Daniels-Rice 2012? Not a Smart Answer at This Stage In The Game

Bookmark and Share After his wife gave the keynote address at an Indiana Republican State Party fundraiser, Governor Daniels accepted an invitation for drinks with 55 members of the highly active Students for Daniels presidential draft effort. The casual sit down took place at a bar several blocks away from the Marriot location where the state G.O.P. dinner was held.

The get together featured one on one conversations with members of the group and the main topic of discussion prompted by the Governor consisted mainly of hearing about what the college students plans for their own futures were. But it was reported by the conservative outlet The Weekly Standard that one student asked the Governor who he would lean towards selecting as a Vice President. Stipulating that his answer was only hypothetical, he offered up the name of former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as someone whom he wouldlike to pick.

While certainly not a declaration of who he would pick as his running mate if he were to run for and win the Republican presidential nomination, the choice affords us a positive glimpse of the Governors strategic political thinking and an indication of an instinct that does not bode well for his relationship with the conservative base of the Party that is needed to win the nomination.

On the political and strategic fronts, the most telling aspect about Daniels off the cuff favoritism of Condi Rice as a running mate, is a clear indication of Mitch Daniels continued close ties to the former political organization of President George W. Bush and that Mitch Daniels is concerned about his own lack of foreign affairs credentials. Apparently while Daniels is quite confident in his ability to win people over on matters of the budget and the economy, he is well aware of the need to establish an overall ability to cover all the bases if he became the Republican candidate for President. The addition of Condoleeza Rice to a Daniels candidacy would certainly go a long way in bringing the type of foreign affairs credentials that can compensate for any perceived lack experience that Daniels might have in that area.

But as much as a Rice vice presidency might help Daniels to cover all the bases in a general election for President, among Republicans, her selection would also become explosively divisive. On Rices supposed strong suit, foreign affairs and national security, many conservatives, particularly neo-conservatives, claim that as Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice opposed the surge in Iraq that ultimately turned our effort there around for the better. But at the same time, Rice was a proponent of the Clear, Hold, Build, Strategy in Iraq that Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush opposed. In the end it was this strategy which proved to be the key to the successful use of those deployed in the surge

While neo-cons will have a mixed argument for and against Rice, social conservatives will be less divided in their opposition to her. For social-conservatives, Rice has gone on record with a position on abortion that they view as unacceptably pro-choice. While she holds her own personal opposition to abortion, she states that she is uncomfortable with the federal government being involved in the issue, however she does support parental consent and opposes the practice of late term abortions. Still, this will not satisfy the hardcore movement conservatives who already doubt Daniels commitment to traditional conservative positions on social issues.

This is something which if Daniels did become the presidential nominee, would erupt into very public disruptive divisions at the Republican national convention. And no matter how it was handled at the convention and in the days to follow, the selection of a pro-choice Vice President and the aggressive opposition to such a decision would dominate headlines and overwhelm the very economic issues that Mitch Daniels could win the election on, by relegating them to obscurity. Although the media frenzy that would ensue upon the creation of a such a deep division within the G.O.P. would eventually die down, it would still successfully halt any momentum coming out of the convention and ultimately, on Election Day, leave a small but significant number of conservatives staying at home and not voting, or voting for a third Party candidate.

At the same time, the selection of a pro-choice Vice President on the Republican ticket will not persuade any pro-choice Democrats or Independents to vote Republican.

Of course it is very possible that Condoleeza Rice could change her position and decide that the government should be involved in the issue of life. Mitt Romney did. That would not necessarily make Right-to-Life voters support Rice for Vice President, but it would do much to prevent them from opposing her having the number two spot on the ticket.

Either way, what is most important to understand here, is that Mitch Daniels made a big mistake by answering the question about who he would hypothetically like to pick as his running mate. The issue is one that is totally inappropriate as a topic of discussion for someone who has supposedly not yet made a decision about whether or not they will even be in a position to select a running mate. And in the case of Mitch Daniels specifically, after all the skepticism that his remark about having a truce on social issues produced among the conservative base of the G.O.P., to inject the controversy of a pro-choice running mate into the primary debate, was a horrible political misstep.

As a conservative who hopes that Mitch Daniels can prove himself in an open and honest debate and contest for our support, I know that Mitch Daniels is conservative both fiscally and socially. His record speaks much louder than any words do. The last people in the world that have been placated or pleased by the decisions Mitch Daniels made, are those of the likes of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, or big unions. On social issues, he has been one of the most reliable and productive leaders that conservatives have. But it is the perception created by a twisting of his words which makes any campaign by him for the support of the social conservatives, an uphill battle. In my estimation, Mitch Daniels can certainly overcome any steep hills, but he need not unnecessarily burden himself with baggage that will make his climb to the top of the mountain a longer and harder process. Affording the opportunity to let slip that a pro-choice running mate is your preferred choice for a running mate did not make things any easier and was totally unnecessary.

Not only do we not know how much serious consideration Daniels gave to his response to the question of who he would pick for Vice President, no one even knows if Condoleeza Rice would willingly allow herself to be considered for the position.

But now, it doesnt matter. Like it or not, this casual but private, hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question, will come up again, and again, and again. By answering the question, Daniels just injected Condoleeza Rice in to the 2012 presidential election, and he did so at a time, and in a way that wont help him much.

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Handling of Cheri Daniels Speech is Quite Telling About Governor Daniels’ Decision

Bookmark and Share Over 1,100 Republican activists crammed the Indianapolis Marriot for an annual G.O.P. fundraiser that featured Indiana First Lady Cheri Daniels as the keynote speaker. The mere fact that Cheri Daniels accepted such an engagement fueled speculation about the likelihood of her husband, Governor Mitch Daniels, leaning towards a run for President.

Cheri Daniels’ 6 year tenure as Indianas First Lady has been marked by her reluctance towards participating in major public appearances. While she has been an active First Lady who has spearheaded literacy efforts, promoted volunteerism, and religiously participated in Indiana traditions like it state fair, the political spotlight is something that she has shied away from. Given that history, with about a year left to her husbands term limited tenure as Governor, Cheris delivery of a speech at a major, purely partisan political event, seemed uncharacteristic of someone getting ready to retire to private life.

But despite the suspicion stirred by her accepting to give the keynote address at the State G.O.P. fundraiser, as promised by the Daniels camp, the speech itself did not give any hints about what Governor Daniels has described as his familys decision to run for President. Keeping in her nature, Cheri Daniels delivered a purely non-political speech that took listeners on a tour of everyday life in Indiana as seen through her eyes.

Prior to that verbal tour, to chants of Run Mitch, Run, amid a sea of green and white signs that read the same and were being waved with frantic enthusiasm, Governor Daniels took to the stage to introduce his wife. In his remarks, he stated that despite the expectations of others, they would not be hearing any news on the presidential front. The same point was mentioned by Mrs. Daniels in her own opening remarks as she indicated that those who were in attendance for such a reason, would be terribly disappointed.

Still though, as the evening unfolded, the question of whether or not Governor Daniels will run for President was the ever present elephant in the room and by nights end, that elephant only grew bigger with the Daniels camps aggressive attempts to avoid the question. As seen in the video report below, members of the Governors staff stopped short of using physical force to dissuade reporters from asking Cheri Daniels any questions about the Governors decision.

This strong handed approach to avoiding the question raises a methinks thou doth protest too much syndrome that is indicative of the intention to eventually carry out a well designed announcement and roll out of a presidential candidacy.

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Mitch Daniels Makes a Point To President Obama?

Bookmark and Share Before President Obama delivered a speech in Indiana, on the economy, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels caught up with the President as he got off of Air Force 1.

It is not yet been disclosed what the two men, and possibly two opponents for the presidency in 2012 spoke about and we’ll probably never know. The standard answer to that question in politics is “I will not discuss the private conversations I have with someone”.But in what was either a stroke of genius on the part of Governor Daniels or just a perfectly timed stroke of luck for him, an AP photographer snapped a shot of the two engaged in conversation, that implies a thousand strong words for a potential Daniels campaign. As seen below, the photo gives the impression of a confident man sending a strong message to the President. It can almost be construed as though Daniels is “setting the President straight” on something.

Photos by Charles Dharapak/AP

From the smile on the Presidents face, I am sure Mitch Daniels was not being in anyway disrespectful or out of line. Knowing the nature of Daniels, he was probably telling him a joke that was only enhanced by the pointing finger. But Mitch Daniels is quite a shrewd man and he knew that many highly publicized photos would come from this briefmeet and greet. As such, Daniels may have quite intentionally created a situation where his finger in the Presidents face was perfectly natural and appropriate in regards to the discussion he was having . But at the same time, he knew that the image of that one moment in time, could help create the impression of a man who is not afraid to speak his mind and set the President straight, something which many Republican primary and caucus would love to do themselves.

Whether the finger pointing gesture was designed or not, the image speaks louder than words, even if we dont really know what the image is really a reflection of. In many ways this seemingly innocuous image could become one of those totally unexpected turning points.

Who could forget this image:

This picturewas taken during a photo-op that the Dukakis campaign intended to use in order to convey the Massachusetts Governors military gravitas. But its actual translation wound up creating a clown-like impression that made it seem like Dukakis could not be taken seriously as a Commander-in-Chief.

Images that happened to have been caught at just the right moment, have helped to change the course of many events in history, be they intentional or accidental. So I would not just write off this photo of Mitch Daniels addressing the President. Eventually, be it by design of a future Daniels presidential campaign, or through a proliferation of its reproduction in the blogosphere, this picture could at some point be responsible for sealing just the right image of Daniels in the minds of Republican votersand possiblymake the difference in who they nominate to run for President.

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Will the Killing of bin Laden, Effect Mitch Daniels’ Decision to Run for President?

Bookmark and Share Although the recent events that led to the execution of Osama bin Laden are likely to postpone any announcement to run, they do not seem to have become a factor in Mitch Daniels’decision itself. In fact, the Indiana Governor isdefinitely still seriously considering a run for President and he is doing so in a way that is bit more obvious than in the past. During a Tuesday morning interview with Fox News, Daniels admitted to recently discussing the issue with former President George W. Bush, but he refused to divulge the details of that discussion.

In the same Fox interview, when asked if he would like to run, Daniels responded;

“Would I like to? No,” . “What sane person would like to? I’m not one of those peoplethat sat around scheming and dreaming [about running for President]. I’ve agreed at the behest of a lot of people to give it some thought.”

Daniels is a rather humble and understated gentleman. That being the case, it is more than likely true that he has not spent his adult life cutting throats and stabbing people in the back in an attempt to climb the political ladder of power. He has also probably not been carrying out his gubernatorial agenda in Indiana around the desire to craft a perfect platform to launch a presidential candidacy from. In other words, Mitch Daniels has been quite sincere in his politics. He has stood for what he believes in and what is best for the people of his state. Such sincerity is admirable and even desired. But does such sincerity allow one to be elected President?.

As noted by Governor Daniels close friend, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, you must have a real fire in the belly to run for President. Barbour claimed that he was unsure that he had a big enough fire in his belly to go for it himself. And by all indications, Mitch Daniels does not either. He openly admits that running for President is not a passion of his.

YetDaniels sincere passion for the issues still allows him to continue to contemplate a presidential run. He has made it clear that if the G.O.P. field lacks a candidate that he believes can address, prioritize, and advance the solutions to our dire debt and economic problems, that would force him to run. So the question becomes what factors would qualify for determining thatall the existing potential candidates lack the ability to address our economic problems? One must also ask that if he is still considering a run for President, does that mean that he is convinced that other likely and possible candidates such as Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and others cannot properly address these problems? Or is he simply not convinced that any of these names can beat President Obama?

If Mitch Daniels is anything, he is a realist and as realist, his decision is more than likely a mix of both his sincere passion for the issues, along with politics. This is why he is consulting with people like former President Bush. Daniels must decide if what he brings to table canfill any needed voids and if he and his leadershipqualities can catch on to the type of popular enthusiasm that will allow him to consolidate the Republican base, and enough ofthe generalelectorate, to be not only competitive, but to win. Daniels character and apparent hesitance to run makes it painfully obvious that he does not want to run simply for any fame or fortunes. He is not considering a run to make a specific point or for the purpose of insuring that his name is considered for a cabinetposition in the next presidential Administration. It is clear that Daniels will only run if he is quite confident in his ability to not only win the Republican presidential nomination, but to win the presidency as well.

Given that Mitch Daniels has, out of fairness to his supporters, promised to make his decision sooner rather than later, the current indifference concerning the evolving Republican presidential field makes it quite possible for him to automatically become a frontrunner with strong odds for success. So between timing and the criteria he has set for a presidential candidacy of his own, the likelihood of Daniels presidential campaign seems quite good at the moment. However if such a decision to run is going to be announced anytime soon, it is not likely to occur this week when he makes a major speech on education at American Universityon Wednesday.

To announce that one will try to eventually oppose President Obama during a week when the nation is euphoric over President Obamas single greatest, bipartisan, achievementthe capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, would be an indication of a severe lack of good political instincts. If Daniels is to make announcement any this week, it would be to declare himself to not be a candidate for President. Anything other than that would be extremely poor timing. This week, politics is owned by President Obamas and the issue that makes it his, deserves to play itself out before we return to blatant partisan politics. For this reason, if Mitch Daniels has not yet made up his mind, he has more time to do so.And even if he hascome to adecision, do not expect it to be announced for another two or three weeks.

I personally believe Mitch Daniels will run. If he does not intend to run and knows it, he has nothing to gain from postponing the announcement of that decision. And within the self-imposed timeframe he has made to announce a decision, there remain few factors or conditions that could change the criteria which has caused Daniels to still continue consider a run for the presidency.

That, in addition to the promise of his candidacy gives me hope. The G.O.P. and the nation will only benefit from his candidacy. While there are in fact a number of competent and even promising candidates, the addition of Mitch Daniels in to the contest will force an intense debate on the issue that poses a greater threat to our nation than terrorism had. Our national debt is so severe that it has seeped its way in to therealm of national security . And it is on our national debt and the budget and economy that revolve around it, that Mitch Daniels is of the stature that makes him a leading national voice. For that reason, his input in the presidential election process is quite valuable.

But beyond that, the very qualities that may make Mitch Daniels an unlikely presidential candidate, are the same qualities which may make him the perfect person to run against Barack Obama. Unlike Obama, Mitch Daniels has not plotted a path to the White House all his life. He has not spent years of basing decisions and votes on positioning himself for higher office. He has not carried out his responsibilities, bethey as an aide to Ronald Reagan, as a national budget director, or as a Governor, for the purpose of obtaining the spotlight and getting national attention. Instead he has a lifetime record of committing himself to his beliefs and responsibilities, and doing a good job for the sake of the people he does the job for. Mitch Daniels lack of drive for self-promotion is uncharacteristic for a politician, but it is also the sign of a needed quality that many of our political leaders lack ..sincerity.

Mitch Daniels sincerity may just prove to be his most attractive quality as a candidate. He puts the issues before himself and brings more substance than flash to the table. Yet he has a capacity to appeal to people by connecting to them through his vision, his confidence, and a down-to-earth mannerism which makes people comfortable with him. Indeed these are the very qualities which allowed him to win a landslide reelection in Indiana. That despite the fact that his 2008 reelection as Governor occurred during a very anti-Republican year and in a state that went for President Obama at the top of the ticket.

All of this makes Mitch Daniels the true anti-Obama and if President Obama and his policies remain as unpopular as they have been till now, nominating a candidate that contrasts President Obama in as many ways as possible, may be the best way for the G.O.P. to go.

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Haley Barbour Will Not Be a Candidate for President

Haley Barbour

Barbour Out

Bookmark and Share In what is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions to date that has been made in the evolving Republican presidential nomination contest, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has today issued a statement announcing that he will not be a candidate for President in 2012. Barbour credits his decision to an uncertainty about the “fire in the belly” that he has for the job of President. He notes that the job requires a ten year committment “to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else.” He adds that his supporters deserve no less and without complete certainty for such a committment on his, he can not persue it in good conscience. (see complete statement below this post)

The announcement frees up much of the money and support that up to now how his by tied up by the possibility of a Barbour candidacy. As the ultimate political insider, Barbour’s ties to the G.O.P. establishment has helped to keep many from picking sides in the evolving race and fromplacing money behind any of the emerging candidacies.

WhileBarbour’s potential run has done little to keep any wiling Republicansfrom getting in to the race,this announcement will have a profound effect on Mitch Daniels, the popular, term limited Governor of Indiana.

Governors Daniels and Barbour are close personal friends. The two men go way back to the days of the Reagan Administration. With Barbour out, the chances that Daniels is in has increased ten fold.

Daniels has proven himself to be aneffective and exemplary conservative leader but his greatest quality is his prowess with numbers and budgets and conservative economics. He is a budget guru whois the total anti-Obama and a perfect potential Republican nominee. But Daniels has not been eager to declare his own candidacy. Instead he insisted that he is serious considering it and will essentiallymake who is or isn’t running, the determining factor. According to Daniels, if the right leadershipwith the right solutions to the greatest problems facing this nation, do not present themseleves, than he will be inclined to run. With his friend Haley now out of the race and out of the way, Daniels is free to decide that the right leadership has not yet presented itself in the emerging Republican field, and so he will in fact run.

In a recent post, I concluded that even if Haley Barbour runs, Mitch Daniels will too. The fact that Barbour is not running, makes it much more likely that Daniels will. According to Governor Daniels, that decision will come soon after the Indiana concludes its legislative session.

As for exactly why Haley Barbour has decided agaisnt his presidential bid,it is not likely that he doesn’t have the “fire in the belly” when it comes to the presidency. Barbour is a political animal who thrives on politics, both the campaining and the legislative and policy back and forth. Part of the decision has more to do with the lack of traction that his potential candidacy has been gaining. Despite aggressive behind the scenes campaigning especially in South Carolina and Forida, the Governor has not been racking up substantial support and his poll numbers have been unable to break the low single digits. As such, Barbour is most likely telling the truth when he calims he is uncertain about just how committed he is to a campaign. For while Barbour certainly has obsatcles in between him and the White House, they are not insurmountable. But Haley Barbour and his family have probably concluded that they may not have the desire to work as hard as it might require to overcome them.

Haley Barbour’s Statement

“I will not be a candidate for president next year. This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.

“Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign. Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity.

“I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts. If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.

“A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.

“This decision means I will continue my job as Governor of Mississippi, my role in the Republican Governors Association and my efforts to elect a new Republican president in 2012, as the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful.”

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Mitch Daniels Urged To Decide Soon

Bookmark and Share An editorial in The Exponent, Perdue University’s student run newspaper, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is urged to make decision on whether or not to run for President, sooner rather.

According to the students at Perdue, “By drawing out his decision, Daniels is not helping the people of Indiana as their governor nor the rest of the country as a potential presidential candidate.”

That premise is based on what the student run newspaper claims is Daniels’ ability to bring more credibility to the race than the other Republican candidates. The thinking here is that Palin, Bachmann, and others Mitch Daniels is not about to go on a “crusade” against social issues. That may be so, but Mitch Daniels has never said that social issues won’t be discussed by him. He has merely pointed out that our nation’s fiscal woes should be the priority.

The editorial suggests that Daniels may make his decision to run known on May 4th, when he is scheduled to give a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Daily Caller Calls it Well On Mitch Daniels

Bookmark and Share I am not big on using White House 2012 to simply repeat what has appeared elsewhere but a recent essay on Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels by Alexis Levinson of the Daily Caller warrants mention here.

Levinson offers a very insightful synopsis of Governor Daniels, the elected official, the candidate, and the man. The piece will at the very least, pique your curiosity about this rather understated man from Americas heartland and it will leave you understanding why Mitch Daniels will be a top tier candidate if he runs. For my part, while I have several horses in this race, Daniels is one of my favorites. In addition to being the perfect anti-Obama, Mitch Daniels is one of the few Republicans to consider for President who, as a candidate, would have many of the things that other candidates will lack but are wanting, and doesnt have many of the things that other candidates wish they didnt have but are stuck with.

In her piece Levinson does not by any means gives Daniels a free pass. She offers both the compliments and criticisms of both Daniels admirerers and detractors.But it also offers a glimpse of the type of political atmosphere which Mitch Daniels would bring into the room if he does actualy run for the presidential nomination. It is an article that should not be missed. Read it here.

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Mitch Daniels’ Victories in the Pacific Northwest. Real or Imagined?

Bookmark and ShareOn Sunday, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels won a straw poll of Republican leaders and activists at an annual meeting of the Oregon G.O.P.. Back in January, at a similar gathering in Washington State, Mitch Daniels won their straw poll too. It has been reported that these victories were achieved without any campaigning by Governor Daniels or any known organized effort on his behalf. So the question is, why is the Governor from the Midwest, so popular with the Republican establishment of the Pacific Northwest?

Interestingly, in both Washington and Oregon, there seems to be a bit of a consensus that it is Governor Daniels prowess with his state’s budget, and even more responsible than that, it seems to be his successful efforts in curtailing the abuses of big unions.

In an interview with White House 2012, when asked what accounts for Daniels’ popularity among Republican activists in the Northwest, Oregon National Committeeman and founder of the Republican National Committee’s Conservative Caucus, Solomon Yue, Jr., stated;

“I believe Northwestern Republicans appreciate the fact that Governor Daniels had used his executive order to strip state employee unions of their collective-bargaining power and the ability to collect dues by payroll deduction six years ago. He has achieved what most Republican governors are still fighting for – curtailing the collective-bargaining power of public-sector unions.”

Mr. Yue recently wrote a Washinton Times op-ed on Daniels’ handling of unions.

Yue is not alone in his thinking. On the condition of anonymity several Republican County Chairman in both Washington and Oregon, independently confirm Yue’s opinion as to why Daniels is popular among Republicans in the Pacific Northwest. One conservative Washington County Republican chair who voted for Tim Pawlenty in the January 31st straw poll, says that those who voted in the Republican gathering in Washington State, “looked at his [Mitch Daniels] ability to bring a state that had as a big a budget mess as Indiana, and bring it into good fiscal circumstances, and liked what they saw and voted for him” They add that what Daniels did Indiana “was impressive”.

The same G.O.P. leader also credits Daniels popularity in the region to the fact that the wave that the nation saw in 2010, didn’t make it to Washington state. They add, “Washington and Oregon have a substantial moderate influence in them”. Another point made was that the Republican conference in Washington that made Daniels the winner of their straw poll “had a higher percentage of young people in attendance and they are more moderate of what is typical.”

But a former Republican operative and leader in Washington State’s Pacific County has a different opinion. They tell White House 2012 the following;

“Mitch Daniels is not that popular in Washington and Oregon. He is relatively unknown.. except among political wonks.”

That same figureadds that those in attendance at the Washington and Oregon conferences “were NOT the Republican Committees that voted in a straw poll. They claim that these events…….

“were attended by a wide variety of center-right political activists. They are not part of the Republican Party. They are organized and sponsored by conservative and Republican political operatives”

Theformer leader and stillGOP insider adds;

“The attendees consist of politically minded people who favor fiscal conservatives. The nature of the conferences tends not to focus on social conservative issues. Hence, the people who attend are somewhat like the candidate.”

This explanation tends to make a bit more sense. For while Washington and Oregon may have their own problems with public service unions, they are no worse off than other states which are seeing similar problems. Therefore, I can’t see why the way Mitch Daniels handled unions in his state, would stand out so much more among Republicans in the Pacific Northwest than it does, say in the South or states like Iowa.

But the opinions I have gathered confirm a few things. First, they do make it clear that Mitch Daniels has a solid reputation among Republican activists on fiscal issues, a still most important one as we move closer to the 2012 election. It also proves that Mitch Daniels still has some problems with social conservatives. This is in itself odd because while Mitch Daniels actually has one of the most socially conservative records of all the possible Republican presidential contenders, he is not known for his political stances on those issues which he once famously stated that Republicans should “call a truce” on. That remark has hurt him among social conservatives who now doubt Daniels’ commitment to the issues important to them. While this may not help Daniels with the far right base of the Party, it does help him in what one Republican county chairman from Oregon calls their “moderate” base.

The funny thing is that the far right might eventually come to see strength in Mitch’s, ‘actions speak louder than words’ approach to their social agenda. They might also come to understand that what Mitch meant by his call for a truce, is that we must prioritize and right now the priority is jobs, our fragile economy, and our crushing national debt.

The fact that such things are a priority for Mitch Daniels are the very same reasons why the more moderate “higher percentage of young people” who attended the recent Republican gathering in Oregon, tend to support Mitch. It may also eventually be realized that if Republicans are going to remain competitive as we move forward, they will need these younger, more moderate voters behind them, as they are with Mitch Daniels.

Either way, Mitch Daniels’ straw poll victories in the Pacific Northwest are not necessarily representative of the opinion on the street, but it does show that he has some committed activists who may be important in organizing at the grassroots level. And while the results of the Washington and Oregon straw polls may not be a true precursor of things to come, one thing is quite clear, Mitch Daniels’ reputation on economic matters, budgets and his handling of unions, precedes him and it helps him. It helps among Republican of all stripes.

In Oregon, another Republican County leader who did not attend the recent Dorchester event where the Republican straw poll was taken, said she was “surprised” by the results but added “the more I learn about Mitch Daniels, the more I am impressed by him”.

It remains to be seen if the Daniels’ winning streak in the Northwest corner of the nation can be maintained elsewhere. Other straw polls of similar Republican activists in places like Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire have not produced the same winning results. But that could change if Mitch Daniels becomes an actual presidential candidate. However; that decision may now lie in the hands of Democrats in the Indiana state legislature. Mitch Daniels has promised not to make a decision on a run for President till the end of the Indiana state legislative session which is suppose to be in April. But now, thanks to a confrontation between them and Daniels on the issue of unions, Democrats are holding the Daniels agenda hostage and risk extending the legislative session too long for him to enter the presidential race.

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Mitch Daniels Wins Oregon Republican Contest

Bookmark and Share At an annual gathering of Oregon Republicans, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels won a presidential straw poll.

Of 225 votes cast, Daniels won 66 votes to Mitt Romneys 51 and Sarah Palins 41 votes.

In an interview with the Oregonian, Republican political consultant Rick Thomas accredited Daniels win to what he called wonky political insiders who are attracted to the conference.

According to reporter Jeff Mapes, Rick Thomas made it clear that Nobody really had any organizing going on at this point. At these type of state Party events straw polls are heavily campaigned at by the campaigns of the potential candidates who lobby participants for their vote. The fact that there was no coordinated effort behind the Daniels win, makes the results even more interesting. Could Mitch Daniels actually be rising to the top of the field naturally?

A few weeks ago, a similar straw poll in Washington state also produced winning results for Daniels.

The unmanaged coincidence of these results begs the question, what makes Mitch Daniels so strong among the G.O.P. activist base in the Northwest of the nation? The next question is can Daniels translate whatever is responsible for the results in Oregon in Washington, in other regions of the nation, like the North East, Mid-West and South.

If so, the G.O.P. could have itself a nominee and not even realize it yet.

Of course Mitch Daniels would have to run to become the nominee and although that decision was expected in April, it could be delayed or derailed by his state legislature which risks dragging out the legislative session which Daniels said would have to end before he makes a decision on the presidency.

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Mitch Daniels: Providing Economic Security Rather Than Hopeless Change in the 2012

Bookmark and Share As terrorism misleadingly fades from the headlines, and the lack of economic security and proliferation of national debt surpasses it as the greatest security threat to the United States, Americans are floundering in an almost hopeless sense of insecurity. This insecurity is made evident by such things as talk and fear of inflation, a double dip recession, continued unemployment rates that approach double digits, and in election results that have the American electorate erratically swinging firmly toward one political Party, and then the other, from one election to the next.

As such, as we approach the 2012 presidential election, it should be understood that aside from the intricacies and specifics of any one issue, the ability to exploit that overriding sense of insecurity is what may be the key to victory in 2012. While specifics are important and while the need for details and clearly laid out plans surely exist, todays attention deficit disorder dominated American society has a very short attention span when it comes to political minutia. This is indeed part of the reason why Hope and Change was so successful in 2008. Aside from then Senator Obamas desire to redistribute the wealth, most Americans, particularly younger Americans, relished the thought of hope and change and such phrases as redistribute the wealth lacked as much meaning to them than did the catchier Obama campaign slogan.

In 1980, while Ronald Reagan offered his own specifics, they were buoyed by his optimistic themes about restoring faith in America once again. Such thematic campaigns often win the day and in 2012, the same can again be the case by tapping into similar plays on our emotions. But whom among the potential names in the evolving Republican presidential field can do so on the issue of the economy, from a foundation so solid that their words can be believed and seen as more than just mere rhetoric?

Insofar as the issues du jour .the economy, the budget, debt, unemployment, etc, etc, several names have the ability to tap in to the economic insecurities that Americans have about our nations future. Haley Barbour and Rick Perry come to mind. So do the names of Jim DeMint and Jon Huntsman. All of these men are viewed as strong deficit hawks. Jim DeMint has accrued his record as such in the Senate while Barbour, Perry and Huntsman have put together records earning them that description as the Governors of Mississippi, Texas and Utah, respectively. Other names can also compete among them, but all those names bring to the table either aesthetics or other issues that will be hard to overcome in the reality of todays politics.

Barbours heavy Southern drawl oozes the type of White, Southern, Male, Confederate, image that can be hard to sell outside of Dixie. Governor Rick Perry has less of that same drawl, but enough to remind Americans of his predecessor, former Texas Governor and President George W. Bush. Selling another Texan so soon after G.W. may be another hard sell. Former Utah Governor and soon to be former Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman has different problems. Statements in support of gay rights and same sex marriage that he made as Governor of conservative Utah, may hamper his ability to overcome the social conservatives in his own Party. And while Jim DeMint would not have such a problem with social conservatives, he would certainly encounter an extremist image problem among the broader electorate.

All potentially powerful names on the economy come with their own unique set of drawbacks. Mitt Romneys superb business background and decent economic record in Massachusetts is drowned out by the creation of what is seen as the precursor to Obamacare. New Jerseys Chris Christie could be a promising prospect, but he has been in office for barley two years and continues to claim that short of suicide, he can do no more to make it clear that he is not running in 2012.

But there is one name among just about all others that lacks the baggage that others do not. One name simply radiates security and economic stability. One name should please TEA Party movement members, moderates and conservatives alike. It is that of Mitch Daniels, the two term Governor of Indiana.

Mitch Daniels is a quiet doer. He does not rattle the cages for the sake of making noise and he does not seek to be a revolutionary figure. He simply seeks to do things right and since becoming Governor of Indiana in 2004, Mitch Daniels has been doing everything right.

When he first assumed office, Daniels inherited an $800 million deficit and by the time he was running for reelection in 2008, that deficit was turned in to a $1.3 billion surplus. And while governments in most other states have increased in size, Mitch Daniels has shrunk both the size and cost of government. Currently the state its smallest number of state employees since 1983. And while reducing the existing size of government he also reduced the growth rate of state spending from 5.9 percent to 2.8 percent. All of which had much to do with his having once turned an $800 million deficit into a $1.3 billion surplus.

Governor Daniels has also created what is considered one of the best business environments in the nation and while Indiana has not been immune from the national recession and the double hit of Obamanomics, its unemployment rate has for the most part remained below the high national average. Such masterful handling of his own states economy can and will go very far in offering Americans the sense of economic security and leadership that they are crying out for but not finding.

It is part of the reason why Mitch won his 2008 reelection by an 18% margin. Not a bad margin of victory, especially when you consider the fact that at the same time, a majority of Indiana voters pulled the lever for Barack Obama for President. Furthermore; while more than 94% of all African Americans who voted, voted for President Obama, Mitch Daniels received 20% of those same African-American voters. That is an unusually high percentage for any Republican anywhere. But on top of that, the makeup of Mitch Daniels reelection victory was comprised of 51 percent of the youth vote, 67 percent of the elderly, 57 percent of independent voters and even 24 percent of the Democrats in the state. All of which means that Mitch Daniels has crossover appeal.

Generally a low-key, unassuming man, Daniels doesnt package himself as some sort of political rock star. He is the anti-Obama who avoids the trappings of many politicians who invoke the expertise of handlers. He writes his own speeches, and in many cases, his own campaign ads too. And while his speeches may lack some of the jingoisms and flare that wrap his words up in brightly covered packages, he does speak from the heart and addresses the issues in quite substantive detail. But at the same time, Daniels speeches do convey an earthy, down-home, heartland appeal that President Obama lacks.

Daniels once stood before his state legislature and told them you dont know who was naked until the tide goes out. The remark was made in regards to the fiscal condition of Indiana, the state he has governed for 7 years now. It eluded to the fact that as the tides of the economies of the nation and Indianas neighboring states went out, Indiana was found to be wearing clothes while the others were naked. Those clothes were there because Mitch Daniels did not strip the people of Indiana of their economic future and security. The same can not be said of President. Which is why for all the right reasons Mitch Daniels is the perfect anti-Obama for Republicans to run in 2012.

In the final analysis, while there are far too many variables for anyone to accurately and confidently say who will actually be the Republican presidential nominee, I foresee the possibility of a scenario which could lead Mitch Daniels to not only the Republican presidential nomination but the presidency itself. But much of this scenario relies upon two factors. First is that President Obama continues to falter and that he fails to ever fully gain the confidence of the majority of American voters on two issues, the economy and his fervent liberal ideological bend. The other is that Mitch Daniels goes through a nomination process which ultimately proves him to be the true anti-Obama. It also relies on one other factor .the one that has Mitch Daniels actually throw his hat in the ring.

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Mitch Daniels Discusses His Drug Related Arrest

Bookmark and Share Back in 1970, a young , college kid named Mitch Daniels was arrested for possession of marijuana and following a plea bargain, was fined $350.00 for disorderly conduct.

The incident has been no secret. In fact in the interview below this account Daniels states that he admitted the incident when he applied for his first job. According to Daniels as it turns outt he believes it was the best thing he ever did because had he not been honest about it, he would never have gotten that job. It would be safe to also add that his career may have then taken a much different path had he not gotten that job.

This episode in Daniels’ life comes up now because he recently volunteered it in an interview with his the Daily Princetonian the university newspaper of his alma mater Princeton.

It also probably comes because if one wishes to run President it is best to turn what could be problematic, in to water under the bridge and the only way for Mitch to do that is to let it pass now rather than later. If Mitch Daniels was not open and honest about such a past transgression, he probably would have never been elected Governor. But as it turns out he was honest and he was elected Governor. The question now is can he become President?

But before we can answer that we must ask is he even running?

Given his willingness to discuss his past disorderly conduct charge at this point in time, leads me to think that he will run. Or at the very least is actually giving ittruly seriousconsideration.

If he does run I am sure the issue will still come up though. And when it does will it be held against Mitch Daniels? Well, drug use wasnt held against Bill Clinton and it was not held against our current President so why should it be held against Daniels?

It shouldnt. The only difference between Daniels experience and our other Presidents is that he was caught. But like the others he was honest about it. Not doing so would have been the scandal.

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Mitch Daniels Clarifies His Position On Democratic Lawmaker’s Protests

Bookmark and Share Mitch Daniels answers questions regarding 37 Indiana Democrat legislators, who like Wisconsin Senate Democrats have fled their state as a sign of protest over posed budgetary repair measures that affect unions.

The Governor also responds to critics of him that believe he called such protests legitimate. Daniels apologized for not making clear that he meant the union members who are their protesting have a legitimate to do so not the legislators who are shirking their legislative responsibilities by hiding in Chicago.

Daniels also adds that perhaps Illinois is a good place for them to spend time because after seeing how spending has left that state in the red and left them with a crumbling infrastructure, may be they will learn a lesson from being there.

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Bush Endorses Mitch Daniels for President?

Bookmark and Share In Abel Harding’s Politijax colum for the Florida Time Union’s Jacksonville.com, Jeb Bush is quoted as being quite supportive of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels‘s possiblt run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Abel writes;

“Jeb Bush likes Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ 2012 presidential prospects. The former Florida governor told a private gathering of Jacksonville business leaders that Daniels is the only potential candidate he’s heard who demonstrates a willingess to face up to harsh realities.

“Mitch is the only one who sees the stark perils and will offer real detailed proposals,” he said, speaking at a reception held before he took the stage in front of a crowd of real estate professionals.

Bush acknowledged that Daniels is absent the smooth, television-friendly delivery present in other hopefuls, but said voters were looking for a direct approach.

“He would be the anti-Obama, at least socially,” Bush said. “He’s not good on a teleprompter, but if my theory is right that could work well for him.”

For my part, in the past I too have callled Mitch Daniels the “anti-Obama” but while I have admitted that he may lack the rock star-like persona that Barack Obama has been accused of having, I must say that I believe Mitch Daniels speeches have a homey, down to earth, heartland appeal that President Obama lacks. And if my theory is right that “will” work well for him.

But it is also worth noting that Jeb Bush is not the only possible or once popular presidential contenders to offering near endorsements of a Mitch Daniels presidency. Back in October of 2010 I blogged about the praise that was heaped on to him by possible opponents Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich apparently admires Daniels so much that he once publicly encouraged to run. And not long ago, so did Haley Babrour.

Of DanielsHuckabee said I tend to think governors make good presidents because theyve actually managed a microcosm of the federal government. He added Mitch Daniels has done, I think an exemplary job as a leader, manager and governor of the state,.

Right now there seems to be one thing that all the possible presidentia contenders agree and that is that Mitch Daniels is a good man for the job of President. Will they still agree if hebeats them in Iowa and New Hampshire?

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Mitch Daniels Shows the GOP How to Fight Obamacare

Bookmark and Share As Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels waits for the end of his states legislative session and takes the time to make a decision about a possible run for President in 2012, he recently stepped forward to take a strong lead in opposition to Obamacare. Earlier this week, he sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In it he laid out six aspects that the law and Federal government must correct or revise if the states are ever going to take control as intended in the health care law. Daniels adds that if these six areas are not taken care of, the Federal government must take the responsibility of carrying out its mandates, itself. Daniels note that up to now, 21 Governors representing more than 115 million Americans have signed on to the same letter .

Governor Daniels also wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal that took no hostages in a scathing analysis of Obamacare, as right off the bat he wrote;

Unless you’re in favor of a fully nationalized health-care system, the president’s health-care reform law is a massive mistake. It will amplify all the big drivers of overconsumption and excessive pricing: “Why not, it’s free?” reimbursement; “The more I do, the more I get” provider payment; and all the defensive medicine the trial bar’s ingenuity can generate.

“All claims made for it were false. It will add trillions to the federal deficit. It will lead to a de facto government takeover of health care faster than most people realize, and as millions of Americans are added to the Medicaid rolls and millions more employees (including, watch for this, workers of bankrupt state governments) are dumped into the new exchanges.

He added;

For state governments, the bill presents huge new costs, as we are required to enroll 15 million to 20 million more people in our Medicaid systems () This is a huge burden for our state, and yet another incremental expenditure the law’s authors declined to account for truthfully.

For those who are willing to read between the lines of Mitch Daniels WSJ piece, it is easy to see that Mitch Daniels is enabling himself to establish a campaign for President that can strongly and convincingly argue against Obamacare and put the issues of states rights in to the forefront. That is an issue that will be an issue the 2012 campaign that will factor strongly in appealing to TEA movement voters.

But as for now, Governor Daniels has demonstrated that on the issue of Obamacare, he will certainly have the ability to put President Obama on the defensive, probably better than many other candidates.

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Mitch Daniels Wins Republican Presidential Straw Poll

Bookmark and ShareEarly polls regarding who people think the Republican nominee for President in 2012 should be, are merely snapshots of only the moment at which they are taken and not necessarily reliably indicative of what their opinions will be in the future. And depending on how the question is asked and who makes up the audience that is polled, these “snapshots” are not even always accurate of current sentiments.

That said, one of the newest presidential straw polls of interest comes out of Washington state, where unlike the heavily polled states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Indiana’s Governor, Mitch Daniels is receiving a whopping 17% lead over his nearest opponent, Mitt Romney.

The straw poll was taken by the Washington State Republican Committee during their annual meeting, making it one that gauges the state’s Party organization and its local leaders and activists. Such support is often critical to a candidates success on Election Day.

  1. 31% Governor Mitch Daniels, Indiana
  2. 14% Former Governor Mitt Romney, Massachusetts
  3. 13% Former Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota
  4. 9% Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey
  5. 8% Senator John Thune, South Dakota
  6. 5% Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana
  7. 3% Representative Paul Ryan, Wisconsin
  8. 3% Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Georgia
  9. 3% Senator Jim DeMint, South Carolina
  10. 3% Former Governor Sarah Palin
  11. 2% Governor Haley Barbour, Mississippi
  12. 2% Former Governor Mike Huckabee, Arkansas
  13. 1% Representative Mike Pence, Indiana
  14. 1% Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Utah
  15. 1% Representative Michele Bachmann, Minnesota
  16. 1% Representative Ron Paul, Texas

These straw poll results are quite different than those of other states.

Whereas in other recent polls, names like Palin, Gingrich and Mike Huckabee, show up in the front of field, in Washington, some of the more usual big name conservatives are languishingbehind the rest of thepack. In fact aside from the surprise story herebeing that Mitch Daniels is the big winner, and has been handed an unexpected boost to his presidential ambitions, the other big story to come out of these poll results is the fact that Mike Huckabee is a big loser. Here, Huckabee ties with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour in 11th place and 2% of the vote.  In other polls, he is either the winner or somewhere close to it. His dismal showing in Washington, can be an indication of Huckabee’s lack of attractiveness as a candidate to voters ourtside of the South and Iowa.

Another important note in these results is Mitt Romney’s second place showing.

A second place finish in Washington wouldnot normally be problematic. But given Romney’s relatively high profile since his 2008 presidential campaign, coming in second tosomeone like Mich Daniels is a clear signal that Mitt Romney is in a weak position. And to emphasize that point, is the thedistancethat existed between first and second place. Mitch Daniels beat Romney by more percentage points than Romney even recieved. making matters worse for Romney is the indication that unless the conservative vote is split among numerous, Romney will have a tough time consoliditaing a clear majority of his own.

Washington state is not known as a haven for conservative politics. It leans to the left. But while the results reflects a lack of popularity for the most aggressive conservatives, it doesn’t necessarily reject conservatives. Neither Mitch Daniels or Mitt Romney can be considered liberal and aside from the third place showing of relatively moderate Tim Pawlenty, right behindthem are New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and South Dakota Senator John Thune, also fairly conservative people. All of this leads me to walk away from these results with the following extrapolation.

Right now, Washington state Republican activists are most concerned with the issues of spending, the deficit and budgets. As such, Mitch Daniels’ reputation and record in these areas have legs. Furthermore; while Mitch Daniels personally embraces the conservative line on social issues, he does not highlight these issues in ways that others like Huckabee and Palin do. To me it would seem that Daniels’ having gone on record as suggesting that Republicans call a truce on social issues and focus more on the greatest immediate threats we face, is one that Washington state Republicans agree with and appreciate.

Washington sends 43 delegates to the Republican National Convention and holds its nominating contest in February of 2012.

As for making a decision to win those delegates in run for President in 2012, Mitch Daniels has made clear that he will make his decision when the Indiana legislative session is over in April. But lately he has stated that he knows he must make a decision soon because the plans of many people hinge upon it. Other recent statements by Daniels regarding the problems that we as a nation face, have helped to make it sound like he is leaning more towards a run for the GOP nomination, than not.

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Mitch Daniels For President Ads to Air In Iowa and New Hampshire

Bookmark and Share Now that one Indiana Republican, Mike Pence, has made it official that he will not be running for President, what about the man whom Pence might seek to replace in the Indiana Governors Mansion, Mitch Daniels?
Daniels has said that he will not make a decision until after the Indiana legislative session in April. But that is not good enough for some people who want to see the budgetary expertise and sense of fiscal responsibility that Mitch Daniels has, in the White House.

Hence the ad below.

Produced and paid for by Student Initiative to Draft Daniels, the group will be airing their new ad in New Hampshire and Iowa. In Iowa it will first appear during the Super Bowl.

On a personal note, while I have not made a decision on who I am supporting, I do have four frontrunners of my own. One I supported in 2008. This time around, I want to be sure we elect the best person. So I am going to let the candidates prove to me which one is the best. But Mitch Daniels is one of the four I am favoring and I truly hope he enters the ring, because he has the potential to be the best we have to run with in 2012.
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Governor Daniels Accepts Invite to Address the Annual Gridiron Club Dinner

Mitch DanielsBookmark and Share In addition to taking his message out of state and to the Hamilton County Republican Committee’s Lincoln Reagan Day dinner in Ohio, today we find out that Mitch Daniels has accepted an invitation to address the Gridiron Club at their annual dinner in March. The Gridiron Club is the oldest organization for journalists in the United States. Its prestige is found in its in collective membership of of national news leaders,political reporters, bureau chiefs, and columnists.

Being asked to address a meeting of those who shape the daily headlines and delivery of news to the people, is a sign that the media is keenly aware of the potential that exists in the possible presidential candidacy of Mitch Daniels.

After announcing Daniels as speaker at their dinner, Susan Page, the current President of the Gridiron Club, posted a Twitter which read simply;

“Recent Republicans who have addressed Gridiron Dinner before winning the GOP presidential nomination include McCain, Dole, George H.W. Bush.”

…….Hint, hint.

Indiana’s Governor has been quite reluctant to talk presidential politics in recent months but form the speaking schedule that he is quickly putting together, it looks like he is priming himself up to do so. I am still waiting for that major speaking engagement that accepts in the South. That to me will be a strong indication of what his decision about a run for President will be in April.

Oh yeah, as to another speaker who will be attending to representing Democrats, that will be none other than Mitch Daniels possible opponent for President………the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

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