House Speaker Bauer tagged Gov. Daniels as the “Nowhere Man,” with respect to his less than clear leadership on the budget. He was vague, uninvolved until late in the game, and moved the goal posts.
Bauer is predictably hyperbolic about Daniels, but even Senators Long and Kenley were mildly critical of Daniels’ leadership on the budget. Senator Kenley said he was getting mixed messages from the Daniels’ administration on what was acceptable. Senator Long would only go so far as to say that “it was open to interpretation” about how clear people were. Only Rep. Bosma, who is all about the political game and very rarely about actual governance, seems to be claiming that Gov. Daniels set clear parameters.
Now, Gov. Daniels has moved the goal posts again, demanding that the legislature cut $1 billion from the budget proposal, based on a recent economic report. He is apparently projecting the numbers from April tax collections through 24 months. Senator Long, Senator Kenley and Rep. Bauer have challenged the Governor to outline a budget that he could approve. Gov. Daniels seems to be demurring, finding that his job is to “lay out the boundaries.”
So, now Gov. Daniels seems to be casting himself as a “big picture” guy. I’ve always sneered at “big picture” types. The devil is always in the details. That’s where the real work gets done, and the big picture means nothing without implementation. Often a “big picture” can’t be implemented, but that’s not entirely clear until you work on the details. I say this as a guy who would love to simply be an idea man. But, in myself, I recognize this as work-avoiding laziness. Most times, when I take care of the details, the big picture takes care of itself. The reverse is not true.
So, I’ll leave you with a quote from the often overlooked Henry Winkler/Michael Keaton film from 1982, “Night Shift:”
Wanna know why I carry this tape recorder? To tape things. See, I’m an idea man, Chuck. I got ideas coming at me all day… I couldn’t even fight ’em off if I wanted. Wait a second… hold the phone! Hold the phone! [speaking into tape recorder] Idea to eliminate garbage. Edible paper. You eat it, it’s gone! You eat it, it’s outta there! No more garbage! . . . . What if you mix the mayonnaise in the can, WITH the tunafish? Or… hold it! Chuck! I got it! Take LIVE tuna fish, and FEED ’em mayonnaise! Oh this is great. [speaks into tape recorder] Call Starkist!