Howey Political Report
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.

Foley, Sotloff and the “Pottery Barn rule” PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 18:02

by Brian Howey

INDIANAPOLIS - The words came from the lips of Sgt. Matthew Tiblow of Hobart, stationed with the Indiana National Guard 76th Infantry in Kuwait in 2008.

“I wanted to serve my country,” Tiblow said. They were his words, but they came via the reporter pen, pad and laptop computer of James Wright Foley. And they sum up the intent of this free-lance journalist who has since become the face of the gruesome turn of events cascading over the Middle East.

Foley was beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria last month, soon to be followed by a second freelance journalist Steven Sotloff this past week, both kidnapped by ISIS and executed in front of cameras as part of a chilling new chapter in that part of the world.

Awaiting Evan Bayh’s profound decision PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 20:45

by Brian Howey

NASHVILLE, Ind. – Sometime between Labor Day and Sept. 10 when he appears at a Northwest Indiana One Region event, Evan Bayh is expected to make a decision that will have emphatic political ramifications for Indiana over the next decade.

The decision is whether he will seek a third term as governor. It will be as important as the 2002 decision Mitch Daniels made to enter the 2004 gubernatorial race, or Bayh’s 1987 decision to run for the first time. Both those decisions ushered in more than a decade of political dominance, with Bayh igniting a 16-year Democratic gubernatorial and Daniels’ decision that cued up a 12-year run for the GOP that extends to this very day.

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