2:28 PM EDT, June 27, 2011
Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn attended Notre Dame. He might want to come back for a little refresher course in local and Indiana politics.
By now you may be aware of his column last week “Democrats and Dying Cities.”
In it he extols the economic wonders of Mitch Daniels’ policies over the last eight years and blames South Bend’s woes on a succession of bad decisions and policies under a continuing series of Democratic mayors. Really, it is just that simple.
Before some of you head to the wsbt.com e-mail inbox, please read on.
Mitch Daniels has done some good for Indiana, and South Bend mayors over the last nearly five decades have made some bad decisions.
But Mitch Daniels has been no friend to South Bend and Saint Joseph County, a subject not even mentioned by Mr. McGurn. In fact, I will venture to say that Daniels holds a special dislike for us. Why? His opponent is from South Bend, B. Patrick Bauer is from South Bend and Saint Joseph County was the centrifuge of opposition to two key early agenda items for Daniels: the sale of the toll road and the switch to daylight saving time.
Of course some of that opposition was irrational, but Daniels never did understand that the toll road means a heck of lot more to people here than it does to the folks in Marion or Monroe Counties. The same was true of the time issue.
Daniels and Saint Joseph County/South Bend was not exactly a marriage made in heaven.
McGurn also says that change may be coming because the likely next mayor, Democrat Pete Buttigeig is an outsider. That is not true. In fact, Buttigieg had more support from the camps of the same former mayors that McGurn savages than all the other candidates combined. Still, here’s hoping Buttigeig will be his own man and make a noticeable difference.
I have often said that the single most difficult job in elected politics is being mayor of a once thriving industrial city. There are no easy solutions and turn arounds are not around every corner.
In other words it is not simple, or simple-minded, like McGurn’s column.
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