Howey Political Report
Gay marriage, wedge issues and money spigots PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 20:19

by Brian Howey

INDIANAPOLIS — To quote singer Carole King, we’ve felt the earth . . .  move . . .  under our feet. For the proponents of the constitutional marriage amendment, the new fears are the skies are tumbling down, tumbling down.

The marriage debate has lasted nearly a generation. For some, it ended on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the 7th Circuit Court ruling on Indiana and Wisconsin laws, and there were three other states affected.

The ACLU’s Ken Falk quickly declared “this case is over.”

Gov. Pence and the 2016 question PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 20:52

by Brian Howey

AURORA, Ind. – “The question” was inevitable.

A man in the back of the Aurora City Hall council chambers asked Gov. Mike Pence if he was going to run for president in 2016.

The governor had a great response: “I have to read the newspapers to keep up with my ambitions.”

This town hall forum exploded in laughter. Those of us who cover Gov. Pence expect the question, and he responds, deflecting the question with a bit of an aw shucks demeanor before praising Hoosiers as the core reason why the question is posed in the first place. Folks wouldn’t see Pence in a presidential context if they weren’t working so hard, creating new jobs, and forging innovative policy.

Quitting on the voters PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 19:06

by Brian Howey

GNAW BONE, Ind. – If you’re a member of the Indiana General Assembly, at your next campaign event or town hall meeting ask these questions: If you elect me, should I serve a full-term? Would it be OK if I quit in the next year or so?

The coda to State Rep. Eric Turner’s twisting and swerving career wasn’t his effort to create a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, nor was it the various tax policies and laws he wrote and impacted as an influential member of the Ways & Means Committee.

Instead, it’s a cynical ploy to stand for reelection, then quit after the election. Instead of the 60,000 or so voters in his district choosing the next House member, in Turner’s mind it will be several dozen precinct committee men and women in an overwhelmingly Republican district who will likely make the selection.

Daniels’ political legacy trumps Bayh’s return PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 20:34

by Brian Howey

WASHINGTON - In the television age of Indiana politics, we’ve had a couple of governor vs. governor races, the most recent when Mitch Daniels defeated Gov. Joe Kernan in 2004. In 1972, Doc Bowen defeated former Gov. Matt Welsh.

So for the political junkies, the notion of former Democratic Gov. Evan Bayh challenging Gov. Mike Pence was as enticing as a Sox vs. Cubs World Series.

But it wasn’t meant to be and the reason is the political legacy of Gov. Daniels.

In the past generation, Indiana has seen two dynastic political juggernauts generated in Bayh and Daniels. In an era of two-party competitiveness at the gubernatorial level, both Bayh and Daniels revived their parties and control of the Statehouse second floor extended beyond their respective two terms in office.

Grasping the American ‘big stick’ PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 20:38

by Brian Howey

INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s a viewing assignment:  A July edition of the PBS Frontline series entitled “Losing Iraq.” You can watch it at

I ask you to view this because for the third time in the early years of a century, an American president has had to thrust military force - or the “big stick” - into remnants of the Ottoman Empire to take on rogue armies and navies. President Jefferson found himself dealing with the Barbary pirates terrorizing American shipping in 1801. In 1904, it was President Theodore Roosevelt who reacted to Sherif Mulai Ahmed ibn-Muhammed er Raisuli, Lord of the Rif, who kidnapped American citizens.

This brought Roosevelt’s “speak softly and carry a big stick” response. Those two forays were the proverbial picnic compared to what we face today. When I watched “Losing Iraq,” I was filled with anger at the Bush and Obama presidencies. We can’t seem to get anything right in a fight we picked and then walked away.

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