NATE FELTMAN: Plenty to muse about on this Independence Day

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Four mini-columns this week in honor of America’s July Fourth birthday:

Trump vs. Biden: Has there ever been a show like this? And the campaign really hasn’t started.

At his first campaign rally since COVID-19 hit, Trump said he asked his staff to slow down coronavirus testing because, “when you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases.” The next day, his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said his comments were in jest. Trump followed McEnany’s statement with, “I don’t kid.”

Meanwhile, every time Biden opens his mouth, he says something that seems to indicate he is not quite all there, like, “We have over 120 million dead from COVID.” Who needs reality TV and “Saturday Night Live”? Assuming Biden is allowed to leave his basement, the debates will be can’t-miss TV once again.

Weinzapfel vs. Rokita? Former mayor of Evansville Jonathan Weinzapfel narrowly defeated Karen Tallian to emerge from the Democratic State Convention as the party’s attorney general candidate. Indiana Democrats view this race as an opportunity to begin to claw their way back into relevancy. If Weinzapfel is the next AG, he will have four years to campaign for governor.

Given sitting AG Curtis Hill’s challenges, Democrats know they have a better shot at defeating him over the other Republicans who are challenging Hill at the Republican State Convention. Will GOP delegates follow the advice of Gov. Holcomb and State Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer, who have called on Hill to step down, and vote for someone other than Hill, like former secretary of state and congressman Todd Rokita, who has a much better chance to beat Weinzapfel? We’ll know July 10.

Downtown Indy vs. suburbs: If you live outside of Marion County, life seems to be returning to normal. Traffic is back and restaurants are bustling. Go downtown and little seems normal—no traffic, boarded-up buildings and few workers.

Do we think contracting COVID-19 is much more likely in the city center than in the doughnut counties? Or is there something more troubling afoot? If you are Carmel Mayor Brainard, Fishers Mayor Fadness or Noblesville Mayor Jensen, what ideas are percolating in your head right now? Maybe a convention center in Carmel? What about a zoo in Fishers? Perhaps an Indy Eleven stadium in Noblesville?

Conventional wisdom holds that the suburbs wouldn’t be successful without a strong downtown (suburbs of what?). Will future work-from-home trends and a deteriorating downtown threaten downtown progress? It is past time for Indy city leaders to ring the alarm bell and develop a game plan for downtown’s future.

The silent majority vs. radicals of both parties: If you are like me, you are feeling dazed, disheartened and distressed by events of the past four months. Pandemic, government-imposed shutdowns, experts that tell us how we should live, politicians and media that seem hell-bent on dividing us, the death of George Floyd, protests and the destruction of our downtown.

Unequal treatment of minorities, women and the poor isn’t a partisan issue. We must strive for equality of opportunity and equality under the law. America (like all of us) isn’t perfect, and it never will be. Just as we rose to the occasion and were brave enough to declare our independence from Great Britain in 1776, I am hopeful the silent majority will no longer be silent.

If we each lend a helping hand, mentor a disadvantaged youth, add minorities and women to our executive ranks and boards, and engage in thoughtful, uncomfortable conversations, we can build a stronger, more unified country.

Happy Independence Day.•


Feltman is IBJ Media’s CEO. Send comments to

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4 thoughts on “NATE FELTMAN: Plenty to muse about on this Independence Day

  1. Good column, Nate, but I wonder about your being hopeful that the silent majority will no longer be silent. The silent majority spoke en masse in 2016 and told the elitist career swamp-dwellers in Washington DC that they were tired of being told they were deplorable and needed to shut up and let the intelligencia run rough-shod over our freedoms and values because, well, you know, they just know what’s best for we ignoramuses and backwater hicks.

    The intelligencia responded with predictable indignity and have wasted untold millions of dollars of taxpayer money and hours of valuable time trying to undo that election, so we’ve seen what happens when the silent majority is no longer silent and deigns to suggest that we’d be better off running the country without their “help.”

    1. The more Feltman writes, the more I question my IBJ subscription.

      I mean, please. Your complaint with Joe Biden is that he’s not all there, and your example is from deceptively edited and debunked social media that circulated in conservative circles. He immediately corrects himself, but you don’t see that part on the video.

      Meanwhile, Trump gets asked what he would accomplish with a second term on Fox News and this is his response:


      “Well, one of the things that will be really great, you know the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It’s an — a very important meaning.

      I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington, I think, 17 times. All of a sudden, I’m president of the United States. You know the story. I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I say, ‘This is great. But I didn’t know very many people in Washington. It wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York. Now I know everybody, and I have great people in the administration.”

      You make some mistakes. Like, you know, an idiot like Bolton. All he wanted to do was drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to kill people.”


      That’s an advertisement for invoking the 25th Amendment right there. You can’t even deepfake that word salad into something presidential. But, sure, go on and tell me Joe Biden’s not all there.

  2. Get a life, Joe B: Biden’s onset of dementia is as obvious as your case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Feltman is correct in citing the many cases of Joe Biden’s growing problem….especially under pressure. Have you seen that disastrous interview on The View…where he was among adoring friends, for Pete’s sake…and couldn’t string together a cohesive sentence to save his soul?

    And when he does correct himself, which is not all that often, do you really want such a confused, irregular mentality running the country? Geeze….but I suppose you do.

    1. Feltman quoted one that was BS.

      We already have a confused, irregular person running the country who has pretty much trashed things in less than 4 years. “I alone can fix it” was the promise but the reality is that “everything Trump touches dies”. If you can’t see that, I can’t help you, but I can advise you get your news from more diverse sources.

      And I’m someone who’d vote for Mitch Daniels for president in a heartbeat. He might be a good Republican candidate for 2024 since he hasn’t spent the last five years embarrassing himself kowtowing to Trump. They will have to look far and wide to find people without the Trump stain.

      It’s not Biden’s fault that he may well be able to win the presidency just by letting Trump continue to make mistakes. He’d be an improvement because he’d have, at least, people around him who are qualified to be there, as opposed to the vast number of “acting” individuals surrounding Trump, most of whom would never make it through vetting even by a Republican Senate. Remember when Trump was going to have an awesome selection of all the best people around him to make up for his lack of experience? Yeah, how did that play out?