Mitch Daniels's Truce

Mitch Daniels is encouraging Republican legislators in Indiana to yank right-to-work legislation they have the votes to pass.The Democratic legislators fled Indiana yesterday giving way to a National Geographic special on the migratory patterns of absconding Democrats. NatGeo found they all wind up in Illinois. 48 more states to go before they all end up in Illinois.Mitch Daniels received lots of criticism on twitter and online for his white glove approach to the fleeing Democrats. He praised them for their right to speak out and act out as a minority party in the legislature.Daniels’s supporters defended him by pointing out he single handedly ended collective bargaining for public sector unions in Indiana by executive order on his first day in office. His supporters also noted that Daniels has major legislation before the legislature that fleeing Democrats will undermine — legislation that can’t be passed without Democrats to make up a quorum.That is all well and good. It is also wholly beside the point.The point is that with wind at Scott Walker’s back in Wisconsin and Chris Christie’s back in New Jersey to finally take on unions, Indiana is the next battleground for taking the fight to the unions.Right-to-work legislation incentivizes an economic engine to get going again. Right-to-work states are more business friendly. Indiana is portraying itself to Illinois as a business friendly state. This would cement that.Instead, despite union battles on the front page of every newspaper in America today, Mitch Daniels decided he wanted a truce on fiscal issues just like he wants on social issues.It is not that Daniels has been bad. Frankly, it’s not even that he is wrong (though I think he is). It is that Mitch Daniels, a much talked about potential 2012 candidate, is extraordinarily tone deaf.It is a tone deafness that will impact Scott Walker’s fight in Wisconsin and other Republicans elsewhere as a shallow media tries to stretch comparisons and begins asking, “Why don’t you just pull it from the table like St. Mitch of Indiana.”



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