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Saturday, November 18, 2017
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  • The slitherly slope and redemption
    Here are some thoughts on the “Pervnado” that is sweeping Hollywood, Capitol Hill, newsrooms and statehouses, though things at the Indiana Statehouse have been quiet.

    Does it make a difference when a decades-old allegation comes up that the perpetrator apologizes? Particularly if there’s no specific evidence? We’ve watched Kevin Spacey, Sen. Al Franken and comedian Louis C.K. seek some measure of atonement for their inappropriate behavior, while Republican Alabama U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore, who has been accused of pedophilia, has not and remains defiant? Ditto for comedian Bill Cosby.

    As any crisis communicator will tell you, coming clean and being contrite is the better long term strategy even if one takes big losses in the short-term. And Americans have a penchant for redemption, as past controversial figures ranging from Muhammad Ali, Jane Fonda, Kobe Bryant to Barney Frank and even Presidents Clinton and Nixon eventually were restored some degree of trust and popularity.

    Is it inconsistent for U.S. Rep. Luke Messer to call for the resignation of Sen. Franken for one ribald photo and an inappropriate and slithery pass a radio personality Leanne Tweeden, while President Trump escapes a similar assessment despite a dozen or so similar complaints and the Billy Bush “Access Hollywood” tape?

    Just asking, as we watch many powerful figures tumble down the slithery slope.  - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Indy mayors gather to honor Lugar
    Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett brought together former mayors Richard Lugar, Greg Ballard, Bart Peterson and Stephen Goldsmith on Monday to announce the new civic plaza will be named after Lugar. “Throughout his distinguished career, Sen. Lugar knew what it took to get things done,” Hogsett said. “As mayors, that’s our mantra. At the end of the day when you serve as mayor your job is to get things done. And that’s exactly what Dick Lugar has done for 50 years.”

    It echoed a convocation of mayors at the University of Indianapolis a few years back that included the late Mayor William Hudnut. Like then, on Monday the five mayors all observed how they built on the accomplishments of the predecessor. Lugar created Unigov, Hudnut expanded the sports culture, for Goldsmith it was the canal, for Peterson the Indianapolis International Airport, for Ballard the greening of the city. It sharply contrasts the atmosphere in Washington, where new regimes are hellbent on tearing down the work of the forebearers.

    Lugar, who was the first mayor to serve in the 50-year-old City-County Building, told the packed conference room, “I am so grateful for each one of you. Each one of you has meant so much to my life . . . the ways we have tried to work together for the past 50 years.” Lugar said also cited Jim Morris, P.E. MacAllister, Max Schumacher and the Lilly Endowment. “I am so proud to be a part of this group that has been assembled, and Mayor Hudnut. Each one of us built upon what one had done before. There was a very clear flow, strong progress all the way through and this is what I cherish today.” And this is why Indianapolis is the great city that it is today. It’s called decisive leadership, compromise, and working together. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Trump nominates former Lilly exec Azar to head HHS
    "Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!" - President Trump, announcing via Twitter that former Eli Lilly executive Alex Azar as Health and Human Services secretary. Azar formerly served in HHS during the Bush43 administration. If confirmed, Azar would join a growing number of Hoosiers in the upper ranks of Trump’s government, including Vice President Mike Pence, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, CMS Director Seema Verma, White House legislative liaison Marc Short, and Ted McKinney, who oversees foreign agriculture issues.
  • Trump says Putin told him Russia didn't meddle, so it must be true, right?

    President Trump met briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam Saturday and the topic of Russian misconduct in the 2016 American presidential election came up. “He said he didn't meddle,” Trump said told the press afterwards. “I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did. He says that very strongly, he really seems to be insulted by it, and he says he didn’t do it. He is very, very strong in the fact that he didn’t do it. You have President Putin very strongly, vehemently, says he has nothing to do with that.”

    Trump added, "Every time he sees me he says I didn't do that and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says I didn't do that. I think he is very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth. Don't forget. All he said was he never did that, he didn't do that. I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country."


    The FBI and more than a dozen other U.S. intelligence agencies came to the conclusion that Russia did interfere, along with former directors of the CIA and national intelligence. But Trump called former CIA director John Brennan and former national intelligence director James R. Clapper Jr. “political hacks.”

    So there you go. If a Russian president says it’s true, well, then it must be true, right? And if leading U.S. intelligence officials say it's true, well it must be false. Any Hoosier with a BS-o-Meter knows these things. And speaking of what's a "good thing for our country," one very, very bad thing is a foreign power and an arch nemesis interfering with our elections. BAD! SAD! - Brian A. Howey, publisher

  • Chairman Corker to hold hearing on Trump's nuclear authority
    "A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall.” - Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, who will hold a committee hearing on President Trump’s authority to launch a nuclear attack. Corker, who expressed fears of Trump heading toward "World War III" last month and has been a fierce critic, said such a hearing is “long overdue” and is scheduled for Nov. 14. President Trump has cited “fire and fury” against North Korea, though he seemed to back off that rhetoric on his trip this week to South Korea and China where he appeared to be leaning toward diplomacy to solve the crisis.
  • Rest In Peace, Bill Styring

    We here at Howey Politics Indiana are saddened to learn of the death of our friend, Bill Styring III at age 73. He was one of Indiana’s top policy analysts dating back to the House Ways & Means Committee in 1969, and then with Gov. Doc Bowen, where he helped forge the historic property tax reforms of 1973. He later worked with Mike Pence at the Indiana Policy Review Foundation. Along the way, Bill was a valuable source, voice and friend to HPI.

    Vice President Mike Pence said, "It is with a heavy heart that I offer my condolences on the passing of a dear friend and former colleague, Bill Styring. Bill leaves behind a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. His public service and contributions to conservative economic thought will live on. I personally had the privilege of serving alongside Bill at the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, and worked with him at various times throughout my career in Indiana. Bill will be missed but remembered for his life of humble service and commitment to economic freedom. Karen and I send our prayers to Bill's wife of 44 years, Ellen, and their family in their time of loss."

    Rest In Peace, good buddy. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Pence's Indiana approval higher than Trump's
    A year ago, then-Gov. Mike Pence had a better standing with Hoosier voters than Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. In a WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll in late September, Trump was viewed 41% favorable and 56% unfavorable, while Pence stood at 47% favorable and 45% unfavorable. In our final November poll, Trump stood at 45/52% favorable/unfavorable. He won the state by 19% because Democrat Hillary Clinton fared even worse, standing at 35/63% after FBI Director James Comey dropped a bombshell that her campaign might come under federal investigation again. The irony there is that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign, but not Clinton’s.

    This month, Vice President Pence is decidedly more popular than President Trump. The Old National Bank/Ball State University 2017 Hoosier survey puts Pence at 50/37% approve/disapprove, while Trump stands at 41% approval. Trump still gets a 77% approval from Hoosier Republicans. 

    So Trump is still strong with his base, but is flagging with independent Hoosiers. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Making Indiana Dunes Lakeshore a national park
    Earlier this week the U.S. House unanimously passed legislation that would make the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore the nation’s 60th national park. “The American taxpayers over a number of generations have invested in the preservation of the Indiana Dunes,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, whose Marquette Plan has prompted the revitalization of Indiana beautiful Lake Michigan shore. “It is incumbent that we do everything possible to encourage citizens and travelers from around the world to visit the park to learn, recreate, and simply enjoy the sublime environment of the Northwest Indiana lakeshore.  H.R. 1488 helps to achieve this goal. Indiana Dunes are a natural wonder and home to a vast array of rare plants and animals. According to the National Park Service, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is the seventh most biologically diverse National Park Service unit.” The legislation now awaits passage in the U.S. Senate.

    Visclosky initiated the Marquette Plan to support the revitalization of Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline to maximize the value of living along the southern tip of Lake Michigan for the benefit of the residents of Northwest Indiana. It is a regional effort to invest in lakefront projects designed to lay the economic foundation upon which future generations can build and thrive.  The benefits of the partnerships between the cities of Whiting, Hammond, East Chicago, Gary, and Portage and the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority are being realized today as their investments transform our lakefront.

    The Marquette Plan is guided by three principles. First, 75 percent of the lakeshore should be available for free, open, public use. Second, development should be set back by a minimum of 200 feet from the water.  Third, there should be a continuous biking and walking trail parallel to the shoreline for all Northwest Indiana residents to enjoy.

    If you haven’t visited “Indiana’s sea,” consider a trip north. You will not regret. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Pence tells U.S. airmen to 'be ready'
    With Foreign Policy Magazine and NBC News reporting that diplomatic talks with North Korea aren’t yielding results, Vice President Mike Pence visited North Dakota’s Minot AFB on Friday and urged airman to “be ready.” Pence said, “Anyone who would threaten our nation should know that America always seeks peace, but if we are forced to defend ourselves or our allies, we will do so with military power that is effective and overwhelming. Now, more than ever, your commander in chief is depending on you to be ready.”

    With three U.S. Navy carrier strike groups in the western Pacific, diplomatic efforts between the United States and North Korea are on their “last legs,” one U.S. official told NBC News. Joseph Yun, a top American diplomat to North Korea, is reportedly frustrated by an inability to communicate the urgency of the situation to the White House. “It is not so much that North Korea is shutting down, it’s that the message from the U.S. government is, ‘surrender without a fight or surrender with a fight,’” a separate U.S. official told NBC. - Brian A. Howey, publisher, in Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Weinstein sex harassment scandal metastasizing into media, statehouses
    The Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal is now metastasizing, spreading from Hollywood, to Wall Street, tech and Fortune 500 firms, to newsrooms and state capitols. Just in the past 24 hours, former President George H.W. Bush and journalist Mark Halperin have acknowledged and apologized for inappropriate behavior with women. Bush41 apologized for groping actress Heather Lind in 2013, with Lind saying, “He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again.” Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the former president and first lady, didn’t deny the allegations.

    Halperin told CNN, “During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” Halperin told CNN. “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.”

    Mike Allen of Axios warns this morning: It was just three weeks ago that the N.Y. Times punctured film mogul Harvey Weinstein after decades of creepy sexual harassment and assault, usually targeting aspiring, vulnerable young women in the industry — the open secret that had long been hinted at but never properly exposed. Past culture-rattling revolutions took decades to come to fruition. This one, befitting an era when everything is sped up, took days. Investigations of harassment in state capitols are just beginning: AP reports that “hundreds of lawmakers, lobbyists and consultants [are] coming forward to say the problem is pervasive.” Harvey Weinstein will go down as an historic figure, just not for the reasons he assumed. His outing as a sexist, dangerous pig triggered an uprising rarely seen: Abused women feel liberated to bring down powerful men in government, media, tech, politics, business and pop culture. It’s spreading by the day. Every sexual predator in every walk of professional life is — and should be — nervous that they will be exposed by this uprising.

    In the age of Trump, where anything can happen and institutions are being shattered, this chapter is just beginning. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Hoosier deficit hawks turning into doves
    For years, no, make that decades, we’ve heard Hoosier Republicans from Mike Pence to Luke Messer and Todd Rokita decry the national debt and budget deficits. We’ve gone from a balanced budget when President Clinton left office in 2001 to a deficit of over $1 trillion when President George W. Bush left office in 2009. That’s deficits with a T rather than a B.

    On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled Senate passed a budget plan that will add $1.5 trillion in new debt over the next decade. There was nary a peep of criticism from the entire Indiana Republican delegation. So all these years, the deficit hawk stuff was just BS. Back in 2012, Rokita traveled with a power point presentation on the evils of deficits. "The debt hole is too great now that you can't just grow your way out," Rokita told the NWI Times. 

    In 2016, Pence explained, “I think the fact that under this past administration was of which Clinton was a part, we've almost doubled the national debt is atrocious. Indiana has balanced budgets. We cut taxes, we've made record investments in education and in infrastructure, and I still finish my term with $2 billion in the bank.”

    Last March, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham asked Vice President Pence, "Have you gone from a deficit hawk to a deficit dove?" Pence responded, "No, not in the least. Let me say the President's full budget will be out in a few weeks. The budget outline that was sent to Capitol Hill earlier this week is deficit neutral."

    This is where the “alternative facts” come into play and all the hawks become doves, charging up the federal credit card for the kids and grandkids to grapple with. - Brian A. Howey, publisher.
  • Trump contradicts Pence on Puerto Rican commitment
    Three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall, 16% of Puerto Rico's residents have electricity, the Department of Defense said Wednesday; 63% of the island’s residents have access to clean drinking water, and 60% of wastewater treatment plants are operating, according to FEMA. More than 40% of bank branches aren’t open, according to the governor’s office, and 560 ATMs are functioning for an island with a population of more than 3.4 million. Earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence visited the embattled island and vowed, “We stand with you and we will be with you every step of the way. We will reach every community and bring aide to every Puerto Rican in need.”

    But this morning in a Category 5 Tweetstorm, President Trump said, "Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making … says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend. We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” That doesn’t sound like a “every step of the way/reach every community” commitment. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Impressions as two Hoosier sons return
    Most Hoosiers celebrated the return of a favorite son, Peyton Manning, who on Saturday told his fans, “I will always be a Colt.” Another Hoosier son - Vice President Mike Pence - also returned over the weekend for what we believed to be part in the Manning celebrations.

    Instead, it turned into a political stunt. Pence left the game after some of the San Francisco 49er players took a knee during the National Anthem, while all the Colts stood and locked armed. Pence took offense, saying “I left today's Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem. At time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us.”

    The 49ers have been ground zero on the anthem protests, as Colin Kaepernick began the trend while with the team. So it was no surprise that some would kneel on Sunday. Then we learn that President Trump instigated the move. “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled,” Trump posted on Twitter. “I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.” And NBC reports that Pence’s press pool was told not to enter Lucas Oil Stadium due to an early departure.

    Cost of this stunt? CNN says Air Force 2 takes $42,936 an hour to fly. So five hours of flight cost well over $200,000. It also included hotel expenses for wife and daughter, and extra local police protection. Colt fans were urged to arrive early because due to the veep’s security.

    So two of our sons returned, and one certainly left a much more positive impression than the other. - Brian A. Howey, publisher.
  • Braun posts over $1 million on Senate FEC report
    A fascinating three-way Republican U.S. Senate race is shaping up as State Rep. Mike Braun will report $1 million on his third quarter FEC report. That’s includes $800,000 from the candidate, who told HPI last summer he had the ability to self-fund the startup phase of his campaign. “Our fundraising success as a campaign is a clear signal that Hoosiers are ready for a leader with private sector experience who can deliver results and make conservative change happen in Washington,” Braun said. He faces U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, who posted $2 million and $2.3 million on their second quarter FEC reports. With congressional approval at 15% in the latest Fox News Poll, the Jasper businessman believes there is a path for a primary victory. “This campaign will receive support from a combination of grassroots donors and my own resources to ensure we can battle the money flowing from the DC swamp to my opponents. When I go to the US Senate, I will not owe anything to anyone other than the Hoosiers I want to represent,” Braun continued. Messer’s campaign has all but declared war on the GOP Senate establishment and Rokita is running against the Republican “elite.”  Now this race turns into a true insider v. outsider contest. - Brian A. Howey, publisher.
  • The new violent norm of American atrocity
    There were significant battles in Vietnam, Korea and World War II that had fewer dead and less wounded people than what we have witnessed in this Las Vegas atrocity Sunday night. The numbers in every sense are staggering: 59 dead, more than 527 wounded, 20 rifles, two tripods, one suicide. These are the types of massacres that occur during wars, both declared and civil. That it has become routine in America (28 atrocities since the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007) is one of the most disappointing and dreadful realizations that has come over many of us. When the Indiana speaker of the House acknowledges he takes such violence into account when he goes to a movie theater with his wife is a signature statement about the condition we find ourselves in. How should civilized American society respond? Do we just accept the fact that American atrocity is a way of life? I have to tell you the “thoughts and prayers” statements from our governor, vice president and Members of Congress sound trite these days, because we’ve heard them before and they are tone deaf and hollow. I know this is not their intent, but it is a disturbing fact that this generation of leadership doesn’t seem to have the wherewithal to deal with these persistent assaults on peaceful citizens. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Trump's Twitter terror in tragedy
    Earlier this week Quinnipiac released a poll that by a 56-42% margin Americans believe Donald Trump is not “fit to serve as president.” While 84% of Republicans disagree, 94% of Democrats and 57% of independents agree with the premise. This poll was taken after he cut a deal with congressional Democrats on hurricane relief for Texas and the debt ceiling.

    Why do a majority of Americans feel this way? Saturday morning was instructive. Here was the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulín Cruz, more than a week after her city and island were decimated by Category 5 Hurricane Maria, pleading for help as relief supplies sat in port bottled up due to a lack of fuel and transport. Trump responded via Twitter, “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.” Earlier in the week he was critical of Puerto Rico’s debt crisis and last weekend, instead of serving as a rally point, he spent most of his focus criticizing NFL players.

    Is there a pattern? Yes. When London suffered a terror attack in June, Trump attacked its mayor, tweeting, "Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his 'no reason to be alarmed' statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!" And at a rally in Huntsville, Ala., last week, Trump took potshots at U.S. Sen. John McCain, the war hero now facing a grim prognosis in his battle with brain cancer.

    Normally when there is tragedy, be it terror or storm, an American president becomes a beacon of hope, a rallying point, and an empathizer-in-chief.  President Trump calculates what’s in it for him and if there’s a whiff of criticism, unloads even if the optics and narrative makes him look petty and unfocused on the task at hand. That's what we've been witnessing this week.

    "There is no upside. With an approval rating frozen in the mid-thirties, his character and judgement questioned, President Donald Trump must confront the harsh fact that the majority of American voters feel he is simply unfit to serve in the highest office in the land," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "A divider, responsible for the deepening chasm of racial discord. That is the inescapable characterization of President Trump from voters who see race relations deteriorating on his watch. Weary and wary of the Twitter-happy president's blizzard of provocative tweets, voters say dump the device for good."

    We hear that last point from loyal Trump voters here in Indiana, concerned about the havoc he creates with the Twitter machine. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Polling shows brewing GOP brand dilemma
    A series of polls published this week suggest a strong headwind developing for congressional Republicans.  The Quinnipiac Poll shows American voters disapprove 78 - 15% of the job Republicans in Congress are doing, worse than their 70 - 25% disapproval in a June 29 poll. Even Republican voters disapprove 61 - 32%. Voters disapprove 63 - 29% of the job Democrats in Congress are doing, virtually unchanged from June. Voters say 47 - 38%, including 44 - 32% among independent voters, that they would like to see Democrats win control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 Congressional elections. Fewer than three in 10 Americans – 29% – hold a favorable view of the Republican Party according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. That is down 13 percentage points from March and is the lowest mark for the GOP since CNN began asking the question in 1992. Overall, 20% of Americans approve of the way Republican leaders in Congress are handling their jobs, while 72% disapprove. That includes just 39% of Republicans who approve of the job GOP leaders are doing.
        
    In a Washington Post/ABC poll, two-thirds of Americans oppose launching a preemptive military strike against North Korea, with a majority trusting the U.S. military to handle the escalating nuclear crisis responsibly, but not President Trump. Roughly three-quarters of the public supports tougher economic sanctions on North Korea in an attempt to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons, while just about one-third think the United States should offer the isolated country foreign aid or other incentives. The Post-ABC poll finds 37% of adults trust Trump either “a great deal” or “a good amount” to responsibly handle the situation with North Korea, while 42% trust the commander in chief “not at all.” By comparison, 72% trust U.S. military leaders, including 43% saying they trust them “a great deal.”
        
    And an NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll shows a majority of Americans support congressional action to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but 39% of Repulicans – and particularly President Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters – want to end it. The survey, which was conducted after Trump announced a phasing-out of the program unless Congress acts in six months, shows that 53% of all Americans want lawmakers to codify DACA. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Mike and Hillary
    We’ve watched 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton make the rounds on her new book: “What Happened.” The reaction has been cringes from Democrats hoping to move on, a set-the-record mentality from some journalistic quarters, and taunts from Republicans. Vice President Pence has the best line of all, with this tweet Thursday morning: “The first book that has the question and the answer on the cover.” Good line, Mike, er … Mr. Vice President. It harkens back to those studio days near the Speedway and a retreat to Claude & Annies. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Ari Fleischer's Twitter recounting of 9/11

    Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer recounts his Sept. 11 experience with President George W. Bush in Florida and then aboard Air Force 1 today Twitter. It was his way of recounting the 16th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93: Here are some of his postings:

    When flight 93 crashed in PA, the first report we got is it crashed "near Camp David." It was about 100 miles away. Bush calls Cheney: "We're at war Dick and we're going to find out who did this and we're going to kick their ass.” By then, we had heard media report of a car bomb at State Dept/the mall was on fire.  We were also told there were six hijacked aircraft. POTUS was told of a call that came into the WH switchboard saying, "Angel is next". Angel was the code word for AFOne. Our plan was to return to DC, but the VP/USSS thought that was a terrible idea.  We headed up to 45,000 feet and flew in a random pattern. 10:28  The North Tower collapsed. As the reception would come and go, we could watch TV to get news of what was happening.  It was frustrating. AFOne now has satellite TV. We didn't have satellite TV on AFOne.  When we flew over major cities, the TV reception came in depending on strength of a broadcast tower.

    It turns out the "sniper" was one of ours.  Part of the USSS counter-sniper team.  It was one of many false alarms that day. We took off at an unusually sharp incline and way faster than normal. AFOne Pilot Mark Tillman later told me there was a report of a sniper. "When we find out who did this, they're not going to like me as President.  Somebody's going to pay." Bush turns to the staff with him and says, "We're at war. That's what we're paid for boys. We're going to take care of this." Cheney told Bush there were still 3 aircraft missing.  We knew 3 hit targets and thought there were still more attacks coming. He called VP: "Sounds like we have a minor war going on here. I heard about the Pentagon." 

    The photo above shows President Bush on the phone in his Air Force 1 cabin while aides try to determine where to go and where to land.  - Brian A. Howey, publisher

  • Congress must do its job on DACA
    President Trump announced via Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that President Obama instituted in 2012 by executive order. It essentially puts 800,000 “dreamers” (including an estimated 9,000 in Indiana) or kids who arrived in the U.S. illegally with their parents at a young age, into legal limbo when it takes effect in six months, which is a cruel turn of events for a demographic group where 90% are either in college or working. But when Obama made his decision, he said he “Sought to achieve specifically what the legislative branch refused to do.”

    And that is a criticism we’ve repeatedly heard from Indiana governors and General Assembly leaders for years as various immigration bills have weaved through the legislature: Congress has consistently punted on its obligation to protect borders and manage immigration.

    Sessions said Tuesday that Obama’s action was an “open-ended circumvention of immigration law through unconstitutional authority by the executive branch. The executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve specifically what the legislative branch refused to do.” U.S. Rep. Jim Banks observed, “Congress must seize this opportunity to pass a solution.” Hoosiers should take to the phones, email and social media and impress this message on Congress, which had a 15% approval rating in a Fox News Poll last week: Do your job. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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  • Rokita revives residency issue against Messer
    "What's best for our family is living right here amongst our constituents, amongst our neighbors in Brownsburg, Indiana. You only have to look to [Richard] Lugar [and] Evan Bayh to see how the Indiana electorate treats someone who doesn't really live in this state and has lost touch." - U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita to WIBC’s Tony Katz, in reference to his criticism of U.S. Senate primary opponent Luke Messer, who moved his family to Washington while he serves in Congress. Messer told Katz, "The Hoosiers I talk to put their family first and they respect that a member of Congress would put their family first too.“ Sens. Lugar and Bayh lost Senate bids in 2012 and 2016 with residency one of the issues that came up during the campaign.
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  • The slitherly slope and redemption
    Here are some thoughts on the “Pervnado” that is sweeping Hollywood, Capitol Hill, newsrooms and statehouses, though things at the Indiana Statehouse have been quiet.

    Does it make a difference when a decades-old allegation comes up that the perpetrator apologizes? Particularly if there’s no specific evidence? We’ve watched Kevin Spacey, Sen. Al Franken and comedian Louis C.K. seek some measure of atonement for their inappropriate behavior, while Republican Alabama U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore, who has been accused of pedophilia, has not and remains defiant? Ditto for comedian Bill Cosby.

    As any crisis communicator will tell you, coming clean and being contrite is the better long term strategy even if one takes big losses in the short-term. And Americans have a penchant for redemption, as past controversial figures ranging from Muhammad Ali, Jane Fonda, Kobe Bryant to Barney Frank and even Presidents Clinton and Nixon eventually were restored some degree of trust and popularity.

    Is it inconsistent for U.S. Rep. Luke Messer to call for the resignation of Sen. Franken for one ribald photo and an inappropriate and slithery pass a radio personality Leanne Tweeden, while President Trump escapes a similar assessment despite a dozen or so similar complaints and the Billy Bush “Access Hollywood” tape?

    Just asking, as we watch many powerful figures tumble down the slithery slope.  - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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