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Saturday, June 23, 2018
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  • INDIANAPOLIS – This week, Rex Early and I endorsed Congressman Todd Rokita for the U.S. Senate seat held currently by Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly. It was an honor to serve with Rex as the Trump-Pence Indiana 2016 campaign chairman and vice chairman.  As Rex and I campaigned around the state for Donald Trump in 2016, we met many Hoosiers who said they hadn’t voted for years or decades or ever because they didn’t trust Washington and were waiting for someone like Donald Trump. Our challenge now is to keep those folks engaged and encourage them to vote for like-minded candidates for Congress in 2018. For the U.S. Senate seat, that person is Congressman Rokita. There are plenty of reasons to support Todd, from his great work as Indiana’s Secretary of State, to his many accomplishments in Congress, to his no-nonsense approach to help Make America Great Again!  For Rex and me, the primary reason is to again help our president. Todd proved to us two years ago that he was for President Trump and has proven ever since that we can trust him to stand with our president even when things are tough.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – It’s astonishing to me that 74% of Americans – Republicans, Democrats and independents – believe that there is a “Deep State” secretly running our government. This is according to a Monmouth University poll of 803 adults taken March 2-5. Whenever the term “Deep State” is used on CNN or the other mainstream liberal media outlets, it is being scoffed at as something only Fox News viewers, conservative radio listeners or Internet conspiracy theorists would believe to exist.  The high percentage of believers is surprising to me. I would have thought it would be lower but still a thing. It is also very revealing that three quarters of the public is concerned by what we have seen at the upper levels of the FBI and Department of Justice during the Obama administration, especially leading up to the 2016 election and ever since with Obama holdovers in the Trump administration. I am assuming that the public’s belief comes from what we are seeing at the DOJ and FBI. I don’t think people would be too concerned about the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Labor, or most others being major players in a deep state. 
  • INDIANAPOLIS – For fans of President Trump, it’s great to have a huge win and a beautiful tax cut Christmas present, just like he promised. For everyone else, it should feel the same – great, as in Making America Great Again.  Whether you’ve been critical or half-hearted in support or a true enthusiast like me, we can all be pleased with this tax reform and give some credit where due, at least during the holidays.  I could say that “only time will tell” if the president is right or not about tax cuts spurring the economy and putting more in our pocketbooks, but really it’s already telling with major employers like AT&T, Boeing and Comcast announcing bonuses for their employees because of what just happened.  We know how well the stock market has done in the last year because of Trump’s regulatory rollbacks and anticipation of this historic tax cut. This will only continue as the economy starts to really roll after gaining steam this year with two and probably three consecutive quarters of GDP growth over 3%.  So I’d say it’s time for all of us to take a pause as we reflect on the year that was and in our minds set aside the nasty attacks from the far left and the affect they have on poll numbers. I’d like to suggest that all of the Trump haters and the half-hearted supporters and those that secretly or not so secretly take joy in what they perceive as missteps, make a New Year’s resolution to give Trump a chance. That’s all I’m saying.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday night, President Trump, after an 8½ hour flight from Hawaii which closed out 12 days of travel and work and many meetings in five different countries crossing 20,295 miles, concluded a highly successful Asian trip. He started by paying respect to American service members at Pearl Harbor and ended after strengthening military and trade alliances across the Indo-Pacific region.  The president met with leaders of several different nations, he attended three important trade summits, gave flawless speeches in each country and became the first foreign leader to be honored with an official dinner in the Forbidden City since the founding of modern China. Perhaps most importantly, he reinforced a brilliant strategy in dealing with the nuclear threat of North Korea. He pulled our partners further along with sanctions, showed the world our military might and encouraged diplomacy, as it was announced immediately after the trip that China was sending a high-level special envoy to North Korea.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – What a great week for contrasts in American politics. The 2016 election continues for Democrats while President Trump has moved on and is willing to reach across party lines to get results for the American people.  The same week that Hillary Clinton’s book came out, and Bernie Sanders came out with his new plan – wait, I mean the same old plan – is the same week we hear that President Trump and Vice President Pence will visit Indiana and other states to take their powerful message to the people. Right on! The message is simple and the changes are long overdue. As President Trump said, “We believe everyday Americans know better how to spend their own money than the federal bureaucracy, and we want to help them keep as much of that hard-earned money as we can.” The president wants to lower taxes for the middle class, so that Americans have more in their pocketbooks, and for employers, so they can expand and hire more workers and pay more. 
  • INDIANAPOLIS – So who’s really beleaguered, Attorney General Jeff Sessions or the whole Trump administration? The President’s tweet calling Sessions “beleaguered” was funny because nobody really thought of Sessions as beleaguered until the President tweeted that he was. He had survived his day in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee and from all indications is performing admirably in his role as AG. Or maybe Sessions was beleaguered and we just didn’t know it, so President Trump wanted to make sure that we did.  The endless stream of CNN panelists make the case every night that it’s the Trump administration that’s beleaguered. Does the President himself feel beleaguered and should he? It didn’t really look like it at his Youngstown, Ohio MAGA Rally this week. He didn’t seem stressed during his appearances for the administration’s American Heroes Week.  Nor did he struggle during the Foxxconn jobs announcement to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Wisconsin. Time and time again, we’ve seen this President carry the full burden on his shoulders, during the campaign, the transition and the first six months of his Presidency. He did it again by himself announcing, again by tweet, after consultation with his generals, that the U.S. military will end transgender service in the military.
  • INDIANAPOLIS –  Where to start? I do think it’s great that the congressional baseball game will go on. It is for charity after all, and we can’t let fear or hate shut down our way of life, as everyone says when tragedy or terrorism occurs. Maybe they have already thought about this, but it might be a good idea to do away with the Republican vs. Democrat theme this year and split the two teams up if possible.  Remember when you’d pick teams in the backyard and captains would each pick one player at a time until the weakest players were left as the last picks? You never wanted to be that last pick. Of course, I never was. I just remember how it was for the others.  But those last picks will play harder to prove they don’t stink. It might be fun and at least different. At any rate, having Ds and Rs play on the same team against other Ds and Rs might bring a truer show of unity. Nothing better to bring folks that don’t know each other well enough together than making them teammates – except maybe being in a war together.  Unfortunately, too much of real life is turning, or could at any time, turn into a war zone.
        
  • INDIANAPOLIS – What a huge week for the State GOP and especially for original Trump supporters in Indiana. Having a Trump in the state six months to the night of being first on the board to elect Donald J. Trump president, and one year to the week of winning the critical Indiana primary, was a big-league way to cap off a great year. The 20-point general election victory followed but also overshadows Indiana’s primary win when candidate Trump won all nine congressional districts, thus collecting all 57 Indiana delegates and knocking out his last two opponents. Remember the surprise withdrawal by Sen. Ted Cruz that night followed by Gov. Kasich the next day? Back then, Donald Trump Jr. was in the state in April, stumping for his Dad. Having him back was a cool reminder of how important Indiana was for the Trump nomination. That May 3 primary win, at a time when pundits could only focus on what would keep Donald Trump from the nomination, propelled him on a clear path to well over the 1,237 delegates needed without having to worry about any further competition. Don Jr. acknowledged it in his speech before over 1,000 loyalists, saying that it all started in Indiana.
  • INDIANAPOLIS –  Now might be a good time for everyone still working on last year’s presidential campaign to pause and consider what’s going on around the world. It might also be the right time for the folks in the middle that are always at the ready to jump on the bash-Trump bandwagon to take a hard look at his accomplishments in the first 90 days. It’s easy to fall into the media trap against the president by engaging in the trivial, dwelling on the past and picking at every nit you can find or that CNN will find for you.  Should we really care if he spends his weekends in Mar-a-Lago when he also visits the Snap-On Tools headquarters in Wisconsin to announce a Buy American, Hire American program to ensure that our federal government is putting American workers and American products first? Do we really need to complain about his tweets when he is also handling the North Korean crisis brilliantly? Are we still going to dwell on Putin like we are back in the USSR, when the president acted boldly and decisively to use the tools of our military so precisely and effectively against Assad in Syria and ISIS in Afghanistan?
        
  • INDIANAPOLIS – We really are living in two different countries, if you watch the cable television shows every night. The good thing is most people have better things to do.  When I got home Wednesday night, Fox News showed the headline, “FBI on Hunt for CIA Mole after Secrets Are Leaked.”  At the same time, CNN’s headline read, “Pence Dodges Questions on Trump’s Wiretapping Claims.”  The contrast in stories tells the story right there.  A few minutes later, Fox ran a report of an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times with over 20 arrests since 1990, who was intoxicated and smashed the car in which he was fleeing another accident. He also crashed into the car driven by Sandra Duran, a California woman who was a mother, daughter and sister, killing her instantly.  This five-minute story could never paint the true tragedy so many family and friends must now live with forever.  Flip the channel and you would have found CNN covering the “A Day Without a Woman” event, like there is now a national holiday to bash the president. I couldn’t even bring myself to switch over to MSNBC.
  • INDIANAPOLIS – Obviously, I was very proud of our president while watching him deliver a great speech Tuesday night. I won’t overstate it because I wasn’t surprised, and by now almost everyone either watched it themselves and were impressed or have heard or read all of the positive reviews.  Of course there were the haters. That’s not surprising as the liberals and most of the media had their opposition planned out before the speech began. They were led by the former Democrat governor of Kentucky and the 10 remaining Kentuckians who don’t support President Trump. What was the Democrat party thinking?  I wasn’t surprised by the president’s performance and message because at every turn during the last two years, he has risen to the occasion and he has shared the same type of positive message. That’s why he was the last one standing after the primaries. It is why he came back with two strong winning debate performances against Clinton after most thought he lost the first debate (I didn’t). And it is why he fought so hard during the last stretch of the campaign to be in states you wouldn’t expect. He has always risen to the occasion, and he did again Tuesday night. 
  • INDIANAPOLIS – Taking up from where I left off three weeks ago, the numbers have increased as far as protests, protestors and now rowdy town hall meetings. Also increasing are vandalism, violence, insults, and threats. I watched a news story the other night of a crowd of adults in Chicago encouraging kids to beat the crap out of a piñata in the image of our president and rip its limbs off, after knocking it to the ground.  Bizarre, disgusting and unbelievable!  To the far left, this hatred looks like a “movement” that is getting stronger. I believe that we are actually witnessing the beginning of the end of the Democrat Party on the national level as we have known it.

  • INDIANAPOLIS – With my day job, I just had coffee with an up-and-coming Republican star who was not initially a Trump supporter. While not thrilled with everything our president has done over the first two weeks, he was happy with 85% of what has been accomplished. He was extremely pleased with the selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch as the Supreme Court nominee, as are so many others.  As the 85% statement sank in after our meeting, it struck me that this is going to be a numbers game. If someone who was probably one of the last Republicans to come around to accept Trump is at 85% now and says that he could be a great president if he changes a few things here and there, then I think the numbers will continue to look good for our president.  Other numbers to look at are the thousands of protestors and numbers of protests in parts of the country and what they represent. Will these numbers grow or will they burn out soon enough because of the lack of solutions offered and the unwillingness to engage in a grown- up dialogue? 
  • INDIANAPOLIS – For me, it finally sank in at the inauguration last Friday. It was finally real to me that Donald Trump was our president. It didn’t seem real on election night because it was almost 3 a.m. when he finally gave an acceptance speech, and we had been kicked out of the JW Marriott’s ballroom an hour earlier. Some of us lingered by the televisions in the lobby but I finally made it up to our room and watched his speech with Anita as the kids slept – pretty anti-climactic. The next morning was surreal and the weeks that followed were a flurry of some campaign-related activities while trying to get back to normal work. The holidays hit and we even took a family vacation to try to get away from it all before the start of our Indiana legislative session. So I never really had a chance for it to sink in, but it finally did as I listened to our new president give a powerful speech, where he essentially took the first major step in fulfilling the goals he set forth during the campaign.
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  • Holcomb responds to SCOTUS ruling on Internet sales tax
    “A lot about our world and economy has changed in the 26 years since our nation’s highest court last ruled on this issue,” Holcomb said Thursday. “With the incredible evolution of technologies and the growth of internet sales, this Supreme Court ruling will help level the playing field between our Hoosier-based companies that operate retail stores and out-of-state companies that sell products and services online in our state. We’re taking a careful look at the ruling to better understand its implications for Indiana.” - Gov. Eric Holcomb, reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to collect sales tax from on-line retailers. Indiana passed a law in 2017 anticipating the rule, with the state expecting $77 million to come in from e-commerce annually.
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  • The First Lady's message
    American First Ladies almost always assume a role and much of it is messaging. For Nancy Reagan, it was “Just say no” to drugs. Betty Ford gave us a compassionate path to those savaged by addiction. Laura Bush was all about literacy. Lady Bird Johnson urged littered and dumpy America to clean up its act.

    And Melania Trump? She remains a mystery to most of us with her Sphinx-like mannerisms. But she is also a messenger, though often we don’t know what to make of her signals. Who can forget Donald Trump’s debate with Hillary Clinton right after we learned from the Access Hollywood audio that women will let rich tycoons do what he wants (“you can grab ‘em by the pussy”)? Mrs. Trump showed up wearing a pink Gucci pussy bow, creating even more of a stir when she shook hands with President Bubba. Perhaps she was trying to tell us it’s really OK to grab ‘em … or maybe it was a rebuke to his cheatin’ heart. We simply don’t know.

    After torrents of President Trump’s snide and vicious tweets, First Lady Trump decided to make bullying her prime issue, saying, “Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough. We must treat each other with respect and kindness.” Ya think?

    Then came McAllen, Tex., just hours after President Trump ended immigrant child separation with the stroke of a pen (after weeks saying only Democrats could). The former fashion model showed up wearing a cheap jacket on a muggy day reading “I really don’t care, do U?” as 2,300 kids were incarcerated by the U.S. government nearby and who knows where else.

    The First Lady’s flak told us “there was no hidden message,” but President Trump contradicted, saying his wife was flipping off the news media, saying she “has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!” Show up at the scene of U.S. policy that has truly disturbed folks across the spectrum, and tell us all you really don’t care, even as we learn the U.S. government has lost track of many of this tormented kids. Got it. Classy. -
    Brian A. Howey, publisher
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