Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Buttigieg Still in Thick of DNC Race

Mayor Pete Buttigieg
This weekend, Democratic National Committee members will vote to see what man or woman will lead the DNC forward into the future.  Last night, on MSNBC's Hardball, another major Democrat declared at least some support for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

In the closing moments of the show, former DNC Chair and Vermont Governor Howard Dean brought up Buttigieg while discussing the upcoming election for DNC Chair saying that there was an outside chance for he party to elect him chair.  Chris Matthews asked him point blank if he supported Buttigieg, and Dean said, "I kinda am."

As Dean noted, it's still an outside chance for Buttigieg.  The frontrunners are still Congressman Keith Ellison and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, but they could cancel each other out leaving Buttigieg as a very viable candidate.

If you measure endorsements of muckety mucks, even with Dean's sort of endorsement, it's going to have to be the rank and file members that push Buttigieg over the top.  On his side, Buttigieg has former Maryland Governor and possible future Presidential candidate Martin O'Malley and former Pennsylvania Governor and DNC Chairman Ed Rendell.  Senator Joe Donnelly is backing Buttigieg as are many mayors across the country.

Congressman André Carson is backing Ellison.

What a run it's been for Mayor Buttigieg, win or lose.  When he started this thing, he was largely a young guy with a strange name from the city where Notre Dame is located.  Now, the political class has been introduced to Buttigieg, and it bodes well for both the future of the Indiana Democratic Party and the party in general.  If he wins, he'll be a great Chair.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Odds Favor Third Term Pursuit for Curry

Marion County Prosecutor
Terry Curry
Pursuit of a third term seems likely for one Marion County Democrat.

Terry Curry, the Marion County Prosecutor, has yet to make a formal statement that he's running for a third term, but a recent fundraising e-mail asks supporters to stand with him as he runs.  

If he runs, Curry is almost sure to win the race in a county that is trending more and more Democrat.  Plus, Curry has done a very good job since taking control of the office in 2011 in restoring confidence and order in the office.  Lord knows, he had his work cut out for him when his predecessor, Carl Brizzi, left office. 

Curry knocked off a strong primary field in 2010 and saw his toughest general election battle with now Indiana Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa, a well-funded and strongly-backed candidate.  In 2014, Curry easily won reelection with relatively little opposition from Duane Merchant.

That seems like eons ago.

Curry's fundraising e-mail touted several of his successes as Marion County Prosecutor as well as some of the successful cases and contributions to the community his office has worked on since 2011. 

While there have been a number of successes, there are legitimate criticisms of Curry's record, and he seems to acknowledge that there's still work to do in the future, "Not only do we see the challenges, we are ready to take them on through our community outreach, crime prevention training, and the vigorous prosecution of those who victimize others in our community," Curry said.

If successful in running and serving his third term, Curry would equal Stephen Goldsmith, who served 12 years as Marion County Prosecutor.  He did not run for reelction in 1990 instead deciding to run for Mayor of Indianapolis in 1991. Jeff Modisett won the race for Marion County Prosecutor in 1990 and would become the last Democrat to serve in the office prior to Curry's tenure.  

With county prosecutor as a statutory office created by the General Assembly, there are no term limits for this office in the Indiana Constitution.  Like Curry, Marion County Assessor Joe O'Connor can run for a third term. Pursuing second terms will likely be Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge and Marion County Recorder Kate Sweeney Bell.  Marion County Auditor Julie Voorhies can also run for a second term as Auditor.  

Only Sheriff John Layton will have to step aside in 2018 due to being term limited. Former U.S. Marshall and former Chief Deputy Kerry Forestal is the likely candidate to emerge as Layton's heir apparent.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Impeachment Seems Eventual Possibility for Trump

I am getting so tired of writing about national issues on this blog.  After all, I'm not the "United States Democrat Blog" here.  That said, it's the day-to-day drama of the White House that just keeps giving, and this is Indiana.  We all know how often the General Assembly has done something silly, and I don't mean Bruce Borders dressing up as Elvis.

Before we go further, this blog is full of blatant innuendo and rumor.  I don't have any facts to back this up.  I just have inklings, feelings, and intuitions.  Call it the hairs on the back of my neck.

I never thought I would say this about a sitting United States President, but I believe that Donald Trump has sunk himself already as the Chief Executive.  His Administration is not savvy enough to save him or itself.  This thing is going down, and it's going to be more than Michael Flynn whose career is sunk.

We are less than three weeks into this new regime and aboard this new ship at the White House, and it is listing...badly.

It's just shocking.

Today, the New York Times reported that the Trump campaign had repeated contact over time with the Russians.  Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Russian authorities before Trump was sworn in and then pretty much lied about it to his superiors.  Now, further reports say that Mike Pence was cut out of the loop here.

Investigations have begun.  There will be hearings.  People are asking questions. The famous question, "What did the President know, and when did the President know it?" is being asked.

Personally, I think the road to impeachment has begun, and the quicker it happens, the quicker we can start to mend up this country's wounds.  You can say what you want about Mike Pence or Paul Ryan or wherever the wheel will stop, but they are not Donald Trump.  We have to protect what our country is and the very bedrock it has been built upon.

Donald Trump is clearly not fit to be President, and he's surrounded himself by some very dangerous but careless people.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flynn Out

The Washington Post and a variety of other news organizations are reporting that General Michael Flynn, one of Donald Trump's closest and most loyal advisers, has resigned as National Security Advisor.

Facts are still flying in at press time, but this is a huge story and one that will not be open and shut.  That's why I'm going to leave this one there until morning and until I can more fully-grasp this story.

Once again, the Trump Administration, which hasn't even filled all its cabinet posts yet, has seen its National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, resign three weeks into his service.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Supreme Court Seat Vacant Now for One Year

Judge Neil Gorsuch
A week or two ago, Donald Trump made his first Supreme Court nominee.

Judge Neil Gorsuch is a qualified jurist, and I think the Supreme Court nomination process will ferret out where he is strong and deficient. For the most part, it appears this is a good selection for a Republican President trying to replace the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

What's bizarre is the effort to get him confirmed.  I've never seen interest groups purchase ads to try to get people behind a Supreme Court nominee because the United States people don't get to vote on them.

From what I've read on Judge Gorsuch, he and I have different philosophies on government.  That said, if I were a Senator, and I'm obviously not, I would not hold Judge Gorsuch off the court because we differ on philosophy. Given Donald Trump's performance as President so far, I think it’s pretty clear that Judge Gorsuch is a selection that could have been worse in a number of ways, and it's not like we could not have seen it coming.  After all, this was one of the key things that Hillary Clinton said over and over on the campaign trail. It's the President of the United States that makes the decision on who to nominate to the court, and, if they are qualified, they are confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  That's the time honored tradition we have.  A sitting President gets his nominee.

Anyway, that’s what should happen.
Judge Merrick Garland
But, let’s back this whole thing up a little.

Judge Antonin Scalia Scalia went to bed and died peacefully in his sleep one year ago today: February 13, 2016.

A one year vacancy? That would be preposterous, right?  That means that the Supreme Court should already be full. It should include a ninth jurist who, by his public record, should have received an easy confirmation. Scalia’s old seat should have been filled by a man who is imminently qualified with many years of experience and unquestioned respect from people on both sides of the aisle.

The Supreme Court right now should include Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Sam Alito, Associate Justice Steven Breyer, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and, the new kid on the block, Associate Justice Merrick Garland.

In my mind the Supreme Court should be full and there should be no question about who is on it. President Barack Obama did his job, and he nominated a qualified individual to the Supreme Court. Obama should have gotten his nominee.

Mitch McConnell stole the seat. That’s why I not only encourage, but I expect Democrats to lay things on the line and filibuster this nomination of Judge Gorsuch and slow the entire process down to a halt until Judge Merrick Garland is given his fair hearing and vote in front of the U.S. Senate. 

That would be fair.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Holcomb Spends Thursday Righting Some Wrongs

Governor Eric Holcomb
Eric Holcomb just had his finest day as Governor.  He did something long overdue, and he cleaned up some of Mike Pence's mess, too.

First, Holcomb issued a pardon for Keith Cooper for an armed robbery he in all likelihood did not commit.  In the midst of evidence that clearly was becoming more and more suspect, he was offered a deal and released from prison in 2006, but the stain of the felony remained on his record leaving him, as many convicted felons do, finding it difficult to resume his life.  Eventually, even the deputy prosecutor that prosecuted the case against Cooper was calling for a pardon.

After reviewing the case, Holcomb came to the same conclusion and issued the pardon.  Holcomb did not pardon Cooper on a battery conviction which stemmed from an incident with another inmate.

You can read more on Cooper's case, specifically the shoddy way Mike Pence dealt with it, here.

Also on Thursday, Governor Holcomb finally declared a neighborhood built over an old lead-contaminated site in East Chicago as a disaster area allowing the residents there emergency state funds to finally seek other living arrangements and opening up the possibility of federal assistance to the city to demolish the West Calumet neighborhood and decontaminate the site.

Shortly before he left office, Governor Mike Pence had turned down the request of East Chicago to name the old USS Lead site as a disaster area citing the state's response to the disaster.

For the last 12 years, we've had Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence at the helm of Indiana's executive branch.  It's been a long time since we've had a Governor have a day like Eric Holcomb did on Thursday.  Holcomb used his power in exactly the right way in two very high profile cases, and you get the feeling that he did it without regard to politics or how his base would perceive him.

Holcomb looked at the facts and came down on the side of compassion.  My dad always used the quote, "Compassion is not a sign of weakness."  This is an example.

As a member of Governor Holcomb's loyal opposition, I can only ask that he not forget that he governs all Hoosiers.  We ask him for fairness and judiciousness.  I'm sure that we will disagree on much in the future, but his actions on Thursday should give all Hoosiers hope that there is a Governor in place that will finally listen to all sides and make decisions based on what is right.