Entries Tagged as 'Mitch Daniels'

Daniels: Government Faces “Limits” When Helping the Unemployed

September 28th, 2011 at 1:39 am 43 Comments

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels visited Georgetown University on Friday, September 23rd, for a refreshingly intimate conversation sponsored by the Georgetown College Republicans.

Daniels is known for his candor and modesty, and both were on display when I asked him what could be done for the 14 million unemployed workers as well as for myself and the graduating classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014.

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Is Daniels’ Jobs Warning A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

September 20th, 2011 at 12:55 pm 6 Comments

I’ve been reading through Gov. Mitch Daniels’ new book to see if he has anything to say about the current jobs crisis that America is in. The early results are a little disappointing. The first third of the book is focused on long term debt, the middle is focused on his time as governor, and the final section deals with his proposals to reform the tax code.

There are worthwhile thoughts in this book, it’s just unclear how immediately relevant those thoughts are. Yet there was a section that did touch on jobs, and that was Daniels’ discussion about Unemployment Insurance (UI).

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With Daniels Out, Who Speaks to GOP Youth?

May 24th, 2011 at 6:59 am 25 Comments

There are many conservative columnists, donors, and op-ed writers are saddened by the exit of Mitch Daniels from the presidential race, but it’s important to remember that there was also a burgeoning grassroots student initiative that was waiting in the wings for his campaign. The Yale-born Students for Daniels advocated for their candidate of choice in through blogposts, they showed up at his speeches, and they were even able to get Jimmy “The Rent is too Damn High” McMillan to star in one of their campaign ads.  (With the new slogan: “The Debt is too Damn High!”)

Students for Daniels provided the following Press Statement for FrumForum:

Well, the rapture took Mitch from 2012. His better angels had the last word, and he put his family first. His choice attests to half the reason why students at 65 colleges rallied to urge him to run: he is a good man.

The other half is what now distresses us. Mitch was the only man in American politics who was honest about the threat that the national debt poses to our generation. We hope that the inspiration that his candor and bold vision gave us will not be lost on other candidates. We know that Governor Daniels will do all he can to keep his Republican colleagues honest. We’ll continue to do our part as well.

For now, a memo to would-be candidates: If you aren’t talking about the debt with Daniels-esque candor, you aren’t talking to our generation.

GOP Wonks Lose with Daniels’ Exit

May 23rd, 2011 at 12:58 pm 24 Comments

Mitch Daniels’ has exited the GOP presidential field and he leaves a large cadre of unhappy conservative policy wonks in his wake. The sentiments of this group were best expressed by David Brooks who wrote in The New York Times in September of 2010

Flamboyant performers like Sarah Palin get all the attention, and but the governing soul of the party is to be found in statehouses where a loose confederation of über-wonks have become militant budget balancers. Just as welfare reformers of the 1990s presaged compassionate conservatism, buy viagra so the austerity brigades presage the national party’s next chapter.

Mitch Daniels, drugstore the governor of Indiana who I think is most likely to win the G.O.P. presidential nomination in 2012, is the spiritual leader. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is the rising star. Jeb Bush is the eminence. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Rob Portman, a Senate candidate in Ohio, also fit the mold.

Brooks was wrong about Daniels but he wasn’t wrong with other aspects of his prediction. The Austerity Brigade has come to dominate the GOP in other ways.

The Ryan budget has become sacrosanct within the GOP such that New Gingrich can’t critique it without being chewed how by DC elites. Scott Walker became a Tea-Party hero for his high-profile confrontation with the public sector unions. And in the latest battle line that the austerity brigade has picked is the debate over raising the debt ceiling and toying with default.

So the GOP has become a party that embraces the line-by-line budget cutting of Daniels, but it hasn’t embraced the good government aspects of Daniels. In addition to his “social truce”, Daniels had also gone on the record in support of a value-added tax to simplify the tax code and showed an interest in other good government issues such as reforming the education system in Indiana.

The challenge for those on the right who admired Mitch Daniels is to figure out how to get the rest of the party to embrace the pragmatic perspective and willingness to tackle conservative sacred cows that Daniels did. Simply being the best governor in the nation isn’t enough when the party and its voters can be distracted so easily by Donald Trump and when the austerity measures it advocates lack any sense of compassion, and look set to send the seat in NY-26 to the Democrats.

Follow Noah on Twitter: @noahkgreen

With Daniels’ Exit, GOP Looks Out of Luck

May 22nd, 2011 at 2:37 pm 35 Comments

Mitch Daniels’ decision to forgo the presidential race is personally understandable and even laudable: His wife and four daughters would much prefer that he not run. And Daniels understands the gross invasions of privacy that a presidential race would entail not just for him, capsule but for his family.

But although personally understandable, buy cialis Daniels’ decision to opt out speaks to a much larger problem for the GOP in 2012: Its best and brightest candidates seem to be imploding (Newt), seriously flawed politically (Romney), lackluster (Pawlenty), or ducking this race altogether (Rubio, Ryan and Christie).

But you can’t beat something with nothing, as the political pros like to say.  And the question is: who has the political strength, wherewithal and determination to take on and unseat Obama?

In all candor, I’m not sure that anyone does — and I’m not alone. Over at the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol didn’t waste any time publishing a post declaring that, in the wake of Daniels’ decision not to run, the race is now wide open; and that candidates can even wait until Thanksgiving (!) to enter the fray.

Kristol tries to put the best face possible on the GOP’s rather desperate presidential predicament. Still, you can hear in his spin the plaintive cries of a GOP establishment that is increasingly worried about 2012.

Say what you will about Obama, but at least he was willing to risk his political career for an all-out run at the presidency. And this at a time when all of the “experts” said he couldn’t win.

Yes, Obama had that proverbial “fire in his belly.” And so he mounted a very impressive, historic and winning campaign for the Presidency of the United States. Would that any of the GOP contenders (and prospective contenders) had that same zeal and determination to win.

Instead, though, Republican heavyweights (such as Mike Huckabee) seem more content to sit on the sidelines and make a lot of money while appearing on Fox.

Of course, the one candidate who does seem quite willing to take the fight to Obama is Sarah Palin. “I want to make sure that America’s put back on the right track, and we can only do that by defeating Obama in 2012,” she thundered earlier this week. “I have that fire in my belly.”

Bully for Sarah. Like Margaret Thatcher, she seems to have more testosterone than most of her competitors. Unfortunately, unlike Margaret Thatcher, she isn’t a serious or credible candidate, because she hasn’t taken the time to develop and demonstrate sufficient gravitas and fluency on the great and pressing issues.

So, bottom line, where does this leave the GOP field? In a state of disarray and confusion. Houston, we have a problem.

John Guardiano blogs at www.ResoluteCon.Com, and you can follow him on Twitter: @JohnRGuardiano.

Bush Family Splits on Romney Versus Daniels

David Frum May 19th, 2011 at 10:45 am 10 Comments

News that Jeb Bush and Laura Bush have urged Mitch Daniels to enter the Republican race raises the question: is there a generation gap in the Bush family? Or a change of mind? It was only the other day that the senior Bushes were telling Larry King that they were all in for Mitt Romney.

Primary Field Falls Flat with GOP Voters

May 11th, 2011 at 11:35 am 43 Comments

A new Zogby poll makes two things very clear. First, ampoule Republicans are very unexcited about this field. Only one “candidate,” Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey (who maintains that he isn’t running), cracked the 15% mark. Second, GOP voters know more about who they won’t vote for than for whom they will. 50% of respondents say they would “never” vote for Donald Trump. 36% won’t vote for Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich. 34% have ruled out Mike Huckabee and 32% won’t be casting ballots for Ron Paul.

The poll does suggest that GOP voters seem virtually resigned to accepting a candidate they are not that excited about. While a mere 9% of respondents said that they would vote for Mitt Romney if the election were today, Romney is by far the presumed frontrunner. 31% of those polled said they thought Romney would win the nomination. Second place went to Tim Pawlenty, who won only 8%. This is where it gets interesting: While Romney’s the presumed frontrunner, 27% of GOP voters already say they “never” would vote for him. Tim Pawlenty has only lost 16%.

For now, the figures regarding which candidates voters who will “never” back are more significant. Ultimately, this field will get whittled down to two or three, leaving many voters having to choose the least bad option. The boring TPaw will have an opportunity to win more of those votes as they free up than Romney.

One other point: the relatively unknown Mitch Daniels (not surprisingly) would only win 4% of the vote. However, a somewhat staggering 14% of voters already say they would “never” support him. That’s a very large number of voters off the table given that Daniels remains an “inside baseball” Washington favorite and hasn’t really made a lot of noise nationally.

Follow Jeb on twitter: @JGolinkin

Daniels’ School Reforms: Too Smart for Tea Party?

May 5th, 2011 at 2:04 pm 31 Comments

Mitch Daniels is regularly held up as one of the best examples of a “serious” and policy-minded conservative. Wednesday in Washington, he gave a speech at AEI laying out his very wonk-heavy plan for education policy in Indiana. What’s surprising was that Daniels made it clear in his speech that his goal wasn’t to destroy public education but to strengthen it.

The education reforms passed by the Indiana legislature are sweeping. The slides from Daniels’ presentation can be viewed here and it’s notable how most of the reforms will improve the quality of Indiana’s regular public schools, not just offer other options such as vouchers or charters. The reforms allow for merit-based assessments of teachers, more ways to hold schools accountable, and eliminate many of the restrictions from union contracts that have hampered how schools are run.

Look at slide 5 titled “Contractual Handcuffs.”  In this slide, Daniels lists many of the arbitrary ways in which union contracts had determined how schools are run, with a mind-boggling set of restrictions ranging from what the temperature of a classroom had to be to whether the show choir Director could be fired in an emergency reduction in force to the usual union provisions which prioritize seniority over merit in granting tenure. These are the sorts of restrictions that Daniel’s reform efforts sought to remove.

Daniels reforms will make the state more friendly to charters and give more families access to vouchers, but while speaking to AEI, Daniels made clear that while members of the audience were probably most interested in the voucher program (it’s a cause for many conservatives with the D.C. voucher program a special focus for many living in the District) that vouchers are a last resort, not a first option for families:

Public schools will get first shot at every child. … If the public school delivers and succeeds, no one will seek to exercise this [voucher] choice. But neither will we incarcerate any family’s kid in a school that they don’t believe is working.

Daniels made clear that in addition to helping the small minority of students who will benefit from the expanded choice options, his main goal is to make sure that the public education system used by 90% of the students works better:

You cannot often enough affirm your commitment to the public schools. As I said, 90 percent of Indiana kids are in public schools today. I think even with the new [voucher/charter] option that’s available, it’ll always be close to that. I really believe that, I would be surprised if it’s not. Therefore there’s a huge responsibility, and we should all share a commitment, to make the public schools better all the time.

It’s language that would have been described in an earlier era as “compassionate conservatism”. Even his defense of the voucher program invoked language that would have given it the kiss of death on the Glenn Beck show saying that “From a social justice aspect, it [vouchers] is the right thing to do.”

Daniels used his speech to come to the defense of the Obama administration, giving enormous credit to Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the Race to the Top program. While he acknowledged that there has been a significant amount of spending at the Department of Education, he defended Race to the Top, and No Child Left Behind.

Daniels said he “believes in national standards” and joked that this is always hard to implement because “Republicans don’t like ‘national’ and Democrats don’t like ‘standards.’”

Yet this is not just a trivial joke. Other Republicans and conservatives, infused with Tea Party style libertarianism, are turning against many of the reforms and policies that Mitch Daniels endorsed in his speech.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas declined to have his state participate in Race to the Top, a program designed to reward states which made their teacher evaluations based on merit and which allowed for more charter schools.

Senator Jim DeMint and other Republicans at the end of April introduced legislation to allow states to opt out of the No Child Left Behind act. The reauthorization of this signature piece of legislation is also currently in doubt.

As Kevin Carey wrote in The New Republic these Tea Party efforts to roll back national education reforms play right into the hands of the teachers’ unions who would prefer not to be held accountable to any set of standards. The teachers’ union’s continued dominance in local politics means that they are allies of convenience with the Republicans on education policy federalism.

Daniels’ education reform is a great moment for Republicans to remember why they are conservatives and not libertarians. Remember that the Cato Institute graded Daniels’ tenure as governor as merely a “B” because, among other things: “He wants the government to be efficient but he doesn’t necessarily want it to be smaller.”

If conservatives really do admire Mitch Daniels, they would admire him for making government work efficiently and for all citizens, not dismantling it as many Tea Party activists would advocate.

Follow Noah on Twitter: @noahkgreen

Daniels’ Favorite Non-Answer

May 4th, 2011 at 6:12 pm 4 Comments

When reporters ask Mitch Daniels if he will run in 2012, cure he has an answer that he likes to give:

A man said: when I consider my opportunities I marvel at my self-restraint.

He said that today at AEI and he’s also used it before in an interview with National Journal.

Daniels might want to re-think using that quote when he considers the source.

The quote originally came from Major-General Robert Clive, cialis sale who is credited with securing English dominance of India in the mid-18th century.

When Robert Clive was accused of corruption after the successful Battle of Plassey and the conquest of Bengal, buy viagra he defended his actions declaring:

Consider the situation in which the victory at Plassey had placed me. A great prince was dependent on my pleasure; an opulent city lay at my mercy; its richest bankers bid against each other for my smiles; I walked through vaults which were thrown open to me alone, piled on either hand with gold and jewels! Mr. Chairman, at this moment I stand astonished at my own moderation.

It’s unknown if Governor Daniels is aware of the source of the remark. In Daniels’ defense, having the conservative movement attempt to draft you to run for president, interrupting your own plans to retire from public life after governing Indiana, might feel similar to being offered the riches of Bengal. Though Daniels is probably more hesitant to accept them than Clive was.

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Daniels Stays Mum About 2012 Plans

May 4th, 2011 at 4:35 pm 24 Comments

Governor Mitch Daniels spoke at AEI to discuss the successful passage of several education reforms bills in Indiana. When he spoke, even Daniels probably knew that the reason the room was packed to standing room only was because of the question on everyone’s mind: “Will he run for president?” To which the answer remains: We don’t know yet, but probably not.

AEI President Arthur Brooks’ introduction of Daniels played into this, describing him as someone who has “put his politics where his mouth is for the benefit of Indiana, and in the future perhaps for the benefit of our nation as well.”

Daniels opened with a very self-depreciating remark: “You are all here under false pretenses. I just came for a meal.” As Daniels told it, he was invited to Washington D.C. for a dinner later in the day (he is being presented an award at an Arab-American Institute dinner) so he needed a place for lunch:

“As Calvin Coolidge said, a man’s got to eat somewhere, so I came to AEI. We said ‘yes’, and 24 hours ago some pajama-clad blogger turned it into a major policy address.”

Daniels even tried to win over the crowd with a joke: “I saw all the flags at half-staff, and then it hit me, Hubert Schlafly, the inventor of the teleprompter died last week and I know President Obama must be grief stricken.”

Teleprompter jokes are usually the domain of Republican political leaders who want to throw their hat into the 2012 arena. The last major address at AEI from a Republican whose name had been thrown around as a potential 2012 candidate was Chris Christie, whose speech about his reform agenda for New Jersey was a broader critique on the Obama administration and the direction of the country.

In contrast, Daniels’ own speech was much more focused on the policy nuances of the education reform bills that had recently passed the Indiana legislature and were making their way to his desk to sign. The policy presentation was impressive (and will be the subject of a future FrumForum post) but it wasn’t an address that discussed national concerns the way that Christie’s did, and the speech was not a 2012 stump speech.

After being asked about his education agenda for the first few questions, a reporter from NPR managed to turn the discussion to 2012, asking “Could you explain why it’s not too late for someone to get in [the 2012 race] at this point, for someone who is not a celebrity or a billionaire?”

Daniels’ first response? “A man said: when I consider my opportunities I marvel at my self-restraint.” Not the same as saying “No I’m not running for president” but hardly an enthusiastic endorsement.

Daniels said that it was a “blessing” that it was still not late in the GOP presidential primary calendar.

He conceded that some people perhaps don’t benefit from a late start to the election, people such as “political professional or [someone] running a bed and breakfast in New Hampshire. It’s a darn good thing we’ll have a nomination campaign measured in months and not in years.”

Daniels can be commended for his sense of humor, but his answer did suggest that he remains largely coy about running for president. He knows every wonk in D.C. wants him to do it because he is the most policy-smart candidate the GOP has. He’s also certainly smart enough to know he faces a significant uphill challenge in a conservative primary.

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