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Friday, May 27, 2022
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A muse at the Odessa Opera Theater, pictured during sieges of 1941 and this past week; President Putin "meets" with his ministers; Commissar Khrushchev after Odessa was liberated in 1941; U.S. Rep. Spartz at Babi Yar Monument in January, and the site following a TV tower bombing last week.
A muse at the Odessa Opera Theater, pictured during sieges of 1941 and this past week; President Putin "meets" with his ministers; Commissar Khrushchev after Odessa was liberated in 1941; U.S. Rep. Spartz at Babi Yar Monument in January, and the site following a TV tower bombing last week.
Saturday, March 5, 2022 10:07 AM

INDIANAPOLIS – There are photos that once seen, will haunt one's soul in the context of this genocidal Russian invasion of Ukraine. The first was Russian dictator Vladimir Putin “meeting” with the ministers of his government. Putin sits at one end of a very long table; his minister clustered at the other end, 40 feet away. This is a leader detached from reality, his 190,000 invasion force bogged down, with cruise missiles and cluster bombs strafing an array of civilian targets. Another is of U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz laying a wreath at the base of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial in Kyiv when she visited the doomed capital in late January. On Tuesday, a Russian missile hit a nearby TV tower, killing at least five people. NBC News showed footage of emergency officials using fire extinguishers to tamp the flames on smoldering corpses. "To the world: what is the point of saying 'never again' for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar? At least 5 killed. History repeating…," Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote in a tweet. This prompted Rep. Spartz to say of her native country, “This is not a war. This is genocide of the Ukrainian people by a crazy man who cannot get over that the Ukrainian people do not want socialism, Soviet Union, or Communists. They want to be free people. They want to be with the West.”


  • INDIANAPOLIS – When the Indiana General Assembly reconvenes on Tuesday for "Technical Corrections Day" it will almost certainly override Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto of HEA1041, the transgender sports bill. But the subplot will be the looming U.S. Supreme Court decision of the Dobbs case, which is expected to repeal Roe v. Wade. The U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion, Republican Lt. Gov. Robert Orr had been a contributor to Planned Parenthood. When a young Republican named Mike Pence first ran for Congress in 1988, the abortion issue wasn’t a campaign hallmark. As the nation grappled with the fallout of Roe, it was Northeastern Catholics who mounted the initial vanguard against legalized abortion. After the 1994 Republican Revolution, the pro-life bulwark shifted to the South and Midwest, helping to create the red center of the nation, while the coasts (along with Illinois and Colorado) became blue. In the 1990s in the Indiana General Assembly, Republican House Speaker Paul Mannweiler and Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton were pro-choice, while Democrat House Speaker John Gregg was pro-life. How far will super majority Republicans go? Will they ditch the carve outs that would allow abortion in the case of rape, incest or the endangerment of the life of the mother? Here’s a clue: In an op-ed published in the Richmond Palladium-Item, State Sen. Jeff Raatz said he will support "any" bill that restricts abortion. 

  • INDIANAPOLIS - This "trend" bubbled up in the homestretch leading into the May 3 Indiana primary in several media quarters: A slate of "Liberty Defense" candidates was poised to pull the Republican House and Senate super majorities even further to the right. Liberty Defense, based in Bluffton, was formed to confront Gov. Eric Holcomb's pandemic mandates and to preserve "your freedoms and traditional family values. Our firm conservative stance is held tight to a no-compromise view on the issues of the sanctity of life, the 2nd Amendment, and religious freedom." But there was no anti-incumbency trend in the May 3 primary. Five General Assembly incumbents lost, but three (State Reps. Curt Nisly, Jeff Ellington and State Sen. Kevin Boehnlein) fell victim to other incumbent legislators after they were drawn into the same districts with the new. With the defeat of Reps. John Jacob and Nisly, who were championed by Liberty Defense, two major headaches of Speaker Todd Huston are now gone. As for the challenges by the Liberty Defense organization in 25 House races, only four on its list won and three of them – State Rep. Bruce Borders, State Sen. Gary Byrne and Wabash County Councilman Lorissa Sweet – had already won multiple elections. Of these 21 Liberty Defense races where endorsed candidates lost, none were close to matching Howey Politics Indiana’s 7% threshold that would suggest a potential breakthrough in the 2024 cycle.

  • INDIANAPOLIS - On Monday, Politico broke the story of a leaked SCOTUS draft opinion that had by a 5-4 margin the termination of Roe v. Wade which has legalized abortion over the past 49 years. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," wrote Justice Samuel Alito. "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives. Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.” When the Dobbs case out of Mississippi is announced in late June or early July, Gov. Eric Holcomb will almost certainly call a special session of the General Assembly and Indiana is expected become one of 26 states to outright ban abortions. This will likely preclude the traditional carve outs that had allowed abortion in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother is in peril. The outright outlawing of all abortion will bring more children into our state. I was curious about how the children already with us are doing, so I read the 2022 Kids Count Data Book published by the Indiana Youth Institute. Indiana is home to the 14th largest population of children nationally, with more than 1.57 million children younger than 18 residing, including 51% who were males and 49% females. According to the Indiana Department of Health, the number of abortions in Indiana grew by 119, or 1.6%, to 7,756 during 2020. That increased number remained below the some 8,000 performed in 2018, Indiana’s highest number since 2014.

  • INDIANAPOLIS – When the 2012 gubernatorial debate turned to the topic of marijuana reform, Libertarian nominee Rupert Boneham decried decades of prohibition that resulted in the jailing of about 10,000 Hoosiers a year. “It’s a plant,” he said as Republican Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg looked on. “It’s a plant." A few weeks later, Indiana State Police Supt. Paul Whitesell made this startling personal observation before the State Budget Committee: "It's here, it's going to stay, there's an awful lot of victimization that goes with it. If it were up to me, I do believe I would legalize it and tax it, particularly in sight of the fact that several other states have now come to that part of their legal system as well." A decade later – on Wednesday 4/20 – Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians gathered at an American Legion post on 54th Street all advocating marijuana reform, noting that it is legal in some form in 37 states, including Illinois and Michigan. It was the most conspicuous and across-the-spectrum demonstration of support ... ever … for ending reefer madness that fills our jails and denies medicinal pot to those in pain. Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Thomas McDermott Jr., secretary of state candidate and military veteran Destiny Scott Wells, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, former Republican state senator and future gubernatorial candidate Jim Merritt, and Libertarian Chairman Evan McMahon gathered amongst American military veterans to advocate for this “plant” that is keeping many of them off opioids.

  • INDIANAPOLIS – Word out across the Hoosier prairie these days is that many House Republicans are angered about Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of the transgender athletic bill last month. That was demonstrated not only by critical statements of legislators, but also three members of the Indiana congressional delegation as well as Attorney General Todd Rokita. “Girls’ sports should be for girls, and allowing biological males to compete with them robs female athletes of a chance to compete and win,” said Sen. Mike Braun, who is considering a run for governor in 2024. “I’m disappointed Gov. Holcomb vetoed a bill to make this law in Indiana, and I support a veto override to protect women’s athletics. Another potential candidate, Rep. Jim Banks, added, “I’m disappointed with Gov. Holcomb’s veto of a common sense bill that frankly doesn’t go far enough to save women’s pports. My hope is that the Indiana General Assembly will meet soon to override the veto and send a message to the rest of the nation that Indiana values women.” The General Assembly’s super majority Republican caucuses are expected to easily override that veto during technical corrections day on May 24. But the more telling day on where the GOP stands could be June 18 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis when the Republican Party State Convention convenes.

  • INDIANAPOLIS - There is palpable emotion when American leaders approach the Ukrainian border these days. It’s what is to be expected when they meet with some of the four million people who have fled Vladimir Putin’s genocidal war that has sent 50% of this nation’s children in refugee status, with most of their fathers and many of their mothers returning to fight the Russians. President Biden was so moved after visiting the Polish/Ukraine border last weekend he said that Putin "cannot remain in power," evoking President Reagan's calling out of the Soviet Union as an "evil empire" a generation ago. “The fact of the matter is I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward the way Putin is dealing and the actions of this man, which is just brutality.” Biden said. It was "the kind of behavior that makes the whole world say, 'My God, what is this man doing?'" Gov. Eric Holcomb met with Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia on Monday. "The inspiring observation I’ve made is Ukrainians are made of steel," Holcomb told me in a Zoom interview on Wednesday. "Their resolve is second to none and I just want to export this Hoosier hospitality that we’re known for and provide resources as we have the capacity to do so. They are living through their greatest hour of need.  "The world is taking note on who is lining up behind whom," Holcomb added. "I just want to make sure that it’s as blunt as this: Ukrainian blood cannot be worth less than Russian oil and perpetuate the Russian war machine. One thing is clear today, the bear is not hibernating any longer. The bear is out, gobbling up, engulfing and devouring and needs to be stopped."

  • INDIANAPOLIS – Are you running for governor in 2024? That was the question I had for U.S. Rep. Jim Banks as we had coffee Monday afternoon. Just hours earlier, two Indiana reporters had suggested that U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth was the “frontrunner” for this open seat. “I haven’t ruled anything out,” Banks responded. “I will say candidly we’re watching closely what Mike Braun does. If Mike Braun runs for governor, we’ll look at the Senate race. Whatever Mike Braun does creates a dominoes effect in a lot of directions.” Less than 24 hours later, Sen. Braun had what could be called a “Richard Mourdock moment” when he suggested that Roe v. Wade should really be determined by the states in a Zoom call with reporters. NWI Times reporter Dan Carden asked him if interracial marriage should also be determined by the states instead of by the U.S. Supreme Court. “This should be something where the expression of individual states are able to weigh in on these issues through their own legislation, through their own court systems. Quit trying to put the federal government in charge,” Braun said. That response drew the kind of criticism that Mourdock's 2012 U.S. Senate debate blunder on rape and abortion led to Democrat Joe Donnelly's upset victory a few weeks later. Braun quickly attempted to walk that back, saying, “I misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage. Let me be clear on that issue – there is no question the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, that is not something that is even up for debate, and I condemn racism in any form, at all levels and by any states, entities, or individuals.”

  • INDIANAPOLIS – The Russian invasion of Ukraine has once more brought journalists to the front lines, in Kyiv, Odessa, and even Moscow. Freelancer Brent Renaud, Fox News videographer Pierre Zakrzewski and Fox News consultant Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova were killed by snipers and shells, while Fox correspondent Benjamin Hall was injured. And in the belly of the beast, a television producer named Marina Ovsyannikova burst onto a live broadcast Monday on the Kremlin’s Channel 1, holding a sign reading “Stop the war! They’re lying to you here.” It was witnessed by millions of Russian viewers. She was quickly arrested, fined about $300 after a court appearance on Tuesday, but faces 15 years in prison for this act of civil disobedience.

  • INDIANAPOLIS – About every 80 years since the American Revolution began in 1776, there have been decisive pivot points or cataclysms in history. It was followed by the Civil War eight decades later. There were a cluster of pivot points in the first half of the 20th Century, including the Great Depression (1929), President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal (1933), the commencement of World War II (1939), culminating with the arrival of the nuclear age in 1945 that established two Cold War super powers. Are we about to enter the fourth cataclysm of the American experience eight decades after World War II? Over the past five years, Americans have witnessed the greatest upset in American presidential politics with Donald Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton, a pandemic that killed 1 million Americans and 22,000 Hoosiers after causing a series of societal lockdowns, the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection that occurred with the collapse of the Trump presidency, and now despot Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That has the potential to spark the first nuclear war of the 21st Century, or, perhaps, the collapse of the Putin dictatorship. Two quotes seem appropriate. American Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers said, “Every revolution seems impossible at the beginning, and after it happens, it was inevitable.”  And Soviet Union founder Vladimir Ilyich Lenin observed, “There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.” Lenin’s observation had an echo of truth these past two weeks with Vladimir Putin’s disastrous invasion of Ukraine, and the corresponding coalescing of the Western/NATO alliance into the most severe sanctions ever wrought on one pariah state.

  • INDIANAPOLIS – The post-Cold War era has essentially ended now that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine, an independent, democratic nation, on Wednesday. Europe is now experiencing its first fighter jet-to-fighter jet, tank-to-tank military invasion since World War II. There is speculation a full-style incursion could end tens of thousands of lives, and generate a brutal counter-insurgency. Why should Hoosiers care about a war in a faraway place? First, Putin appears to be detached from reality and on the course of a war criminal. Tom Nichols of The Atlantic writes of the kleptocratic dictator after he addressed the world on Monday: "Putin’s slumped posture and deadened affect led me to suspect that he is not as stable as we would hope." Carl Bildt of European Council on Foreign Relations, added, “If I compare with his speech in March 2014 when he annexed Crimea, this was far more rambling, all-over-the-place and unhinged. And also more dangerous. Now he questions the very existence of Ukraine as a nation. It’s a man with immense power who’s lost contact with reality.” Putin blamed the events that led to an independent Ukraine on Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev and when he announced the invasion Wednesday night, he talked of eliminating phantom “Nazis” from this neighboring state. It was chilling.



    KEY WEST – Here's a pop quiz: What do Richard Lugar, Joe Donnelly, Mike Braun, and Todd Huston have in common? Early in their public service careers, they served on local or parochial school boards. This is notable because there is legislation in the Indiana General Assembly - House Bill 1182 - that will politicize school board races, which are currently run on a non-partisan basis. “I think you can tell the difference between financial responsibility and moral character,” said State Rep. J.D. Prescott, R-Union City, who is sponsoring the bill. “Having that on the ballot will help tell voters a little bit more about the candidate.” Newly-elected Hamilton County Republican Chairman Mario Massillamany, explained, “We will get involved in school board races. The Democrats have been running candidates the last six to eight years because they are non-partisan races. They help candidates behind the scenes. Those days are over.” And there's House Bill 1134 that would require teachers to post an outline of classroom curriculum materials by Aug. 1 annually, including textbooks, articles and surveys teachers plan to incorporate, as well as course syllabi. This is the so-called "critical race theory" legislation that became du jour in conservative politics this past year.


  • KEY WEST – For U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz, the poised Russian invasion of her native Ukraine is, well, personal. The Soviet Union collectivized her grandfather’s farm. “They came and took his land, they came and took his house,” Spartz told Howey Politics Indiana on Monday, just days after she returned from a CODEL to Brussels and Kyiv. “The Bolsheviks took his land. He never wanted to join the Communist Party. He worked for a while on the collective farm. They tried to force him and he never got over that. They sent him to Siberia for some time. A lot of Ukrainians died.” Born Victoria Kulheyko in Nosivka, Chernihiv Oblast, she immigrated to the U.S. in 2000 after marrying her husband, Jason Spartz. While she had returned to Ukraine to visit elderly relatives since then, she said she was surprised at the changes she saw in Ukraine earlier this month. “I’ll be honest with you, I was shocked at how the Ukrainian people have changed,” Spartz said. “I grew up near the Ukraine/Belorussian border, in the region just north of Kyiv. People were pretty friendly with Russia. People thought of the old Soviet times and wanted to go back. There was talk of democracy, but people deliberated and debated. I was shocked how people changed and became very pro-American.” Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, travel restrictions have liberalized. “I think a lot of them traveled around Europe for jobs,” Spartz said. “They have been at war for seven years now and 60,000 of them have died. A lot of them have been born after the Soviet Union. They were born in Ukraine, and now you have this Russian aggression, trying to take your territory and a lot of young people are dying. There is a large percentage of the population that do not want to be suppressed. That could be a big problem for Putin.”
  • INDIANAPOLIS – We are witnessing an end to an era of leadership. The NFL quarterbacks we’ve been watching for the past two decades are retiring. There was valiant leader here in Indiana named Peyton Manning, who in February 2007 led the Indianapolis Colts to their lone Super Bowl title. Manning defined leadership on the field and in his community. He quarterbacked the Colts to 11 playoff runs, eight division titles, three AFC championship games, two Super Bowl appearances, and one championship title in Super Bowl XLI. He won five NFL MVP awards, four with the Colts. I recount these heroics because one golden era of the NFL quarterback is passing before our eyes. Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and, perhaps, Aaron Rodgers, have or are expected to retire in the coming weeks, a year or two after Drew Brees, Eli Manning, and Tony Romo hung up the proverbial cleats. Brady won seven of 10 Super Bowls, was 16-4 against the Indianapolis Colts, 6-1 versus the Chicago Bears and 7-1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, making him the singularly most dreaded and despised QB in the Hoosier heartland. They are passing the torch to a new generation of QBs in Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen. Another thing has become clear: The 2012 decision by Colts owner Jim Irsay to forego a $28 million check to Manning six months after he underwent spinal fusion surgery can now be termed to be a bust. While Peyton Manning sat out the 2011 season and the Colts unsuccessfully “sucked for Luck” – Andrew Luck – going 2-14, in March 2012 Irsay cut Peyton Manning, and Colt fans heard this heartbreaking salutation from No. 18: “Thank you for letting me be your quarterback.”

  • BLOOMINGTON – It was the third time Ashton Carter had been to Pervomaysk, Ukraine, and this time he was with U.S. Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, Russian Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev, and Ukranian Minister of Defense Valery Shmarov, blowing up what had been a newly installed Soviet missile silo.  Carter, the Harvard scholar who assisted the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and became U.S. defense secretary, watched as this trio “planted sunflowers atop that place where a missile silo car holding a missile carrying 10 warheads, brand new ones, designed for us, had once been.” Carter told PBS Frontline in 1999, “This wasn’t a flight of fancy. It turns out, sunflowers is a cash crop in Ukraine, because they press the sunflowers to make sunflower oil. But once a missile field was turn into a sunflower field, those kind of results, that’s real security for the dollar.” The Ukrainian sunflower fields are now encrusted with snow and threatened by a Russian Federation invasion inspired by kleptotarian President Vladimir Putin. President Biden has threatened Putin with “enormous consequences” should there be even a “minor incursion.” In the heat of this moment, there is this question: If the Nunn-Lugar program hadn’t convinced Ukraine to give up the 2,000 nuclear warheads the fledgling nation had inherited when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 in exchange for security guarantees, would we be facing this crisis today? The answer is that the times have changed over the past two decades. The Soviet era warheads were aimed at the United States. The new Ukrainian republic didn’t have the financial wherewithall to maintain a nuclear force. Had Ukraine vowed to keep the most lethal arsenal known to mankind, it would have become an unstable, rogue nation.

  • INDIANAPOLIS – In the past six years, we’ve watched as four of Indiana’s 11 congressional seats were won by the highest bidder, including one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats. Will the governor’s office be next? The actions this past week of two self-funding Republicans – U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth and U.S. Sen. Mike Braun – beg the question of whether the 2024 cycle will become one of the biggest auctions in modern Hoosier political history for an open governor’s seat and a potential matchup with the most likely Democrat nominee, Joe Donnelly. Braun held a presser at the Statehouse on Tuesday and was greeted with speculation that he will forego reelection to the Senate and seek the governor’s office in 2024. “When I decided to run for state representative … I wasn’t calculating,” Braun said. “That was a decision because I saw what can be done with an effective state government. I’ll make the decision post mid-terms. I’m going to make the decision based on where I think I can help Hoosiers the most.” Last week, Hollingsworth announced he wouldn’t seek reelection in November in the 9th CD, saying, “I ran for Congress to return this government to the people from the career politicians who had broken it, and I will be damned if I become one in the process.” Hollingsworth said in his IndyStar op-ed that he said he would continue to serve the 9th CD “in different ways,” suggesting a 2024 gubernatorial run where he would be a potential self-funder candidate.

  • INDIANAPOLIS – Last year was one of the bloodiest years in Indiana history as Indianapolis set yet another homicide record with 271 murders, while Evansville, Fort Wayne and South Bend all had deadly years. Perhaps, just perhaps ... it’s because Indiana is awash in guns. On Tuesday, the Indiana House voted 63-29 on HB1077 the “constitutional carry” bill that would abolish permits to carry handguns. According to National Instant Criminal Background Check System that was created by the 1998 Brady Act, these checks have increased steadily over the past three years after spiking during the 2016 election cycle. Indiana NICS firearms checks totaled 1,815,531 in 2021, down slightly from 1,935,587 in 2020. In 2019, there were 1,450,565 checks. These checks spiked to 1,436,725 in 2016 and 1,076,917 in 2015 when there was speculation that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was heavily favored over Donald Trump. Rumors were rampant that a third Clinton administration would herald new gun restrictions. While Indiana has a population of 6.8 million people, the NICS checks during these five years totaled 7.7 million.

  • INDIANAPOLIS - Back in 1976 I read a short newspaper story citing French demographer and scholar Emmanuel Todd who forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union. In his essay titled "The Final Fall," Todd deduced that the USSR suffered from stagnation, low birth rate and high infant mortality, rising suicides, alcoholism and worker discontent. At the time, I thought Todd's notion was crazy. The collapse of a nuclear super power? As a graduate of Indiana University's Russian and East European Institute, and working in Elkhart where a large Soviet dissident community had gathered in the 1980s, I attended seminars at IU and Notre Dame in which a number of scholars such as Prof. Robert F. Byrnes, Prof. Darrell Hammer, Prof. Robert Campbell of IU and Notre Dame Prof. George A. Brinkley Jr. believed that communism as we knew it was dying. "You cannot even find a glass of beer in Moscow," Prof. Byrnes said. Prof. Campbell added, "This society has to be rebuilt from the ground up. There's no way of getting out of this mess without any trouble. The question is: Can Gorbachev manage the trouble?" But in 1986, few scholars were predicting the Soviet collapse. That began to change two years later, when Prof. Brinkley described 1988 and 1989 as Soviet leader "Gorbachev's hump" following the fall of the Berlin Wall and poor harvests. Prof. Hammer observed in September of that year that "The Soviet Union ought to solve its economic problems before trying to reform politically.” In my Elkhart Truth article dated Nov. 5, 1989, I wrote, "In the light of astounding events that have taken place in 1988 and 1989, anything can happen. And it did. I watched CNN on Dec. 25, 1991, as the old Soviet hammer and sickle flag was lowered from the Kremlin after Gorbachev resigned. The USSR was kaput. Why tell this chapter today? Because there are now predictions that the same fate is in store for the United States of America.

  • INDIANAPOLIS - Becoming Indiana's attorney general is not, historically, a path to the governorship, or any other higher office. Yes, Democrat Attorney General Alonzo Smith served as an interim lieutenant governor from 1886-89, and Samuel Jackson was briefly in the U.S. Senate in 1944. In 1992, Attorney General Linley Pearson won the Republican gubernatorial nomination, but nearly quit before the convention ended in a dispute over composition of the ticket. In 2016, Attorney General Greg Zoeller lost a 9th Congressional District primary to mostly-unknown Trey Hollingsworth, formerly of Tennessee, who used family wealth to win the nomination and the seat. In the television age of Hoosier politics, Attorney Generals Edwin Steers, John Dillon, Ted Sendak, Pamela Carter, Jeff Modisett, Karen Freeman-Wilson and Steve Carter saw the office as the capstone of their political and legal careers, though the appointed Freeman-Wilson later became the mayor of Gary. Our governors during this modern era have been lieutenant governors, House speakers, state senators, congressmen, or wealthy businessmen. The notion of the state's top lawyer becoming a governor or U.S. senator began after Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill took office in 2017.

  • NOTRE DAME – In late June 2018, Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly was cruising toward reelection and was on a conference call with Hoosier agriculture reporters when he learned that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was retiring. "It was like I got hit in the head with a baseball bat," Donnelly told me. "I had been watching that like a hawk, because the way the Supreme Court operates, there’s a time when you really can’t resign after that point in the year, there are things you have to do to get ready for the next cycle. He had already hired clerks. By that time, you’re really in so deep you can’t leave. So, this was the final week when he could possibly consider; this was the end of the final week. I know how emotional Supreme Court nominations are." Donnelly ended up losing to Republican Mike Braun five months later, 51-45%, with the Republican carrying 84 counties. The Kennedy retirement and the volatile confirmation hearing of Judge Brett Kavanaugh a month before the election that included sketchy allegations that as a teenager he had sexually assaulted a girl completely roiled the Indiana Senate race. The Kavanaugh confirmation sequence was a determinative one that may have decided this race. It gave President Trump more reasons to come to stump for Braun, showing up a half a dozen campaign rallies. It certainly ignited the Republican base. And it put Donnelly in a bind, eventually opposing the Kavanaugh confirmation. This coming June, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision's in the Mississippi case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has the potential to alter the political environment once again. Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young is seeking a second term and will likely face Democrat Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr.

  • INDIANAPOLIS – From my “lamestream media” perch things sure do look dicey and dangerous. There’s that 36-page coup d’etat Powerpoint titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 Jan” that President Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows gave to the House Jan. 6 Committee. The Atlantic’s Barton Gellman writes that “Trump’s next coup has already begun.” According to Gellman, “If the plot succeeds, the ballots cast by American voters will not decide the presidency in 2024. Thousands of votes will be thrown away, or millions, to produce the required effect. The winner will be declared the loser. The loser will be certified president-elect.” Veteran GOP operative Steve Schmidt describes “the obvious edge of the abyss into which we are staring. A great crisis isn’t just at hand, it is underway. We are living through its early days.” NBC’s Meet The Press Daily observes: “Today prominent GOP candidates are running campaigns based on waving the bloody shirt of a stolen election. Sixty percent of the party’s voters believe the blood is real when it’s actually fake. Republicans in several states are trying their best to make sure those local officials who protected the election from false fraud claims won’t be there next time.”

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  • Biden on Uvalde massacre: 'Where is our backbone?'
    “As a nation we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? Where in God's name is our backbone? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? These kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world. Why?”- President Biden, reacting to the slaughter of 19 kids & 2 teachers in Uvalde, Tex. Democratic Senate nominee Thomas McDermott Jr., said, “Todd Young has done nothing since Sandy Hook. Young has done nothing since Pulse, Parkland, Indianapolis, Buffalo, and now Uvalde – and thousands of Americans have lost their lives. As we grieve the loss of our students and teachers in Texas, Todd Young is sitting in his office collecting donation after donation from the NRA to keep the status quo – all while wishing for thoughts and prayers in hollow statements. Senator, it’s time to act or get out of Washington for those – like me – who do want to stop this violence and save our loved ones’ lives.” 
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