Why, if you're a Republican, is there no limit to how much you can screw up and still expect to be taken seriously?
The Bush administration's budget director, Mitch Daniels, is resigning -- not because the shame of taking a well-managed federal budget and drowning it in a sea of red ink is finally too much for him to bear, and not because he's been driven from office by an outraged electorate, but because he thinks the voters of Indiana will reward him for the work he's done with the state's governorship. You'd think the voters of a state where the 2004 deficit is expected to be 8 to 9 percent of the budget would be wary of a deficit-creator like Daniels -- but, apparently, Daniels isn't worried, and he probably has no reason to be.
It's never a surprise when Republicans on the public payroll aren't held accountable for the actual work we pay them to do -- the press is generally so terrified by the prospect of being called "liberal" that it won't utter a word. For instance, we've all been having a lot of fun at William Bennett's expense recently, but why did he ever have credibility? He was our drug czar in the 1980s and the use of cocaine and crack skyrocketed; he was secretary of education and he did little or nothing to improve our schools, which were mediocre at best. And, of course, he served a president who had a reputation as a hater of fiscal irresponsibility even as he created massive deficits.
So Daniels will talk about fiscal prudence, without fear of contradiction (the linked article refers him as the "administration tightwad"), and will probably win the governorship in the state that gave us Dan Quayle and Dan Burton.