TERRE HAUTE —
Statesmanship lives in Indiana after all.
The Hoosier state used to provide the reliable, wise voices of reason when political turmoil arose in Congress. My, how things have changed since the days of Lee Hamilton, Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh. The federal government fell into a shutdown last week, forced by the tea-party faction of the U.S. House. In their never-ending crusade against President Obama and his signature law enacted three years ago, the Affordable Care Act, those Republicans — the House majority party — held up funding of the government as it began a new fiscal year Tuesday.
The result has been chaos, anger and bitterness, which Americans hardly needed more of from their lawmakers in Washington. Round 2 is on the way as the once-routine process of raising the debt limit will again devolve into a standoff over the Affordable Care Act, better known (either derisively or fondly) as Obamacare. While consequences of the latest revolt involve lost jobs, federal workers going unpaid and closed public services, the fallout from the U.S. defaulting on its bills (an unprecedented event) could cripple the recovery economy.
How is Indiana making headlines amid the disruption? Not in Lugar-esque ways. Rep. Todd Rokita stuck firmly by his labeling of Obamacare as “one of the most insidious laws ever created by man,” prompting “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart to remind the congressman he’d lumped the ACA in a class with slavery, Jim Crow, the Nuremberg laws and the Spanish Inquisition. Later, another Hoosier Republican, Rep. Marlin Stutzman, said of his unwavering group of House GOP members, “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”
There’s a better way for public officeholders to function. That style of leadership was on display Tuesday night in the Booker T. Washington Center in Terre Haute. It came from a member of the Indiana Legislature, state Rep. Ed Clere, a Republican from New Albany.
Clere joined Paul Chase, an attorney specializing in health care, to share practical information about Obamacare with 50 curious citizens. Clere serves as chairman of the Indiana House Committee on Public Health. He’s traveled around Indiana, moderating similar sessions organized by branches of the Indiana Minority Health Coalition in other communities. The forums weren’t about politics. Instead, Clere and Chase answered questions about the ACA, ranging from costs to requirements and benefits.
“It’s interesting how specific and practical the questions have been,” Clere told the Tribune-Star’s Arthur Foulkes. “Some folks who have shown up at these meetings are expecting a political rally. That’s not what we’ve been doing.”
Clere also looked, in that practical way, at Indiana’s choice not to expand Medicaid programs as envisioned in the ACA. Gov. Mike Pence, a staunch Obama opponent, opposes a Medicaid expansion. That decision has forced layoffs at Indiana hospitals, who were expecting more paying customers, newly covered under the ACA. Indiana is missing the boat by not expanding Medicare as Obamacare allows, Clere said. He believes “middle ground” can be found between the state leadership and the federal government.
Middle ground. Practicality. Answering questions. Statesmanship. Rep. Clere exhibited all of those qualities Tuesday night in Terre Haute.
Seven-hundred miles away in Washington, Congress was in Day 1 of its government shutdown.
GOP rep shows middle ground can be found
TERRE HAUTE —
Statesmanship lives in Indiana after all.
Feeling carried: Filmmaker captures late uncle’s walk through illness and into ‘whatever is next’
Paul Fleschner sensed a remarkable strength as he filmed his beloved uncle one final time.
EDITORIAL: Dysfunctional relationship with schools chief doesn’t bode well for potential Pence presidency
A window to the future may be unfolding in Indiana.
Readers’ Forum: July 13, 2014
• Telling the truth about smoking
• Larger energy bills on the way, thanks to EPA
• Embrace the compassion, not self-righteousness
• Wondering about country’s leaders
• New amendments have hurt country
FLASHPOINT: EPA proposal will have little impact on environment, but could hurt coal industry
I recently signed on as an original co-sponsor to a bipartisan bill led by one of my Democrat colleagues from West Virginia that would stop the newly released Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on existing coal-generated power plants.
RONN MOTT: Troubled history in that place called Iraq
People are dying, again, in Iraq. And, again, people other than Iraqis will ultimately make the decision about what happens to this ancient land.
Editorial: The Bennett ‘settlement’
It takes a special kind of arrogance to flout ethics laws in the manner which former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has violated them. Even when he finally admitted his transgressions, he claimed he could have avoided the matter altogether had he just changed the department’s ethics policy before engaging in the troublesome conduct.
In essence, this was the old “mistakes were made” acknowledgment of wrongdoing. And the real mistake to which Bennett admits was apparently not changing the rules before he violated them. This is a truly Nixonian moment.
- Readers’ Forum: July 11, 2014
RONN MOTT: That Old Man River
I was surprised to learn the people in Cairo are now taking water taxis to avoid the traffic, the confusion and the dangers that are appearing on Cairo, Egypt’s, streets. I mean, I was surprised the people in Cairo, these native Egyptians, were surprised they could take a water taxi and get to where they wanted to go using the Nile River as a highway. So, for the Egyptians living in Cairo, everything old is brand new again.
EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing
It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.
READERS' FORUM: July 10, 2014
• Herb Faire a great success
• Appreciation for a ‘lovely angel’
• Thanks for stirring fireworks show
EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible
The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.
Readers’ Forum: July 9, 2014
• Don’t eliminate our six-day mail
• Zamperini death stirs memories
RONN MOTT: Black Dog
We had some excitement around our house the other day and it was not the good kind.
There was a small dog, black in color with a spiked collar on his neck, and he was the spitting image of a small Doberman. I don’t know if they have miniature Dobermans but this dog could have been a mixed breed that came out looking like a Doberman although smaller.
Readers’ Forum: July 8, 2014
• T-S ignores common decency
• Lighten up on Donald Sterling
• Time to reject Dems in Congress
• Fueling the EPA
MS. TAKES: Great music is made during all generations
Number Two son tells us that his 20-year-old son has been listening to “Big Band” music with apparent enjoyment. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, I was talking with a young girl, barely out of her teens and she told us that she really wasn’t into rap. She said, “It isn’t really music, it’s just talk.”
Readers’ Forum: July 7, 2014
• The moral issue is major issue
Editorial: City financial health demands an open, honest discussion
Obscured by the recent rift over use of departmental funds in the city of Terre Haute’s budget are serious issues related to our city government’s overall financial health. The answers may be mired in the complexity of municipal finance, but coming to grips with the situation is important to the city’s future.
Readers’ Forum: July 6, 2014
• Coats ignoring climate science
• Do those mustache posters exist?
• Utility rate freeze took determination
• What perversion is next in line?
• Opinions vary, but voters will decide
• This preaching must stop — now
• Golf fundraiser a huge success
Flashpoint: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal
Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo. As the attorney who represents state government and defends its laws, I know this difficult case stirs many people’s deeply held beliefs that touch their lives in very personal ways. Not since my office had to represent the state in lawsuits arising from the State Fair disaster has a dispute been so seemingly impossible to address in a way that the public would accept as being fair to all concerned.
Flashpoint: The Supreme Court decision and ‘closely held’ corporations
The much awaited Supreme Court decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby came down this week. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the 1993 Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) does cover “closely held” corporations, even if those corporations are for profit.
RONN MOTT: Learning more about Jefferson
During this Fourth of July weekend, I’ll be reading John Meacham’s biography of Thomas Jefferson.
EDITORIAL: Celebrate your independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As eloquent and declaratory as that statement is, implementing its principles has been a decades-long pursuit for these United States of America. Our nation, it seems, is the quintessential work in progress, even though what this country has created in terms of a stable, collective society is, let’s face it, pretty darn good.
- Readers’ Forum: July 4, 2014
RONN MOTT: The Men Who Made the Country
The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. It reminds me of something David Ben-Gurion would say, at a much later date, about British rule: “If you have to have a master, the British are about as good at it as anybody.” Of course, we really don’t need a master.
GREG ZOELLER: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal
Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo.
Readers’ Forum: July 3, 2014
• Over the top on immigration
FLASHPOINT: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices
On Wednesday, the State of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
MIKE PENCE: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices
Today, the state of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If approved, the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 would replace traditional Medicaid for low-income, able-bodied Hoosier adults. Unlike traditional Medicaid, which is government-driven, HIP 2.0 is consumer-driven.
Editorial: Texting law serves safety
July 1 each year marks the day in Indiana when new laws take effect. But rather than focus on new laws today, let’s observe the anniversary of a law that went on the books three years ago this month — the law that barred texting while driving.
- Readers’ Forum: July 2, 2014
- More Opinion Headlines
- Feeling carried: Filmmaker captures late uncle’s walk through illness and into ‘whatever is next’