Indiana's Mitch Daniels - "Governor Privatize"

Taking her cue from liberal bloggers, reporter Monica Davey attempted to portray Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels as some out-of-control privatizer ("Former Bush Aide Fights Nickname: Gov. Privatize") in Saturday's paper.

"At this rate, critics of Gov. Mitch Daniels grouse, all of Indiana will be run by private corporations.

"What will be next, anti-Daniels bloggers demand. Will the governor hand over the keys to Indiana University and Purdue to some private consortium? Will he lease to a company the thousands of public toilets that dot the state?

"In his two and a half years in office, Mr. Daniels, who previously served in the Bush White House as budget director, has already placed in the hands of private companies plenty of public business: some welfare-applicant screening, running a prison and, most notably, operating the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road, which slices across the northern edge of the state.

Regardless of the misleading Times headline, Daniels didn't back away from his privatization policy. "And, backed by fellow Republicans who until last fall controlled both houses of the legislature, he has tried not to let it end there. Mr. Daniels has also called for new privately operated roads and for the leasing of the state's lottery. All this, he says, is in the interest of efficient delivery of state services.

"'We're just trying to solve our problems,' he said on a recent afternoon, seated at his desk, which could have been a tiny boat floating in the gaping sea of his enormous Statehouse office. 'We don't want to be anybody's poster child for anything.'

"Yet that is precisely how his critics now view him - as Governor Privatize.

"'We knew this would be part of his grand scheme,' said David Warrick, a union leader who represents 25,000 public workers in Indiana and Kentucky. 'He's bent on privatizing everything he can get his hands on.'"