Thursday, November 12, 2009

Daniels Gets Kudos From IPOPA?!?!

To some in my political circle, he's the man we love to hate. In the past month, I blasted him for pushing forward with privatization of public benefits in Indiana even though the same experiment failed miserably in Texas.

But my view of our Governor, Mitch Daniels, changed radically with a simple act last Friday.

I was standing in the hall at a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program for the Julian Center and Heartland Pro Bono Council when my colleague, Shariq Siddiqui, got a phone call on his cell phone.


(Voice on other ends says something....)

"Oh, hello, Governor...." Ears perk up and open widely!

It's a brief conversation, and when it ends, I have to ask. "I'm sorry, but did you just talk to Governor Daniels?" Shariq knows a cross-examination is coming, as I'm always looking for a story, so he fesses up.

Shariq informs me that, yes, it was the Governor, and he called because he had read the press release issued by the Muslim Alliance of Indiana (MAI) decrying the actions of the shooter at Ford Hood, Texas. The Governor tells Shariq he's proud of MAI. Unlike some other Muslim organizations nationally, MAI does not focus solely on Muslim soldiers and the microscope they are undoubtedly going to face now. MAI's statement (and its ensuing editorial) is an unequivocal denunciation of the inexcusable act, and it calls on all Muslims to extend their prayers and generosity to military families.

Based on the tone of both comments on the Indianapolis Star and other papers throughout the country and the blog postings of the conservatorati, the Governor doesn't do himself any favors openly embracing MAI. And yet, he does it anyway, because he knows MAI has supported him, and he has supported it by hosting an annual Iftar at the Statehouse.

The Governor knows the scrutiny (and possible violence) coming next for Muslims in America, and he has the decency and intellectual honesty to not put every Muslim in a radical, jihadist camp (more on this in a separate posting).

Being painfully objective means giving credit where it's due, even to my political adversaries, and I tip my hat to the Governor for being, not just a leader, but a moral leader on this issue. I daresay that there will be segments of my own party that will not be this bold.

Then the next day, the Governor hit another one out of the park when he signals to casinos that there aren't going to be any special tax treats just because Ohio has passed land-based casino gambling. (As an aside, certainly the people who invested in the Indiana licenses contemplated new entries into the market? If not, sorry, but they're crappy business people).

The Governor states that, if "bailouts" were to occur, they certainly wouldn't go first to an industry that is profitable. However, the Governor agrees to scrap some costly and ridiculous regulations, such as requiring an engine and sea captain on a boat that never goes anywhere.

The Governor correctly ridicules what I have long called "the morality carwash" - the notion that somehow the sin of gambling washes off if it occurs in a large body of water.

You're batting two for two this week, Governor. I wouldn't be painfully objective if I didn't say so.



Wilson46201 said...

Lest it be forgotten: Mitch’s family background is Syrian. Outside of Indiana he gets touted by the GOP as a high-ranking Republican Arab-American.

Akla said...

I wonder why the Star did not play up his endorsement of their position? Not a word on his family background, ever.

He will see to it that the casinos get some break or another this next session. And soon, for that instant infusion of cash to prop up his budget errors, he will sell the operation of the state parks to some private company, as in the toll road.

Chris Worden said...


If he tries to sell more assets, I'll be back slamming him because I think it's bad public policy. But, unlike so many who confuse policy differences with personal hatred of President Obama, I can separate the two. I disagree with Mitch Daniels on policy, but I like that, when it matters, he doesn't buy into the lunatic fringe of his party.

Chris Worden said...

Forgot to add that Wilson is right. Most people have no idea the Governor's family was Syrian. If more conservatives knew their Governor was an "A-RAB," maybe they'd all calm down.