Tuesday, June 22, 2010

GOP Convention

A little late on this post, but Governor Daniels spoke at the 2010 Indiana Republican Convention and it can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD_IovJV0wg

The speech was typical political ---- a well earned victory lap, but nothing in the policy realm that gets geeks like me excited. Regardless, if you are a Daniels fan, its worth the 20 minutes.

In another economic development victory lap, Fusion Alliance is planning to add 100 jobs, which continues the trend of high wage, future oriented jobs coming to the state. (This is a key distinction in economic development --- the goal is not just job creation, but jobs that pay more than the current average in the state. The governor, not surprisingly, often includes the fact that the jobs that IDEC brings are above the average wage.)

Victory Lap 2: In this piece, the governor discusses how well the toll road is serving Indiana's citizens. Regardless of what you think of the deal, this is exactly what a politician should be doing: saying that if you do business with state and uphold your commitment, I'll be an advocate --- everyone comes out a winner.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Did I Stutter?, Part Deux

Governor Daniels is now making the rounds with "thoughtful" conservative crowd, this time granting an interview to Michael Gerson in which he stated that he would re-institute the Mexico City policy (ban on US funds for international groups that fund abortions). However, in the ultimate "do I stutter" (see mins 3:00-3:20), statement, Daniels, instead of moralizing about the need for reducing abortions (the knee-jerk response), he states that international abortions are: on of "a thousand things we shouldn't be spending money on." In other words, he's not against it because its wrong, he's against it because its another of the things that are so ancillary to the government's core mission that it is unworthy of taxpayer backing. The best part of the interview was his statement regarding why focusing on fiscal issues is so important:

"If there were a WMD attack, death would come to straights and gays, pro-life and pro-choice," he told me. "If the country goes broke, it would ruin the American dream for everyone. We are in this together. Whatever our honest disagreements on other questions, might we set them aside long enough to do some very difficult things without which we will be a different, lesser country?"

Ah, and if one things that the governor can't still focus on local issues while parrying with the national media, an Indianapolis health care company just announced a major expansion of good paying jobs. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Daniels to Social Conservatives: "Did I Stutter?"

My favorite governor came through once again. In recent  years national Republican politicians have either a.) capitulated to all of the right wingers before the primary or b.) stated their actual beliefs (normally more centrist than right) on social issues, only to spend the following months awkwardly walking back any hint of social moderation. That's the playbook: diffuse the wingers and then go on about the campaign. Governor Daniels recently called for a "truce" in social issues -- not a surrender, just a time out to solve the whole country-going-bankrupt issue --- and was roundly criticized. Some even suggested a rhetorical misstep.

Well, the good governor called the columnist and said: "it wasn't something I just blurted out." In other words: "Did I stutter when I said that your main issue is nowhere near relevant in comparison to the threats we face?" Not only is this exactly the right position --- but also the right tone: no one will ever accuse Daniels of either backing down, speaking without thinking or kowtowing to the right wing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Daniels on public contracting; debt

Our esteemed governor once again demonstrated why he is the class of the field in his response to Indiana legislators who want to "force" the company building an alternative energy facility to hire union labor from Indiana. Long story short, the company who owned the facility went bankrupt and then brought in new workers to finish construction --- alleged to be non-union labor from out-of-state. Governors get letters from legislators on all sorts of issues, all the time. Daniels answered this one because it was both politically advantageous, the ability to provide an economic signal to companies looking to relocate and logical.

Essentially, he expounded on how Indiana will not force its way into private companies --- essentially the GOP's main talking point --- in a manner that will endear him to the right. Second, any CEO looking to move a company or entrepreneur looking to start one has a clear signal that Indiana is the place to be. Specifically, the governor is saying that if you come to Indiana, you will be dealing with growing your business, not government regulation.

The good governor also continued his assault on Obamacare at AEI, detailed here. More importantly, he began to connect the dots between national security and the deficit, outlined here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Truce" Take Center Stage; More Innovation in Indiana

The big story at the tail end of last week was Governor Daniels' statement that the Republicans should declare a "truce" on social issues and focus on fiscal issues because, as he states: "the American experiment is at risk."  Needless to say, this caused a stir in Republican circles, with Mike Huckabee sending out an email attacking Daniels and using it as a fundraising appeal. Other conservatives jumped on Daniels for "surrendering" on social issues. The only problem: Daniels stated that he specifically chose the word "truce" so that "no one has to surrender." Kevin Tracy called this one right --- Daniels knows that if social issues are off the table, the Democrats are unable to defend their economic record. Thus, kicking the can down the road allows for the focus to be on job creation and fiscal restraint, where Daniels is the strongest and Democrats the weakest.

More importantly, the governor announced two impressive initiatives: creating an Indiana branch of Western Governors University, an institution dedicated to building the skills of non-traditional students. At WGU, classes are taught online and advancement of students is based on competency and not time --- in other words, students can advance at their own pace by demonstrating that they have mastered the skills, not by passing a specific exam at a specific time.

The second initiative involves setting aside tens of thousands of acres of wetlands along the Wabash and Muscatatuck Rivers --- an initiative that was called "This is the most amazing and perhaps the most significant investment in conservation in a generation in Indiana" by Mary McConnell, the Indiana Director of the Nature Conservancy.

The two initiatives do two things that any prospective candidate should do: demonstrate the ability to think outside the box and make nice with the people who are most likely to say terrible things about you. As you see in the articles on the wildlife initiative, historical opponents of the governor are caught saying that the plan is the most ambitious ever (which they love) which then leaves them saying that the governor's record is "mixed" on the environment. In other words, when the Democratic operatives show up asking for all of the examples of how terrible Daniels is to the environment, the conversation starts with: "well, he's done some good things too .... "

Friday, June 11, 2010

More Indiana Jobs and the Boomlet Continues

Focused on the goal that the Governor set for his direct charges (to increase the disposable income for all Hoosiers), the state of Indiana had a great week, due to:

Hat World announcing a consolidation of 570 jobs in their distribution center in Indiana.

Y.K. Furniture, a Chinese manufacturer of furniture has announced its decision to locate its U.S. headquarters in Marion, with 100 expected jobs. Hopefully, this will help the governor make the case that global expansion of business can grow the pie for Americans as both consumers and employees.

Miller Consulting announced that they are bringing 230 engineering and technology jobs to the state as part of an expansion plan.

Also, for those who love bi-partisan, Democrats and Republicans from Indiana and Illinois came together to announce a partnership for the Illiana expressway to link Indiana and Illinois. 

As for the boomlet, Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard thinks he will be the next President.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Glowing Press

For someone that writes his own speeches and manages his own media, Mitch Daniels is quite skilled at fashioning a desirable public image: the reluctant star willing to be drawn in for the good of the country. In that sense, Daniels previous statements regarding the dearth of candidates ring true: he may be quiet, self-effacing, uninspiring (to some) --- but look at the rest of the field. At least Daniels has the ability to answer a question thoughtfully without sounding academic --- most of the other candidates can't do the first, so they need not worry about the second. So, he comes along, sounds reasonable and has the record to back the rhetoric --- which puts him ahead of everyone else (sorry T-Paw).

Today's coverage is from his visit to DC:

Heritage has a video of an interview, HotAir writes a glowing profile and the Atlantic even comes through with positive things to say. This is not to say that Daniels is becoming a lock: he has no populist cult (except for my fellow nerds like Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam), is not a bible-thumper and has not spent the last six years running for the job. However, it is great to see him get some national publicity.

Daniels Makes Rounds in DC

If this is not a Presidential rollout, then I don't know what is. Mitch Daniels was in DC today to meet with the Heritage Foundation, the Congressional Health Caucus and the Business Roundtable. In other words, the ideologues, the geeks and the money --- the three pillars of every campaign. His health care discussion was a repeat of ground that he has mostly covered (no one really geeked out and started asking the tough questions) and the video is available. The most memorable line in the discussion came when the issue of mandating coverage not be priced based on risk. On that, Daniels stated: "Further exploitation of the young by the old in the country --- the war on the young continues." Amen. If you are looking for a good chronology of the discussion at the Heritage Foundation, one is presented here.

In other news:

An analysis by the Examiner of Daniels record and how it will (and will not) mesh with certain constituencies.

The American Spectator supports Daniels "truce" on social issues in order to get the deficit under control.

Also, RedState comes in with support for Daniels based on his Weekly Standard interview.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Daniels Hits the DC Circuit Twice in Two Weeks

Well, it looks like this site may be obsolete in a few months --- Mitch Daniels is traveling to Washington, DC twice in two weeks. Today, he will be at the Capitol discussing health care with the Congressional Health Caucus. Next week, he will return to DC for a fundraiser for his "Aiming Higher PAC" --- minimum ticket of $500 (kind of pricey to help out with Indiana legislative races). See the invite here.

CBS and Politico have also taken notice of Daniels --- with Mike Allen seeing a play on words with the "Aiming Higher" name --- i.e. aiming higher to the White House. Regardless, because of the competence that he has demonstrated as governor, he now has people wanting him to consider higher office. One of the benefits of success is that people want to be associated with you --- and Daniels is using this fact to raise money for his near-term goal: assuring that Republicans take control of the Indiana legislature. If you wish to contribute to the Aiming Higher PAC, you may do so here.

Although, let's be honest, the site needs A LOT of work to seem like Presidential material (yes, I use Blogger.com --- but I have not raised hundreds of thousands of dollars). Update: Someone really needs to get on the transaction issues on the site. First, the donation page is not branded, so it seems as though people are donating to an anonymous entity (at least put the logo and frame around it). Second, there are a number of basic problems with the web form --- the most basic of which are asking for recurring donations and a checkoff box for the donor to acknowledge that all legal restrictions are known/understood. Most importantly, when one clicks to donate after inputting information, a warning appears that the server is not secure and asks if the donor wants to continue. To provide their credit card information over a connection that others can easily read. This is a significant issue and needs to be remedied --- else the competent governor looks as though his team cannot manage the basic function of a fundraising site.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Huge Daniels Profile in the Weekly Standard

The Weekly Standard ran a multi-page profile of Daniels --- read it here.