An Observation on Mitch Daniels

Looking at the Republican field for 2012, I'm more than a little disheartened that the most prudent and fiscally conservative contender for the Republican nomination is Mitch Daniels.

The same Mitch Daniels who, as director of OMB, oversaw a federal budget that went from a $236 billion suprlus to a $400 billion deficit.

The same Mitch Daniels who stated that the cost of the Iraq War would be "only about $50-60 billion." (Actual cost to date — over $800 billion and climbing.)

Ugh.

Now, I'll be fair. I'm only now starting to look at Mitch Daniels. I haven't had a chance to review his record as Governor. Maybe it's an improvement.

But in the past few weeks I've heard him bandied about as the "fiscally conservative" candidate, and I have to say the first time I heard that, I laughed.

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. tom p says:

    But in the past few weeks I’ve heard him bandied about as the “fiscally conservative” candidate, and I have to say the first time I heard that, I laughed.
     

    Personally, I laugh ervery time I hear the words "fiscally conservative" and "Republican" in the same sentence…. then I cry because so many are so gullible as to believe that lie. 

  2. JD says:

    I can't tell if this post is serious.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    If selling off state assets for a one time budget fix, and using federal dollars to cover up a deficit is how a true fiscal conservative handles a state's finances, then Mitch is your man.

  4. c.red says:

    Second Neil.

  5. An Interested Party says:

    "I can't tell if this post is serious."
    How appropriate, as examing all of Daniels' actions at both the federal and state level leave one to wonder how serious he is…
    "…and using federal dollars to cover up a deficit…"
    This seems to be a pattern with some GOP goverors who ostensibly whine about the federal budget deficit and the "waste" of the stimulus but don't mind using federal money to cover up their own state's fiscal messes…

  6. Terrye says:

    That $400 billion is chicken feed to today. And as for making some obnoxious comment over the cost of the war, let’s look at what the Democrats say Obama care will save us…or is it cost us? In fact as the Iraq war has wound down the deficit has continued to climb.

    I like Daniels, I live in Indiana and I have watched him take a lot of risks and more often than not he has come out on top. He has balanced the budget, ended collective bargaining with state employees, cut property taxes and privatized some state roads. All in all, he has done a good job and we are in better fiscal shape than our neighbors.

    He is willing to get in hot water with his own party when he thinks he is right but often as not he is a straight up conservative.

  7. Terrye says:

    An Interested Party:

    Here in Indiana we have made real cuts, real people have lost their jobs and real benefits have been cut. We don’t just talk about the need to cut deficits and then do nothing about it.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    “We don’t just talk about the need to cut deficits and then do nothing about it.”

    How nice that Daniels can do that on the state level but couldn’t on the federal level…a sign, perhaps, that he should stay in Indianapolis and not come anywhere near Pennsylvania Avenue anytime soon…oh, and to echo Neil, the temporary fixes that have been used in Indiana are hardly a sign of fiscal prudence…

  9. JD says:

    @AIP

    Point us to your examples of “fiscal prudence” so that they can be praised and duplicated.

  10. […] Knapp is not so impressed with Mitch Daniels: Looking at the Republican field for 2012, I’m more than a little disheartened that the most […]

  11. Neil Hudelson says:

    Terreye,

    I live in Indiana. His ‘balancing the budget’ came from using federal funds, and selling off state assets, often to horrible results (see the “css uplink” debacle that he is now shutting down). His ending collective bargaining has, to my knowledge, done nothing to help the fiscal situation in Indiana (no snark–if you have any statistical evidence that it has, I’ll change my tune), and those property taxes weren’t cut by him; they were cut by a constitutional amendment. Of course those property tax cuts means that schools will go bankrupt, but hey! its ‘fiscally sound.’

    I’ll give him the privatization of the roads. I was against it at first, but considering that those roads in the ‘region’ are mostly used by commuters to Chicago, it makes sense to have the commuters rather than the tax payers pay for them.

  12. Kylopod says:

    >Personally, I laugh ervery time I hear the words “fiscally conservative” and “Republican” in the same sentence…. then I cry because so many are so gullible as to believe that lie.

    I actually think the phrase “fiscal conservative” is itself an oxymoron at this point. Conservatism has been completely divorced from fiscal prudence for over a generation, and it will continue to be that way until they make a clean break with the supply-side hoax.

  13. Aidan says:

    His “fiscal conservative” credentials are truly pathetic, and his record certainly warrants closer scrutiny than it’s been given thus far. I can’t really figure out why Andrew Sullivan and so many other people I’d consider reasonable conservatives see him as the great hope of fiscal conservatism.

    At the same time, depressingly, he’s recently come off as the only national Republican with any sort of sanity or correction of reality. Based on my superficial impression, I’d at least prefer him to any of the other possible Republican candidates, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    “Point us to your examples of ‘fiscal prudence’ so that they can be praised and duplicated.”

    But that’s exactly the point…it sounds like Daniels has used smoke and mirrors to take care of Indiana’s budgets…hardly “fiscal prudence”…