INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana likes having the nation's highest portion of workers -- 20 percent -- in manufacturing, so five days before Delphi, the Michigan-based automobile parts manufacturer, entered bankruptcy, Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican who believes that ``conservatism can be active,'' called Delphi. He praised Indiana as a paradise for even more Delphi operations than are already there.
Michigan's Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, responded to Delphi's travails differently, denouncing Delphi's executives, Washington and globalization. In the game of entrepreneurial federalism -- states competing to lure businesses -- score one for the Hoosier State, which in the four years before Daniels became governor had a net job loss.
In the division between social conservatives, who emphasize nurturing virtue, and libertarian conservatives, who emphasize expanding liberty by limiting government, Daniels is with the latter. For example, regarding immigration, an issue that dramatizes this division, many social conservatives are restrictionists, but Daniels, whose state's population is, he says, ``getting older and not growing,'' welcomes immigrants who usually are ``young people with dreams -- a good development.''
After graduating from Princeton and Georgetown law school, Daniels came home to this city to work for its then-mayor, Richard Lugar. After 8 years as chief of Lugar's U.S. Senate staff, and two years as director of political operations in President Reagan's White House, Daniels came home again, to work in business and for a think tank for 13 years.
In 2001, he returned to Washington as President Bush's first director of the Office of Management and Budget. As the government's designated grinch, he said Congress' motto apparently is ``Don't just stand there, spend something.'' Sen. Ted Stevens was not amused. The Alaska Republican, who then chaired the Appropriations Committee and has cornered the market on curmudgeonliness, urged Daniels to ``go home to Indiana.'' Daniels did, not to soothe Stevens but to run for governor.
Hoosiers seem suspicious of metropolitans but in 2004 Daniels became the state's first governor from this city. Knowing that the devil is in budget details, ``the blade,'' as Daniels was known at OMB, set about: