Get to class, Hippie!SO the once scintillating sputter, petty thievery, and massive PR flummery that was the political career of Mitch "Spud" Daniels, one-time Governor of Indiana, grinds to a much-needed halt tomorrow, as the Trustees of Purdue University, the majority of whom were appointed by Mitch Daniels, announce their choice for the next President of the state's largest Ag college: Governor Mitch Daniels.
This is a choice which makes a whole lot of sense, assuming you're Mitch Daniels, or a Trustee of Purdue University.
Daniels has no academic record, or more accurately, one no longer than his police record while a Princeton undergrad with a nascent interest in the art of the deal. His education record--excuse my, there seems to be something lodged in my gorge--as Indiana governor consists of Procrustean budget cutting, jawboning state universities not to raise tuitions to cover the resulting shortfall (they complied, mostly, but tuition still rose more than inflation over the past seven years), and starting up his own for-profit online certificate mill. His intellectual record is long on the apodictic certainties of Friedmanomics 101, and short on open inquiry. His five favorite books were all written by Ayn Rand.
There's been a lot of discussion locally since word about the appointment leaked yesterday. Surprisingly, not all of it matched the remarkable faith in Daniels' leadership skills Hoosiers were supposed to have in droves. And Purdue is already an institution which over the past couple decades has developed a reputation for caring more about research grants, business connections, and self-promotion than undergraduate education.
And Mitch Daniels is a man whose vision of the future, if any, is fully in sync with that burgeoning tradition:
He believes a college education is worth it, he said, “but maybe not for everybody and not at any price.”
Daniels defended his administration’s record on higher education, saying that “we’ve been a big booster.”
“I proposed the biggest infusion of money to higher education anybody ever conceived of in this state. We think it would have been a billion dollars or more (by privatizing the Hoosier Lottery.) We couldn’t get the legislature to agree, but that should be a signal of how important it is.”
Or, y'know, maybe it could be a signal of how desperately he needed to camouflage his dismal education record at the start of his Presidential non-campaign.
In other words, Mitch Daniels got the brush from the Romney campaign, which possibly explains his "brave" criticism of Romney, one day after belatedly endorsing him, for not running the sort of campaign Mitch Daniels refused to run. Explains it to everyone but the Beltway press, I mean.
Still, it's surprising that Purdue could outbid every Randian corporation out there for the man's big-brained services. Ain't it?