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.
EDITORIAL: Legislative session produced results both good and bad
The 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly was gaveled to a close late Thursday after a flurry of activity produced a dizzying variety of legislative action. Within hours, the session results were being both praised and cursed, largely depending on political and ideological views of government’s place in the world.
FLASHPOINT: Energy bill a no-brainer target for Pence’s veto pen
Indiana has, for many years, wrestled with the question of what policy, if any, to pursue to advance new, alternative visions of how we deal with waste, move around and grow our food. Fortunately, we’ve seen some tangible signs of progress in the Indiana General Assembly with respect to recycling, mass transit and local food systems.
READERS' FORUM: March 16, 2014
• Time for change in assessor office
• Are Indiana’s chemical storage tanks safe?
• Voters of Indiana Thinking carefully about health care
• Put an end to costly primaries
• Founders understood representation rights
• What about bridge?
• Young people don’t know rules
• So many words, so little space
KIEL MAJEWSKI: Sexual violence demands the world’s action
I have a lot to learn in life, but I am convinced of this: The day men share power equally with women is the day we will see true peace in this world. The day women and girls are valued as much as men and boys, and are treated with the same respect as their male counterparts, is the day we will finally see healthy societies.
MARK BENNETT: All aboard!
Find me a George Mason University basketball T-shirt in Indiana.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
In the competitive and highly entertaining world of collegiate athletics, Sunday is akin to a national holiday. At 6 p.m., the NCAA will announce the field and seedings of its 2014 Division I men’s basketball tournament.
RONN MOTT: One and done, 2014 style
Hoosiers, this time of the year, turn their minds and emotions to the grand old game of “hoops.”
EDITORIAL: Our children in poverty
An important gauge for measuring the long-term prospects of a community is the well-being of its children. For all the effort and progress Vigo County has made in rebuilding the economy and improving its quality of life, chronic problems with the welfare of its children still exist.
READERS' FORUM: March 14, 2014
• ISU officers should stay on campus
• Good reasons why guns are needed
• Salute to Jake
RONN MOTT: Ukraine 2
The situation in the Ukraine should let us know plainly, and openly, the old saying about a leopard never changing its spots is true. Vladimir Putin is a KGB officer, grew up a communist and, from all appearances, still believes like a communist.
EDITORIAL: Meth battle never ends
It’s been more than a decade since local police officials declared methamphetamine as “public enemy No. 1.”
READERS' FORUM: March 13, 2014
• Celebrating the Girl Scouts
• Challenging the politicians
EDITORIAL: Warm thoughts on a cool day (Part III)
• Resolving to praise ISU
• Right down our alley
- READERS' FORUM: March 12, 2014
RONN MOTT: SAWS
A few days ago we talked to John Anderson of the Greencastle Presbyterian Church. He’s the coordinator for a mission of the church that builds ramps and stairs for those who are physically handicapped in Putnam County.
EDITORIAL: Thinking warm thoughts (Part II of III)
• Renewing a local library commitment
LIZ CIANCONE: We’re not only ones ready for springtime
During the most recent of our numerous descents into polar temperatures, I was astounded to see a dozen or more robins up to their ankles in snow. They were fluffed out to about twice their normal size. I suppose that was an effort to provide a bit of feathered insulation against the cold.
READERS' FORUM: March 11, 2014
• Meat-free path to the fountain of youth
• Faulty point?
EDITORIAL: Warm thoughts on cool days (Part I of III)
• Something good’s brewing
• Y we can’t take it for granted
FLASHPOINT: Where Congress falls short, and where it doesn’t
At a public gathering the other day, someone asked me how I’d sum up my views on Congress. It was a good question because it forced me to step back from worrying about the current politics of Capitol Hill and take a longer view.
READERS' FORUM: March 10, 2014
• Our government’s heart and soul
• A plea for more give and take
MARK BENNETT: New public-access point begins quest to create more spots to experience river
Fairness holds no power over the Wabash River.
EDITORIAL: Ads on the sides of school buses? What have we come to?
Ads on the sides of school buses do not constitute a sign of the apocalypse. Western civilization will survive.
Flashpoint: President should stop Medicare Advantage cuts
Virtually all elected officials — Republicans and Democrats — share the goal of increasing access to affordable health insurance and helping families receive the best coverage to meet their specific needs.
Readers’ Forum: March 9, 2014
Mardi Gras great event for Swope
EPA regs will cause energy bills to soar
Please pray for Ukraine innocents
Sinful thinking on road to hell
Liberty — or licentiousness
People will not always agree
Botched chance at leadership
RONN MOTT: Radio now a long lost love
I fell in love with radio when I was 16, just a few short weeks before my 17th birthday. The man who did the deed and hired me was Adlai Ferguson.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
Welcome to girls teams, fans
You can say that again
Reader Poll results
EDITORIAL: What do Sony cutbacks mean?
It is easy to understand why shivers run down local people’s spines whenever rumors hit the streets about Sony DADC’s plant on Terre Haute’s east side. With more than 1,400 people currently employed in Sony’s production and distribution facilities, the community has grown somewhat dependent on the economic stability Sony provides.
- Readers’ Forum: March 7, 2014
RONN MOTT: Knicks
The big noise in the NBA is whether Carmelo Anthony will stay with the New York Knicks or go elsewhere.
If my memory serves, and it doesn’t always, Carmelo left the Denver Nuggets, the team that drafted him, to play in the bright lights of the Big Apple. It was loudly proclaimed at the time that Carmelo wanted to play for a championship team. The Knicks’ ownership bought a bunch of players and spent a whole bunch of money to aid Carmelo in helping the Knicks to get to a championship.
- More Opinion Headlines
- EDITORIAL: Legislative session produced results both good and bad