Governing Isn’t a Game!

I wouldn’t know Glenda Ritz if I fell over her. I have no idea whether she is doing a competent job as Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, or–more accurately, whether she would be doing a competent job if the Governor and his cronies allowed her to do that job.

Here’s what I do know: she was elected with a lot more votes than Governor Pence received. And I am not the only person increasingly pissed by the games the Governor and legislature have been playing to keep her from doing the job she was elected to do–all in order to strip her office of its usual authority and make it incredibly difficult for her to do her job.

That doesn’t mean I approve of everything Ritz has done in return, but it is certainly clear who started this “tit for tat” that is consuming public resources and diverting time and energy from performance of the tasks We the People have a right to expect our elected officials to perform.

This unseemly effort to “cheat” when the “game” isn’t going your way is one more bit of evidence that our current crop of political actors are uninterested in actually governing. They run for office not because they want to do something, but because they want to be something.

Here’s the deal, Governor: you ran for office. Glenda Ritz ran for office. You were both elected. You don’t get to change the rules in order to ensure that she can’t do her job. She gets to fulfill the duties of her office, and if she doesn’t do that satisfactorily–something We the People will decide–we get to vote her out.

That works for you, too.


  1. It seems to me that the State Constitution created the elected positions. Does another elected officer have the right/power to take away the power of another elected officer? This whole mess doesn’t smell right to me. A lot like they do things in the “old south”.

  2. Many Indiana governors have complained that the number of state officials created by the State’s constitution and statutes prevent them from effectively administering the state. The governor who came the closest to controlling all of the executive branch was Paul V. McNutt, the greatest Democratic governor of Indiana. If I remember correctly, he convinced the legislature to set up three-member commissions to run each office headed by an elected executive official. One member was the elected official. The other two members were appointed by the governor. For what it’s worth (and I know it’s not much), I personally favor abolishing most of the elected executive offices and creating an executive much like the federal model. McNutt, for all practical purposes, did just that. Pence and the GOP leaders of the General Assembly, however, are trying to do something similar without legislative debate or approval. At least, McNutt’s plan was legitimatized with a law. Perhaps, Governor Pence should actually propose reforming the State’s executive branch. It might be a discussion worth having, but all of the current back-room dealing is unseemly and dishonest.

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