“[O]nly a few hours” after endorsing Mitt Romney, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) criticized the presumed GOP nominee’s campaign for being overly negative and appealing too much to the wealthy. Daniels — who was considered a potential presidential candidate himself — expressed “disappointment” with Romney, who used his enormous cash advantage to decimate his GOP opponents during the primary with negative ads, for employing a “slash-and-burn” strategy.
In an interview with Indiananapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully, Daniels said candidates should focus on a “constructive program to make life better,” instead of attacking opponents — “Romney doesn’t talk that way,” he added.
But perhaps more interestingly and more overlooked, Daniels also chided Romney for appealing more to wealthy donors than struggling people. Tully writes:
“You don’t change one thing about the policies you advocate or your principles,” he said, noting instead that candidates should simply make clear how their policies would lift up those who are struggling. For instance, he said, at fundraisers Romney’s message shouldn’t be about how his policies affect the well-heeled people listening in the audience, but rather those who can’t afford a ticket to get in.
Daniels’s endorsement was pretty tepid to begin with. In an appearance on Fox News Wednesday, he said, “It must be a slow news day if this is making the air, Brian, but for what it’s worth, I did send a congratulatory note to Governor Romney the other day.”
With the recent felony conviction of then-Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R), the task fell upon Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) to select a replacement for the chief elections officer of his state. Friday, he announced his pick: state Senator Connie Lawson (R).
Lawson, who served in the state senate since 1996 and as clerk of the Hendricks County Circuit Court for seven years before that, was one of the two original authors of Senate Bill 483. That law, enacted in 2005 and upheld by a divided U.S. Supreme Court in 2008, was among the nation’s first laws mandating strict photo identification requirements for voters.
Along with Georgia, Indiana’s voter ID rules were the strictest in the nation until 2011 — making it significantly more difficult for voters without valid driver’s licenses to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Since the 2010 elections, Republican legislatures around the country, pushed by their allies at the right-wing corporate front group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), have been passing similar laws in an organized “war on voting.” These measures, of course, disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters who are less likely to have valid photo identification — and, probably not coincidentally, are most likely to vote for Democratic candidates. Daniels himself signed Lawson’s bill into law; her co-author said at the time that it was needed to guard against voter fraud.
Actual cases of voting fraud are so rare that a voter is much more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit fraud at the polls, though White proved to be the rare exception. He registered and voted in the wrong district, falsely claiming his ex-wife’s residence as his own. Lawson’s law and voter ID laws like it do nothing to prevent that kind of fraud. White had ironically campaigned on election integrity and a pledge to “protect and defend Indiana’s Voter ID law to ensure our elections are fair and protect the most basic and precious right and responsibility of our democracy-voting.”
Hopefully, at least Lawson will oversee the state’s voter suppression without the hypocrisy White demonstrated.
Indiana Republicans ignored protests from labor groups and even National Football League players this winter and became the 23rd state to adopt a so-called “right-to-work” law. Despite having no evidence that the anti-union legislation would create jobs, Republicans claimed it would, and Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) signed it into law.
Less than two months after he signed the bill, Daniels is already touting its success. Daniels claims more than 30 companies have asked about moving to Indiana, but so far he’s only named one, MBC Group, that added Indiana jobs. Unfortunately for Daniels, it seems he jumped the gun:
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation issued a statement in which company president Eric Holloway said expanding its Brookville, Ind., site was a “no-brainer” because of right-to-work and other factors.
Holloway says he did not notice the reference to right to work when he approved the statement and says the law had no effect on his decision to expand.
Indiana, of course, has tried “right-to-work” once before, passing a similar law in 1957. The law was so unpopular that voters demolished Republicans at the polls in 1958, and Democrats repealed it in 1965.
Let’s give the president credit for one domestic policy that worked. He wanted higher gas prices and he got ‘em. He said it. Secretary [Steven] Chu said $8, about what they pay in Europe, would be great. Secretary [Ken] Salazar said it could go $10 and [he] still wouldn’t be for allowing drilling in the places where we know there’s an awful lot of domestic production. And so, they have gotten the doubling of gas prices — perhaps worse, is a conscious policy of this administration. Maybe the one thing they set out to do and actually accomplished.”
Watch the exchange:
Daniels did not mention that in 2010, he wanted higher gas prices himself. That year, the Center for American Progress praised Daniels for distinguishing himself from Republican fealty to big oil by supporting a tax on imported oil. The tax would have increased gasoline prices in order to increase American energy security.
Though Wallace noted that U.S. dependence on foreign oil is the lowest in 16 years, Daniels dismissed this as “no thanks to them,” crediting only the policies of the George W. Bush administration and blasting President Barack Obama for wanting “environmental regulations” that could put refiners out of business and stop the construction of new ones.
ThinkProgress researchers were unable to find any evidence that Obama has ever called for higher gas prices, although he did say in one 2008 interview that, given a choice, he would prefer a slow gas price increase to a fast one. The accusations Daniels made about Chu and Salazar involve incidents from before they were members of the administration. Chu talked in September 2008 about a gradual, 15-year increase in the gas tax to encourage efficiency and keep money in America — his idea was rejected by President Obama. Salazar never said what Daniels claimed — as a senator in 2008, Salazar was blocking a procedural gimmick by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who wanted to use gas prices to trigger unrestricted offshore drilling everywhere in the United States. Daniels’ claims totally ignored the administration’s actions and the president’s “all-of-the-above” energy plan to fight gas price spikes and reduce dependence on oil.
Daniels’ concern for only energy and construction companies, instead of the planet, is nothing new. As ThinkProgress Green reported last month, Daniels used his state taxpayer-funding to lobby for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — even though the proposed pipeline would not run through Indiana. Even the state-paid lobbyist was unable to explain the connection. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, Daniels received about $1.3 million in campaign contributions from the construction sector and more than $900,000 from the energy and natural resources industries over his career.
Last week, ThinkProgress Green reported that Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), joined the oil industry in lobbying Congress on behalf of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, using taxpayer dollars. Although the proposed pipeline does not go through Indiana, and few, if any, Indiana workers are expected to be employed in its construction, the state’s DC representatives received $66,000 from Indiana taxpayers to lobby Congress in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Citing the ThinkProgress Green report, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote one of those lobbyists yesterday, noting that her disclosed Keystone KL lobbying “seems unusual” as Indiana lacks any “obvious interest” in seeing the pipeline completed. In the letter, addressed to lobbyist Deborah Hohlt, Waxman “would appreciate the opportunity to learn about Indiana’s interests in the proposed Keystone XL pipeline” and requested a briefing from her.
By Josh Israel and Brad Johnson on Jan 26, 2012 at 9:30 am
Recently released lobbying disclosures show that Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), who delivered the GOP rebuttal to the State of the Union last night, joined the oil industry in lobbying Congress on behalf of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
An analysis of fourth quarter 2011 lobbying forms by ThinkProgress Green finds:
The state of Indiana’s DC representatives received $66,000 from Indiana taxpayers to lobby Congress in the fourth quarter of 2011. Deborah Hohlt reported receiving $50,500 for lobbying on behalf of the state, including advocacy of the tar sands pipeline. Hohlt is a long-time Washington lobbyist who began her career at the Republican National Committee and George H.W. Bush administration. Griffin Foster reported receiving $15,500 for lobbying on behalf of the state of Indiana, including the Keystone pipeline. Foster is a former legislative assistant to Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL).
During the rebuttal, Daniels attacked President Obama for “extremism” that “cancels a perfectly safe pipeline that would employ tens of thousands.” Daniels did not mention how many of those jobs seem to be going to DC lobbyists.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has repeatedly slammed President Obama as the “most successful food stamp president in history” on the campaign trail, and that line of attack — blaming Obama for the ill-effects of the recession and the pain that followed — has become a familiar GOP talking point. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) struck a similar tune in his response to Obama’s State of the Union speech last night, ignoring his own state’s high poverty rate and blasting Obama for pursuing “pro-poverty” policies:
DANIELS: Contrary to the president’s disparagement of people in buisness, it’s one of the noblest of human pursuits. The late Steve Jobs, what a fitting name he had, created more of them than all those stimulus dollars the president borrowed and blew. [...] The extremism that stifles the development of home-grown energy, or cancels a perfectly safe pipeline that would employ tens of thousands…is a pro-poverty policy.
While Daniels claims Obama is “pro-poverty,” a closer look at his own state shows that it’s Daniels who is a pro at making people poor. Under Daniels’ leadership, Indiana’s poverty rate ballooned to 16.3 percent in 2010 — a three-decade high that is more than a full percentage point above the national average. In 2008, before Obama took office but a full three years into Daniels’ first term as governor, five Indiana cities had poverty rates of at least 20 percent.
Despite the rising poverty rate, Daniels has remained committed to making it harder for Hoosiers to get assistance. Enrollment in Indiana’s welfare program — which is among the stingiest in the nation — decreased during the recession because of stringent qualification requirements. The state cut food assistance programs, made it harder for kids to qualify for Medicaid, and cut funding for programs like Planned Parenthood that provide health care to low-income women. Daniels has also promised to sign right-to-work legislation, even though such laws reduce take-home pay by about $1,500 a year.
Meanwhile, Daniels’ criticism of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ignores the 64,000 Indiana jobs it had saved as of March 2010, and his “pro-poverty” quip fails to acknowledge that Obama’s defense of the social safety net from budget-cutting Republicans kept millions of Americansout of poverty.
In the middle of Indiana’s explosion of poverty and cuts to programs to help the disadvantaged, Change.org asked if Indiana was “the worst state for poor people.” While the answer to that isn’t clear, what is obvious is that when it comes to being “pro-poverty,” Mitch Daniels doesn’t have room to criticize anyone.
In the GOP State of the Union rebuttal, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) made the fanciful claim that President Obama’s energy decisions have “destroyed” “tens of thousands of jobs” and have had no benefit on public health:
The extremism that stifles the development of homegrown energy, or cancels a perfectly safe pipeline that would employ tens of thousands, or jacks up consumer utility bills for no improvement in either human health or world temperature, is a pro-poverty policy. It must be replaced by a passionate pro-growth approach that breaks all ties and calls all close ones in favor of private sector jobs that restore opportunity for all and generate the public revenues to pay our bills.
It isn’t a surprise that Daniels — a long-time climate-denier and friend of oil and gas — boldly claimed coal regulations have no effect on public health, when new mercury pollution controls will prevent 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks, and 130,000 asthma attacks annually. His jobs estimate for Keystone XL has also been debunked by multiple studies, instead coming closer to 5,000 temporary jobs.
Daniels’ rush to defend coal and oil at the expense of public health comes as little surprise. Since 2004, Daniels has received $64,200 from the oil and gas industry, according to National Institute on Money in State Politics data. He has received another $735,662 from mining and utilities.