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Remembering Lugar—NRA in turmoil—Buttigieg's week ahead—Myers v. Holcomb?
What's happening—and what's next—at the intersection of Indiana politics and business?
Tributes continue to pour in for the late U.S. Sen. and statesman Richard G. Lugar, who died yesterday morning at 87. The latest:
Former President Bill Clinton:
Dick Lugar was a man of great decency who was widely respected for his willingness to reach across the aisle in the name of good policy. I always liked working with him because he was on the level. His service made America safer and stronger.
Former President Barack Obama:
For thirty-six years, Richard Lugar proved that pragmatism and decency work—not only in Washington but all over the world. Michelle and I send our warmest sympathies to his family and all those who had the privilege of knowing this American statesman.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats:
Senator Richard Lugar was a true statesman whose decency and commitment to public service represented the very best of our state of Indiana and the nation. As both mayor and senator, he demonstrated a unique ability to bring people together and forge coalitions to accomplish big things, particularly in foreign policy. I was honored to serve with Senator Lugar and to call him a friend. Marsha and I extend our deepest condolences to the entire Lugar family.
IMPORTANTVILLE TAKE: It’s hard to imagine any U.S. political figure who is not a former president eliciting such bipartisan praise in these too-divided times. Whether Lugar is the last of his kind or an example to future generations is up to us.
HAPPENING TODAY AT 11:45 A.M. AT THE RICHARD G. LUGAR PLAZA, PER THE MAYOR’S OFFICE: “Mayor Joe Hogsett will join Governor Eric Holcomb and local civic leaders to honor the life and legacy of Senator Richard Lugar at a ceremony on the recently-dedicated Richard G. Lugar Plaza, located on the south side of the City-County Building. The event will include brief remarks from Governor Holcomb and Mayor Hoggsett, as well as a wreath laying and moment of silence.”
Good Monday morning, and welcome back to IMPORTANTVILLE. The National Rifle Association’s board of directors will meet today in Indianapolis to decide—among other things—the fate of the embattled CEO Wayne LaPierre, who has been accused of self-dealing. Now, thanks to an investigation, subpoenas and document-preservation requests from the New York Attorney General, the organization is in danger of losing its non-profit status.
My dispatch from a wild weekend for The Daily Beat—“Current State of the NRA, According to Its Own Members: ‘They’re F*cked’”
Thirty-three-year-old Allan Scott and his 66-year-old father Jim made the six-hour drive from Pittsburgh to the 148th annual National Rifle Association convention here this week hoping to explore “15 acres of guns and gear.”
Both dedicated supporters of President Donald Trump, who roused more than 15,000 members here with Vice President Mike Pence and a slate of other conservative grandees Friday, the Scotts didn’t come for the political red meat and dystopic messaging tossed from inside Lucas Oil Stadium at the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum. There was Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, talking about the fight to uphold “Judeo-Christian values.” There was Pence, who talked about the Green New Deal. There was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), comparing the Democratic primary to a Saturday Night Live sketch, mocking former Vice President Joe Biden (“Joe will be offering backrubs for anyone that would like it,” he said). And of course there was Trump, whose biggest applause line came when he talked about “building the wall” and the 400 miles that would supposedly be built “by the end of next year.”
“Didn’t really catch too much of what they were saying,” Allan told me Friday. Instead of heading into Lucas Oil, he and his father stayed inside the Indiana Convention Center, where they wandered around 800 exhibits—where Chuck Norris signed a GLOCK Friday—and held different types of guns.
The Scotts, who have been coming together to the NRA convention for three years, were frustrated to learn that one of Trump’s biggest applause lines wasn’t about guns, but the wall—even though they support the president.
“Stay away from other political issues and stick to guns, and I think you’ll get more people in,” Allan told me. “Keep your mouth shut about the wall.”
As allegations of financial mismanagement thrust the NRA leadership into turmoil this weekend, with its president Lt. Col. Oliver North ousted Saturday in the wake of critical stories by outlets such as The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal, the Scotts are among a number of members here who told me they think the association has lost focus on its original mission and needs a leadership change ahead of a Monday board of directors meeting. “I think one of the reasons people aren’t going to join as much is they either need a leadership change or they need to switch how they’re doing business,” Allan said. Both Allan and Jim complained about the increasing number of expensive-looking fundraising mailings they receive seemingly each week in the mail requesting more money. On Friday, news broke that North tried to force Wayne LaPierre, the association’s chief executive, to resign.
WHERE’S VEEP? He has lunch with the president at 12:45 p.m. in the private dining room at the White House.
WHERE’S PETE? The South Bend mayor has lunch with the Rev. Al Sharpton at Silvia’s Restaurant in New York at 1:30 p.m., as he tries to reverse the narrative that he can't win over black voters. Later tonight, he’ll appear on The Daily Show.
Gov. Eric Holcomb will sign HEA 1001, the budget bill, at 1 p.m. today in the Indiana Statehouse Rotunda.
President Donald Trump is rooting for Buttigieg to win the 2020 Democratic primary.
Buttigieg gets the Vogue profile treatment.
Former Sen. Joe Donnelly launched the One Country Project, focusing on helping Democrats win back rural voters.
Indiana Democrat Woodrow A. Myers Jr.—who we’ve reported has been weighing a gubernatorial bid challenging Gov. Eric Holcomb—writes:
As most of you know, I’ve been encouraged by many Hoosiers (and a surprising number of “non-Hoosiers”) to rejoin the Public Sector and to fight daily and directly to bring better public education, better jobs, and of course better healthcare (with better “health”) to the wonderful people of our state.
I appreciate your words of encouragement and your expert counsel. This is a big decision and I am making it as thoughtfully as I can.
Tom Kertscher, PolitiFact.com: “Fact-check: Does Pete Buttigieg have more executive experience than Mike Pence?”
In terms of No. 1-in-charge jobs, Buttigieg’s seven-plus years as the mayor of South Bend, Ind., exceeds the four years Pence served as governor of Indiana. But the scope of Pence’s duties was wider as governor. Moreover, even though it’s a No. 2 position, Pence’s two-plus years as vice president obviously count as high-level executive-branch experience as well.
The statement has element of truth but leaves out critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate Buttigieg’s statement Mostly False.
Benjamin Studebaker, BenjaminStudebaker.com: “Let a Studebaker Tell You What’s Wrong With the Mayor of South Bend”
My name is Benjamin Studebaker, and I grew up in Indiana. I am not happy with the way the press is covering Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Let me tell you why.
Long ago, our family made wagons. When folks wanted those wagons horseless, we started putting engines in them. We built these horseless wagons at a factory in South Bend, Indiana. We shipped them out on rail lines, both east and west. We started up in 1852, and operations wound down at the South Bend plant in 1963. At one point, we employed more than 45,000 people.
David Freedlander, POLITICO Magazine: “‘I Want Him on Everything’: Meet the Woman Behind the Buttigieg Media Frenzy”
If you read through the many, many profiles written of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg in the past several months, it’s hard not to notice just how many reporters happen to have had intimate personal encounters with the candidate, often months before he was in the headlines.
There’s the article in The Atlantic where the writer met the mayor of South Bend, Indiana for a chicken tempura lunch in Manhattan. The writer from Indianapolis Monthly who went for a jog with Buttigieg three months before his feature landed, the Washington Post Magazine writer who sat down in a Virginia soul-food joint with Mayor Pete long before he declared for president and the Yahoo News feature writer who crammed into the corner seat of a midtown Manhattan café with him months ago.
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