Politics is a brutal game. Personal insults. Name-calling. Misrepresenting opponents’ positions. Watching this banter is about the only thing negative about the fall season for many Hoosiers. But a new magazine, The Good Men Project, takes a less cynical stance, recognizing the Top 10 Good Men in American politics. And wouldn’t you know it — two Hoosiers made the list.
"While we don’t expect our list to restore your faith in America’s political system, we do hope to bring your attention to elected officials worth respecting for their integrity, their passion and their ideas," the editors added. "As our political landscape grows ever more polarized — and ordinary Americans feel increasingly alienated from the political process — the conventional wisdom seems to be that when it comes to elected officials, a good man is hard to find. As legendary humorist Kin Hubbard once put it, ‘We’d all love to vote for the best man, but he’s never a candidate."
The proprietors of the Good Men Project Magazine beg to disagree — and they placed two of Kin Hubbard’s fellow Hoosiers on their list to bolster their case. Citing a "need" to believe that there are still good men in public life, they spent months looking for them. Their list is bipartisan, and has its share of surprises. The criteria cited by the magazine in its accompanying article included integrity, intellectual honesty, respect for their political opponents – as well as their constituents – a belief in open government and a willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion. At a premium were men with compelling ideas, along with the political skill to help advance those ideas.
Here is the full list:
1. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan
2. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin
3. Mayor Cory Booker, Newark Democrat
4. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, R-Louisiana
5. Sen. Al Franken. D-Minnesota
6. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona
7. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana
8. Rep. Mark Strama, D-Tex.
9. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont
10. Gov. Mitch Daniels, Indiana Republican
Working our way up the list, the fiscally prudent Mitch Daniels — a former White House budget director who is sometimes mentioned as future GOP presidential material — was cited for his sheer competence in cutting a huge state budget deficit in Indiana, and for doing so humanely and without stirring up much animosity among Democrats — his job approval rating tops 70 percent.
Hat tip to the Chamber’s Ashton Eller for the story.