Running Against Looney-Tunes

As I’ve been following Indiana’s races for both the Statehouse and the U.S. Senate, I’ve come to realize that what passes for “the Left” in the Hoosier state has a lot in common with the more liberal Republicanism of my younger days. For example, when the GOP was still a political party and not a cult, I was a member of “Republicans for Choice”–along with lots of other Republicans.

Another good example is my friend Trish Whitcomb’s campaign for Indiana House District 69.

Trish’s father was former Indiana Governor Ed Whitcomb. Governor Whitcomb–then a traditional Republican– championed the environment, childcare, and increased federal funding for education. Trish shares those values–I first met her when we were both focused on the health of public education in Indiana–but today’s GOP has abandoned all of them, so Trish is a Democrat.

And her campaign–like that of Marc Carmichael, who is running for U.S. Senate–pits her against a wack-a-doodle Republican. In Carmichael’s case, it’s “god squad” Jim Banks; in Trish’s case it is “armed at all times” Jim Lucas.

Lucas has been in the news a lot lately. A few weeks ago, it was for drunk driving; this week it was for flashing his holstered handgun at students who were visiting the Statehouse seeking legislative action to curb gun violence.

When contacted by later and told the students were threatened by him flashing a gun, Lucas shrugged off the incident. He said he was “simply showing an inanimate object” in order to prove a point about guns.

Lucas has a well-earned reputation as  the legislature’s most rabid “gun nut”–he routinely introduces and sponsors bills further weakening restrictions on firearms, and is on record advocating arming teachers. He shrugs off the concerns of law enforcement, insisting (along with the NRA) that personal safety can only be secured by “good guys” with guns. In 2022, he suggested the Uvalde school shooting might be a false flag to take away Americans’ gun rights.

During the confrontation with the students, he mischaracterized a Supreme Court ruling, insisting that the Court had decided police have no obligation to protect them.

The conversation included a back-and-forth between Lucas and the students. Lucas told the students the police are not obligated to protect them so they needed to be prepared to protect themselves. He brushed off the students’ comments about the impact of school shootings on their lives, saying no law is going to fix gun violence.

It isn’t simply his love affair with guns. Lucas’ Facebook page has been a scandal for years. As a columnist for the Indianapolis Star put it back in 2022,

Call me naïve, but there was a time when I believed maturity came with age and with certain positions came a sense of decorum and standards of behavior.

Well, I’ve learned this is not the case: Maturity and age aren’t synonymous, and just because you’re in an esteemed position doesn’t mean you act accordingly.

That brings me to Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, who I’m convinced is stuck in adolescence. How else can you explain his continual sophomoric behavior?

Lucas has a long list of controversial posts, which I’ll get to later, but his latest gaffe had him backtracking on Facebook, trying to explain why he made such a post. Lucas used a quote possibly erroneously attributed to Joseph Goebbels — a Nazi. But not just any Nazi. Goebbels was the minister of propaganda. He and his wife poisoned their children and killed themselves.

The column went on to list other Lucas posts: one of a woman in a car trunk, posing the question of whether your wife or dog loves you more, and several making light of violence against women; a photo of a gallows with two rope nooses together with an article about a Black man who had pleaded guilty to rape; a photo of Black children dancing along with the words “We gon’ get free money!”

In fact, Lucas’ Facebook page has long been a cesspool of racist and misogynist posts and comments. The Star column pointed out that, in 2021, when Black legislators shared their experiences with racism, “Lucas decided he didn’t have to listen and walked out.”

The news media do a real disservice by labeling people like Banks and Lucas “conservative.” The party that used to be home for genuine conservatives had a platform; it offered policy ideas. You might agree or disagree with those ideas, but they fostered the kind of debate and negotiation that made legislation better. It is unfair to genuine conservatives (who today are largely “Never Trump” ex-Republicans) to call a collection of  rightwing clowns, wack-a-doodles, and proto-fascists “conservative.”

Visit Trish Whitcomb’s website and send her some money. And while you’re at it, send some to Marc Carmichael.


  1. Just a thought, Looney-tunes was a cartoon show, funny characters like the sarcastic Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Confederate-like Foghorn Leghorn, and modern republicans like Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam, often with very subtle jokes for the adults. Banks etc aren’t funny, and are down right dangerous. I think we need a new term to describe these mentally un-adult types, one that respects the lunacy but also the danger. Great post, as usual.

  2. Wack-a-doodle? Looney-tunes? No, these Republican assholes are unhinged psychotics. So, naturally, the Republican party embraces them. Republican voters embrace them. They are crazy too.

    The latest from the deep state crazies: Attack Taylor Swift. Sure. Being decent, in love and generous is anathema to right-wing Republicans. She is everything they are not. Swift’s resistance to lunatics like Marsha Blackburn are well-founded… unless you are a Republican.

    EVERYTHING REPUBLICANS TOUCH DIES. EVERYTHING THEY SAY IS A LIE. What else is there? I feel sorry for the 75% of Hoosiers and Americans who have to suffer through the idiocy of the 25%. Vote them out, people.

  3. Lucas’ district must be heavily gerrymandered. If it isn’t, then shame on those voters that keep electing him. The state Republican party should step up to the plate and fund a competitor. I’ve recently become aware that they are funding a competitor in another state district that has a completely crazy member of the legislature. Sometimes your house must be cleaned by insiders.

  4. This is another example of the two political parties shifting to the right, not just at the state level but at the federal level. The so-called liberal democrats are disappointingly conservative. When the country needs Democrats with backbones, we get AIPAC and MIC-funded warmongers.

    Identity politics is all the Democrats have remaining. They count on votes because they are sane while running against a lunatic bigot.

    Sadly, Hoosiers love their bigots and racists and vote for anything but Democrats. It makes it easy on the GOP in this state and other Southern states. ALEC has a steady supply of willing dupes to sign boilerplate laws and policies.

    Voters will choose against their self-interests repeatedly because the oligarchy misinforms them via propaganda in legacy news. It’s painful to watch…

  5. Jeffrey is correct in suggesting that a new term is needed to describe the wrong wing lunatics. The wrong wing manages to frequently create derogatory terms for any one or any group they choose to attack – the democrat party leaders, both state and national, need to step up to the plate and start playing hardball. I don’t want to be told that would be beneath us or that we would be lowering ourselves to their level because i’ve found the only way to stop continuously bad behavior by others is to fight fire with fire. Bullies only back down when you fight back.

  6. Social science has developed a new, or new to me, means to classify personalities.

    1) Intrinsic Motivation:

    You are motivated to do the activity because it is internally rewarding. You choose to do it because it’s fun, enjoyable, and satisfying.
    Your goal comes from within, and the outcomes of your goal satisfy your basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

    2) Extrinsic Motivation:

    You are motivated to do the activity to gain an external reward.
    Your goal is focused on an outcome and does not satisfy your basic psychological needs. Rather, it involves external gains, such as money, fame, power, and avoiding consequences.

    That seems to be the motivation people react to when choosing to be or vote Red or Blue.

    I think that the evidence points to the majority of those who participated in the conception and writing of our Constitution being intrinsically motivated.

  7. Whenever I tune in to MSNBC, I think how nice it is that so many recovering Republicans have found a home. Then I begin to wonder how they took so long to see what the GOP was becoming. The minute they began courting the Evangelical vote, it was evident that they’d be lost in the weeds sooner or later.

    Now along comes Orange Jesus, who speaks about suspending the Constitution. Consider the fact that in four years he violated so many Constitutional provisions, turning it into a moot point, why wouldn’t he suspend it. One thing I dislike about the Democrats is that they weren’t prepared to address 45’s failings with changes to the U.S. Code. It should have been priority one!

    On another completely different topic. Did anyone catch the brief segment on the “ReidOut” featuring focus groups of Pennsylvanian “pro-choice Republican” women? Blindfolds anyone?

  8. We no longer have a Republican party that is interested in governing via the implementation of sound public policy.

    Instead, they are focused on nothing more than the consolidation of power by playing on the fears of the most gullible of the gullible.

    To achieve this they are willing to vilify those who want nothing more out of society than to be free to manage a pregnancy in privacy without government interference and free to love whom they love.

    The only way we are going to be able to stop this abuse is to win at the polls.

    Phil Gift
    Candidate IN HR 35

  9. Sadly, there is no “Left” in American politics.
    Except, possibly, for me and a few friends.

  10. Not only aren’t they conservative, they aren’t _political_ in any real sense. They have no interest in politics at all; treating them as politicians is pointless. They are driven by deep-seated bigotries and personal grievances to seek power and destroy their “enemies.” By any means. Is it any wonder they love TFG regardless?

  11. The Republicans got a taste of what it is like to catch a tiger by the tail with the Dobbs decision. Did they learn anything? Apparently not because they keep doubling down on their positions. Not satisfied with having a grip on its tail, they are now trying to push a stick up its ass. I will feel no sympathy for them when it finally turns around and has them for lunch.

  12. John H – Excellent perception, i.e., we are not dealing with politicians but are rather dealing with members of a cult who apparently believe that trashing the Constitution is fine and elevating criminals to the Oval Office is a mark of good citizenship.

    Vern – Taylor Swift is anathema to so-called “Republicans” because she (in addition to being a musical genius) is a Democrat by choice. I would wager that if she were a member of the cult and openly supported Trump these “Republicans” would be hailing her as the paragon of virtue on a level with Republican congressional ladies such as MTG of Georgia and Marsha of Tennessee. Uh. . .

    I knew Ed Whitcomb long before Trish made the scene. He was graduating from the same law school I was just entering and was a part of the WW II wave of graduates who impacted politics in the Fifties. He was a Republican long before that party’s leadership surrendered to the brokers of power whose only reason for being was (other than tax cuts for the rich) the acquisition of power by the new crazies and their cultish worship of the Orange Jesus, whose continuing attempt to pull a coup and destroy our Constitution are ongoing.

    Just last night my daughter (a fundraiser for Trish and others) and I decided what we would give to the campaigns of Indiana Democrats, and I have delivered my check to my daughter for redistribution this morning. We have outstanding candidates for state and federal office, including Trish, and opponents some of whom are candidates for the funny farm, so I agree with Sheila and I would add that we need to dig deeply in support of our candidates. Deeply and now, lest the crazies have an uninterrupted and unchallenged environment within which to tout their candidates’ wondrous qualities for office and we show up later to a barren landscape.

    When I hear the slogan Trump for President! I am reminded of Lucifer for Pope! Same difference. . .

  13. On an unrelated topic, the BLS note that we gained 353,000 new jobs during January is, as usual, far in excess of estimates by professional labor economists. At this rate if continuing, and as shortages of labor are popping up across the country, we may find that we need more rather than fewer people coming across the border, a suggestion likely to arouse the ire of racists such as Abbott, who apparently thinks he was elected president and is therefore in charge of immigration policy.

    Economic growth is determined per Keynes by aggregate demand, but if due to labor shortages and an AI not yet equal to the task we cannot meet such demand and economic growth is stifled and necessarily results in lesser demand for the goods and services and higher prices for those produced, we will have subjected ourselves to a decline in economic growth, the holy grail/measure of a successful economy.

    I offer the above off-topic note as I thought about how the economy and immigration policy are intertwined and what gyrations policymakers will have to come up with in fashioning a solution acceptable to business interests, economists and racist politicians. Capitalism versus racism – not a good time to be the referee. . .

  14. Just as an FYI, gas at the station closest to my house just went down to $2.97. I wonder when the price hikes will hit as a result of the shipping diversion from the Red Sea. Could it be that oil tankers shipping Saudi production does not get targeted?

  15. That sounds familiar. I once was a reliable Republican vote, when we had candidates who were actually Republicans. The party abandoned its values and mine, so now I’m a fairly reliable Democrat vote.

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