Scoring the PPACA
links for 2010-08-20

The Economist Gets One Very Wrong

A beat sweetener so sweet as to send us all into hyperglycemic collapse:

Mitch Daniels: The right stuff: The right stuff: Indiana's governor is a likeable wonk. Can he save the Republicans from themselves and provide a pragmatic alternative to Barack Obama? THE governor does not like to keep people waiting. On a recent morning this small man leapt out of a trooper’s Toyota (Indiana-made) while it was still moving. He burst into a tiny chamber of commerce and began joking with businessmen, teachers and farmers. He is comfortable with most people in most places. He can command a boardroom. He has moseyed through enough fairs to know how to sign a goat—on its left side, so as not to write against the grain of its coat. After some small talk with the chamber, he introduced himself formally: “Mitch Daniels, your employee in public service.”

Most Americans know little or nothing of Mr Daniels. He does not tweet. “I’m not an interesting enough person,” he explains. He is a Republican who had never heard of 9/12, Glenn Beck’s tea-party group, before The Economist mentioned it to him. But he is good at one thing in particular: governing.

Wonks have long revered Mr Daniels...

No, we have not. No, we do not. When Mitch Daniels was in a position of power and authority, responsible as Director of OMB for maintaining fiscal sanity, he simply did not do his job: Mitch Daniels Did Not Do His Job: One of the threads of Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty is that Mitch Daniels simply did not do his job as Bush's OMB Director. The OMB Director is the principal--indeed, the only--voice inside the White House for fiscal prudence, for trying to ensure that the money the government spends is spent well and that the resources the government raises are adequate for the spending plans the White House evolves. While he was Bush OMB Director, Daniels simply did not do his job.

Page 219: Mitch Daniels became agitated. He blurted out, "Well, yes, but if you can't do the right thing when you're at 85 percent approval, then when can you do the right thing? I think it's time to say no." Everyone looked with surprise at Daniels--he has a way of expressing what others are thinking but don't say. Often, he'd find himself doubling back when he got an arched brow from Cheney or Rove...

And page 296: The Commerce Secretary echoed much of what had been said.... As usual, not a real discussion, O'Neill thought as he looked over at [Mitch] Daniels.... He knew Daniels was focused on the perils of rising deficits, but it would take gumption to air those concerns in a room full of tax cut ideologues. "I think we need to balance concerns," Daniels said.... "You need to be out front on the economy, but I am concerned that this package may not do it. The budget hole is getting deeper... we are projecting deficits all the way to the end of your second term." From across the table came glares from the entire Bush political team. Daniels paused.... "Ummmm. On balance, then, I think we need to do a [tax cut] package... accelerate the rate cuts and the double taxsation of dividends..." O'Neill looked with astonishment at Daniels... turn 180 degrees in midsentence...

Shame on the Economist. It can do a lot better.