An image
Login | Subscribe
Monday, January 18, 2021
An image
An image
Monday, January 18, 2021 5:54 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS – If it were not for the rise of Donald Trump in 2016, there wouldn't be a Gov. Eric Holcomb. When that year began, Holcomb was running third in the Republican U.S. Senate primary field. His political fortunes began to improve when Gov. Mike Pence picked him to replace Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann.

When Republican presidential nominee Trump tabbed Pence as his running mate, Holcomb won the Indiana Republican Central Committee caucus late that July. With Trump and Pence atop the ticket, winning the state with a 19% plurality, Holcomb's 100-day campaign was swept up in that wave and he defeated Democrat John Gregg.

Their political fortunes have since diverged. Trump was defeated for reelection last November, while Holcomb won a second term in a landslide. During his presidency, Trump lost the House in 2018, his own reelection last November, and he kicked away two Georgia Senate seats earlier this month with sophomoric antics, giving up the Senate majority. Under Holcomb, the Indiana GOP has thrived, controlling 88% of all county elected offices, nine of 11 congressional seats, a record 71 city halls, all of the Statehouse constitutional offices and with super majorities in the Indiana House and Senate.

Holcomb was sworn in for his second term this past week in an intimate ceremony due to the pandemic. In his inaugural address, Holcomb declared that “Indiana’s future is now” despite the pandemic and drew comparisons to President Abraham Lincoln. “In midst of the Civil War, the United States was also constructing the first transcontinental railroad. Even as the country was tearing itself apart, we were binding ourselves together in ways that would prove far more meaningful and durable.”

Trump, meanwhile, was drawing comparisons to Lincoln's successor, President Andrew Johnson. Both were former Democrats, impeached in their final year in office, and caustically undisciplined in their rhetoric and actions.
An image
  • By DAVE KITCHELL
    LOGANSPORT – Of all the reflections and reactions from Wednesday’s attack on Congress, the most transcendent harkens back to Sept. 11, 2001. I can’t help but think of Todd Beamer and all those passengers aboard a hijacked jetliner. They knew they were about to die, but they fought their way into the cockpit, diverting the path of a weaponized aircraft said to have been directed to Washington to destroy targets that could have included the Capitol. Those Americans died as patriots to protect our Capitol. What happened Jan. 6 is unnerving for many reasons, not the least of which is the sacrifice common Americans made for the sanctity of what we represent. Think for a moment what the typical American reaction would be to Wednesday’s news if the people accountable had been North Korean nationals, Iranian spies or Cuban dissidents.  They weren’t. They were Americans. They didn’t sneak in across the unguarded Mexican border. They weren’t out to avenge George Floyd’s death. They were there because their president encouraged them to be. And there lies the difficult dissection of the presidency and the officeholder. As Americans, we’re simply torn between the stark reality that a sitting president has solicited election fraud in Georgia and urged violence on our Capitol and the somber reality that this person is our highest elected official.
  • By JOSHUA CLAYBOURN
    EVANSVILLE – Democracy requires the consent of losers. For over 220 years American democracy prided itself on peaceful transfers of power; and in all of that time, no president who lost an election sought to subvert the will of voters and reject Electoral College results – until Donald Trump. Despite a massive pandemic and faltering economy, Trump’s post-election focus remained firmly on overturning election results and undermining the democratic system he swore to defend. For weeks Trump spawned and repeated lies and unfounded conspiracy theories about faulty voting machines and destroyed or fabricated ballots; allegations without evidence and allegations universally rejected in over 60 court cases, many presided over by Trump-appointed judges. But with repetition and time, many of Trump’s supporters believed the lies; in their eyes his victory became a landslide and those who denied it were either naive or part of a vast conspiracy. Trump used these false election-fraud allegations to justify his lawlessness. “When you catch somebody in a fraud, you’re allowed to go by very different rules,” he argued. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”  Trump’s attempt to undermine and overturn the national election not only shattered norms and traditions, but also sowed seeds for insurrection, violence, and civil unrest by his supporters, saying it comes from a love of country. 
  • By CRAIG DUNN
    KOKOMO – And now we know the truth. It was never about draining the swamp.  It was never about building a wall. It was never about restoring power to the governed. It was, is and forever will be about doing what most benefitted Donald J. Trump.  First, let me start by acknowledging that there were some very good things that happened over the years prior to the pandemic. Our economy skyrocketed.  Bureaucratic red tape was cut and enabled all Americans to prosper.  Unemployment rates dropped to historical lows in every measurable subgroup.  The judiciary was nudged to a less activist and more conservative status by a wealth of newly appointed judges at all levels, including three outstanding appointments to the United States Supreme Court. Peace broke out in the Middle East when several nations struck long-awaited treaties with Israel.  Our military was beefed up to deal with threats from current adversaries and potential adversaries in the future. China’s threat to world peace and our economy was recognized and the process of reining in its abuses was well underway. All in all, the achievements of President Trump’s term in office were pretty impressive. But, then there were the other things that hallmarked the Trump Administration. The vainglorious, megalomaniacal rantings via Twitter, the revolving door staff changes that discarded a host of talented public servants like empty beer cans, the associations maintained with questionable friends, the vilification of anyone, friend or foe, who dared to disagree with The Donald. Worst of all, the incessant and unabated failure to tell the truth in the smallest to the most important matters. In certain ways, he conducted himself as a blended incarnation of Benito Mussolini and Joseph Goebbels. I don’t want to dance around this one. Donald Trump was a big fat liar!
  • By LEE HAMILTON
    BLOOMINGTON – If the months since the November elections have shown us anything, it’s that the U.S. is more deeply divided than we’ve experienced in a very long time. This has been building at least since the 1990s, starting in Congress and ultimately coming to be reflected in a polarized electorate, but it’s reached the point where, rather than take pleasure in the success of a politician elected to the presidency, you have to keep your fingers crossed on his behalf. For starters, we now have a Congress, and electorate, divided along multiple fault lines. There are, of course, the partisan differences on the complex challenges that beset this country on climate change, economic growth, the pandemic, policing and racial justice, our policies toward China and Russia. Political groups with opinions on these and other issues are more sophisticated, more active, more insistent, and more aggressive in trying to shape the public dialogue than ever before. Each side tends to be suspicious of the other, viewing their adversaries not just as wrong, but as attacking our national security interests. Now in the mix, though, we also have the divisions stoked by President Trump, whose desperation to hold onto power has led him and his followers to traffic in conspiracy theories lacking any evidence and to reject the norms, principles, and institutions we’ve relied on for centuries to build this nation. There now seem to be two Republican parties in Congress and in the country at large: One that is interested in enabling and appealing to people who reject constitutional democracy, and one that is willing to stand up for it.
  • By MICHAEL HICKS
    MUNCIE – The essential basis of an economy is trust. As the founding father of economics, Adam Smith noted, an economy “. . . can seldom flourish in any state in which there is not a certain degree of confidence in the justice of government.” Our modern world subsists almost wholly on a high degree of trust in the justice and capacity of government, business and households. Thus, among the many crimes committed by the insurrectionists of Jan. 6, 2021, was a full-fledged attack on the American economy. It was an assault upon the ‘confidence in the justice of government’ not only by a few tens of thousands of protestors, but among far too many elected officials, including members of Congress and the president. It is they who must reckon with an event whose lawlessness demands terse retelling. On Jan. 6, our Congress and vice president met to fulfill a solemn, if mostly symbolic, constitutional duty to certify election results from states. Outside, on the streets of our Capitol, the president caused to assemble a crowd of many tens of thousands. This angry crowd was fueled by dozens of political groups and members of Congress. These people had been carefully groomed for weeks to believe the Big Lie, that the 2020 election was fraudulent or stolen.
An image
An image
  • HPI Interview: Holcomb talks pandemic, potential violence, post-Trump GOP
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  — Less than 24 hours after the Capitol Hill insurrection, Gov. Eric Holcomb continued with his delayed year-end media interviews. On this day, he fielded questions via Zoom from Howey Politics Indiana, Indiana Legislative Insight’s  Ed Feigenbaum, and the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette’s Nikki Kelly. It came just four days prior to Holcomb’s second inaugural. He was sworn in with an intimate ceremony at the Indiana State Museum, where he drew a historic comparison with his favorite president, Abraham Lincoln. “At this moment, our moment, even knowing full well the awful toll of COVID-19 and acknowledging that we are still in its deadly grip, it’s important to look to the future – a future for our state and our citizens that I believe is full of opportunity and promise,” Holcomb said. “We will remain laser-focused on managing our way through this pandemic and rolling out vaccines with all the energy and resources of our administration, and I will further update you on what we’re doing in my State of the State Address next week. But I am reminded that, in midst of the Civil War, the United States was also constructing the first transcontinental railroad. Even as the country was tearing itself apart, we were binding ourselves together in ways that would prove far more meaningful and durable.”
  • Atomic! Fortress DC; Statehouse braces; Pence escapes; Biden's relief plan; Maskless at legislature
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Capitols targeted; Pence flees: Fortress DC is locked down ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next Wednesday, with more National Guard troops in the capital at anytime since the Civil War. IMPD says two planned demonstrations are on tap for the Indiana Statehouse between today and Biden's inauguration next Wednesday. Indiana State Police Supt. Doug Carter: “Many, many meetings have occurred with IMPD, with our intelligence folks and I think we’re well-positioned.”  Now we learn from the Washington Post that Vice President Mike Pence was removed from the U.S. Senate chambers on Jan. 6 about a minute before the mob chanting "Hang Mike Pence" showed up. We've all seen the video of the Capitol cop luring the mob away from the Senate chambers. At the same time, security was rushing Pence, wife and daughter to a "secure location." WaPo: If the pro-Trump mob had arrived seconds earlier, the attackers would have been in eyesight of the vice president as he was rushed across a reception hall into the office.
  • HPI Analysis: Trump's presidency collapses
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – In six days, America’s experiment with Donald Trump’s reality show presidency comes to an end. It hasn’t been pretty, particularly since he lost his reelection bid by seven million votes and a 306-232 Electoral College margin. There have been 376,000 COVID-19 deaths at a rate surpassing 4,000 a day. The 20 million vaccines that were supposed to end up in American arms by the end of 2020 didn’t make it past nine million. There were 141,000 jobs lost in December. There was a terror bombing in downtown Nashville that Trump ignored. And then came Jan. 6, when a “Stop the Steal” rally commenced at the Ellipse with the White House as a backdrop, centered around “the big lie,” which in Trump’s spin was actually his “landslide” victory stolen in a “rigged” election. In a Hollywood-esque scene that would have made “Network’s” tormented anchor Howard Beal proud, Trump ignited the fuses of thousands of MAGA supporters, sending them “mad as hell” to the U.S. Capitol, where an “insurrection” (in the words of U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney and President George W. Bush) aimed at preventing certification of Trump’s Electoral College loss. It cost six lives, including Capitol policeman Brian Sicknick, who was bludgeoned to death, and resulted in Trump’s second impeachment in the House. In American “days that will live in infamy,” we now have “1/6” joining “9/11” and Dec. 7, 1941. For the first time since Puerto Rican terrorists shot up the House in 1954, the U.S. Capitol had been breached. Before that, it was the British invasion in 1814.
  • Atomic! Impeachment redux; Bucshon, Banks nay, Mrvan yea; Pence nixes 25th; Carson targeted

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Impeachment redux: 
    For the second time, impeachment proceedings have begun in the U.S. House against President Trump, a week before he is scheduled to leave office. But this time is different. Democrats say Trump led an “insurrection” against the United States after Trump goaded a MAGA rally to overwhelm the U.S. Capitol, killing at least five people.U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney announced she would vote for impeachment, saying,  “The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Three other House Republicans have said they will follow Cheney. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell believes Trump has committed an “impeachable offense,” telling the New York Times there’s a 50/50 chance he would vote to convict. This comes as Vice President Pence, despite his “ruptured” relationship with Trump and reportedly tiring of his boss’s “bullshit,” declined to invoke the 25th Amendment on Tuesday. “I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  

  • Atomic! Pence hanging around; Trump says speech 'Totally appropriate'; Holcomb on the 'big lie'
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Trump and Pence finally meet: While Vice President Pence was hiding in a "secure location" from a violent mob of Trump supporters in the U.S. Capitol, President Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m. on Jan. 6, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” Trump didn't contact Pence when the insurrection ended, according to the Washington Post. The ultimate White House odd couple finally met in the Oval Office on Monday and had a “had a good conversation, discussing the week ahead and reflecting on the last four years of the administration’s work and accomplishments.” The meeting came as Pence resisted an ultimatum from House Democrats to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. The Post story portrays Pence as "hanging around" the Oval Office as Trump called allies to convince the veep to help him overturn the election they lost by seven million popular votes and by a 306-232 Electoral College margin.
An image
  • Holcomb closes Indiana Statehouse, suspends legislature for inaugural week
    “The safety and security of our state employees and the Hoosiers who use our state services are always top of mind. After an evaluation with public safety leaders, we have decided to err on the side of caution and close the state government complex to the public. Hoosiers will still be able to access essential state services online, on the phone, or in-person at branches around the state.” - Gov. Eric Holcomb, announcing that due to the threat of armed demonstrations connected to Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in Washington, the Indiana General Assembly will suspend activities and the Indiana Statehouse and government complex will be closed next week. House Speaker Todd Huston said, “This decision was made out of caution and in the best interest of everyone involved in the legislative process. Public gatherings are a critical component of our democracy, and I pray that any demonstrations are peaceful and respectful of the incredible privilege we all have as Americans to make our voices heard.” Senate President Rod Bray added, “We have a lot of work to do this session on behalf of Hoosiers, but the safety of every person in the Statehouse is always our number one priority. We trust (Indiana State Police) Superintendent Doug Carter and his team, and at his urging, made the decision to cancel our activities out of an abundance of caution.”
     
An image
  • HPI Power 50: Crisis shapes 2021 list

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    and MARK SCHOEFF JR.

    INDIANAPOLIS – After two decades of publishing Power 50 lists in the first week of January, this one comes in a true crisis atmosphere. As we watched in horror the U.S. Capitol being overrun by supporters of President Trump on Wednesday, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 8,000 Hoosiers and 350,000 Americans, shutting down our state and nation for nearly two months last spring. While vaccines are coming, there will be a distinct BC (Before COVID) and AC delineations as this epic story comes to a close. It gripped like a vise key figures, from Gov. Eric Holcomb to Vice President Pence. It delayed an election, closed schools and restaurants, reordered the way we do business and buy things, and will set in motion ramifications that we can’t truly understand (like the virus itself) at this point in time. There’s another crisis at hand. It’s our society’s civics deficit, fueled by apathy that transcends our schools and societal engagement, and allowed to fester by a news media in atrophy. That three members of the Indiana congressional delegation – U.S. Sen. Mike Braun and Reps. Jim Banks and Jackie Walorski – signed on to a protest this week, induced by losing President Donald Trump to “investigate” widespread vote fraud that doesn’t exist, is another indicator of the risks a polarized and undisciplined political spectrum brings to the fragile American democratic experience.

An image
HPI Video Feed
An image
An image




The HPI Breaking News App
is now available for iOS & Android!










An image
Home | Login | Subscribe | About | Contact
© 2021 Howey Politics, All Rights Reserved • Software © 1998 - 2021 1up!