Columnists

Here’s Hoping President Mitch Really Becomes President Mitch

Did you see the news that Purdue top man Mitch Daniels is stepping down?

Let me take a second to make something perfectly clear – I’m a big fan of our former governor. His book, Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans, came out a decade or so ago and was brilliant. His take on the state of politics, our national debt and several other topics couldn’t have been more right.

In addition, Daniels is a stand-up guy who calls it like he sees it.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I am hoping he’s leaving Purdue and considering a run for the White House. You may recall that he was wooed once before and decided against it for family reasons. Here’s one guy at least hoping that those family reasons have changed for the better and this is a possibility.

And remember, he’s also got Washington experience. He was the director of the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush and the White House Director of Political and Intergovernmental Affairs under Ronald Reagan. He’s 73 and as the 12th president of Purdue University, led the land grant school to unprecedented successes.

Like a lot of Noblesville kids in the ‘70s, I grew up an IU fan – a lot had to do with Bob Knight. But I was a fan of Coach Lou Watson’s Hurryin’ Hoosiers and stayed one after Big George McGinnis and Steve Downing went there (after leading Indianapolis Washington High School to an undefeated season and the state title).

All of which is to say when it came to Purdue, well, I still remember Knight’s TV show with Chuck Marlowe (father of our columnist John Marlowe) and the donkey Knight brought out as Purdue’s mascot. My stance softened on the Boilers when I was a senior and their tennis coach told me he thought I could make the team there (although no scholarship was offered). The IU coach didn’t even talk to me.

But silly fandom aside, Purdue is one of our state’s shining institutions. The cradle of astronauts was great long before Daniels, but it clearly has gotten better with his guidance. From freezing the tuition 11 years ago – a move that saved Purdue families a cool billion bucks – to his innovative Purdue Moves program, Daniels has kept Purdue golden.

It’s what he does. When he ran for governor (and keep in mind he had never held elected office before), former Sen. Luke Kenley told me that Daniels took the state by storm. Anyone remember the RV he drove all over the state and got people to sign it? Remember how he toured the state after being elected and stayed in peoples’ homes?

Daniels is a smart guy. He’s personable and he understands how to get things done. Not only that, but after reading his book it’s clear he dearly loves this country. Isn’t that exactly the kind of person we want – and need right now – leading this country? And don’t forget this, the unrest between Republicans and Democrats in Indiana seemed to ease up a lot when he sat in the governor’s office. He just has that ability to get people past the pointless stuff.

For the eight or nine of you who read these ramblings, it’s no secret I think this country is on the wrong path, or as my pal John Hammer says, we’re fixing to come up a bad cloud. Daniels is one of the very few guys, I think, who could pull all sides together to at least some degree – and more importantly, get us on a much better path.

Fingers crossed.

– Timmons is the chief executive officer of Sagamore News Media, the company that owns The Noblesville Times. He is a proud Noblesville High School graduate and can be contacted at ttimmons@thetimes24-7.com.