Hoosiers used to the big ideas of Gov. Mitch Daniels time in office may find themselves a tad parched as they wait for ideas from the early front-runner in the race to succeed him in November 2012.
Rep. Mike Pence leads a small pack of candidates for governor handily in campaign cash and enjoys the status of being the Republican establishment candidate in a GOP-dominated state.
But one of his first campaign promises, made the day before he kicked off his campaign last month, was that he won't talk policy until after the May 2012 Republican primary -- which he's widely expected to win.
"I was insulted," said Fishers businessman Jim Wallace, who is challenging Pence for the Republican nomination. "I think that presumes voters don't care or don't know that there should be a serious discussion."
Pence spokesman Matt Lloyd won't comment, and the Pence campaign won't release the names of Republicans who are working on his policy team and advising him on state issues. But the campaign isn't lacking for experience: Chris Atkins, Daniels' former budget aide, is running Pence's policy operation.Pence's lack of transparency about his plans if elected governor and who is helping him craft his policy positions instill no public confidence in him. This is rather strange behavior from a man who has had no shortage of opinions about how badly he thinks this country has been governed by the Washington decision-makers during his long tenure in Congress and prior to that as a radio talk show host. Pence's only saving is that his likely Democratic opponent, career politician/State House lobbyist John Gregg, is equally avoiding discussing his plans if elected governor. Gregg continues to run for governor as an exploratory candidate rather than make his candidacy official. He claims to be on "a statewide listening tour."