Keeping the Republic
Saving America by Trusting Americans
By Mitch Daniels
Sentinel HC, Hardcover, 9781595230805, 272pp.
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
List Price: $26.95*
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Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has been called "the most presidential man in America." He has brought more change to his state in a few years than most see in decades.
During his tenure, Daniels turned a $700 million deficit into a billion dollar surplus, balanced Indiana's budget even during the recession, converted its once unattractive business climate into one of the strongest for private sector job growth.
The Hoosier state is now a model of good and efficient governance. Its public sector payroll is now the smallest per capita in the nation. And yet services have improved across the board. Even its Bureau of Motor Vehicles -- the ultimate symbol of dysfunctional bureaucracy - has been rated the best in the country.
Daniels has done this by focusing on government's core responsibilities, cutting taxes, empowering citizens, and performing what he calls an "old tribal ritual" - spending less money than his state takes in, while distinguishing between skepticism towards big government and hostility towards all government.
Unfortunately few politicians have the discipline or courage to follow his lead. And worse, many assume that Americans are too intimidated, gullible or dim-witted to make wise decisions about their health care, mortgages, the education of their kids, and other important issues. The result has been a steady decline in freedom, as elite government experts -- "our benevolent betters," in Daniels' phrase -- try to regulate every aspect of our lives.
Daniels bluntly calls our exploding national debt "a survival-level threat to the America we have known." He shows how our underperforming public schools have produced a workforce unprepared to compete with those of other countries and ignorant of the requirements of citizenship in a free society. He lays out the risk of greatly diminished long term prosperity and the loss of our position of world leadership. He warns that we may lose the uniquely American promise of upward mobility for all.
But, the good news is that it's not too late to save America. However, real change can't be imposed from above. It has to be what he calls "change that believes in you" -- a belief that Americans, properly informed of the facts, will pull together to make the necessary changes and that they are best- equipped to make the decisions governing their own lives. As he puts it:
"I urge great care not to drift into a loss of faith in the American people. We must never yield to the self-fulfilling despair that these problems are immutable, or insurmountable. Americans are still a people born to liberty. Addressed as free-born, autonomous men and women of God-given dignity, they will rise yet again to drive back a mortal enemy.
Mitch Daniels was elected Governor of Indiana in 2004 and re- elected in 2008. He was previously the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (a cabinet-level position) under President George W. Bush and a senior aide to President Ronald Reagan. He also spent many years in the private sector as a senior executive at Eli Lilly and Company and the CEO of one of the nation's most influential research centers, the Hudson Institute. He and his wife Cheri have four daughters and live in Indianapolis.
"Governor Daniels has emerged as one of our nation's leading voices for reform and common sense in government."
--Speaker of the House John Boehner
"The onetime Reagan White House political director and Bush White House budget chief is not your run-of-the-mill intellectual. His style is to be down- home, but his record of accomplishment is dazzling."
--David S. Broder, The Washington Post
"He's one of the brightest governors in America."
--New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
"[Daniels is] the rare politician telling it like it is...I would pay cash money to watch him debate Obama on these issues, and I suspect the Republic would be much the better for it."
--Joe Klein, Time
"Mitch is the only one who sees the stark perils and will offer real detailed proposals...He would be the anti-Obama.
--Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
"A principled but practical conservative who respects the intelligence of voters and would rather get something done than score political points."
--Steven Pearlstein, The Washington Post
"He does not tweet...But he is good at one thing in particular: governing."