able to get married. Oh, and for some reason it was absolutely imperative that we invade Iraq, which would be quick and easy and reflect well on America in the new century."

In Buttgieg's view, "To come of age in the 21st century is to see virtually every major prediction and policy advanced by the Republican Party in your adult lifetime fail before your eyes when put into practice. Nothing they say actually works in the real world. They say young people are idealistic. But we’re not Democrats because of our idealism, we’re Democrats because of our reality."
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    SOUTH BEND – They took the bait. Just as President Trump knew they would. Just as he made it almost impossible for them not to snap back, snap at the bait. Just as he planned. So, there they were on television, all four of them, the ultra-progressive Democratic congresswomen who stir controversy in their own party caucus. There they were with saturation coverage for days, appearing as the face of the Democratic Party. And right after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had somewhat successfully pushed them farther from the spotlight, portraying them as rogue rather than representative of the Democratic House caucus. Pelosi did so out of concern that their strident calls for impeachment and insistence on pushing for what now is politically impossible could endanger chances of Democrats retaining control of the House. Trump baited a Twitter trap, insulting the four congresswomen of color and telling them to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested” countries “from which they came.”
    BLOOMINGTON  – A few years ago, I was at a polling place here in Indiana where a long line of people stood waiting to vote. A woman recognized me and called me over. “Why is it,” she asked, “that you politicians make it so hard and inconvenient to vote?” I thought of this the other day when I read the news reports about presidents Trump and Putin meeting and jestingly accusing one another of election meddling. The background, of course, is the pressing issue of Russian interference in US elections. American voters take elections seriously enough to stand in line – for hours, sometimes – to cast a ballot. And here were the two presidents making light of attempts to subvert the voices of ordinary people. I’d expect nothing less from Putin, but from an American president? The sad truth is, Russian meddling isn’t our only election problem. We’ve got an archaic registration process, restrictive voting practices, voting systems bedeviled by outdated technology, inadequate budgets for the voting infrastructure, and an entire nation’s worth of overloaded local elections staff. There are robust efforts afoot, by many people and groups, to suppress, not encourage, votes; much effort in this country goes into keeping some groups of people from having a say in the conduct of their government. 
    INDIANAPOLIS  — In this space we’ve discussed the plight of Indiana’s many smaller towns edging toward extinction as viable economic communities. This has even become a topic for political lip-service with emphasis on individual places rather than a systemic approach to a statewide problem. The stagnation and decline of once thriving mid-sized Hoosier cities cause hands to be wrung and construction projects to be initiated that have little chance to make substantive change possible. Terre Haute’s numbers are virtually unchanged in this decade. Evansville and Richmond had population declines of 2% and 4% respectively. Lake County saw 12 of its 17 municipalities lose population from 2010 to 2018. How has the state responded? Federal funds for the most part will be used to build a questionable nine-mile mega-million-dollar extension of a commuter rail line. The South Shore serves downtown Chicago, but job growth in the southern portions of the Chicago metro area may be far more important. No public transit from Indiana serves those jobs.
    MUNCIE  — This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of our first trip to the moon. I was not yet 7 years old, so was just old enough to sense the energy and pride that consumed our nation. Few people younger than I will remember the electric excitement of that week. The relevance of a grand governmental undertaking and national unity on the matter bears some relevance today. I watched the lunar landing late on a Sunday evening, July 20, 1969. As I recall, it was a delicious festival on a perfect barefoot summer night. I was too young to understand the consequence of the effort of that night, and to be honest, the moon never looked that far away. My father was then a professor at Johns Hopkins applied physics lab, and he somehow always made the heavens accessible. Moreover, he was a Purdue graduate, as was Neil Armstrong. As transplanted Hoosiers in a Maryland suburb, my mom and dad felt a kinship with the space program. Gus Grissom’s sacrifice and my dad’s work with early satellites made all of it seem very personal. 

    INDIANAPOLIS  — On July 24, the late Sen. Richard Lugar will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery, and at some point in the future Sen. Birch Bayh will be, as well. To many Hoosiers, this makes sense. Both men were giants in the U.S. Senate who gave much to the nation and world through their leadership. It makes sense that they should be accorded the honor of burial in a national cemetery. It also begs the question: What other prominent Hoosier politicians are buried at Arlington? But before I answer that question, it’s worth considering what makes one eligible to be laid to rest in that particular cemetery. Most people probably assume that Lugar and Bayh earned the honor as a result of their widespread recognition as statesmen. But that assumption is false. Consider: The markers for each man will note not the final resting place of a U.S. senator, but rather that of Lieutenant Lugar and Private Bayh. That’s because Arlington is a veterans cemetery, and burial in such cemeteries is reserved for active duty veterans who were discharged honorably, their spouses, and their minor children.
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  • HPI Interview: Gov. Holcomb prepares for reelection

    NEW ALBANY – The road to the Clark County Fair in Charlestown took Gov. Eric Holcomb and myself past State Rep. Jim Lucas’s town of Seymour, past the heroin-HIV torn city of Austin in Scott County, past the sprawling River Ridge development between Jeffersonville and Charlestown as we conducted this interview. When we arrived at the fair, Holcomb and Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer were met by Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel. This will be the nexus of the governor’s reelection bid. Hupfer will manage the campaign; Noel is the chairman. This will be Holcomb’s first gubernatorial campaign designed with structure and order. It comes as a new Morning Consult Poll released this morning put his approval at 50%, disapproval at 28% with 22% having no opinion.
  • Horse Race: Hogsett's Hudnut ad a jaw dropper

    INDIANAPOLIS – Twenty-eight years ago, appointed Secretary of State Joe Hogsett faced a big threat. Big as in 6-foot-5, larger than life Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut, who occasionally dressed up as a huge leprechaun. Hogsett was up for his first full term in the 1990 election after succeeding Evan Bayh, who had won the governorship two years earlier. Hudnut was a three-term mayor gazing down Market Street at the Statehouse with a particular sense of envy. Like Bayh, winning the secretary of state office was considered a viable ticket to the Second Floor gubernatorial suite.
  • Horse Race: Holcomb stumps for Seabrook in New Albany

    NEW ALBANY - Gov. Eric Holcomb joined a campaign fundraiser for Republican New Albany mayoral nominee Mark Seabrook in his race against two-term incumbent Mayor Jeff Gahan. “I’m rewinding the tape about this past decade and how far we’ve come,” Holcomb said of Floyd County, once a Democratic stronghold that has been overtaken by Republicans. “When we mapped out our tour, the man of the hour is Mark Seabrook.” Holcomb cited Seabrook’s three terms as a Floyd County commissioner and three on the city council. “You’re fortunate to have already seen him in action.” Seabrook said, “I can tell you from the bottom of my heart what New Albany means to me.”
  • The Atomic! America descending into a racial stew
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. This from the Party of Lincoln: Here are your Tuesday power lunch talking points: As we descend into a racial stew, Hoosier Republicans remain on the sidelines with the latest President TrumpTwitter controversy where he urged four Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to “the crime infested places from which they came” (three of them come from Detroit, Cincinnati and New York City; the fourth is a naturalized American). He later added, “These are people that hate our country.  They hate it, I think, with a passion.” And Sen. Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the four Democrats "a bunch of communists who hate America." So the Party of Lincoln is transforming itself into a 21st Century version somewhere between David Duke and Joe McCarthy. Trump & Company continue to play to the base, with a shrewd intent of steering the Democratic Party into the ultra-progressive spin. This morning, Trump tweeted, “Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” He called a resolution taking shape in the House a “Democrat con game,” adding “Republicans should not show ‘weakness’ and fall into their trap. This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat.” 
  • Atomic! Guv passes on shot; Rokita mulls AG; Pete's standing O

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Knightstown

    1. Passing on a 'Hoosiers' shot: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: In a state with a long list of basketball politicians (Lee Hamilton, Baron Hill, Frank O’Bannon, Rep. Bob Heaton, Elkhart mayoral nominee Rod RobersonKyle Hupfer among them), Gov. Eric Holcomb entered the legendary Hoosier Gym with no time on the clock while Hickory and Terhune were tied at 20. And this is a governor who boasts about taking basketball shots in all 92 counties. So we quizzed GOP spokesman Pete Seat: Will ol’ Hickory Holcomb take a shot after declaring for reelection? The east goal was retracted to the roof, but the west goal was ready to go. Seat said that Holcomb had taken (and made) some shots the day before. There were concerns about the crowd getting in the way. Ultimately, there would be no shot, though the crowd did go wild anywayPolitical operatives, ever mindful of B-roll and opposition trackers, know all too well the risk. What if the Guv missed? What if he missed again?  What if Hickory Holcomb went on a cold streak and had to finish with a layup, instead of the trey? My response would have been: Can’t go wrong with a slam dunk. But the cowboy boots could have been a problem. And missing a slam dunk could cause a polling free fall, because, well, this is Indiana. Ted Cruz paid a dear price in 2016 when he talked about a "basketball ring" here (it's a "hoop," Theodore, who finished with a cold, cold 36%). In the 2000 reelect campaign, Gov. Frank O’Bannon was featured in a TV ad as a “pure shooting guard.” Voiceover: “It’s like he’s in a whole other league. No telling what he’ll do next”  as the former IU guard launched an over the shoulder shot while gazing into the camera with his twinkling smile. On the TV ad, the shot went in. Legend has it that it really happened, it really went in. But it wasn’t before a live audience. Big difference. 

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  • Trump continues racial assault on 'The Squad'
    "These left-wing ideologues see our nation as a force for evil. Omar laughed that Americans speak of al Qaeda in a menacing tone,. You don’t say America with this intensity. You say al Qaeda makes you proud. Al Qaeda makes you proud. You don’t speak that way about America." - President Trump, speaking at a MAGA rally in Greenville, N.C., Wednesday of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. A day after the U.S. House voted to condemn Trump's "go home" tweets, the crowd chanted, "Send her back." An Associated Press analysis calls the emerging Trump/Pence reelection campaign as the most overtly racist since Alabama Gov. George Wallace's 1968 independent campaign. Axios is reporting that Trump will use race in a "premeditated" manner and that it is central to his reelection strategy.

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  • Epstein, Acosta and the perversion of power
    For those of you wondering why Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned Friday despite President Trump's assertion that he is a "great labor secretary," spend 15 minutes to read Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown's "Perversion of Justice: How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime." You'll learn that District Attorney Acosta bowed to the demands of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's all-star legal team, cut "an extraordinary plea agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved." This is about a lurid a tale of crime and power as I've ever read. While this was going on, Epstein's enforcers were tracking down witnesses and journalists, issuing threats.

    Brown writes: "Not only would Epstein serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal — called a non-prosecution agreement — essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes." We are learning that Epstein's circles included dozens if not hundreds of underage girls, recruiters, presidents, princes and the rich and famous.

    Florida State Sen. Lauren Book, asks: “Where is the righteous indignation for these women? Where are the protectors? Who is banging down the doors of the secretary of labor, or the judge or the sheriff’s office in Palm Beach County, demanding justice and demanding the right to be heard?"

    Of course President Trump said of Epstein in 2002, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side." Wink-wink. That was three years before Trump's infamous Access Hollywood comment (if you're rich and famous, "you can grab them by their pussy") and five years before Acosta's plea deal with Epstein. It begs the question, What would Mother think?  - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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