Listening to Mitch Daniels answer questions on the radio on Wednesday night, he lost my vote in the next election. I’m quite the liberal/progressive when it comes to my political beliefs. Even so, last election I voted for Mitch Daniels for Governor. Why? The Kernan administration refused to discuss their position on gay marriage. Kernan kept saying that a marriage amendment wasn’t needed. I asked a direct question to the campaign as to where Governor Kernan stood if a marriage amendment was found to be “needed.” When pressed about this, the administration simply responded that the republicans were BAD and Democrats were GOOD. Mitch Daniels met with the gay community and addressed tough questions openly and honestly, which Governor Kernan refused to do. My thought process went something like “if Mitch was the same on marriage issues as Kernan, what is the difference between the two?” When I listened to both campaigns, I heard Mitch say what he planned on doing about the economy, about the state budget deficit, and property tax reform. Kernan just attacked Daniels about what he had done at while at Lilly’s, and IPL, but put forth no real plan to pull the state out of the financial gutter. I simply heard the campaign smear Daniels while not putting forth any new ideas. So I voted for Mitch….
But after his first year in office I can say that I won’t vote for him again. He removed collective bargaining for state employees and spent way too much time on moving Indiana to Daylight Saving Time (and I might add that he’s not been following DOT regulations concerning the changes… before GW they called that breaking the law…). Those things were definitely nails in the coffin. But what nailed it shut was his comments at a Town Hall meeting broadcast on Network Indiana/WISH-TV on Wednesday night. When asked why he hadn’t asked for full day kindergarten, he responded that we just don’t have the money for it. He said that maybe we could do it once we’re out of debt. If this were a business, Mitch’s answer would be a good one. But state government shouldn’t be run like a business. The mistakes made in government don’t effect a bottom line, they effect peoples lives. A good example of Mitch’s “business approach” in government is found at his time as head of the Office of Management and Budget (the OMB sets the administration’s annual budget goals) in the first GW Bush administration. His nickname at the time was “The Blade.” In 2002, Mike Parker, the former head of the Army Corps of Engineers, was forced to resign over budget disagreements with Mitch. He said “One time I took two pieces of steel into Mitch Daniels office. They were exactly the same pieces of steel, except one had been under water in a Mississippi lock for more than 30 years, and the other one was new. The first piece was completely corroded and falling apart because of lack of funding. I said ‘Mitch, it doesn’t matter if a terrorist blows the lock up or if it falls down because it disintegrates — either way it’s the same effect, and if we let it fall down, we have only ourselves to blame.’ It made no impact on him whatsoever.” Studies have shown that full day kindergarten and Head Start programs improve learning for low-income families and children with disabilities. So what does Mitch see as the most important thing on the legislative agenda for the next year? Construction of the I-69 road project…?????? His reasoning is that building roads brings jobs to the state. What kind of jobs would be dependent on a interstate roadway? I doubt they’d bring in too many high paying tech jobs to the state.
If you don’t invest money in children on the front end, how can you expect to develop a well educated, high tech work force in Indiana? Not funding all day kindergarten but funding a controversial road project is penny wise, pound foolish. I’m sorry Mitch, but our kids are worth more than a damn interstate. If you can’t see that then you’re not as smart as I thought you were. I’ll be smarter next time you’re up for reelection. Too bad they didn’t have all day kindergarten when I was a child. Maybe I wouldn’t have made the mistake of voting for you, Mr. Daniels.