By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

1. Socialism in the Hoosier context

Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: John Gregg once famously said (and I paraphrase) that he was against communism, Daylight Saving time and regional government. Of course we know that on his own Sandborn property he can stand in one Daylight Saving time zone and pee into another. Regional government is becoming vogue with Mike Pence's Regional Cities (of which southwest Indiana reaped those $40 million rewards). And at the 2012 Indiana Democrat Convention in Fort Wayne, Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed the AFL/CIO luncheon much to Gregg's chagrin (he was the gubernatorial nominee), then defeated Hillary Clinton in Eugene Debs’ home state in the 2016 presidential primary with 53% of the vote. During his State of the Union address, President Trump said, "Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country." 

Thus, a 2020 election marker has been established. Republicans will take on socialism. Axios reports that Marty Obst, a senior operative of Vice President Pence, is giddy over the opportunity, explaining, "While the president and vice president support the Venezuelan people's struggle for freedom, the Democratic Party continues its lurch toward socialism. I would envision that the campaign will highlight the stark differences between the two parties  on this policy among many others." 

When NBC's Chuck Todd asked South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg about "socialism" on Tuesday, the presidential contender responded, “Socialists in this context has become more of a name for name calling than an actual concept. Generations view this differently and for my generation, that remark is incredibly out of touch. I understand for an older generation living through the Cold War, when socialism was associated with communism and communism was associated with totalitarianism, calling something socialism could be a killswitch  and shut down any debate with any idea that would have merit." And former ABC News  correspondent Sam Donaldson adds, "We're already a socialist country.  Over half of Americans are on socialist programs of the federal government. I’m on Medicare, I’m an old guy, and Medicaid, welfare programs not just for the poor, for the rich. Hey, how about a sugar subsidy to the ranchers and farmers?"

2. Bosma still for redistricting commission, but ...

House Speaker Brian Bosma still believes Indiana should opt for a redistricting commission but said the Senate will likely block any such effort. He told HPI  Statehouse correspondent Jacob Curry, "No, my opinion has not changed. I have authored or co-authored the bill twice, we’ve passed it through the House twice over the last 10 years. It’s not going to get satisfactory attention in the Senate, so it probably doesn’t warrant going through the knock-down-drag-out here over it. Many of the newer folks have not experienced the discussions in the past so it would take quite awhile to get through it without much result. I doubt Rep. Wesco will be moving the bill but that’s entirely up to him." The problem is the window is closing on any effort to get an independent commission in place by the 2021 reapportionment process.

3. Bias crime bills stall in Senate 

HPI's  Jacob Curry reports that despite Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray saying he was hopeful, or perhaps even expecting, that the Senate would be moving a bias crime bill to committee this week, no such movement materialized. None of the bills submitted for consideration have moved out of Bray's Rules and Legislative Procedure yet. Bray had no updates for reporters on the subject, but Speaker Bosma said legislators have been working on the issue, adding there are about three or four different options available, including coming out of session with no bill at all. Bosma admitted that is not his preferred outcome. “But we’re actively discussing the issue with the governor, with Sen. Bray, and it’s my hope that we pass a bill that’s satisfactory to a strong majority in both the House and Senate,” Bosma said Thursday afternoon.

4. Schultz tells Purdue he's running

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said at Purdue Thursday he's going to seek the presidency, probably as an independent. "Trump's first two years in office have resulted in significant damage here at home and abroad," said Schultz. "He has embroiled U.S. industry in a damaging and unnecessary trade war, resulting in a tax on consumer goods and services and for farmers across the country have lost access to valuable markets that are not going to come back for many years. I think the people in Indiana are going to go through a period of time where they’re going to realize that Donald Trump did not fulfill the promises he made to the people in Indiana, and for that matter the rest of the country."

5. Support for Mueller report going public

A CNN poll shows 87% want the Russia collusion report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to be released to the public. This includes 80% of Republicans, 92% of Democrats and 88%.

Have a great weekend, folks. It's The Atomic!