March 1, 2010
WHAT'S JUSTICE GOT TO DO WITH IT?:
A Republican Surprise (ROSS DOUTHAT, 3/01/10, NY Times)
[H]e’s become America’s best governor. In a just world, Daniels’s record would make him the Tea Party movement’s favorite politician. During the fat years of the mid-2000s, while most governors went on spending sprees, he was trimming Indiana’s payroll, slowing the state government’s growth, and turning a $800 million deficit into a consistent surplus. Now that times are hard, his fiscal rigor is paying off: the state’s projected budget shortfall for 2011, as a percentage of the budget, is the third-lowest in the country.Posted by Orrin Judd at March 1, 2010 7:06 AM
But Daniels hasn’t just been a Dr. No on policy. His “Healthy Indiana” plan, which offers catastrophic coverage to low-income residents, aspires to eventually cover 130,000 people, about a third of the state’s long-term uninsured. He’s pushed targeted investments in kindergarten programs, the police force and the child welfare office. And he’s been a pragmatic free-marketeer, rather than a strict ideologue. His controversial decision to lease the Indiana toll road reaped $3.8 billion for the state. But when an attempt to outsource welfare enrollment went awry, Daniels yanked the system back into the public sector.
If this portrait sounds suspiciously glowing, keep in mind that I saw the governor last Monday, in between the CPAC gathering of movement conservatives and the White House health care forum. In both cases, the contrast made Daniels seem particularly appealing.