The Official Website of Josh Gillespie

Mitch Daniels – Real. Proven. Leadership.

(Originally written as the monologue for “Gillespie” airing every Tuesday night at 10pm on

It’s almost like deja vu all over again. Just a few weeks ago, I was discussing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and his apparent lack of interest in having a Right-to-Work law pass the Indiana Legislature during this very contentious session. We mentioned how many conservatives (including a number from around the country who’d never even heard of Mitch Daniels prior to this year) felt like Mitch was a sellout, a guy who didn’t really care that much about conservatism and advancing the cause.

Forget being a sellout, what this legislative session has proven without question is that the one thing you can really call Mitch Daniels is a “leader”, because that is what he has proven himself to be once again.

This became really clear once the Republican-controlled Indiana House passed the nation’s largest and most comprehensive voucher bill, one that allows low- and middle-income families to use taxpayer funds to send their children to the private school of their choice. This incredibly bold new law will offer scholarships for children to attend the school of their choice, with eligibility for households earning up to $60,000.

While I don’t expect this new law to assuage the angst of those social conservatives who appear to be looking for any excuse to label Mitch as a RINO or something worse, this is clearly another striking entry in his record as America’s most successful governor.

But looking at the larger picture, beyond the current legislative session and it’s successes is what does this do for Governor Daniels’s presumed presidential aspirations (though I’m still not convinced that he’ll actually run even though I’d like him to)?

Though I’ve discussed it before in these monologues, it’s important enough of a point that I need to restate it again. Being president is all about management ability. Having the right ideas are key, and certainly Mitch Daniels has the right ideas. Beyond that, Mitch has demonstrated a talent for seeing his ideas actually become law.

Balancing a budget that is heavily in deficit? Check.

Breaking the stranglehold that public sector unions had on Indiana’s budget and economy? Check.

Overseeing job growth in the strongest economy in the Midwest? Check.

Fixing the always-controversial daylight savings time issue and moving Indiana into the 21st century/ Check.

Implementing one of the nation’s leading healthcare reform measures with the Healthy Indiana Plan? Check.

Putting in place extensive property tax reforms, including a cap on overall rates? Check.

When you compare his record to that of any other elected official in America, it’s truly stunning in its accomplishments. It’s even more impressive when you compare it with the legislative record of President Obama, who needed backroom deals and sneaky maneuvering to get his signature reform, that of Obamacare, passed through a Congress he controlled. It’s no wonder that Mitch Daniels was named 2008 “Public Official of the Year” by the independent publication, “Governing” magazine”.

Good leaders prize accomplishments over pure ideology, but it’s even better when you have a leader who is able to accomplish the passage of signature ideas from his personal ideology. Even with his unfortunate but endearing quality for being brutally honest and avoiding spin, Mitch Daniels is proving to be the once in a generation leader that this nation is desperately seeking. It’s not a coincidence that the last one we found was Mitch’s own mentor and role model, the former Governor of California and leader of the modern conservative movement, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Though his humility won’t allow anyone to publicly make the comparison in his presence, the similarities are stunning.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *