Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Personnel

Dispatches3Indiana Governor Mike Pence is taking some flack from friends and supporters for his recent public school policies and his expansion of Medicaid. Michelle Malkin is a fan — or so it would seem from her words here — but now she’s also a vocal critic because she thinks Mike is playing footsie with Common Core (see here). Recently Pence has also made a decision regarding the expansion of Medicaid that has brought some concern from fiscal conservatives (see here).

Pence’s solid credentials have led many to consider him a darkhorse for the 2016 presidential field — and this kind of talk has continued for many months (see here, here, here, here and here).

Being a governor is no small task, and one guy can’t get everything right — especially if he’s not listening to the right people. Veterans of politics at any level realize the the Old Book was right: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

If the decision is made to listen to the wrong people even the best of us can make some very big mistakes. No better example exists than the one made by Ronald Reagan when he chose his VP running mate in 1980. By putting GHWBush on the ticket instead of Jack Kemp, well, we’re still suffering the consequences. Who was Ron listening to? It can easily be argued that just that one decision gave us both Bill Clinton and Obama.

Back to Pence. Hey, Mike, you have a lot of fans out here but now that you’re talked about as presidential timber your decisions had better be the result of listening to the right policy advisors and not the wrong ones.

I’m sure good arguments are being made on all sides — but at the end of the day, in my experience, there’s almost always a majority or at minimum a plurality of agreement among committed conservative policy experts. If you trust the wrong people, the worst application of the “personnel is policy” cliché comes true.

I don’t presume to be an expert in many things but as a conservative Republican living in Illinois this is one area where my credentials have been hard-won. Illinois is where it is because of Illinois GOP “leaders” and big Illinois political donors on the right continually make the wrong decisions regarding personnel…I could write a book!

Mike, if you’d like a crash course reminder about this most elementary of things, allow me to suggest a short reading list — there’s some old Illinois inside baseball stuff here but ignore the names and absorb the principles:

Want change and reform? Personnel is policy

GOP 101: Personnel makes all the difference

GOP 101: Personnel – A variety of talents are needed

GOP 101: Personnel – A housecleaning is in order

Personnel is policy so the GOP’s personnel matters

Dear Chicago Tribune: Personnel Matters