There was a brief boomlet around the former Indiana governor before the 2012 election, but people quickly found out who he really was: Daniels was too boring, too wonky, too level-headed, too focused on fiscal policy, too unwilling to fight the culture wars. And as some observers noted, he was short.
He was, in other words, too competent and too sensible for a political office that, especially now, could benefit from some competence and common sense.
Since leaving the governor’s office, Daniels has stepped away from politics and taken the top job at Purdue University, which, as George Will wrote in 2016, now has the president the entire country should.
As president of Purdue, Daniels has preached the virtues of hard work and self-determination. He has also put the university itself on excellent footing. Since Daniels took the job in 2013, tuition has been frozen. Accounting for inflation, the Ohio University economist Richard Vedder estimates that the effect is something like a 10 percent reduction in tuition, even as costs at other universities have soared.