August 30, 2009


Focus on Ind. Gov. Daniels sparks White House talk (MIKE SMITH, 8/30/09, AP)

The 60-year-old millionaire governor is equally at home in Washington and Indiana after serving as President George W. Bush's budget director and an adviser to President Ronald Reagan. He earned a reputation in Washington as the "blade" for his efforts to promote fiscal responsibility in Congress and carried that to Indiana, where he took over a state with a $800 million deficit and worked with lawmakers to pass a balanced budget in his first year. The state's fiscal year ended June 30 with a $1.3 billion surplus.

Republican observers believe his track record in Indiana would resonate with voters weary of billions in federal bailouts for banks and the auto industry, and record federal red ink.

"First of all he's a successful governor. Secondly, he is deeply informed on the subject about which deep information is now particularly needed, and that is budgeting," said conservative commentator George Will. "Third, he has an all-purpose general intelligence, and fourth, he is funny. He is a witty man and a graceful writer."

Daniels is popular with voters, winning Indiana easily in a year in which Barack Obama gave Democrats their first presidential victory in the state in 40 years. And he doesn't hesitate to speak his mind, criticizing his own party for being too placid and putting politics above policy and saying the GOP needs to get in touch with average citizens — something he excels at. [...]

Daniels' businesslike approach to state government — including a highly criticized move to privatize many state welfare eligibility functions and a 75-year lease of the Indiana Toll Road to a foreign consortium — has caught the eyes of other states looking for savings and revenue-generating ideas.

His philosophies and potential appeal to the GOP have been the focus of articles in National Review magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times and The Washington Post. He was an hour-long guest on C-SPAN, and delivered a weekly radio address for the GOP, criticizing Obama's "cap and trade" energy policy as too costly.

It's the perfect climate--again--for an uber-wonky deficit hawk who wants to run DC more like a business.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 30, 2009 6:19 PM
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