Still Fighting The Last War

Indiana Republicans seem determined to keep fighting the culture wars–especially the ones they’ve already lost.

At the Republican state convention–held the same day that approximately 100,000 Hoosiers gathered in Indianapolis to celebrate Pride and watch a parade that has become larger than the parade mounted by the Indy 500– GOP delegates voted down a proposed change in the party’s platform. The change would have removed language describing marriage as only between a man and woman.

Take that, 21st Century!

As the Northwest Indiana Times reported,

EVANSVILLE — The Indiana Republican Party, by an overwhelming margin, reaffirmed Saturday its commitment to marriage “between a man and a woman” as the preferred structure for Hoosier families.

In so doing, the 1,494 GOP delegates attending the party’s biennial state convention turned aside a revised “strong families” platform plank, proposed by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s party leadership, that expressed support for all adults raising children, in favor of renewing explicit support for opposite-sex marriage that first was inserted in the platform in 2014 by marriage equality opponents.

According to several reports, most of the delegates in attendance applauded and cheered following the vote. The reaction was described as an endorsement of “Mike Pence-era” attitudes.

Daniel Elliot, the Morgan County GOP chairman and leader of the Republican Victory Committee that pushed the platform issue to the convention’s forefront, said preferring man-woman marriage “is an important part of who we are as Hoosier Republicans.”

Unfortunately for Indiana, he’s right. It is who they are.

Hoosier Republicans continue to deny the equality of their LGBTQ neighbors–and generally reject other efforts to move the party in the direction of inclusiveness for people who don’t look like the people they see in their churches on Sunday, or in their mirrors. The Indiana GOP is– as the Northwest Times article suggests– still the party of Mike Pence.

It isn’t just homophobia. Members of the Pence party are suspicious of calls for equal pay for us “uppity” women, let alone the scandalous notion that we should be allowed to control our own reproduction. Pence Party Hoosiers want to halt immigration (at least from south of the border), and they roundly reject the notion that we might have an obligation to resettle the women and children refugees who have fled from unimaginable horrors. They are equally uninterested in the possibility of raising the minimum wage in order to ameliorate the struggles of the working poor– the third of Hoosier families that fall within the ALICE demographic.

Mostly, however, it’s “non-Biblical” sex that offends them. (Or, as a friend of mine used to opine, they are enraged by the prospect that across town somewhere, someone is having a good time…)

It will be interesting to see how these Pence party attitudes–which may have carried the day in Evansville, but are by and large not shared even by urban Republicans– play out in November. Granted, this is Indiana–the “buckle on the Bible Belt”–but citizens of this red state have largely come to terms with the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. Lots of Hoosiers have gay friends and relatives, significant numbers attend churches and synagogues that are affirming and welcoming, and they are ready to move on.

The “Pence party,” not so much.


  1. On Yeats birthday a fitting remembrance …

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    By William Butler Yeats

  2. “Indiana Republicans seem determined to keep fighting the culture wars–especially the ones they’ve already lost.”

    What did you expect? Homosexuals were imprisoned along with Jews in Nazi Germany. What’s new?

  3. Sheila writes, “They are equally uninterested in the possibility of raising the minimum wage in order to ameliorate the struggles of the working poor– the third of Hoosier families that fall within the ALICE demographic.”

    And I bet most of the working poor either didn’t vote or cast a ballot for the GOP. Indiana is Trump/Pence country.

    But, guess who won the democratic presidential primary?

    Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Socialist.

    The democratic platform in Indiana doesn’t look anything like a progressive strategy and the only Fed politician; Joe Donnelly is a DINO. He’ll lose in November.

    And the Indiana democrats wonder why they lose year after year…

    And the DCCC wonder why they lose year after year…

    Just getting the minority and LGBT votes aren’t enough…even though ALICE shows how badly the working poor suffer, the democrats do nothing to energize the working poor or former Middle Class.

    The young people are ready for change, but BOTH political parties are nothing more than obstructive forces working with the oppressors.

    (p.s. Governor Holcomb just handed HNTB, Inc. a $9.6 million contract to “study” tolling downtown Indy and around the state. The same company donated $15,000 to Holcomb’s campaign. Why isn’t INDOT studying tolling?)

    Both parties work for their Donor Class and take from taxpayers/voters and distribute to their corruptors.

  4. I have wondered, in light of the spectacle that is the current occupant of the Oval Office, what would have happened to D.C. Stephenson today. Stephenson was head of the Indiana klan in the early 1920s. He backed the victorious Republican candidates for Indianapolis mayor and Indiana governor. He raped Madge Oberholtzer, a clerical worker in the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. She swallowed “bichloride of mercury tablets.” Of eighteen tablets in the box she purchased, she “only took six because they burnt me so.” She was distraught and wanted to kill herself. She gave a death bed statement. Stephenson was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life. Irving Leibowitz has an extensive account of the klan in Indiana in Leibowitz’s “My Indiana.” What I wonder is – today, would Stephenson be convicted – or even charged?

  5. Northwest Indiana Times:
    “…the 1,494 GOP delegates attending the party’s biennial state convention turned aside a revised “strong families” platform plank, proposed by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s party leadership, …”

    By William Butler Yeats, complements of Anthony Hinrichs:
    “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

    Anthony; those two lines never fail to make my skin crawl, especially today and all of our days since the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 when Trump was announced elected president.

    Both fitting quotes in this instance and at this time in our state and national history making chaos; considering the ridiculousness reported in the Northwest Indiana Times quote, my brain took a turn to a comic version of this Republican situation. The popular sitcom “Taxi”, about cab drivers episode when Tony Banta had an armed robber leap into the front seat of his cab. Tony pulled out his own gun and they sat inches apart, with guns aimed at each other, both wondering what to do next. The scene returned to them repeatedly still trying to figure out what to do next. What will Governor Holcomb and party do next?

    And not so funny; after Trump promised Kim Jong Un HE would end the “war games” which are military exercises and back home Pence announced the military exercises will continue. What will Trump and his party do next and how much trouble is Pence in for telling the truth?

  6. On a brighter note — Brownsburg IN has (SO FAR) refused to let the Homo Hating band leader to get back into the school. YAY for small victories. Thank You Brownsburg.
    Score: Kids 1, Haters 0

  7. DCCC called Monday asking for a monthly, recurring donation of $150. I had to yell at him to stop talking to let me answer. I started to state a less wise version of Todd’s recurring criticisms of the Democratic Party leadership and was rudely interpreted with, “that’s not true.” His attitude was ‘you donated in the past and you owe us.’ Not, until leadership is changed.

  8. Wayne,

    “His attitude was ‘you donated in the past and you owe us.’ Not, until leadership is changed.”

    Just the right response. We still have almost five months before the elections in November to ORCHESTRATE a change.

  9. from my point, this is some of the best ive read, thanks, Shiela , your points well done,and im still laughing at the text,not the problem..
    bumper sticker:
    pence for window peaker

  10. Wayne,

    We have to devise a CREATIVE STRATEGY that will replace the current leaders of the DCCC and still keep their followers within the fold. That would be a very noteworthy WIN-WIN solution. It’s doable.

  11. Wayne and Marv; love your comments and response.

    I have appealed and won the unbelievable reassessment increase on my home with the almost 50% increase in property taxes. Still waiting for a response from the Democratic City Councilor who posted on Facebook asking for support and I replied by asking where has he been since I voted for him the last time. He asked for my E-mail then sent a lengthy, empty message which I responded to with numerous complaints about area conditions, taxes the Council approved, let him know I know he is not one of the Democratic Councilors opposing the IPL rate increase and asked what, in general if anything, the entire Democratic party is doing. No response yet unless the City Code Enforcement inspector who appeared to measure the height of some weeds in my yard is his response. I am not in violation, my lawncare person didn’t get here Friday and the rain has kept her away. My lawn was the only one he inspected and is not in violation; I told him I have regular lawn care but he sat in his vehicle and wrote something before driving away. Would a City Councilor be that petty? None of my neighbors know of any reason I would ever be inspected. If no response from my Councilor, I will E-mail the Democratic President of the City County Council for information. Our previous Councilor actually walked through on occasion and attended a neighborhood meeting and resolved two problems. This is a Republican state but that should never prevent elected Democratic officials from doing their jobs.

  12. While republicans in this state have supported inclusion of “others” in the past few years, I believe that they will still vote for republicans for most offices this November.

    The Democrats have not taken up any causes that improve the lives of middle or lower income citizens. As many here have stated before, the Ds don’t really stand for anything other than blaming the other side.

    I will be attending the State Democrat convention this Saturday in Indy and, if given the opportunity, will ask some pointed questions about what this party really stands for (or doesn’t).

  13. All I can say is this backwards thinking is one of the best reasons my husband Ivan and I decided over three years ago to vacate Indiana for Maine. We do have a crazy governor (done at the end of the year thank goodness) but aside from him the state is welcoming of all beliefs, colours, sexualities and more. Medical marijuana has been legal here since 1999; recreational passed in a voter refendum in November 2016, the voters (not legislators!) passed gay marriage in 2012 and unemployment is under 2%. Oh, and yesterday, for the very first time anywhere state-wide, we voted in a ranked choice election at our gubernatorial primary. I really do miss my Hoosier friends and business associates, but not the red and often nuts politics. Now, if you will excuse me, I’m off to do a few errands and have a walk down by the ocean… Harbor Fish Market has day boat scallops in I think!

  14. Apart from the most troubling and disappointing commentary about the DCCC and DNC, the 50-state strategy of Howard Dean should apply to ALL elections. If Democratic candidates put on their walking shoes and started knocking on doors, they might do much better, even in Redneck Nation neighborhoods. Harry Truman did that in 1948 and swamped the prohibitive favorite.

    Those poor souls who felt ignored by the “elitist” Democrats are saying the same things that the Democrats are proposing on kitchen table topics. Democrats need to stop being afraid of their constituents and get off their asses to visit them. The same goes for the supporters of those candidates. Over sixty percent of the people are in agreement with over 75% of Bernie’s agenda. Hello!!

  15. I’ve never been to a political convention. I guess as I think about it I’ve never been to any tribal gathering and my parents use to proudly chalk them up like merit badges. The apple does apparently occasionally fall far from the tree or is it that someone moved the tree?

    Anyway, I’m sure back in the day when school was trying to beat some sense into my head that our social studies teacher portrayed political conventions as a fine example of democracy. Friends and neighbors gathering to figure out what they should collectively stand for as a body politic. Of course he also tried to convince us of how free markets function with well informed buyers and sellers working their way through deals which like a dating service tried to match each with the most compatible partner. How was I supposed to know when to believe him?

    I could be wrong but I picture political conventions differently today. I think first the local oligarch buys refreshments for everyone and little hats and signs and noise makers with lots of red, white and blue balloons and decorations, then he hires some speakers who inspire delegates to think like he does and shame those who wander too far off the path to orthodoxy. After that he introduces his candidates all toothy and proud like Miss America contestants. Very much, as I understand it, like a Mary Kay or Amway convention of folks with a common goal or else. Finally everyone agrees to whatever and goes home proud to have associated with folks as fine as they are.

    Is it just me or would a Republican mid west state convention look like the country used to? Gregarious men and humble womenfolk and acres of white skin under modest attire.

    Is that really democracy Mr Waters or is that church going? I seem to confuse them.

    Some people wish the Democrat Convention across town would be more like the Republican one with, perhaps, that uniformity, that sense of common purpose, the ducks lined up in such precise rows. But you know how liberals are. It’s like herding cats and they act like they don’t even know what a dress code is.

    So this is the world we’ve evolved to with culture wars on every street as the past tries to evict the future as irrelevant and good hardy stock kind of folks do what frontier people always did – conquer the natives, the land, and their humanity all the while keeping the pigs, cows and chickens from intermingling and the corn and wheat as pure as the new driven snow.

    Did you ever see a wheat field ready to harvest? Acres of unspoiled beauty expressed in exactly a single color. Endless perfection.

  16. Nancy,

    Saturday seems like a good chance for you to speak out; find a way if necessary. Don’t be shy! Campaigns start early. 2020 isn’t that far off.

  17. They’ve lost the culture wars (the battles, at least), but they win elections. I’m not sure any more what Democrats need to do to win, but clearly they can’t do it alone or in their present state of (dis)organization. Putting up progressive candidates alone isn’t going to do it, neither is drifting close enough to center-right to siphon off the GOP voters needed t win. But this is Indiana- you can’t will state-wide without being a little center-right. As for progressives, yes, we need those candidates and ideals, but Bernie’s time was 2016, just as Hillary’s was 2008.

    I don’t know what to propose to fix the state of the Democratic party, but I’d say only this: the current GOP is a clear and present danger to democracy, and to the advances made in equality and human rights over the last 70 years. The danger goes beyond squabbles about how “progressive” we should be. No Republican should win an election at any level on the ballot. Not one. They’ve demonstrated over the last decade that they do not deserve to govern, and when given control do anything to keep it while enacting regressive and morally reprehensible policies. To yesterday’s blog post, yeah, McConnell is exactly right. And if you want more of the same, then go on, let them keep winning elections; let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Take that as a starting ideal. Send the GOP to the ash heap of history. Then make the Democratic party what you want it to be.

  18. Patrick,

    “I’m not sure any more what Democrats need to do to win, but clearly they can’t do it alone or in their present state of (dis)organization. Putting up progressive candidates alone isn’t going to do it, neither is drifting close enough to center-right to siphon off the GOP voters needed to win.”

    It must come from my attorney past, but you have to have PROOF. The proof will have to show that Americans, whether Democrats or Republicans, can not allow the Republicans to make one step further in November or we will all just as well be, forgive me, DEAD.

    Seriously, I don’t find that so hard to do.

  19. Quotes by H. L. Mencken >

    “A church is a place in which gentlemen who have never been to heaven brag about it to persons who will never get there.”

    “Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

    “It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.”

    I suppose in the Pence Wing this is a big victory.

    The Democratic Party in Indiana has a good platform, concerning increasing the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. Weak point is – it is an incremental increase with no time lines to achieving it. They want to make two years of community college or technical school tuition free.

    Liz Watson is running against Trey Hollingsworth. From her Web Page > That is why I support the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act of 2017, H.R. 676. It is the only proposal on the table that will accomplish the three essential goals of universal coverage, quality care, and affordability. <

    JoAnn your Democratic City Councilor is a Vichy Democrat. A safe district so no need to be responsive. As I have mentioned here before, I grew up in the South Chicago area with the Daley the Elder Machine. The precinct captain, the alderman (Chicago's version of a Councilor) and the Ward Chairman were expected to be out in their districts, responding to their constituents needs. Each of these people were given targets in terms of getting out the vote, even in the years the Alderman was not up for election. The goal was to elect Democrats and every vote helped. Patronage jobs was also a motivator.

    What surprised me the most when I moved here in 1975 was how disconnected the Democratic Party was from the voters. The Democratic Party seemed to live in fear of the Republicans.

  20. Pete, back in 1968 in Chicago I happened to be downtown during the Democratic Convention. The Chicago Police were a menacing force, and unleashed their brutality on the demonstrators. The TV cameras were rolling as the Chicago Police clubbed the demonstrators. Law and Order must be preserved.

    It was strange as I watched all this take place on our TV screens. Americans, at least in the myths and legends, were a people born in Revolution. We were supposed to celebrate peaceable challenges to the “Establishment”. What I realized back then was opposition was tolerated to a point within parameters the “Establishment” decided was acceptable.

    The turmoil in the streets in Chicago entered into the convention hall. The contrast was a carefully scripted choreographed Republican Convention which gave us the New Nixon. The Republican message at the time was the Democratic Party was the party of anarchy, hippies, communists and law breakers. Nixon promised Law and Order.

  21. Marv,

    Thanks – this is my first time to attend the state convention so I will be finding out how it works and if there are opportunities to speak out. If there are, you can be sure that I will try to.

  22. Sheila, you speak truth when you say that Republicans are opposed to higher wages for “uppity women,” and I might add “uppity men and women” when it comes to minimum wage scales. Unfortunately, Indiana Republicans have plenty of company in other mostly red jurisdictions. The business pages tell us just today that wages are up 2.8 percent but neglect to tell us that such a number is starting at a slave wage level and before inflation is figured in. They also neglect to tell us that such higher gross wages are exposed to a higher rate of tax at both state and federal levels so that the net after such adjustments and an accelerating rate of inflation come down to the same ol’ same ol’ median wage rate of zero increase (or even, as in some years, a reduction in wages).

    Wage inequality is alive and well and we are well advised to ignore White House and Wall Street propaganda to the contrary, and since aggregate demand is the sole arbiter of economic growth (whatever the employment statistics), expect little to no economic growth and, as I have predicted for months, a recession later this year or not later than 2019. Republican removal of some two trillion dollars from our economy as an undeserved giveaway to the superrich via the Trump-Ryan tax bill has all but cemented my prediction, sad to say.

    As I often lament, wage inequality (other than Oval Office efforts to destroy our democracy) is my number one domestic concern, and parenthetically in re foreign concerns, I see a strong correlation to what happened a few days ago in Singapore with what happened 80 years ago in 1938 when Neville Chamberlain left Munich with the announcement that we will have “peace in our time” as Trump tells us 80 years later that our nuclear fears are over, that he trusts Kim etc. Uh, Don, FYI, Kim and his predecessors in office are untrustworthy murdering and lying dictators and there are several other countries who don’t like us who also have nuclear capacities. Trump’s is ignoring history and indeed reality in his narcissistic craze for adulation as a problem solver since the jury is not only not out but not yet sworn to review what is to come of the much ballyhooed meeting in Singapore. Whether he succeeded or failed will likely take years to know, but as usual, he tells us it was a tremendous success etc. So are Munich and Singapore peas in a pod? I say yes, but you be the judge.

  23. It’s common in every sport to analyze both how games were won and lost. Politics is no different.

    On pages like these Democrats have endlessly pondered 2016 and flogged ourselves without respite about the tragedy of it all, the inhumanity we visited on ourselves and our country. Natural.

    Here are my conclusions from such introspection:

    Republicans didn’t win because of their platform, or because of their exceptional retail political skill, or because of superior candidates with more experience or smarts or more winning smiles.

    Here’s how they won:

    Republicans for all intent and purpose owned multiple entertainment media outlets. Fox News. Breitbart. Limbaugh et al, several print media channels as well as broadcast media networks.

    Using those capabilities they had lied unceasingly about the Clintons throughout the Clinton Presidency and ever since. At least 30 years of endless lies.

    The candidate who picked them is and always had been defined by two traits. He’s a showmen and a reknowned liar. That’s all he does with exceptional skill. He used the ingredients of brainwashing (strong emotion, conspiracy theory, scapegoating) to create problems where none existed and discarded solutions based solely on personal credit.

    Republicans had achieved several breakthroughs in the effective use of social media spread propaganda.

    There’s no doubt of how and why the Russians wanted and helped Agent Orange get elected.

    Republicans had perfected re-districting to new heights of influence.

    President Obama was black.

    Comey helped accidentally I personally believe but at a critical moment.

    Trump’s ability to finance personally much of his campaign at critical moments.

    The help of oligarchs like Adleson and the Koch Bros and Robert Mercer.

    The blind support of the NRA, evangelicals, and racists.

    Despite all of that deception they lost the election by over 3M votes.

    Now all of that having been said which part would we support the DNC adopting?

  24. Pete,

    “Despite all of that deception they lost the election by over 3M votes.”
    “Now all of that having been said which part would we support the DNC adopting?”

    From where I’m sitting, I’m under the impression that the Republicans won the election. Maybe I’m going crazy, like most everyone else.

    Further from my perspective, I would suggest the DNC has adopted most of the above by not doing a damn thing to EFFECTIVELY STOP IT.

  25. Marv, Republicans lost the popular vote. I should have been specific. Mea culpa.

    What are your ideas about the ability of the DNC to determine the actions of the RNC?

  26. Pete,

    “What are your ideas about the ability of the DNC to determine the actions of the RNC?”

    I admit, It has always been a very difficult problem for the DNC to match up with their counterparts on the right.

    They don’t want to “determine the actions of the RNC.” If they did, they might have to take appropriate action; so they “play dumb.”

    They’re carrying to much baggage. It has much to do with fundraising. I’m not calling for retribution, it’s just the recognition that the DNC LEADERSHIP is not in a position to stem the tide. They are too weak; it’s the result of the many compromises that have been made starting with the election of Bill Clinton.

    We’re on the OUTSIDE now. How can we come back in, if we don’t have the CIVIC COURAGE to “speak truth to power?” No doubt there might not be an answer to this mess, and we will be forced to accept the unfortunate scenario, you voiced a day or so ago.

  27. And nearly every day I hear some financial reporter saying that the economy is about to go to hell because unemployment is so low that wage inflation for workers, and thus for the larger economy, is inevitable. Wage inflation? For people who are making less now in real dollars than they were 30 years ago? Why is there no concern when companies jack up the salaries of failing or marginally successful CEO’s by a few million dollars? Good question! The answer is that their money will be stuck in some hidey hole where it cannot possibly provide any inflation pressure because it provides no benefit to the economy. Capitalism, our farcical excuse for an economic system, goes apoplectic when people clinging to the lowest rung of the income ladder earn enough to put food on the table and make a car payment in the same month. This is insanity. There’s enough money in circulation for every American to have a decent life, but capitalism is structured in a way that prevents fair outcomes. Equal pay for “uppity” women is not the American way and never has been. But like religion, fresh insights about capitalism are unwelcome and every argument turns ugly when Marx is brought into the conversation, as he always is. Any system that works for only a small subset of its users will eventually be discarded. For tens of millions of Americans, capitalism no longer connects with concrete reality. Corporate growth and profit are essential, but not to the point of ignoring all of our other values. Without economic justice there can be no political justice. Every system exists to deal successfully with the problems it confronts. When it stops meeting that minimum criterion, it’s time to go looking for a system that better meets the needs of the people it serves. We’re not stupid. We can figure this out.

  28. Nancy – the convention will offer some, but not much chance to speak out. There will be some Rules Committee fights and maybe a Platform Committee fight or two. Whatever happens, stay with the process. Things don’t change overnight. In my mere decade in Indiana Democratic politics, I have seen the “establishment” lose a few. I have also seen them win some. I have gone from “that radical outsider” to “that radical insider”, being accepted, but still being an unrepentant, bleeding heart liberal. As the Democratic Socialists (like Bernie) realized, we have a two-party system here and the best way to make change is to influence the Democrats. It takes time. The extreme right did that to the Republican Party over decades, from Southern Strategy Nixon, Break the Unions Reagan, and Water Boarding Bush to our current White House part-time resident. The pendulum of politics is due to swing back — I hope.

  29. Look, folks, if you really want change, vote and work for your candidate and issues in the primary and then support the Democrats in the fall, top to bottom. It is the only way to send the message that 45 must go.

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