Skip to comments.What Would Daniels Do? (Conservatives should heed the lesson and the message of Mitch Daniels)
Posted on 06/12/2009 6:24:23 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
In a new Gallup Poll asking who is the national leader of the Republican party, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels didnt even rate an asterisk. Thats unsurprising. The governor of the countrys 16th-most-populous state wont normally garner much national attention, especially when hes an unassuming, old-school budget cutter.
Its also a shame, because more than any other Republican officeholder, Daniels points the way ahead for his bedraggled party. Hes a Reaganite who is not trapped in 1980s nostalgia; hes a fiscal conservative who believes not just in limiting government, but in reforming it to address peoples everyday concerns; hes a politician of principle who refuses to sell his program in off-puttingly partisan or ideological terms.
As they grapple with Pres. Barack Obama, Republicans at the national level could do worse than ask themselves: What would Daniels do?
At a recent forum in Washington sponsored by the Bradley Foundation and the Hudson Institute, Daniels noted that Ralph Waldo Emerson said every polity tends to have a party of memory and a party of hope. Hope has of late become a kind of swearword for conservatives, so Daniels might have seemed to be winding up for a jab at Obama. Instead, he said, We must be, as we have been in our better days, our more successful days, a party of hope.
Daniels went on to give a plug for empathy as an animating attitude for the GOP: We must not only assert, but assert with credibility, that we understand what is going on in the lives of everyday people. His pitch included a plug for Republicans directing themselves almost entirely to the young people of this country. In Indiana, Daniels explained, the GOP is the party of purpose, arrayed against Democrats who are reactionary and negative everything we must not be, as we address national events.
If this sounds like a call for a mushy me-tooism, it isnt. When Daniels took office, the state had an $800-million deficit. He turned that into a $1.3-billion surplus (although it will be eaten into in the current downturn). Since 2005, he has saved roughly $450 million in the states budget and reduced the states rate of spending growth from 5.9 percent to 2.8 percent. I tell you with certainty, Daniels told his Washington audience, concern about the debt and deficit has not gone out of style.
Mitch the Knife, as he was nicknamed when he headed George W. Bushs Office of Management and Budget, has matched his fiscal probity with the restless innovation of a devoted policy entrepreneur. He leased the states faltering toll road to a European operator for nearly $4 billion. He created health savings accounts for Indianas poor. He deregulated telecommunications. And he attracted business to the state, with Indiana winning more foreign investment than any other state during the past two years.
A populist outcry against the toll-road deal dragged Danielss approval rating down to 37 percent at one point, and his tenure seemed a warning against putting a tightfisted technocrat in elected office. But opinion turned. He won re-election by 18 points last year. He won 20 percent of the black vote, and beat his Democratic opponent among voters under age 30 by 7 points.
Daniels counsels national Republicans to adopt a no, but approach. As he told an interviewer from National Journal, on cap-and-trade hed say: No, lets not double the tax on poor people in the vain hope of moving the worlds thermometer. Heres a way to conserve energy and protect the environment that doesnt impoverish the nation. On health care, hed say, Sure, lets get people covered with health insurance, but heres a much better way.
His success has stoked speculation about a possible 2012 presidential run. Daniels has made Shermanesque disavowals of national ambitions, and expressed confidence that new national leaders will soon emerge. When they do, they should heed the lesson and the message of Mitch Daniels, an exemplar of a winning conservatism.
Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. © 2009 by King Features Syndicate
Good article, thanks for posting. I voted for Daniels twice and not sorry I did. IMO he’s been a good Governor.
What’s Daniels done to fight the high crime rate in Gary, Indiana - -consistently rank among the top 10 most dangerous cities in America ?
Let the Hoosiers know Our Man Mitch made National Review!
I have a friend in the “Region” who suggests we give guns to both sides let them fight it out and the go in and clean up the mess.
That should be taken care of by now. I understand he hired Acorn based on their performance in the Region in November.
Maybe it’s good that he’s relatively unknown at this point, so the dems aren’t constantly on the attack. I think 0bama was relatively unknown a few years ago, as well.
By the time 2012 elections come, our country will be in desparate financial shape, and someone like Mitch Daniels may be the best candidate the GOP could put forth.
My brother moved to Ft. Wayne a couple of years ago (from Michigan). We went down and visited last summer. I tell you what...night and day. It was like paradise down there. Nobody was on edge. We heard several comments about “the last one out of Michigan turn off the lights.”. For all the success of Indiana we don’t hear a word about it.
What did O'Bannon do? What did Bayh do? For that matter what IS Gary's MAYOR doing? You can't pin the problems in Gary on one governor and ignore the rest. You sound like a blame others liberal.
Here's what Daniels has done so far which surpasses anything any of the others did:
He started the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority in an effort to curtail some of these problems. The high crime rate comes from the destruction of Gary's economy (largly its own fault btw but you'll have to google and research that one, too complex to get into here) by tackling the underlying problems rather than just rounding up and shooting all the criminals keeping the source problems intact.
"But I had two things in mind. One was a major statement that the rest of the state supports Northwest Indiana and sees its success as important -- with big dollars behind it. Two, to try to create a forum (to advance) these four decisions in the common interest (Gary/Chicago International Airport expansion, commuter rail improvements, regional bus service, lakefront redevelopment). My position from the beginning is that the priorities have to be worked out locally. However difficult, it's much better to me that the people, the leaders of Northwest Indiana, bang heads and try to come to decisions about these investments themselves than come separately to Indianapolis in the old way."
He's right the problems have to be worked out locally. That's code for limited government. I like that. Sounds good to me. Another answer:
"Northwest Indiana is a big place. Now, $120 million (from the state) for the RDA. Depending on how many counties you count -- two, three or four -- times $40 million from Major Moves. We have put a huge multiple -- more money -- up there than has ever been the case before. But it still won't get the whole job done. No one ever thought you could."
In other words he's poured 4 times more money up there into solving this problem than has ever been done before. According to USA Today "Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, has taken a particular interest in reviving Gary and communities in surrounding Lake County, crossing his own party's leaders to do so. Daniels concedes the area, a bulwark of liberal politics, is "genetically, impossibly, forever Democratic." But he takes the long view: A robust Gary would serve as a statewide economic engine. "We're treating Lake County and Gary now as full members of the Hoosier family," Daniels said. "That has not been true for a long time."
I repeat: What did Bayh do? What did O'Bannon do? What did anyone do before Daniels? He's not been perfect but he has at least TRIED to do something up there. But he cannot do it ALONE. Folks in Gary have to pony up and help solve the problems too.
If you think Daniels is soft on crime you did to do more research. He denied clemency to Michael Lambert up in Muncie. Daniels actually has the audacity to want to keep prisoners behind bars according to the Chicago Tribune. "Daniels says public safety must be one of governments top priorities. 'We are not going to turn felons out of prison early where they can prey on the public,' Daniels said. 'Thats happening in other states, and were not going to let it happen here.' "
Okay so yeah, Daniels hasn't been 100% perfect....WHO IS? But he's been a heck of a lot better than most of the corrupted bunch in D.C. or for that matter anyone with an L label after their name!
The high crime rate comes from the destruction of Gary’s economy (largly its own fault btw but you’ll have to google and research that one, too complex to get into here). Daniels has implemented tackling the underlying problems rather than just rounding up and shooting all the criminals keeping the source problems intact.
Sorry about the nonsensical statement posted previously.
BTW: While I have not personally had the opportunity to meet and talk with Gov. Daniels my hubby has. Mr. conservativegrampa has had that privilege more than once. Gov. Daniels is according to him ‘a hellofa guy’. He’s very impressed with him. FYI.
Sounds like a good candidate for a post in the Palin/Bachmann Cabinet in 2012.
and that is a good thing..lol we hoosiers don’t want our lovely state infected and infested with liberals who love to destroy. i swear they are like locusts. but a freeper is always welcome. c’mon home to indiana...don’t forget to wipe your feet.:)
“Whats Daniels done to fight the high crime rate in Gary, Indiana”
What would you do?
Personally, I would give Gary to Illinois. It’s the same as that craphole Chicago.
Gary’s problems have been around a lot longer than Mitch Daniels has been in office. He’s been hired to run a state. Not a city.
Lake County is another world. Gary is basically a little Harare and we should allow its inhabitants to wallow.
Good to see that he stands on principles but is also pragmatic enough to garner support to actually win. And if a Party doesn’t win, they we get Obamabots and the horror we now face economically, culturally, militarily and socially.
Someone told me that Daniels privatized the Indiana Prison system. Is this true and what is his rationale for doing this?
Is it also true that China is now in control of Indiana’s toll roads ? I heard a liberal friend complain about that.
Indiana did LEASE its toll roads to MacQuarie-Cintra (not sell). They are based out of Australia and Spain. Not sure about China. A move that appears to be in Indiana's best interests btw.
Whenever anything is done that actually benefits Americans instead of hurts Americans liberals complain about it. Seems to be a recurring phenomenon.
Discounting the fact he has shriveled the IN GOP. He gets no praise from me.