Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Department of "Huh?" (Mitch Daniels a Fiscal Conservative? Department)

Amy Schatz writes:

Washington Wire: Indiana Voters Leaning Leftward?: When he worked at the White House, Mitch Daniels wasn't always the most popular guy in the room. It's not an uncommon problem for the head of the Office of Management and Budget, whose job includes telling the president and federal agencies how much less money they'll have to spend than they want.

That's one reason why Daniels, who as Indiana governor has spent a lot of time trying to balance the state's budget, probably won't be fazed by new poll from WISH-TV in Indianapolis, showing Hoosiers aren't very happy with him. Daniels, a Republican, was rated in the fair or poor categories by 57% of all respondents (although just 35% of Republicans). The poll of 800 likely voters conducted from Sept. 5 to Sept. 8 found that 55% think the country is headed in the wrong direction while 41% say its going the right way.

Daniels isn't up for re-election this fall. But three Indiana congressional seats are in play, which is why both Republicans and Democrats are pouring money and resources into the conservative state. Among local issues, voters appear to still be miffed about Daniels's decision to lease a northern Indiana toll road to an international conglomerate as well as the continuing drama over the state's effort to pick a time zone. Consequently, the answer to one poll question--"Would you like to see more Democrats or Republicans elected to Congress this year?"--may be somewhat troubling.

In all, 46% said they'd prefer more Democrats while 41% chose Republican. Among women, 50% preferred Democrats, and 35% favored Republicans.

But... but... but... everything I have heard--everything everyone I know has heard--is that Mitch Daniels did not do his job as OMB Director: that he was remarkably complaisant when anyone from White House Communications or Political Affairs wanted to raise spending or cut taxes. Certainly nobody I have talked to who worked in the Bush Treasury has said a good word for him, or has described him other than as an enabler of fiscal insanity.

That almost every OMB Director save Daniels has taken his job seriously doesn't mean that Daniels did. And I certainly haven't seen any signs.

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