Rokita takes the wheel of the assclown car

Heavy Ed takes stock of Hoosier pols

I noticed Heavy Ed sitting on a bench and apparently reading something on his phone as I rode my bike down the B-Line through Switchyard Park.

I pulled up and stopped. “Nice park, huh?” I asked.

“Yeah, it is,” Ed said, putting the phone down. “Everybody bitches about how much Bloomington has changed but this is like, whoa, man. Talk about a good change. It was…what do ya call a polluted, old—”

“Brownfield?” I said, completing the sentence. “I’ve been riding my bike through here since they started the project. Loaders taking away the nasty old train track soil. Earth movers reshaping the land. It’s been fun watching it become what it is now. Sure exceeds my expectations.”

Heavy Ed

We looked around in silence. “Hey, I’ll let you get back to looking at porno or whatever you were doing.”

He gave me the eye roll. “Just brushing up on the current state of Indiana politics,” he said, flashing his phone at me like I could actually see what he was reading.

“Meet the old crap,” I said. “Same as the old crap.”

“May be worse. I don’t remember it being such an assclown car,” Ed said. “It’s like they’re competing to be king of the assclowns.”

“Who has your vote?”

“You don’t vote for king, man. We’re an autonomous collective,” Ed said with his best Monty Python accent attempt.

“Right now I’d say it’s this Toad Mosquito guy,” he said.

“You’re a quick study, m’man,” I said, knowing he was referring to Indiana’s current attorney general. “He deftly integrates brazen self-importance, self-promotion, brazen opportunism and lame-brained policy pronouncements with the charisma of …”

“A mosquito, man. Or a toad,” Ed said, finishing my sentence.

“You’ve thought that epithet through,” I complimented.

A skateboarder cut dangerously in front of us, apparently getting a few yuks out of scaring old men. “Punk ass!” Ed yelled.

“I have to give Rokita credit for being consistent, though,” I said. “When he was Indiana Secretary of State he ran these radio ads during IU sporting events warning people about investor fraud.”

“Yeah, that like, keeps me awake at night. It’s a serious problem for people who have to work three jobs to pay their bills.”

“Oh, it was gagworthy,” I said. “The vocals were done with a World Wrestling Federation approach and had this ‘who’s gonna fight for you? Todd Rokita!’ It was in this voice like they were announcing Hulk Hogan or something. It was so blatant that he was spending public money to promote … TODD ROKITA! Not your typical Public Service Announcement.”

I pulled out my phone, Googled “Rokita” and “Chicago Tribune” and quickly found the story I was looking for: Former aides to Indiana congressman describe toxic work environment. Read this, I said, handing Ed my phone.

A few minutes pass. “Well, the opening paragraph…”

“The lead,” I said helpfully.

“The, a-hem, ‘lead’ is ‘Staffers in tears. Pay cuts for small mistakes. Aides who walked out of the office — and never came back,’” Ed read.

“I like the anecdote about making his chauffeur scrub the carpets in the car because he thought the guy had body odor,” I recalled.

“I was just reading a story that quotes him calling face mask mandates a direct attack on individual liberty and freedom,” Ed said. “I’d call potentially spreading a deadly disease a direct attack on my individual liberty and freedom.”

He’s not alone, I said, citing Senator Mike Braun and Congressman Trey Hollingsworth as also being against mask mandates. “There’s two more for your assclown car. And that Jim Banks guy, who wants to be Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan.”

“I read about that Hollingsworth guy when I lived in Portland,” Ed said. “Tennessee Trey. Moved to Indiana and bought himself a nice seat in Congress.”

“Apparently ol’ Tennessee Trey has been exploring running for Indiana governor,” I said. “He’s a piece of work, too. Like many in the GOP, he only talks to friendly audiences.

“Did you see the latest, that Rokita is playing the race card, saying Black Lives Matter should be banned from discussion in schools because race in society is a political issue?”

“OK, stop,” Ed said. “This is bad for the head. I came here to chill.”

“Too bad they’ve turned off the screampad over there.”

“What?”

“That’s what I call it. The little water jets that go on and off and the kids running through there scream when the water hits them,” I explained. “I think they call it a splashpad.”

“It’s November, man.”

“You said you wanted to chill…” 🐝

Author: Mike Leonard

I worked various beats for the Bloomington Herald-Times (and even The Herald-Telephone) but am probably best known for covering music and entertainment and writing a local "general interest" or "metro" column for nearly 30 years. I also teach as an adjunct in The Media School at Indiana University.