Mitch Daniels, Loving It

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 4 2011 2:05 PM

Mitch Daniels, Loving It

I was one of the reporters who tried to RSVP too late to Mitch Daniels's address at AEI today, but I watched the speech via the think tank's live stream. It was supposed to be about Daniels's education reforms and it really was about Daniels's education reforms. He started it off by joking about all the new attention -- which spiked after Haley Barbour bailed on 2012.

"Some pajama-clad blogger turned it into a major policy address," he said. When he was originally asked by AEI what he would talk about, "I said hell, I don't know. Best guess'd be education."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


The speech, accompanied by a slideshow, was a mixture of policy and politics. Daniels seemed to relish the pictures used by teacher's unions to attack his policies, and played an ad running in the state to support his reforms. He was on very safe policy turf, talking up an idea to pay students if they graduated from high school early and went to vocational school or community college, and praising the Obama administration.

"I want to salute, commend -- I really, really do -- the president and Sec. [Arne] Duncan," he said.

It wasn't until late in the Q&A that Daniels finally got some questions about national politics. He was pleased, he said, that the race was starting late and he was getting asked about it.

"I consider that a blessing," he said. "Unless you're a political professional or running a bed and breakfast in New Hampshire, it's a darn good thing we'll have a presidential election measured in months and not in years."

A reporter from The Weekly Standard asked Daniels to clear up comments he'd made on Monday about Afghanistan.

"What did I say?" asked Daniels.

"Oh, the struggle's not over," said the reporter.

"Well, I don't think that's all too deep a thought," said Daniels.

The anti-Daniels faction, such as it is, is populated by people who think he's not concerned with social issues and that he's too glib about foreign policy.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge


The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 5:07 PM One Comedy Group Has the Perfect Idea for Ken Burns’ Next Project
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.