A decision with long-term effects
Outgoing Gov. Mitch Daniels should get credit for being considerate in asking the three candidates vying to succeed him for their opinions on whether the state should set up a health care exchange for Obamacare. The decision is due Nov. 16, after the election but before Republican Mike Pence, Democrat John Gregg or Libertarian Rupert Boneham would take office. The costs and consequences of the decision will be borne by the next administration, so it’s proper that the man who is going to lead it should have a say.
But the governor should not be bitterly disappointed if the candidates are less than enthusiastic about being candid with him. The decision is an enormously complicated one, with potentially scary expenses for the state and profound but not exactly clear implications for all Hoosiers.
Tracking down political dirt
If you consider politics an honorable profession and are seeking elective office for a noble purpose, can you nonetheless use less-than-respectable campaign tactics? If your opponent gets down and dirty and you don’t, won’t that put you at a competitive disadvantage? How can you achieve your noble purpose if you don’t get elected in the first place?
That’s the eternal conflict between politics as the means of government – the “art of the possible” – and politics as the ends of government: Get the power and keep it. The Associated Press has illustrated the conflict with a story about “trackers,” out-in-the-open spies sent by political parties to record opponents at campaign stops in hopes of catching them in campaign-ending gaffes. “I felt dirty, I felt scummy,” one of these operatives said after resigning.
Common Core is federal overreach
A funny thing happened to the Common Core education standards that originated with the National Governors Association and were intended for voluntary adoption by states. They were hijacked by the Obama administration, which fully intends for them to become mandatory federal standards. There is a proposal to make Title I dollars contingent on a state’s adoption of the standards, and already the administration has required states to sign on in order to get No Child Left Behind waivers.
“This administration has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach,” Indiana Superintendent of Public Education Tony Bennett told a tea party gathering. “The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.”
Of course not everyone was happy with Common Core even as a project of the states.
Fair shot at Pence's plan
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy calls itself a “nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization.” But since its self-described mission “focuses particularly on issues of tax fairness and sustainability,” make that liberal nonpartisan research organization. Those obsessed with public policy fairness think the correct government approach can level any playing field.
ITEP’s latest target is GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence’s proposal to cut Indiana’s 3.4 percent income tax rate to 3.06 percent. The organization thinks such across-the-board cuts are unfair because most of the benefits go to the most-well-off 20 percent. If the cut had been in effect in 2011, the average Hoosier would have saved $102, but the richest 1 percent would have saved $2,264. The richest benefit the most, and the poor get screwed! That’s one way to look at it.
Be bold and go with Ryan
Two very different sources – NBC News and the conservative magazine Weekly Standard – are saying Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has narrowed his vice presidential list to three names: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. That may or may not be true, but we can accept its accuracy for the purposes of discussion since those names represent Romney’s basic choice: Be safe or go bold.
Romney is cautious, and conventional wisdom says he will play it safe by choosing Pawlenty or Portman. He’s in a virtual tie with President Obama, so he doesn’t have to try a game-changing swing-for-the fences pick the way John McCain did. Perhaps, but we hope Romney is daring enough to be a little bold and choose Ryan.