For my forty-ninth birthday, I am going to Chicago to see my favorite musician, David Ryan Harris. On his latest record he sings some great fatherly advice his grandpa once sang to his dad: “When the sun is on your shoulder, may it give you strength to shine. So that as you grow to be a man, you never lose the boy inside.” Losing “the boy inside” has never been my problem. I just spent four days with my younger son on a fishing trip. Seems like pretty standard father/son fare. And I guess it could be if one was inclined to let ...

The craze of the Olympics missed me. I don't really know why. I admire the athletes and I love to see American women and men win the biggest prizes on the biggest stages they will ever occupy. The personal stories of the athletes and their families is also classic fodder for the patriot in each of us. I haven't heard a bad one. I understand the fanaticism in the games and I want see it continue and grow. It's fun. And these athletes are extraordinary. This first week of the games though has provoked many opinions about the coverage by NBC, mostly ...

Today, I throw myself on the mercy of the public and beg forgiveness. It is true. I confess. I am, and have been for some time, gulp, a lobbyist.  Audible gasps in the room ensue right here. Polling and focus groups clearly and consistently tell campaigners that if a candidate can label his opponent as a lobbyist, do it.  Do it loudly and repetitively.  Do it because it is the most sinister thing a candidate can be, right?  I'm so ashamed of myself. Well not really, because while  I am a lobbyist, I am not a candidate.  At least not yet. I ...

I had a fascinating conversation this week with a young man about the two national conventions.  This college student described the two gatherings in Cleveland and Philadelphia accurately, but viewed through the eyes of someone really paying attention for the first time. He described the differences between the campaigns as "being like high school."  It seems to him that the issues at hand have been reduced to a low quality popularity contest where the debate among voters is almost exclusively cosmetic and void of substance. The description he gave of the conventions was generically just like mine: the Republicans seem scared and ...

Gov. Mike Pence and the Indiana Republican Party just can't seem to quit making the big mistake.  And this time in his surprising promotion to the national ticket, he left his state party and his hand-picked successor a parting gift worse than the proverbial lump of coal. Let me explain. On Tuesday, the Republican state central committee replaced him on the ballot. They replaced him with Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, who Pence publicly endorsed four days earlier. It took the committee two ballots to follow Pence's recommendation, because they had Congresswoman Susan Brooks as an available option. Most politicos who are engaged in ...

On March 4, 1933, in his first inaugural address, President Franklin Roosevelt spoke the famous phrase “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Oh, how welcome that sentiment would have been in Cleveland last week. Like many Americans, I couldn’t look away during the Republican National Convention. I watched with fleeting hope that the GOP would at least try and find a way to put together a coherent message as to why we should have faith in their nominee’s ability to advance our common goals. It's not that the convention failed that is most bothersome. The clear lack of ...

For Seinfeld fans, the episode that George Costanza was dumped by one of his girlfriends using the line “it's not you, it's me," was an instant classic. What was classic about it was that George thought he had invented that insincere, blameless reason for why a relationship just wasn't working out. And now, someone was using it on him. I feel a little like that this week with Governor Mike Pence withdrawing his name from the ballot for reelection. I wanted Indiana voters to send him packing on Election Day, as I have consistently predicted they would. But miraculously, he found ...

In 2014, I finally read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, the satirical novel about World War II experiences and time traveling. In the classic 1969 book, the main character is thrown into the future and sees a bumper sticker that says “Reagan For President.” I thought: “Vonnegut is a psychic genius! How could he have known?” It's simple really. Reagan had sought the Republican nomination in 1968. Shame on me for not paying attention to presidential politics when I was one year old. This week, and I don't know why it hit me so hard this week, I have been a little preoccupied with ...

Every politically engaged Hoosier knew that when Gov. Mike Pence left congress to run for governor in 2012, that part of the attraction was the ambitious opportunities being a governor would provide him. Oh, how things have changed. Or have they? Gov. Pence is being considered by the Trump campaign as a possible vice presidential nominee. Now for those of us watching Pence’s less than momentous reelection bid here at home, this might be a bit of a surprise. But there are plenty of folks who think he is one of Trump’s best available options, even though Pence didn't even vote for ...

It is the one year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. June 26, 2015 was the day that the fundamental right to marry became guaranteed to same-sex couples in America. A year ago, I suggested that this date would someday appear on high school history exams. Hopefully this reminder will help. Today in Indiana, the LGBT community is still not defined as a class for purposes of civil rights protections by the state. Many local units of government have passed ordinances, but the Indiana General Assembly remains paralyzed on the issue. Arguably worse though, Indiana also ...