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Sep 12, 2023

It is unusual to have certainty of how the executive of a government, whether a mayor, governor, or president, will respond to an unexpected crisis. The responses to those crises often become what defines the leadership of that executive. They define a leader’s character. 

Whether it is an unexpected foreign war, a horrific terrorist attack, or a deadly pandemic, how the person in charge leads through it is more telling than any campaign could ever be. President Joe Biden didn’t campaign on the war in Ukraine. President George W. Bush didn’t campaign on the terrorist attacks of 9/11. And President Donald Trump didn’t campaign on COVID-19. At least not the first time. 

All of the responses to these crises were revealing to voters. 

Last week, Senator Mike Braun announced that he has co-authored the “Freedom to Breathe Act.” The federal legislation will ban the federal government’s ability to implement mask mandates for domestic air travel, public transit systems and schools. 

Casey Smith reported for the Indiana Capital Chronicle last week Braun’s troubling commentary on the bill he authored with three other Senate Republican colleagues. He first said in his Wednesday statement, “We’re not going to go back to the top-down government overreach we saw during COVID.” 

This gubernatorial candidate has some kind of issue with “top-down” leadership? Even when he adds “overreach” to his canned statement, he is signaling how he would have led in 2020, or more aptly, how he would have chosen not to lead. Senator, in a crisis, “top-down” leadership is the name of the game. It’s the job for which you are running. And it is unlike filing dead-on-arrival legislation with three other members of congress looking only to “own the libs.”

It's lonely at the top. Especially in a crisis. Braun’s statement is slippery on one hand, and troubling on the other.


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