The Official Website of Josh Gillespie

On Mitch Daniels and Leadership

*The following was my opening monologue to start my brand new internet radio show “Gillespie” airing Tuesdays at 7pm on  In case you miss the show I will be posting these here every Wednesday following the Tuesday show.*

We’re gonna open this show with an observation about leadership. President Calvin Coolidge once said that “We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.”, and while I suppose there was a reason he was known as “Silent Cal”, this time President Coolidge was making an important point.

I was reminded of that quote when I heard about the recent comments Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels made in an excellent feature in The Weekly Standard a couple of weeks ago. Essentially Mitch said something along the lines of we’ll worry about the country’s fiscal problems before anything else and the social conservatives will have to agree to disagree.

In other words: I see the problem, I plan on fixing the problem, and I won’t get distracted by issues I see as being secondary.

As you might expect, a chorus of voices from many prominent social conservatives have expressed frustration at seeing their most important issues being dismissed as secondary. Former Congressman J.C. Watts said “This is like saying, ‘Let’s ignore killing babies and ignore how we define marriage until we resolve the economy.’”

But, not so fast Congressman. After the furor died down a bit, Governor Daniels, who is actually a committed pro-lifer himself, has made the abortion issue into a fiscal issue in a way that only the nation’s most successful governor could.

As I mentioned on a recent post over on, Governor Daniels has since announced that he would reinstate the infamous “Mexico City Policy” the executive order first instituted by President Reagan that bands the Federal funding of abortions in foreign countries. As a way of making both sides happy, he cleverly made it both a fiscal and social issue by pointing out that the funds that are sent overseas are not only helping to kill unborn children, they’re adding to our deficit as well.

While some may scoff that a mere $1 Billion spent over an eight-year period represents a drop of water in the Pacific Ocean that is our Federal deficit, Gov Daniels has learned from experience that the only way to attack a budget crisis is line by line, with presumed small items that eventually add up to major dollars saved.

Governor Daniels clearly has core beliefs, they didn’t call him “Mitch the Knife” during his term as OMB Director by accident. But beyond that, Daniels recognizes the current fiscal mess we’re on, understands the solutions based on his own experience (with the track record to back him up) and is willing to alienate a key component of the base he’ll need in two years if his much-rumored presidential run does materialize.

Governor Mitch Daniels is the kind of leader who sees things three steps ahead of everyone else. In this instance, not only has he demonstrated clear leadership with his deep focus on the key fiscal issues we face, he’s sees ways to involve the concerns of social conservatives and get them to buy into his program as well. That’s leadership, and that’s what we’ve come to expect from Governor Mitch Daniels.


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