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Monday, July 15, 2019
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Monday, July 15, 2019 10:47 AM

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 The east goal was retracted to the roof, but the west goal was ready to go.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 anyway.

Political 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. 

2. Rokita mulls AG race

Seated conspicuously to the right of Gov. Holcomb's reelection kickoff at the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown Saturday was former secretary of state and congressmanTodd Rokita. Catching up with Rokita after the event ended, HPI asked him if we should continue to include him as a potential challenger to the embattled Attorney General Curtis Hill. Rokita said he was at the event "to take the temperature" of a potential Statehouse comeback. He said he might have until October to decide. Hill has faced calls for his resignation from Holcomb and other GOP leaders after sexual harassment allegations were leveled against him in 2018. He faces a Supreme Court review of his law license, expected to be decided by October. Hill hasn't announced for reelection, but reported raising $220,000, though $100,000 of that came from the Republican Attorney Generals Association. Zionsville attorney John Westercamp has already announced he will challenge Hill in the June 2020 Republican Convention. Rokita won a four-candidate, multi-ballot floor fight for secretary of state in 2002. Stay tuned.

3. Mayor Pete’s standing O

Speaking of the crowd going wild, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was one of 10 Democrat presidential hopefuls to appear at the Progress Iowa Corn Feed in Cedar Rapids. Buttigieg: "If we embrace a left-wing agenda, the president’s going to say we’re socialists and we’re for open borders. If we adopt a conservative agenda, the president’s going to say we’re socialists and we’re for open borders. So we might as well stand up for what we believe in and take it from there.” The Des Moines Register  reports that he was the only candidate to get a standing O.

4. An election Window closing

The Associated Press reports that 10,000 election jurisdictions are on the Windows 7 operating system. It describes it as an “archaic system vulnerable to hackers."Windows 7 reaches its "end of life" Jan. 14, 2020, meaning Microsoft stops technical support and patches, although security updates will be provided for a fee through 2023. AP's 50-state survey found that "battleground states" using Windows 7 include Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Arizona and North Carolina. Not sure we're a true battleground, but it's alarming we are using this software.

5. Go back to … America?

President Trump wants four Democratic freshmen congresswomen to "go back" to the countries they came from during weekend Twitter rant. Three of them were born in Cincinnati, Detroit and New York. Rep. Omar was born in Somalia and came to the U.S. as a refugee at age 12 and is a naturalized American citizen. The four congresswomen are Americans. They come from America. But the incendiary Trump tweets diverted attention from the Jeffrey Epstein/Alex Acosta controversy and the ICE roundups that didn't happen this weekend.

Have a great week, folks. We'll be hitting the road for an intriguing weekly edition on Thursday. It's The Atomic!

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    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.
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY??INDIANAPOLIS - Ross Perot famously said, “Eagles don’t flock. You have to find them one at a time.” ??It was a prescient comment from the first billionaire to run for president, coming a few years before Steve Forbes and some 34 years before Donald J. Trump. In late spring 1992, Perot actually led President George H.W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton in the polls, giving us a glimpse of a populist movement with widespread traction.??Writing then for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, I got a ground floor view of this movement. The Perotistas had set up an office in a Fort Wayne strip mall. It was an utter beehive, with volunteers buzzing about, breaking Allen County into "zippies" (i.e., zip-codes) to organize a political movement.??Aided by the fledgling radio talk star Rush Limbaugh, the Perotistas were pissed off about what they perceived to be bad trade deals like NAFTA, with Perot saying in his Texas nasal twang that the "giant sucking sound" we’d be hearing were jobs headed to Mexico. Perot favored term limits for Congress. He loathed the special interest money that Donald Trump would later define as "the swamp." He once said, "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, the public debt should be reduced and the arrogance of public officials should be controlled."??Perot took on both the Clintons and Bushes three decades before Trump. This came in an era prior to the World Wide Web, but Perot communicated with his peeps in his own way. He appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live," vowing to run for president if the people would qualify him for the ballot in all 50 states. Working class folks from Fort Wayne to the coasts rose to the challenge, achieving his goal in the ultimate political draft movement.??And three decades before Trump declared health reform and trade wars would be "simple" to win, Perot had his own boasts: “I can solve the problem of the national debt without working up a sweat. It’s just that simple.”??If there was an enemy at hand, Perot's approach was curt and concise: “If you see a snake, just kill it. Don’t appoint a committee on snakes.”??There are many comparisons between Perot and Trump, but the former provided a crucial lesson to the latter. Perot tried to win the presidency as a populist independent. But as the rockers say, "paranoia will destroy ya" and the media got inside Perot's head. He declared midsummer that the news media was conspiring to ruin his daughter's wedding, and the whole thing began to unravel. He exited the race, then stormed back. But the window to victory had closed.??When the votes were counted, Perot carried 18.9% of the vote nationally, including 19.77% in Vice President Dan Quayle's Indiana. He paved the way for Clinton to defeat Bush. From this showing, Perot created the Reform Party, used it to run again in 1996, and the party was a presidential campaign platform that Trump briefly dallied with in 2000.??But as Steve Earle's folk hero John Lee Pettimore down on Copperhead Road might put it, Donald J. Trump came up "with a brand new plan." Trump would speak the populist code to the regular folks and take over an entire party, the Grand Old Party. While the Hoosier Republican establishment stuck with John Kasich and Ted Cruz in the 2016 primary, Trump invoked the coaching trinity (Bobby Knight, Gene Keady and Lou Holtz), deemed the state "Importantville" and like another populist (socialist Bernie Sanders) won the Hoosier primary with 53% of the vote.??Gov. Mike Pence would see the light and a golden opportunity, and today Hoosier Republicans have enjoined the Trumpian cult of personality. They now eschew balanced budgets and free trade, embrace tariffs and farm bailouts, don't mind sexual harassment allegations (unless you're Attorney General Curtis Hill) and don't sweat a bead if Harley-Davidson is demonized.??“Ross Perot was certainly the most influential political force in the late 20th century from outside the regular party system,” Allan Lichtman, a distinguished professor of history at American University, told CNBC. “I think what explains it is people’s dissatisfaction — this is absolutely relevant to the appeal of Donald Trump — people’s dissatisfaction with business as usual in Washington.”??Perot once said, “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one-yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.”??Donald J. Trump took that ball and rammed it up the gut, then spiked the ball into the punch bowl. He took over a party, beat the Bushes and Clintons, and as Frank Sinatra might put it, he's doing it "my way."??I couldn't find any Ross Perot quotes explicitly about Donald Trump, but he did say, "War has rules, mud wrestling has rules, politics has no rules."

    INDIANAPOLIS - Ross Perot famously said, “Eagles don’t flock. You have to find them one at a time.” It was a prescient comment from the first billionaire to run for president, coming a few years before Steve Forbes and some 34 years before Donald J. Trump. In late spring 1992, Perot actually led President George H.W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton in the polls, giving us a glimpse of a populist movement with widespread traction. Writing then for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, I got a ground floor view of this movement which for several weeks prompted many of us to think he could actually win. The Perotistas had set up an office in a Fort Wayne strip mall. It was an utter beehive, with volunteers buzzing about, breaking Allen County into "zippies" (i.e., zip-codes) to organize a political movement. Aided by the fledgling radio talk star Rush Limbaugh, the Perotistas were ticked off about what they perceived to be bad trade deals like NAFTA, with Perot saying in his Texas nasal twang that the "giant sucking sound" we’d be hearing were jobs headed to Mexico.


    KOKOMO - The poet Robert Browning once wrote, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”  The same could be said about a nation’s reach.??The 50th anniversary of mankind’s, July 20, 1969, first steps on the moon is fast approaching. Let’s hope that our nation will not use the occasion to focus on how great an achievement it was, but rather to reflect on the many great things that we might be able to achieve in the future.?? The year 1969 was a time not terribly unlike that of today. There was massive domestic turmoil, bordering on open revolt and numerous conflicts around the world. There seemed to be nothing which could stop all Americans in their tracks and provide us a moment of inspiration, pride and absolute awe. Since the first humanoid could tilt their head upwards, we have marveled at the existence of the faraway moon. Poets, composers and philosophers have pondered eloquently about the moon for centuries. But there on that amazing early morning in 1969, the moon ceased to be the distant mysterious celestial rock and came tantalizingly into our grasp. What seemed an impossibility at one time, was now a reality.??

    SOUTH BEND – Mayor Pete, though on the defensive over what he called “a mess” in his own city, survived the first round of Democratic presidential debates. He suffered a dip in the polls, a significant dip, but not a disastrous one for someone who started as a long, long longshot. Others fared worse under the pressure. Look at Beto O’Rourke, falling toward the point of elimination, and Joe Biden, plummeting from a huge lead to his new position as a shaky front-runner. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will continue as a significant contender at least through the first series of primaries next year. That’s guaranteed by his amazing fundraising success, with over 400,000 donors big and small, and $24.8 million raised in the past three months. He has funding to go on with a national campaign as others drop out with nothing left to finance a realistic effort. OK, Mayor Pete stays significant and is sure to continue as a contender. How significant? How far? If he is seen in the role of a humble piñata, with political activists taking swings at him as the national news media conclude that he really isn’t that popular or effective as a mayor, his significance and the length of his race as a serious contender will lessen.
    BLOOMINGTON - The other day, someone I’ve known for years offered a pointed bit of criticism. “It’s easy for people like you to make long lists of things Congress should do to improve,” he said. “But you know good and well most of them won’t happen. So if you’re really serious, what’s the one most important thing it could do? What does Congress absolutely need to start getting itself back on track?” He was right. “People like me” — that is, people who comment publicly about all the things Congress gets wrong — often have long laundry lists of fixes, from wringing the influence of special-interest money out of the system to members of different parties spending more time together. But the most important fix? That takes some thinking. I’ve spent some time on it and have my answer. But you’re not going to like it. What’s critically important for Congress to do? Return to the regular order.
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  • Holcomb, Crouch kick off reelect in boisterous Hoosiers Gym

    KNIGHTSTOWN - Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has shot baskets in all 92 counties during his first three years in office, kicked off his reelection campaign in the historic Hoosier Gym on Saturday before a packed house and the strains of Neil Young's classic "Rocking in the Free World." Under banners proclaiming “Go Holcomb All the Way,” the Hoosier Gym scoreboard showing Hickory tied with Terhune 20-20, joined by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Holcomb emerged from the gym's lockerroom, high-fived Crouch and proclaimed, “What a way for me and Suzanne to officially announce our commitment to keep Indiana moving forward for four more years! And it’s all because of our team – all of you – getting at it every day, taking Indiana to the Next Level, exceeding high expectations."
  • Atomic! Acosta ousta; Pence clips Judge Fisher; Gov's windfall
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Acosta is toast: Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is toast. President Trump announced he resigned this morning after fallout from the Jeffrey Epstein pedophile prosecutions. "I called the president this morning and told him I would step aside," Acosta said at a presser with Trump this morning. "It would be selfish for me to stay in this position rather than keep talking about a case 12 years old." That, of course, was the 13-month sentence for Epstein (and he could go to his office during the day) while Acosta was the DA in Miami, after he was convicted of pedophilia. President Trump called Acosta a "great labor secretary" and said this morning, "I told him you don't have to do this." But he did.

  • HPI Analysis: Myers enters as Holcomb sits on $7.2 million

    INDIANAPOLIS – Four days before Gov. Eric Holcomb kicks off his reelection campaign in Knightstown with $7.2 million cash and 61% approval, he now has a challenger, after Dr. Woody Myers announced he will seek the Democratic nomination. It is the latest launch of a major party gubernatorial campaign in modern Indiana history and it comes as Holcomb is exhibiting historic strength. Myers staked his candidacy on the notion that the state has had “one party rule” for the past 15 years. “I’m running for governor because Indiana has too many preexisting conditions that typical politicians just can’t treat. And treating tough problems is what I do,”   Myers said in front of the old Wishard Hospital Emergency Room where he treated patients and taught.

  • Horse Race: With virtually no black support, Buttigieg unveils 'Douglass Plan'

    INDIANAPOLIS - With his campaign flush with cash but flagging in the polls with virtually no support from African-Americans, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg unveiled his "Douglass Plan" on Thursday. Buttigieg explains, “Black Americans continue to live in the shadow of systemic racism. This is a fact, and one that requires bold action to reverse. To see equity in our time, it will not be enough to simply replace centuries of racism with non-racist policies. We must intentionally put anti-racist policies in place to close the gaps those centuries of policy created. Today, I’m proud to share with you The Douglass Plan, named after American hero Frederick Douglass, and comparable in scale to the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II.” 
  • Horse Race: Democrats Hackett, Hale seek 2nd, 5th CD nominations

    INDIANAPOLIS - Two Indiana congressional races began to take shape on Wednesday when Notre Dame Prof. Pat Hackett announced she would challenge U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski and former legislator Christina Hale said she will seek the open 5th CD being vacated by U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks. Both are Democrats. In addition, Republican Micah Beckwith has filed FEC papers to form a committee in the 5th. Hackett, a South Bend attorney, unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2018. “I will always fight for dignity and justice for all, and I believe we deserve a representative who listens and represents our interests," Hackett said. "Jackie Walorski is a career politician who refuses to hold town -halls, caters to the special interests who give millions of dollars to her campaigns, and is out of touch with the people in this district. I will be an advocate for health care for all, the workers who live paycheck-to-paycheck, the seniors who depend on Social Security and Medicare, and the farmers who are struggling with the growing catastrophe of climate change and challenge of reckless tariffs. We deserve an advocate and leader who will represent the people of this district and not engage in pay-to-play politics in Congress.”  
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  • Reps. Brooks, Carson call Trump's 'go home' tweets inappropriate
    "As Americans there is more that unites us than divides us. The president's remarks to my colleagues across the aisle are inappropriate and do not reflect American values. ALL of our elected officials need to raise their level of civility in order to address the serious issues facing our country." - U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indianapolis, reacting to remarks President Trump tweeted at four Democratic congresswomen, telling them over the weekend to "go home." Three of the four were born in America and the fourth is a naturalized citizen. Brooks has announced she will not seek reelection in 2020 and is one of only a handful of Republicans to criticize the remarks. The only other Indiana delegation member to comment was Democrat U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, who said, "President Trump’s remarks telling my colleagues to “go back where they came from” further reveals his narrow-minded ideas about who belongs in this country. They are principled Americans who belong right where they are — in Congress — pushing back against his dangerous agenda."
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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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