A Few Good Men… in Politics?

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.

Rep. Flake Proposes End of Donor States

Interesting analysis this week from Arizona congressman Jeff Flake and the Heritage Foundation’s Ronald Utt. Their message: donor states — those that pay more in federal fuel taxes than they receive back in highway funds (Indiana has been on that list for years) — need to band together when the transportation bill is reauthorized later this year.

They go so far as to suggest the following:

The most effective reform would be to cut out Washington regulators and bureaucracy altogether. Simply let each state keep the 18.3 cents per gallon federal fuel tax paid by motorists within its borders (as well as the diesel fuel tax paid by truckers). In turn, states would be held fully responsible for their own transportation programs. The upshot: State transportation agencies would have the funds and the flexibility needed to keep things running smoothly within their borders.

D.C.-based central-planning and financial management made sense back in 1956 when the sole task of the new federal program was to build the interstate highway system coast to coast and border to border. But that task was completed in the mid-1980s.

Don’t know if that is the answer, but it does make you think there has to be a better way. Read their full analysis.