Stutzman, Indiana’s Third District House Representative, has forgotten his Constitutional underpinnings – or he has chosen to simply ignore them.  As he whines about the TeaPublicans needing some measure of “respect”, he thoroughly trounces the Constitution which he so passionately supports – or so he says.

The Congress – not the president – is responsible for establishing revenue sources and for appropriating and designating funds for the budget.  The president sends a tentative budget to the House.  The House sifts through it, makes changes, and then sends it to the Senate.  The Senate marks it up as well, and the disagreements go to a conference committee where differences are resolved.  When done, it is sent to the President for his approval or rejection.

John Dean, former Nixon cohort in crime, has over the years come to pretty much despise Republicans.  He writes as an analyst for Verdict, which is a component of Justia, and he writes some very good pieces.  Given my dislike of anything Nixon and pretty much all things Republican nowadays, I almost ignored reading an excellent piece he wrote for Justia about the use of extortion by the Republicans to get their way when they cannot do so legitimately.

According to Dean’s premises,  the Republicans’ strategy is

(1) patently unconstitutional and unconscionable;
(2) in violation of the Congressional Oath of Office; and
(3) unethical and unseemly.

The United States Constitution establishes a government which was intended to function 24/7, 365 days a year.  No where in the Constitution can be found a provision for shutting down the government because some individuals are unhappy.  Laws are passed, and they take effect.  Provisions are in place to change that through the legitimate process established in the Constitution – not by some irresponsible process found in the minds of TeaPublicans.

Stutzman took an Oath to uphold the Constitution and its laws and to faithfully discharge his duties, yet he conspired with other Republicans to violate that Oath by refusing to fund the government and to ignore his obligation to discharge his duties.  Stutzman mouths the virtue of respect yet refuses to actually follow his own words.

Stutzman is a Cruz clone, and, in voting to shut down the government, he has decided that his own idea of Constitutional interpretation is superior to the actual words and intent of the Founders.  His foot-in-mouth moment that has now become a “shot heard ’round the world” demonstrates his idea of respect:  he wants respect for himself but won’t give it for the very government created by the Constitution, which he swore to uphold.




Our Constitution calls for an ongoing and perpetual government unless modified under the amendment process set forth in Article V of the Constitution or by revolution.  Refusal to fund the government, which under law shuts it down, because a small recalcitrant group of Republican Party office holders are unwilling to fulfill their basic responsibilities for maintaining a functioning government, is a form of unconstitutional insurrection. – See more at:
The Republicans’ strategy for imposing their Party’s minority will on the majority by refusing to fund a law, or to keep the entire government functioning is (1) patently unconstitutional and unconscionable; (2) in violation of the Congressional Oath of Office; (3) unethical and unseemly; and yet, (4) there is no legal action that anyone in the other branches can pursue to end this shameful conduct. – See more at:


Our Third District Representative is pretty much a non-starter when it comes to helping our district and its residents.  Since he took office in 2010, Stutzman has spent a great deal of time raising money to ensure his hold on a lengthy political career as a Washington insider – one of those hated creatures of the night hanging out in the halls of Congress.  Mere weeks after his election, he brought a corporate lobbyist on as his Chief of Staff.

And, in no area are his lackluster efforts more apparent than in the area of helping our veteran population.  First, a little history.  In 2004, then Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi, announced that the inpatient beds at the local VA hospital would be closed.  That one announcement triggered a firestorm of opposition and a struggle lasting for years to rally support to save the inpatient beds.  Our small group, Veterans for Better Health Care, participated in dozens of parades, wrote letters to the editor, handed out thousands of flyers, attended town hall meetings, and argued our case to anyone who would listen every chance we got.

I was fortunate enough to be further included in two studies done by Booz Allen Hamilton, a Washington-based research company, addressing the future of the VA hospital, both as to outpatient care and inpatient care.  The final recommendations included a spacious new 220,000 square-foot Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC).  The inpatient issue was still somewhat up in the air, but at least we had been told our new CBOC would add a much-needed component to the care our veterans deserved.

Then, abruptly, in April 2011 we were told we had understood “incorrectly” and that, instead of a 220,000 square-foot, we would now get a 27,000 square-foot mental health and addictions clinic.  When pushed on the issue, Representative Stutzman simply rolled over, put on a happy face, and called the decision a great advancement for the care of veterans in our area.  While I agree we need a mental health and addictions facility for our veterans, Stutzman made no effort to find out what happened to the original plans.

He simply accepted the new decision and twisted the situation to match his inability to make a difference.  At the Republican Lincoln Day dinner in April 2011, Stutzman said “he was pushing for a new, 27,000 square foot expansion for a mental health annex.”  Pushing?  Pushing for something that we had already been told would be shoved down our throats?  He should have been outraged that the fight that had gone on for years had been totally disregarded sending us back to square one and that the promised 220,000 square-foot clinic had been sliced by almost 90%.

But, Stutzman has taken the path of least resistance not only as to veterans’ issues but also in other issues affecting our Third District.  With this approach, he is establishing his “modus operandi” of hovering under the radar, poking his head though when absolutely necessary – leading to the question of  “Marlin Who?”


Dan Coats is a whiner.  We pay our elected officials to complete a job which includes up to the day they leave office.  But that seems to be too much for Coats to bear, and, instead, he would rather have seen our “lame-duck” officials sit back, take it easy, leave any number of important issues undecided, and head for the hills come January.

Of course, Coats would rather have had he and his new Republican cronies take control of all those issues to decide in favor of their wealthy contributors.   After all, the wealthiest of the wealthy could have counted on Coats and his buddies to extend the tax cuts permanently, ensuring continued gracious support from them come election time.

And, Coats assured those departing no-goods who actually got a job done that “we will be watching you”  Here is his statement:

“Congress should have voted against raising taxes and against new spending, and then packed up for home to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.”

He accused Democratic leaders of threatening members with an extended session to win votes on “unpopular” bills.   Two-thirds of the public vigorously opposed extending the tax cuts to the top earners over $250,000.  Was that the unpopular bill of which he spoke?

Although disagreement cropped up within the Democratic party over the tax cut bill, the Democrats got some good bills passed.  Just what did Coats decide he didn’t want done?  Did he want the tax cuts to expire so that the issue could become a given with the wealthy winning tax cuts into eternity?  And the rest of the taxpayers seeing an increase in their already dwindling take-home income?

Did he want the thousands and thousands whose unemployment benefits were to expire to face weeks with the Republicans dithering over whether the benefits should continue or not?

Did he want the START treaty languishing in the Senate so that the Hawks could spew fear to the public to try to convince their constituents as well as each other that the  “Reds are coming, the Reds are coming?”

Coats carpetbagged his way into another senate term, and he is now acting like a spoiled child who didn’t get the toys he wanted for Christmas.  He says he is part of a group that is being “sent to Washington to do things differently.”  Well, nothing is stopping him from doing things differently when his term starts.

But, for now, our congressional members earned their pay right up to the end of their terms.  Nothing wrong with that.  We paid them to do so, and they did.  Coats isn’t a senator yet, but, heaven help us when he is, once again, in that position.

Photo credit - CBS News




The old adage “the only things certain in life are death and taxes” has become the topic of a recent misleading political commercial put forth by Marlin Stutzman.  Stutzman employs scare tactics revolving around the “death” tax – officially known as the federal estate tax.  With a federal IRS form displayed in the background, Stutzman alleges that Dr. Hayhurst supports the “death” tax.  Stutzman then goes on to opine that the death tax is a “massive” tax supported by Dr. Hayhurst that will cost every Hoosier family.  The following is the commercial Stutzman is airing.

How wrong could he be?  Pardon the pun – but dead wrong.   First, the “death tax” to which  Stutzman refers is a federal tax – as shown by his choice of forms displayed in the commercial – that only kicks in when estate assets reach a certain level.  The federal estate tax has been around in some form or another since 1916.

However, Congress allowed the federal estate tax to expire at the end of 2009 and hasn’t yet decided to revive it from the grave.  Prior to its expiration at the end of 2009, the estate tax applied to those with estates of $3.5 million or more – $7 million for married couples.  Prior to that increased floor, the level was around $1,000,000.  The federal tax will probably kick back in 2011 when Congress is forced to address some of the taxation issues;  however, the level of assessment will certainly be a contentious issue.

Does some form of tax exist on your property – as a Hoosier – because you die?  Yes.   However, it is state-controlled by our Indiana legislature.  It is called the inheritance tax.   Indiana law does not provide for a separate estate tax,  but it does assess an inheritance tax on property in the state or property owned by an Indiana resident.

This is not the tax that Stutzman addresses in his ad.  He clearly shows a federal IRS form in the background as he drones on about the death tax and its impact on “every Hoosier” family.  But just how many Hoosier families are worth $1,000,000 or more (a previous level of assessment)?  According to the last census, Indiana was home to 32,000 millionaires for a .5 per cent of the population.  That leaves a whopping 99.5% of Hoosiers who are not affected by the “death tax.”

So, which is it Marlin?  Are you addressing the federal estate tax in your commercial?  In which case, you have totally mislead the public about its impact on Hoosier families.  Or, are you referring to the state-controlled inheritance tax?  In which case, you are still misleading the public because you link it to a federal form rather than an Indiana form and egregiously neglect to mention that it is state-imposed and not in the purview of Congress.

When Stutuzman makes his magical remarks about the federal estate tax, he is truly misleading the public about the death tax, its impact on Hoosier families, and Dr. Hayhurst’s position.


The quarterly candidate financial reports are out, and, according to the FEC reports, Marlin has had no trouble raking in money from PACs and other special interests.  As of September 30, 2010, Stutzman’s fund raising looks like this:

Total Receipts: $354,455
Transfers From Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Contributions: $196,313
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Committees: $153,142
Contributions from Party Committees $5,000
Candidate Contribution: $0
Candidate Loans: $0
Other Loans: $0
Total Disbursements: $225,347
Transfers to Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Refunds: $650
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Refunds: $0
Candidate Loan Repayments: $0
Other Loan Repayments: $0
Beginning Cash: $0
Latest Cash On Hand: $129,106
Debts Owed By: $10,101

Stutzman has received almost 45% of his funding from special interest groups – that leaves 55% attributable to individual contributions.

On the other hand, Dr. Hayhurst’s September 30th report reflects that 93% came from individual contributions and only 7% from special interest groups.  Here are his numbers:

Total Receipts: $692,553
Transfers From Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Contributions: $631,004
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Committees: $48,189
Contributions from Party Committees $5,000
Candidate Contribution: $7,570
Candidate Loans: $0
Other Loans: $0
Total Disbursements: $576,748
Transfers to Authorized Committees: $0
Individual Refunds: $0
Non-Party (e.g. PACs) or Other Refunds: $0
Candidate Loan Repayments: $0
Other Loan Repayments: $0
Beginning Cash: $0
Latest Cash On Hand: $115,804
Debts Owed By: $0

The disparity in accepting special interest money is staggering:  45% for Stutzman – 7% for Hayhurst.

So, as you go to the polls on November 2nd, ask yourself – who do you think is bought and paid for by the special interests?  Someone who receives 7% – or someone who receives a whopping 45% from special interests.  Doesn’t take a math wiz to calculate the numbers.

And, your next observation?  Stutzman is not his own man.  Dr. Hayhurst assured the debate viewers and the public that he is independent – and his special interest contributions back him up.  On November 2nd, you have a choice to send a “bought and paid for” special interest candidate – Marlin Stutzman to Congress .  Or you can vote for  an independent, fair-minded, and dedicated candidate – Dr. Tom Hayhurst.


Marlin Stutzman’s website states the following:  “The most crucial issue facing Indiana today is creating jobs for Hoosier families.”  Yet, earlier this year, before he was selected in caucus proceedings to run for Mark Souder’s empty seat, Stutzman took a different stance.

At a forum held in New Paris on June 10th, Stutzman was asked the following random question (or perhaps it was providence):

“Would you vote for a bailout of General Motors Corporation?”

Stutzman’s response?

“I would not.  As bad as that sounds … I believe in free markets. … In this country, we have the right to be successful, but we have the right to fail as well. We should not reward bad behavior by bailing a company out.”

And, while Stutzman was adamant he would not “bail out” General Motors, he was – hmm – taking farm subsidies – a form of quasi bail out for his farming operation and a manipulation – to his benefit – of that free market in which he so heartily believes.  But, Stutzman isn’t required to pay back the farm subsidies while GM is required to pay back the bail out loan.  Bazinga!

GM’s failure would have resulted in an estimated loss of over 10,000 jobs – both direct through the termination of workers and indirect through the loss to suppliers, retailers, etc.  Even Representative Souder – for whom Stutzman worked for three years – had enough common sense to vote for the loan to GM understanding the devastating impact the closure of GM would have had on the Third District.

If this is how Stutzman feels, why would Third District voters – especially business owners – want a representative with this attitude in Congress?  His response to the bail out question was an extremely short-sighted and shallow answer to a critical issue which impacted the Third District and its representative – a position for which he is running and for which he is obviously not ready since he fails to understand how to balance his ideology with the good of Third District constituents.

And where does Dr. Hayhurst stand on GM and its workers?  Here is his statement in a recent Fort Wayne Reader article

With regard to bailouts, Hayhurst makes it a point to say no more Wall Street bailouts. “Frankly, with regard to General Motors, I would have supported that.” 

Dr. Hayhurst understands this District and what it takes to protect our interests.  Where Stutzman would have abandoned GM, Dr. Hayhurst would have remained steady in his support – now that is the kind of representative we need.


Rumor has it that the powers that be have advised Stutzman to lay low because he has the election “in the bag.”  Maybe that’s why Stutzman makes half-hearted appearances at functions and leaves before they conclude.   Or why he has yet to make his positions public after indicating that things were “coming together.”

Stutzman has made few appearances throughout the district – could it be because the Republican higher-ups have told him to keep his mouth shut lest he put his foot in it?   And where is his money?  Of course, the old standbys are evident – Popp and Freeland.   But little else is showing up as of today’s date.  The filing deadline was September 30th, so maybe we will see some donations somewhere.

His little “please choose me” caucus party at the Tin Caps cost $1944.00, but other than that there has been little action to date on expenditures.   Now, do I believe for one second that his money sources are not there?  Absolutely not.  What is interesting – and I am not an expert at reading these FEC reports – is that Stutzman is still showing as receiving money through his expired Senate campaign committee.

I was under the impression that the Senate primary determined that Mr. Stutzman was no longer in the Senate race since he had been upended by the carpetbagger from North Carolina, Dan Coats.  Yet, a 115-page report was filed on July 15, 2010, under the reference  SOIN00095, which appears to be a Senate designation.

The voters are being deprived of a real house race by Stutzman’s absence.  He mostly appears at functions where he is well insulated by supportive crowds.  He continues to mislead in his responses to legitimate questions – for example, how was he forced to take the farm subsidies when intentional applications must be made to receive them?

Of course, the traditionally red-dominated Third District certainly enables him to assume a “tsk, tsk, I have it made” attitude followed by his decision to conduct his campaign in abstentia.

On the other hand, Dr. Hayhurst has consistently been touring the Third District, answering questions and facing full-on the residents of this district.  Why?  One simple distinction.  Dr. Hayhurst and his wife believe in this district and want the best for its residents.  Stutzman grew up in Michigan, and he lives in Howe with most of his farming operation located in Michigan – not Indiana.

And, as to Stutzman’s  latest endorsement from the NRA?  Apparently, the NRA believes it is more acceptable to pay lip service to the protection of our rights and to sit back and vote for gun rights secured by the Second Amendment rather than actually serve your country and understand what it means to help serve and protect.

Dr. Hayhurst voluntarily served during the Vietnam War era as a Major in the Air Force  – certainly distinguishes him from Stutzman’s non-service even though Stutzman certainly could have chosen to volunteer as Dr. Hayhurst chose to do to protect this country.

So, I guess I will ask again – where is Marlin and his money, and what is he up to?  The  old saying has it that hiding is the coward’s way out.


The following clip says it all:

Dan “I’m no Hoosier Anymore” Coats has decided that he will now be a Hoosier again for the sake of his own self-interest party.  This will be an interesting primary on the Republican side of the ticket.  If Republicans are going to stick to their oft-spouted values about the nastiness of lobbyists and Washington insiders, then Coats should not win the nomination in May.

However, Republicans may want an additional senate seat so badly that they are more than willing to swallow their “values” and throw their support behind Coats despite his abandonment of Hoosiers for over a decade and his lobbying efforts and ultimate status as a Washington insider.

The other candidates who have already filed and put time and effort into their campaigns should be outraged at Coats’  blatant opportunism and lack of consideration for fellow Republicans.  Had the Supreme Court not made its ridiculous and lop-sided decision boosting corporate power to influence elections, Coats would have not even thought about running in the state he left so many years ago.   Pretty coincidental that Coats jumped up and shouted “No, no, I really am a Hoosier” so quickly after the Supreme Court’s decision.

Coats was underway in his plans to make North Carolina his “new” home.  If Republicans keep to their lofty musings, then Coats will be sent packing to crawl right back into the North Carolina woodwork.

Lobbyist Coats reflects the very things the public now says it despises

Lobbyist Dan Coats - born-again Hoosier and corporate lobbyist


Apparently the news that Elkhart County in Indiana’s Third District is doing a tad bit better has prompted Representative Souder to enjoy his holiday recess in a foreign land rather than in his home district.  Souder’s last visit to Afghanistan was in March 2006, about eight months prior to the 2006 Congressional election.

He didn’t bother visiting Afghanistan during the 2008 election cycle.  And, since he faces two primary challengers and a general election challenger, what better way to pump up his image than to skip over the pond and land in Afghanistan on the pretext of “assessing” the situation?

Souder makes no secret of his disdain for President Obama and has disagreed with President Obama on virtually every issue that rears its head.   One of his latest criticisms is that Obama’s decision to send 30,000 additional fighters and trainers to Afghanistan and to begin withdrawing U.S. troops in 18 months is flawed. Souder opines that either the number of troops is dramatically underestimated or the length of time is too short.

His trip will prove nothing and bear no fruit.  But, once again, rather than focus on his obligations to the Third District – which he still represents but seems to have forgotten –  he has determined that a trip to Afghanistan is much more important than spending time with his constituency.


Mark Souder has decided the best way to deal with the issues of the Third District is, well, to just ignore them for what he mistakenly believes are better pickins.  Souder, with his little pea-pickin’ right-wing conservative heart, is dodging and weaving like a boxer trying to avoid punches and would rather attack President Obama than deal with the high unemployment rate in the Third District.

Indiana’s Third District is suffering – and suffering greatly.  The eight counties that comprise the district include most of Allen, most of Elkhart, and all of DeKalb, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, and Whitley.  The Third District is heavily over-represented in the infamous Top Ten of unemployment statistics in the September report prepared October 14, 2009.

The following unemployment statistics show a discouraging and disturbing picture – a picture that Souder seems content to ignore in favor of attacking President Obama:

IDWD Research and Analysis
Labor Area Unemployment Statistics

September 2009 Statistics

Top Ten Stressed Counties

Elkhart County          15.0
Noble County             14.5
Lagrange County      14.0

Adams County               13.4
Fayette County              13.4
Blackford County          13.3
Steuben County         12.9
Starke County                 12.6
DeKalb County            12.4

An astounding 50% of the Top Ten are in the Third District.  Add to that Whitley County – 11.6% – in the second tier of ten counties and Kosciusko County – 11.0% – in the third tier, and the only county in the Third District that has not broken the infamous 10.0% unemployment figure is Allen County, holding at 9.0%.

Tom Hayhurst has been out in the counties listening to the people and communicating with them.  Since he announced in August that he would again challenge Souder, Hayhurst has traveled from one end of the Third District to the other.  His main concern?  The people of the Third District.

Souder’s main concern?  Holding onto that congressional seat which he said in 1994 that he would vacate in 6 terms.  He has become adept at holding town hall meetings and call-ins slanted to his view point of the present government, thereby feeding his attacks on Obama.

Rather than take a cold, hard look at the high unemployment rate that exists in his own district which he is supposed to be representing, Souder focuses on attacking President Obama.  Souder would rather join a battle over gun rights in someone else’s state than address the needs of his own constituency.

Fine with me – Souder can sputter and fume about Obama, but Hayhurst is doing the work that needs to be done for our Third District – focusing on those who will be his constituency.