NY Times Flips its Whig Over Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.)


From a flattering profile of GOP Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who once upon a time ran the Hudson Institute and was in the Bush admin of all places:

Mr. Daniels, who took office in 2005, has reduced the number of state workers by 18 percent and held spending growth below inflation. He has raised the sales tax to help make up for a property tax cut. Largely as a result, Indiana finds itself in better fiscal shape than many other states….

He says he avoids using the phrase "waste, fraud and abuse" because "it's too glib — there's no wand you can wave." He says military spending should be cut. He called the Republicans' recent attacks on Democratic efforts to slow Medicare's cost growth "not a proud moment for our party." He had kind words for the Tea Party but pointed out that it did not have a solution….

To deal with the huge projected deficits, he favors major changes to Medicare and Social Security, rather than any increase in taxes.

Benefits should be cut for high-income and healthy people. The gradual increase in Social Security benefits over time should be cut, so that tomorrow's retirees get the same benefits (after adjusting for inflation) as today's. And the eligibility age of both programs should increase.

Today's children "will live to be more than 100," he told me. "They'll be replacing body parts like we do tires."

Daniels is a smart and effective leader who is a serious thinker about history, politics, and policy. There's something wrong with a political press that can never stop talking about his height (or relative lack of) and his comb-over. Despite the recent bunch of White House occupants, the presidency has never been a beauty contest (though if truth be told, that might explain Franklin Pierce's victory). Billy Barty could get elected president if he had a good vision of government.

Daniels likes to quote former Reason editor in chief Virginia Postrel's great late '90s book, The Future and Its Enemies, which looks at the world through the eyes of "stasists" and "dynamists." Daniels is definitely a dynamist, which is not the same as a libertarian per se (though there's a lot of overlap).

Mr. Daniels likes to describe himself as a Whig, after the 19th-century political party whose modernizing agenda attracted Abraham Lincoln and Henry Clay.

Mr. Daniels says the government must be aggressive at doing things the private sector cannot, like improving schools and building roads. "The nation really needs to rebuild," he said. As a good Whig would, he has pushed all of Indiana onto daylight saving time — so that the time no longer maddeningly changes as you drive around the state — and he's consolidated some unwieldy local governments.

Whole Times piece here.

One of the knocks on Republicans in general is that they're not interested in governing. Rather, like Newt Gingrich, they want to bitch and moan all the time and get the first-class ticket on Air Force One but basically screw off once they reach power. Daniels, like former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, is a Republican who knows how to govern and can do it well. Unlike characters such as Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney and Rudy G., these guys show serious follow-through and provide a starting point for the right-hand side of the 2012 election that won't make libertarians put a shotgun in their mouths.

Check out more praise of Daniels as the right man for the current moment. Even more about Daniels here.

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  1. I’ve never wanted to put a shotgun in my mouth over the actions of either major party. I favor external application of 12 ga. to solve those issues.

    1. The beltway boys are just looking for ANYWAY they hope can bump Gov Palin out of the nomination. If they think she’s unelectable, just wait and see what happens when they churn up another one of their same ol’ white guys. The tea partiers will abandon them like rats from a sinking ship. And what’s so great about hiking up sales tax so you can lower property tax? Who do you suppose gets a boost from that? Yep, folks that already have plenty of extra cash.

  2. Mr. Daniels says the government must be aggressive at doing things the private sector cannot, like improving schools and building roads.


    1. Perhaps one of the improvents he is thinking of is the reduction or elimination of tenure.

      1. Private companies do not remove the incentive to perform by giving its workers tenure. Could this help explain why government entities perform so badly compared to the productive sector?

    2. Yup, that line–most particularly the school part–made me go “just another douchebag”. Maybe a slightly better douchebag, but douchebag nonetheless.

      1. Daniels is just another douchebag. He is a fucking bean counter who would as President raise the fuck out of taxes in return for largely symbolic cuts in government in order to be called a “statesman”. He is a total establishment douchebag. I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.

        And it is no small bit of irony that the same magazine who regularly tars every Republican in the world with Bush’s fiscal record thinks that a former Bush head of OMB is a great idea for President. They really must think their readers are stupid.

        1. They really must think their readers are stupid.


        2. Geez, John, you’re cranky today. Not only did he do some major privatizations, he decertified the state public employee union! “Just another douchebag”?

          1. Privatizing a monopoly usually makes it worse, not better. Whoever owns the Indiana Toll Road is well on the way to screwing it up even more than it was before, even as they charge significantly higher tolls than the state did.

    3. Yes, it’s curious that a guy who attended Princeton and Georgetown think that schools are intrinsically a government function.

      1. Colin 77 Bingo!

        Its all about keeping ours-ours, and let the masses eat cake. I’m sure Daniels is a Party animal at the Annual Johnny Walker-Blue Gatherngs, but the guy is afraid to stick his neck out and “be glib” when we need a leader to scream “FIRE” when there is a fire in the movie theater

    4. I gagged on that one too, but I think he meant to say “funding” schools & roads. Which, btw, is the soft libertarian position.. so, give the guy some slack.

  3. “Mr. Daniels likes to describe himself as a Whig, after the 19th-century political party whose modernizing agenda attracted Abraham Lincoln and Henry Clay.”

    No American System for me!

  4. Benefits should be cut for high-income and healthy people.

    I’m not sure what it means to cut benefits (presumably, Medicare) for healthy people.

    If this means restructuring Medicare so it is more of a catastrophic coverage deal, with high deductibles, no benefits for “wellness” crap, etc., then I’m all for it.

  5. “Unlike characters such as Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney and Rudy G., these guys show serious follow-through”

    Rudy may have ran a bad campaign, but he was one of the most successful mayors in history. Before Rudy, liberals had convinced the world that big cities were doomed to always get worse and the best one could hope for was to preside over an orderly decline. You may not want him as President, but to say the guy “lacks follow through” shows an astounding amount of ignorance on the Jacket’s part.

    1. It’s debatable whether Rudy was actually responsible for NYC’s decline in crime. Crime was already going down all over the country.

      I had personal experience with some of Rudy’s political cronies, and let me tell you, they were as shitty of incompetent political fucks as you would expect, and he surrounded himself with people like that; the only condition was loyalty.

      Rudy’s an egomaniac. I lived under his mayorship for its entire run, and your assessment is, well, wrong. Did he do some stuff right? Sure. But he is not one of the most successful mayors in history unless you count self-aggrandizement as success.

      1. You can debate Rudy’s record and argue that he got lucky or whatever. But the fact remains that the guy was a two term mayor of New York city and the place was a hell of a lot better shape when he left than when he came in.

        That doesn’t mean he should be President. But to say a guy with that record “lacks follow though”, whatever the fuck that means, is just stupid and sloppy writing. The Jacket owes his readers better thought out material than that.

        1. Rudy doesn’t lack follow through–when it comes to his own glorification, that’s for sure. Otherwise, Nick is perfectly on point in saying so.

          Trust me, John, if you ever saw even the small part of the inner circle that I saw, you’d know what I was talking about. You cannot believe how crony corrupt these people are, how wasteful, and frankly how indecisive about anything that isn’t crystal clear politically for them.

          1. I believe you. And I wouldn’t vote for the guy either. But whatever you think of Rudy, he is not some empty suit celebrity. He may be a corrupt miserable bastard. But he is not an empty suit. That is my beef with the line.

          2. Whatever Giuliani’s legacy, he will largely be remembered for repeatedly pissing off that segment of the population which I shall choose to describe as “Times readers”. At the time, the sinking crime rate was barely on the radar for these people in comparison to such gripping issues of the day as “Piss Christ”. Yes, he was often a loathsome boor, but oh how I wouldn’t trade that for the nanny we’ve had for the last decade.

            1. @Rhywun:

              Don’t forget the NYPD abuse case where they sodomized the guy with a nightstick and called it ‘The Giuliani’.

              1. I think the correct quote was “It’s Guiliani-Time.”

              2. How is that counted in RapeStat?

        2. The decline started under Dinkins, not Rudy. Dinkins started the increase in patrolling police officers. Rudy continued those policies, but there was also a gigantic nationwide drop in crime at the same time.

          1. Mo, As a NYPD Cop, don’t tell me the decline in crime began with Dinkins. The only decline that Dinkins was experiencing was the permanent decline of the city. NYC nearly impoloded and would have if not for Guiliani

    2. “Rudy MAY have run a bad campaign”

      MAY HAVE?
      John yer killin me.

  6. Mitch Daniels sounds like a relatively palatable candidate and for as many positive comments he has received at this site.
    Mitch Daniels is also the Governor of Indiana, one of the worst if not the worst abuser of Asset Forfeiture, as Rodney Balko has blogged about on numerous occasions.
    Hopefully I’m missing something, but it seems either Governor Daniels has no standards on Civil Liberties or he is completely oblivious about policies being carried out by his own State Government, either of which disqualify him for any consideration as a presidential candidate as far as I am concerned.

    1. Good job, Rodney!

  7. so that the time no longer maddeningly changes as you drive around the state

    Most of Indiana is on Eastern Daylight. The parts around Chicago are on Central Daylight. So the times still maddenly change as you drive around the state.

    What doesnt happen anymore is time changing while standing still, as most of the state was Eastern Standard, so it switched from Chicago time in the summer to NY time in the winter.

    Areas around Louisville and Cincy: EDT, now EDT
    Areas around Chicago: CDT, now CDT
    Rest of State: EST, now EDT

    1. Since there is no evidence daylight savings time reduces energy use, how about we just get rid of it?

      Too simple?

      1. What is wrong with it? I would rather have a dark morning and a long evening. Make it year around. If people don’t like having to go out and slop the hogs in the dark, too damn bad.

        1. What about the hogs John? You never think of what they want…

        2. It was never about farmers. Farm work coincides with the sun, not the time of day. Now the biggest proponents of DST are parents that don’t want their kids walking to the bus stop when it’s dark out.

          1. Get them a flashlight. And if they are not smart enough to stay out of traffic, then they shouldn’t be out polluting the gene pool.

        3. Having it year round is equal to not having it.

          1. No it is not. Keeping it year around means in the winter time the sun rises an hour later and sets an hour later than now.

            1. What time zone you are in is a different issue. You can get rid of daylight time and switch to Atlantic Time Zone for the same result.

            2. AST==EDT, if you do daylight savings year round.

      2. We could also stop switching by adopting it 12-month permanent.

        Just a personal preference, sure, but I’d rather have daylight when I can use it rather than when I’m puttering around getting ready for work.

        1. Damned straight. As it is, with the recent changes I’ve been granted a few more weeks of being able to bicycle after work, and I’m lovin’ it.

      3. I agree with getting rid of it.

      4. I recently suggested not only getting rid of daylight savings time but getting rid of time zones and going back to actual “local” time.

        If Louisville is 12 minutes off of NYC, so be it.

        1. Oh, important part of this: My friends thought I was insane for even considering it. I like thinking of the consequences of outside the box solutions to problems.

        2. Ive also suggested the entire world should be on EST (aka God’s time).

          Just adjust your work schedule to fit. Some see the benefit of a single time worldwide but wonder why not GMT. Because that isnt God’s time, duh.

          1. Personally, I find it odd that Israel isnt on God’s time, but I dont make the rules.

            1. He may have immigrated, but at this point everyone knows God is an American.

              1. You jest, but if God is everywhere, then God was in the US when the 14th amendment came into force; ergo, US citizen.

          2. I’ve been wondering about that, too. People don’t like to have the day change while the sun is up.

          3. Your ideas intrigue me. Do you have a newsletter to which I can subscribe?

    2. Technically, the areas in southeastern Indiana that unofficially switched to DST were violating the federal Daylight Savings Time Act. The intersection of a state and a time zone has to switch or not switch as a whole.

    3. I forget: in which part of Indiana is Chicago?

  8. I’ll support anyone who says he’ll stop all collective bargaining with public sector unions, and who’ll roll back (renege on) pensions and benefits promises to same.

    It’s been said here before: while the private sector workforce still (barely?) outnumbers the public sector workforce, you can politic successfully by pitting one against the other.

    I would love it if the Republicans declared all out war on the public sector. And they should continue, or reanimate, their war against the plaintiffs bar as well.

    1. The first governor who starts firing state and local employees and de certifying unions, gets my support for President.

      1. It’s a start: “Republican Gov.-elect John Kasich drew the promise of a fight from a powerful Ohio union yesterday after saying he plans to rescind two executive orders from outgoing Gov. Ted Strickland that allowed certain workers to unionize.”

        John Kasich

      2. John does that include Sarah Palin?

  9. Mr. Daniels says the government must be aggressive at doing things the private sector cannot, like improving schools and building roads.

    And football stadiums; don’t forget football stadiums.

    Fuck you, Daniels.

    1. That’s right P Brooks. A hardy “f*** you” to anyone who takes marginal steps in the right direction if they are not also pure in their libertarian philosophy. We can start our own party, with a new motto: “Pure Libertarianism: Making the perfect the enemy of the good.” No half measures for us!

  10. getting rid of time zones and going back to actual “local” time.

    But, but- trains!

  11. No, Draco, building a stadium for a fucking millionaire welfare queen scumbag like Jim Irsay (Next up, Simon Properties and the Pacers) means Daniels is a worthless shitbag, not an “incrementalist”.

    1. Well, he did have all that spare cash lying around after you paid off the last stadium.

      Oh, wait…

    2. P Brooks, I actually share your hatred for those governors and legislators who use taxpayer money to fund sports stadiums. I mean, if they can constitutionally do that, then what can’t they do? But they all do it, because they can’t resist the argument “it’ll be great for the economy… and jobs!”

      I say: you want to fund a stadium? You want my money? Ok. Here’s the deal. I get a seat with my name on it in return for my money, which I then lease on my own terms once the ballpark opens. How is this different from any other business venture? As an investor, I should get either bonds or equity shares. But as a taxpayer, I get nothing but the non-lubricated shaft.

      I am very sorry to hear that Daniels has also done this. But I’d still support him if he was marginally better in the direction of free minds or free markets.

      1. Lucas Oil Stadium doesn’t lubricate the shaft? Damn.

  12. ps- If Daniels can’t even stand up to a fucking retard like Irsay (backed by the stupendous might of the NFL), he’s going to get buttfucked with a rusty hoe by Congress.

    1. You think the NFL has no power in these situations? Why do you think there is no team in LA. They can hang that city over the heads of all other cities to say we will move away if you don’t build. But yeah I am sure that would not at all sway the opinions of a huge swath of voters who live for the Colts.

      1. That threat isn’t as credible as it once was, considering that there is no acceptable NFL stadium in LA and California is broke.

  13. Mr. Daniels says the government must be aggressive at doing things the private sector cannot

    Someone get this man some Coase and Von Mises, for starters.

    1. The only thing the government can do that the private sector cannot is steal and kill with immunity. If Daniels wants to get aggressive with that, shoot the motherfucker now before it’s too late.

  14. Rather, like Newt Gingrich, they want to bitch and moan all the time and get the first-class ticket on Air Force One but basically screw off once they reach power

    I liked Gingrich more when he had power than his bitching and moaning. The Gingrich-led Republicans were considerably better than even the second Clinton term Livingston then Hastert Republicans in terms of spending, even if they did lose the 2005 government shutdown fight.

  15. The idea that people will live longer and healthier past 100 years old is fantasy. Until we actually learn to change the underlying physiologic processes of the human body, people will continue to age. See an 88 year old today? A century from now people will still look like that at age 88.

    If he is as ignorant about running a country as he is about medicine and science, then it will be four more years of incompetence at the helm.

  16. He had kind words for the Tea Party but pointed out that it did not have a solution….

    We have the final solution…

  17. But yeah I am sure that would not at all sway the opinions of a huge swath of voters who live for the Colts.

    What’s your point?

    I was there, at the time; the deal was falling apart until “Fiscally Conservative Mitch Daniels” swooped in and rescued it with a big infusion of state money. Meanwhile, the NFL casually rebuffed every attempt to get participation from the team or the league. The Colts’ contribution was the “penalty” magically owed to them by the city because the Colts broke the lease on the HoosierDome. Daniels is a pussy who got played on that deal, and he’s going to get played by the Pacers.

    And, of course, the bottom line is that Daniels squirmed a little, and said “No don’t stop!” when they jammed it in, but he was perfectly happy to give the Colts every fucking thing they asked fort, because if politicians like anything, it’s hobnobbing with a bunch of well-heeled potential supporters in a skybox when the leaves turn colors.

  18. they want to bitch and moan all the time and get the first-class ticket on Air Force One but basically screw off once they reach power.

    Fuck.. if only. What, no one remembers the post-9/11 era?

    1. yeah, I always thought it was a libertarian truism that the more the politicians screwed off, the better off we are. I certainly wish Bush had screwed off a WHOLE lot more.

  19. Look, if the Mayor of Dallas effing Texas can tell the Dallas effing Cowboys that they aren’t getting the Dallas effing taxpayers to build their new pleasuredome, then any politician, anywhere, can tell any pro sports team the same thing.

    It happened. You can look it up.

    1. R C, the Dallas Mayor and City Council are widely known for their stupidity! It is probably not a useful argument to bring them up as an example.

  20. any politician, anywhere, can tell any pro sports team the same thing.

    Exactly, R C; there is no subtle moral dilemma, here. It’s plainly wrong, and any politician who doesn’t get that, and is not willing to get up on his hind legs and say “No” doesn’t deserve anybody’s vote.

  21. Really appreciate the nods to great 80’s punk on Reason.

  22. He’s calls himself a Whig?! He sure knows how to pick a fight with his fellow small government Republicans!

  23. I used to live in Indiana. If you traversed the state from east to west, it was actually possible, even likely, that you would go through 12 time zones! People in traveling sales jobs would always be an hour early or an hour late.

    There were towns where the time would be different depending on which side of the street you were on. I kid you not. And, there were counties where the government agencies like the Post Office, the DMV, and the schools were on one Time, while businesses ran on another.

    1. Wow. That sounds just like Somalia.

      1. Yes, it used to be very easy to start a bar-fight in Indiana. Just wait until everyone was inebriated, and then bring up the topic of Daylight Savings Time…

  24. Will Daniels support and encourage the Right to Work movement in IN, or will he try to stop the wave and scuttle the drive to pass the law. RTW provides employee freedom (from union oppression) and signals a good pro-job climate in every state that has one. Is Daniel’s for it or not?

  25. My, if the kind of vile and vulgar comments posted here represent the type of thinking within the ‘libertarian movement, I want nothing to do with them.

    If these imbeciles had any interest in actually taking an objective look at Gov Daniels, his background his governing philosophy and his actual accomplishments in office, they probably would get brain cramp after a half hour!

    I love Sarah Palin, and Ron Paul is a nice fellow, but neither is presidential material.

    On the other hand, Daniels is EXACTLY what our country needs right now.

    If he decides to run, the American voters will learn pretty quickly the ‘the cut of his jib’……and I am confident they will approve.

    Daniels has good ideas, presents them clearly and can defend them against the political assassins.

    He is exceedingly intelligent and at the same time exhibits a good deal of common sense
    He is honest and straightforward. A really decentP and genuine mid-westerner.

    By the way, seems to me that ‘education’ and ‘infrastructure’ are two areas which government should be involved in.

    1. Personally I believe Sarah Palin is just as intelligent and certainly has a bigger pair.

  26. As an Indiana resident and with Mitch McDaniels the Gov.I think he talks one way but the facts speak differently.

  27. I feel bonuses should be tied to amount of money exec save for the company… Give them a budget of 1 million and tell them, 10% commision on the money you save! The project will be done way cheaper

  28. Politicians speak a different language with diff grammer

  29. The man is wrong about drugs, which is a very important issue. Freedom to choose wil cure many more problems than it possible will create.

    If he says he sees himself as a ” whig” in the line of Henry Clay’s “American System, with its central banking and high tariffs and all kind of Big Government ideology, makes things very much worse.

    The upside is his experience to run a small state efficiently.

    All in all, I prefer Gary Johnson or Ron Paul.

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