New Book Portrays Gov. Daniels’ Role, Considerations in 2012 Presidential Election

Oh, don't we all just love political gossip? That's kind of rhetorical, because most of us do.

Disappointing as it was for many Hoosiers, then-Gov. Mitch Daniels opted not to run for president in 2012, despite the fact that many thought he had an excellent chance of defeating President Obama. However, a new book, "Double Down: Game Change 2012," elaborates on the role Daniels did play in the election. Excerpts from the Indianapolis Star report are below. (And Star columnist Matthew Tully reported on Twitter that HBO will be making a movie based on the book, and speculation has started on who will play Daniels. Feel free to list your preferences in the comments section!)

As was extensively reported at the time, Daniels’ wife and daughters had no interest in his running or becoming president, and he ultimately deferred to them.

The book provides new details of Daniels’ consideration of his own bid, and how he tried to recruit others to run to prevent the nomination from going to Mitt Romney.

The authors of the book describe Daniels as viewing Romney as a “preprogrammed automaton” with a “plutocratic demeanor.” Those he tried to recruit as an alternative included Fred Smith, the founder and head of FedEx, and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the book says.

Daniels also consulted with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour as each tried to persuade one of the others to get in.

When Daniels went to Dallas for the 2011 Super Bowl, George W. Bush made a personal pitch, according to the book. In addition to saying that his fundraisers would likely back Daniels, Bush also addressed Daniels’ family concerns. Bush said, according to the book, that his wife and daughters hadn’t wanted him to run, but it worked out great for them.

Daniels also got encouragement from Bush operative Karl Rove and from 2008 GOP nominee John McCain, the book says. Others he expected would be in his camp included former Vice President Dick Cheney, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

And Daniels got the attention of Democrats with a 2011 speech to a national gathering of conservative activists that urged the country to focus on the “red menace” of the national debt. Former President Bill Clinton publicly called Daniels one of the smart Republicans and told Daniels privately that he’d watched the speech more than once, the book says. Shown a copy of Daniels’ speech, President Barack Obama said it had a lot of “reasonableness” and that he would enjoy debating Daniels…

When Daniels told supporters later that month that he wasn’t running, his voice broke.

“Look guys, I know you don’t agree, and you’re disappointed, and I’ve let you down,” the book quotes Daniels saying in the conference call. “I love my country, but I love my family more.”…

In May, the book says, Daniels gave Romney a “kick in the shins” when he told Fox News that he wasn’t being vetted to be Romney’s running mate.

“Of course not,” Daniels said. “If I thought the call was coming, I would disconnect the phone.”

Perfect: Richmond Brother/Sister Tandem Boast Remarkable Attendance Record

Getting up and going to school was not often easy. Heck, it’s not even easy for many adults to go to work — and they get paid. But this story about Anthony and Alexa Thompson in the Richmond Palladium-Item is quite eye-opening. Not only did Anthony recently graduate without missing a day of school in 13 years, his younger sister is one year away from accomplishing the same feat. Kudos to their no-excuse-taking mom — and their remarkable immune systems.

Anthony Thompson graduated from Richmond High School this month without missing a day of school.

Actually, not once in 13 years.

In fact, he only came close once, said his mother, Sonja Thompson.

“When Anthony was 8, he played Pop Warner football. He had recovered a football and he fractured his elbow,” she said. “We stayed in the ER until 3 a.m., but he still got up to go to school. I think the motivation was that he wanted to show everyone his cast.”

But the 18-year-old Thompson said he simply didn’t want to be out of the loop.
“I just would feel like I’m missing out on something,” he said.

Anthony remains soft-spoken, even surprised, when asked about the feat in the weeks following his graduation.

“I hadn’t really thought about it,” he said. “I just came to school every day.”
Plenty of others, though, think pretty highly of the accomplishment.

At RHS’ commencement, Thompson was honored, along with several of his classmates, who had long-standing records of perfect attendance for five, even eight years.

But not 13.

“I think that is an admirable accomplishment because it’s one of the qualities employers seek in any new employee,” RHS Principal Rae Woolpy said. “Attendance is just an issue everywhere. To me, this is indicative of a dedication to not only his academics but forming a lifelong habit.”

He was also among the 82 students recognized in this year’s School is Cool drawing for a free car, which he did not win. Contestants qualified by having perfect attendance in their senior year and maintaining at least a 2.0 grade point average.

Sonja said she always stressed good attendance at school, but never had a goal for her son to achieve perfect attendance. That changed after Anthony started getting recognized in Texas, where they lived previously, for stringing several years of perfect attendance together.

“Pretty much, I was a mother of no excuses,” she said.

Anthony said he will take his attendance record with him first to Ivy Tech Community College and then, after one semester, transfer to Ball State University in Muncie. He plans to study sports management.

While he embarks on college, his 17-year-old sister, Alexa, will attempt to match his accomplishment. She has perfect attendance for 12 consecutive years.

Hat tip to Chamber President Kevin Brinegar for passing along the article.

Ouch: Indy Star Takes Bauer, Dems to Task for Squandered Opportunities

And you thought Jon Stewart was giving Jim Cramer a hard time this week.

In an editorial today, the Indy Star Editorial Board takes House Speaker Pat Bauer and opponents of township and education reform to task for letting cronyism trump the needs of the citizenry. It’s straight, to the point, and if you’re looking to close out your week with kittens and rainbows, you might want to look elsewhere. The Star asserts:

This is the time in the long discussion over local government reform in Indiana that we could, justifiably, write an opinion so blistering that young children and other gentle souls would risk life-long consequences if left too long in its presence.

Today, however, we will spare you that stew of scorn and outrage.

It’s not that members of the Indiana House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee don’t deserve strong censure for once again shielding their cronies in township government from public accountability. They most certainly do.

Disapproval, however, should be reserved for those for whom there’s still hope, who have yet to dive willingly into a dark pit, filled to the brim with disdain for the public’s best interests. Observers then would have a responsibility to try to rescue them from their fate.

However, it’s too late for Democrats in the Indiana House, under the authority of Speaker Pat Bauer (we withhold the word leadership). They already have plunged willingly and deeply into that pit. They have, in fact, sunk so low that they now pretend that the muck they have stirred up can be sold to the gullible as a form of preserving "local control.”

Most Hoosiers, however, have smelled both rose petals and cess pools. And they know the difference — no matter what cynical politicians might tell them.

The first two months of the current legislative session have brought a string of decisions so embarrassing that almost any elected leader outside the Indiana House would by force of conscience stand on the corner of Market and Capitol and apologize profusely to every citizen who passed. Thus far, representatives have raided reserves to cobble together a one-year budget (instead of the standard two-year plan), but later handed casinos millions in tax breaks. A moratorium on charter schools was passed when education reform is more necessary than ever. And now local government reform appears dead for another year, even after the commonplace inequities and inefficiencies of townships have been widely exposed.

The long-suffering residents of this good state can find comfort in the fact that Bauer and his troops must depart, by order of state statute, from the Statehouse in another 48 days. The damage they already have done is great, and may be worse still before the end mercifully arrives. But the closing gavel now carries the best hopes for those who value good government and thoughtful leadership.

Indy Star Blasts Washington Township Board

We brought you this gem last week. Now, the Indy Star is weighing in with some strong words against the Washington Township board that voted to give itself a 60% pay increase. The Star rightfully also points out that this is just a microcosm of the entire township government problem:

Over protests from residents and with little discussion, the Washington Township Board last week handed itself a 60 percent pay raise, effectively reversing a pay cut the board accepted last year after the township fire department was merged with the city’s.

… Eliminating township government altogether is a prominent recommendation of the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform, whose report last year has been driving high-level discussions about municipal efficiency. One major result already is the folding of township assessors into one countywide office. A new state law accomplished that for smaller counties; and Marion County, for one, approved a referendum this month abolishing the job of township assessor.

Can township government itself, and township boards, be next? Gov. Mitch Daniels, among others, hopes so, arguing convincingly that multiple redundant layers of local government waste money and impede service. As property assessing joins police and fire protection among countywide functions, the dispensability of outmoded township governance will become more obvious.

Defenders of that 19th-century vestige maintain that it keeps public servants closer to the public. Whether that’s worth higher cost and lower efficiency is debatable in any case. In the case of the Washington Township Board, close turns out to be more like in-your-face.

Again, if the board wanted to make a case about job duties changing and whatnot as justification for a raise, I’m sure most of us would be willing to listen. Probably still wouldn’t support it, but we’d listen. Yet the unwillingness to even listen to public input or discuss the matter with the media, as displayed by reporter Norman Cox’s original blog (linked in our first post), is the most alarming aspect of this. The government is not God; it should work for us.

Marion County Assessor Pens Scathing Column on Township Assessing Process

Yesterday’s Indianapolis Star featured a column by Marion County Assessor Greg Bowes articulating the fundamental problems plaguing Indiana’s township assessments. Here are some highlights, but please take the time to read the entire piece as it is quite illuminating:

 I was elected county assessor, and began my first term on Jan. 1, 2007. I did not receive the assessments from the townships until after Jan. 31, 2007, more than seven months late. When I did receive them, not one of the nine township assessors had done the assessments correctly. In fact, the governor ordered reassessment in part because the township assessors made no changes in more than 70 percent of the commercial properties in Marion County, and this after a four-year period where no revisions were mandated.

When the reassessment was completed, an additional 30 percent in commercial value was identified, and massive changes were made in the residential properties in at least two of the nine townships. The reassessment injected a third bill into our tax year, and delayed the normal cycle by eight months. No wonder the mortgage companies are confused …

On the Nov. 4 ballot is a public question we must all consider seriously. It will read: "Should the assessing duties of the elected township assessor in the township be transferred to the county assessor?" If taxpayers want their assessments done correctly and on time, they should vote "yes."

Again, read the full column; get involved in helping make this much-needed reform a reality.

Where in the World is Edgar Whitcomb?

When in Rome (Ind.), do as Edgar Whitcomb does…

I enjoyed this article about one of our living former governors. After serving as governor from 1969 to 1973, Whitcomb has found peace outside of politics and now can be found basking in the serenity of southern Indiana.

Whitcomb’s house in Rome is a mid-19th-century roadhouse that was in gross disrepair until last year when he hired an Amish family to restore it.

Rome’s history is similar to Whitcomb’s in that it started ambitiously — they named the place Rome, after all, and made it the Perry County seat. Rome stayed small, though. The county seat was moved to Cannellton in 1859 and finally to Tell City.

Whitcomb also spends time at his cabin a few miles outside Rome on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River. The nearest neighbor is 2 miles away. A good bit of the mile-long driveway doubles as a creek bed, rocky and uneven.