Within the past couple of days, Gov. Daniels announced that he was going to run for re-election in 2008. I did not pay much attention because it didn’t seem like news, particularly. I think most folks suspected he would run again all along, and it’s been clear since he announced his Very Special Announcement that this would be the case. Following the announcement, I saw several commentators discussing how Gov. Daniels is an agent of change. For example, Abdul says, “He hasn’t always been polite about it, but he has made change in a place where change is a four-letter word.” The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette says, “the governorâ€™s record will be viewed as an asset by Hoosiers tired of the status quo and eager to put Indianaâ€™s cautious ways to rest.”
Here is the thing. Change is value neutral. Backward and forward are both changes from the status quo. Those who value change for change’s sake are the same folks who seem to think that legislators need to “do something” in response to a situation without much consideration for what that “something” might be. To evaluate Gov. Daniels, you have to ask yourself whether the changes are good. Do you like the idea of more power in the executive branch? Do you like the idea of privatizing our highways? Do you like Eastern Daylight Time for 2/3 of the state and Central Daylight Time for 1/3 of the state? Do you like the idea of the state budget being balanced on the backs of the local governments? Do you like the idea of a substantial number of executive branch departments being headed by members of the Indianapolis business community?
One more thought on change. My daughter, Harper, is a significant agent of change. She is “bold.” She has little patience for negotiation and the bothersome niceties of rules and the opinions of others. She has a take charge personality. But is she a visionary leader to whom we should entrust the reins of government? Probably not, she’s two.
But, boy, is she photogenic. I don’t know: Harper Lee Masson 2008 has a certain ring to it.