Indiana GOP Governor Vetoes Bill Protecting Women’s Sports - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Indiana GOP Governor Vetoes Bill Protecting Women’s Sports

Somehow, Indiana’s Republican governors are building a tradition of withering and shrinking rather than taking bold stands for common sense and normal Americans who vote for the GOP.

The previous governor of that state was Mike Pence, who later became the vice president under Donald Trump. Pence’s major negative at the time was the fact his GOP-majority Legislature passed an anti-gay marriage bill that he wouldn’t sign because of pressure from Woke Corporate America.

That refusal was a bad harbinger of things to come. We speak here not of the controversy within the Republican Party and conservative movement surrounding Pence’s later refusal to hold up the certification of the 2020 presidential election over the electoral-proceeding irregularities in some of the states, but of something else which was worse and ultimately brought about that controversy on Jan. 6, 2021.

Namely, the fact that Pence was put in charge of the White House coronavirus task force, and it was his weak hand in governing that body that turned Anthony Fauci into the patron saint of COVID-19 and created the horrific, failed two-year governmental orgy of lockdowns, mandates, and restrictions which America is only now crawling out of.

Pence’s replacement as Indiana’s governor has now put his own insincerity and cowardice on display.

Holcomb had a golden opportunity to sign legislation to stand against the insane encroachment of males into female athletics. He couldn’t do it.

You’ve probably never heard of Eric Holcomb. He’s fairly quiet for a second-term governor of a Republican state. Holcomb was elected to replace Pence in 2016 and reelected with 57 percent of the vote in 2020, and what he’s been known for most of all is taking trips all over the world to promote foreign investment in Indiana.

Which sounds nice, but what a cynic might say is it’s an excellent means by which Eric Holcomb might feather his nest for a big post-gubernatorial payoff working for some international business concern or other. Indiana’s foreign investment has tripled under Holcomb’s watch, but three times a small number is still a pretty small number. Indiana’s economic performance over the past six years is pretty humdrum, as Aaron Renn noted in a piece at Governing magazine last year:

It has had Republican governors since 2005 and full Republican control of the state for over a decade. Its leadership loves to boast that its growth rate in population and jobs beats surrounding states, but that’s a low hurdle to jump. In reality, most of Indiana is stagnating or declining. Over half of the state’s counties are losing population, and the forecast for the prime working age population is grim: Virtually the entire state is projected to have a declining workforce in coming years. Indiana’s per capita income is only 86.2 percent of the national average, and that’s lower than it was when the GOP took over the governorship and the Legislature. Under Republican management, the state started out poor and got even poorer.

Acting as the Boy Friday for Corporate America turns out not to be a particular strategy for economic success. As Renn also noted (per Joy Pullmann at the Federalist):

“Red state Republican politicians need to start caring much more about their voters’ priorities than they presently do. This is particularly important today, when most of our major institutions have fallen under the sway of progressive orthodoxy, leaving Republican state governments as one of the few powerful institutions remaining that can stand up for conservative citizens,” Renn writes.

He points out how Gov. Mike Pence and the Republican legislature made Indiana the state most hostile to conscience rights in the nation in 2015 at the behest of woke corporate. Indiana was the test case for leftist corporate pressure campaigns, and state Republicans’ immediate capitulation on religious liberty ensured the left would subsequently adopt corporate cancellation as a top political strategy.

It has now metastasized to the point that President Joe Biden used this tactic to implement his unconstitutional vaccine mandate, while Republicans scrambled to do mostly nothing in response. Indiana’s legislature refused to protect their voters against corporate manhandling on this issue also, repeatedly failing to protect Hoosiers from corporate and state university medical demands that are harsher than those in many blue states. Native daughter and new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett followed suit. Indiana’s governor still requires children to mask in schools or be repeatedly barred from schooling for days at a time, a completely unscientific and abusive policy the legislature has refused to check.

Renn uses other examples, such as the state legislature overriding local tenant protections against slumlords, refusing to require employers to let pregnant employees go to the bathroom on the job, and the abuse of senior citizens in nursing homes: “Over 20 percent of Covid-19 patients in Indiana nursing homes died, compared with a 13 percent national rate. The state GOP’s response was to pass a law providing nursing homes with expansive immunity from liability for deaths in their facilities.”

“It is puzzling why state Republicans would side with employers like warehouses over their own pregnant voters when the owners of those warehouses are mostly large corporations that have fully embraced the ‘woke’ party line and are actively hostile to conservatism,” Renn notes.

All of this is relevant because Monday, Holcomb vetoed a bill that would protect female athletes from the unwanted invasion of biological males like the ridiculous six-foot-four William Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania, who dominated the NCAA women’s swimming championships masquerading as a “woman” named Lia.

The entire country saw the farce that swim meet became with Thomas humiliating the female swimmers. Republican voters are almost unanimously up in arms over the grotesque spectacle the woke Left has made of women’s sports, while GOP political consultants are salivating at the political monetization of the cultural Marxist overreach this all represents. And Holcomb had a golden opportunity to join multiple other GOP governors in signing legislation to stand against the insane encroachment of males into female athletics.

Nope. He couldn’t do it. And his rationale was worse than the veto:

Holcomb said in a letter on Monday that he finds “no evidence” to support the idea that sports are suffering from a lack of fairness in his state. The bill, HEA 1041, would have banned men who identify as women from competing in opposite-gender sports.

“The wide-open nature of the grievance provisions in HEA 1041 that apply to all K-12 schools in Indiana makes it unclear about how consistency and fairness will be maintained for parents and students across different counties and school districts,” Holcomb wrote in the letter.

“The presumption of the policy laid out in HEA 1041 is that there is an existing problem in K-12 sports in Indiana that requires further state government intervention,” he added. “It implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met. After a thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal.”

The Lia Thomas experience doesn’t prove that there is a problem nationally that must be solved at the state level? Is the Indiana governor’s mansion located under a rock?

Holcomb’s position is that Indiana High School Athletic Association rules ensure there’s no problem to be solved by this legislation. But IHSAA rules allow transgender athletes to compete across lines of sex if they specify they have been living as their preferred gender for over a year.

So a male born a male who goes through puberty as a male and thus has natural advantages in upper-body strength, endurance, quickness, and lung capacity simply needs to pretend to be female for a year and can then compete against women in their division? And Eric Holcomb thinks this is fine?

Indiana’s voters probably don’t think it’s fine.

The legislature in Indiana is likely to bail out their cowardly governor by overriding his veto, and then he can go to his woke corporate masters and disclaim responsibility for the policy that was just made.

But this quibbling over details while claiming to support the goal of HEA 1041 won’t wash. It’s a lie. If Holcomb is really against debacles like Lia Thomas at that swim meet, then he signs that bill. A lawsuit is going to be filed by someone claiming the law is unconstitutional, and that lawsuit will make legal arguments against the bill. If any of those are valid, he can call a special session and amend the law to shore it up.

Indiana has an attorney general, the lawyers in whose office are paid for by the state’s taxpayers to go to court and defend the state’s laws from constitutional challenge. Meaning the Left, in their efforts to strike down laws like HEA 1041, will have to burn money on legal fees. That’s money that can’t be used to buy votes or give puberty-blockers to 12-year-olds without their parents’ knowledge.

This idea that good governance amounts to screwing over your own voters is part and parcel of Stupid Party Republicanism as practiced by the Eric Holcombs of the world. (READ MORE by Scott McKay: Who Will Beat the Left?)

He ought to answer a very simple question: was the Lia Thomas spectacle acceptable in America? Yes or no? If no, then sign the damn bill.

And if yes, he should be thanked for his honesty, and then Indiana’s voters should set about organizing a recall.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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