Iowa’s Mold Breaker Might Matter

We are discovering the 2012 election cycle dynamic every day.  One thing we have learned already is that things that didn’t matter last week are crucial this week.  The thing we are learning this past week is that money matters, as Mitt Romney surrogates bought waves of negative airtime, Ron Paul bought Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, and Newt suddenly began to realize what a nice thing it would be to have campaign staffs, ground crews, or even counter advertising money.

To Huntsman’s dismay, we may be discovering that Iowa matters.  Let me put it this way.  If Newt Gingrich wins Iowa, it doesn’t really matter.  If Santorum wins Iowa, it will give him some false momentum but Iowa alone won’t matter.  If Bachmann wins Iowa, we will all drop our jaw and then move on with the real race.  If Paul wins Iowa, mainstream Republicans will spend the next few days complaining about how he did his usual ballot stuffing tricks, but then move on.

However, if Mitt Romney wins Iowa, that will be huge.  Iowa has typically stuck to mainstream, evangelical, more conservative than moderate candidates.  Iowa has granted hope to Mike Huckabee in recent years, and Michele Bachmann this year.  Now, with Mitt Romney leading in the polls, it appears that more conservative, evangelical voters are accepting that Romney will win the nomination.  In fact, in this case I wonder what type of dynamic Ron Paul is attributing to Romney’s rise.  Are Iowans viewing Gingrich, Perry and now even Santorum as third party spoilers?

I think with the Iowa dynamic, voters may actually prefer Santorum in the current field.  Instead, it appears that Iowa may end up being about who can beat Barack Obama, or more immediately, who can beat Ron Paul.  At any rate, if Mitt Romney wins, Iowa matters.  As McCain proved in 2008, voting for a candidate primarily because of electability is a tough paradigm to crack once it is set.

One thing is for sure.  If Romney does win in Iowa, Newt is dreaming if he thinks he can turn everything around in New Hampshire.

And the Winner of the Iowa Caucus is……….

Romney and Santorum may surprise all with a first and second place finish, respectively, but South Carolina will be the real winner of the Iowa Caucuses.

Bookmark and Share I am predicting that Mitt Romney will in Iowa and it will go a long way in establishing a sense of inevitability that will help him wrap up the nomination sooner than later.   However; unless Romney racks up a win with 30 or more percent, the results will not matter a great deal and in the end, the real winner will be South Carolina.

Iowa’s caucus history shows that the winners of their nominating contests do not usually go on to become the nominee and President.  More often than not, Iowa caucus voters seem more intent on sending a message to the establishment than sending a nominee to the White House.  This time may be different in the sense that Iowa Republicans may believe that their support for most of the existing candidates will not send any strong message and that Ron Paul, the only candidate for whom a protest vote for would send a clear message, is not in any way a responsible and realistically, viable candidate.   As it is, most Iowa Republicans do not support Ron Paul.  His perceived success in the state so far is due mainly to the Independent and Democrats who are allowed to vote in the caucuses if they change their Party affiliation.

This is something which Paulbots have been planning on taking advantage for a very long time and they are doing a good job at it.

But not good enough.

In the end I believe that between all the back and forth of frontrunner status for one candidate or another, Mitt Romney who has been consistently at the top of the polls in Iowa and who has the strongest organization of all the candidates in the state, will benefit from a social conservative and evangelical vote that is sharply divided between at least four candidates, and from his perceived electability against Barack Obama.  These factors will allow Romney to win the caucus, but unless he wins by an overwhelming amount, it will not do much to help him convince people that he will definitely be the nominee.  That job will be left up to South Carolina, which will actually be the big winner coming out of Iowa.

Everyone knows that Romney will win New Hampshire, so there is little suspense there.  That leaves South Carolina which follows the Live Free or Die State, as the most pivotal of all the early state contests and the greatest beneficiary of the results in Iowa.

It is where Newt Gingrich has been trying to build a firewall and hoping to establish himself as either the frontrunner or the only real viable alternative to Mitt Romney.

South Carolina is also a prelude to the Florida and the momentum provided to the candidate who wins in South Carolina will go a long way in helping that candidate’s chances of winning in the Sunshine State’s primary. 

Even in the unlikely event that Romney blew out all his rivals with a win of  30% or more,  South Carolina will still be an early contest that either solidifies Romney’s lock on the nomination or gives someone else the opportunity to be Romney’s true chief rival as the race moves forward.

These are just simple facts which will not be changed by any result that Iowa produces.  If Senator Rick Santorum happened to pull off a Huckabee-like, 2008, come-from-behind victory, Romney will still dominate in the New Hampshire primary and South Carolina will still host the contest that play a somewhat more decisive role than either New Hampshire or Iowa.

When all is said and done, Iowa will serve one chief purpose.  It will help weed out the field of candidates.  It will help to begin sealing the deal for several of the lower tier candidates, especially Rick Perry.  But even in that capacity, Iowa is not likely to end anyone’s candidacy.  Once again, that mission will be accomplished in South Carolina.

That said, in the tradition of making predictions as one year ends and a new one begins, while I hold true to the belief that Iowa will really only matter if Romney comes in anywhere under third pace, or wins with a large plurality, I also believe that the candidates will finish as follows:

  1. Mitt Romney – 26%
  2. Rick Santorum -21%
  3. Ron Paul – 17%
  4. Newt Gingrich -16%
  5. Rick Perry – 11%
  6. Michele Bachmann – 7%
  7. Jon Huntsman – 2%

I am quite uncertain about those totals, but very confident in the order of each candidate’s placement.

These results will produce several storylines coming out of Iowa.  One will be about whether of not Mitt Romney has a lock on the nomination as he is now on a path to becoming the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to sweep both Iowa and New Hampshire?  The other story will be is Rick Santorum, the new Mike Huckabee and can he translate his strong Iowa showing into a victory elsewhere? 

The other stories that will provide the filler for 24 hour cable news programs, will be can Newt comeback “in South Carolina”? What happened to Ron Paul’s surge? And is this the end for Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann?

The answer to all these questions will be determined by the state which I argue will be the ultimate winner in the Iowa Caucuses…..South Carolina.

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Santorum Bases His Candidacy on a Fight for America’s Freedom, Against President Obama

Bookmark and Share While New York liberal, Anthony Weiner captured Monday’s headlines with his admission that he is a member of Congress who is a liar that denied his penchant for the proliferation of porn on the internet that featured his own member, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a candidate known for his conviction to values and moral decency, was citing the real promise that our nation was founded on, as the foundation for which he based his decision to officially run for President.
 
In his speech delivered in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, Santorum hammered President Obama on everything from his unwillingness to wisely use our nation’s resources, to amassing a debt that will cost future generations 40 cents on every dollar.  “Who are you, Mr. President, to say that you, and your Administration should take 40 cents out of every dollar, and borrow it from future generations to prop you up” said Santorum. 
 
But what the former Senator used to really pummel the President with was Obamacare.  For him Obamacare is the primary example of what is wrong with the thinking of the current Administration and it was used as the basis for his theme……..keeping Americans free. 
 
Santorum made the case that our nation was founded by people who did not want to live  where their rights were granted to them by Kings, but instead to live in a nation where they were free to exercise the unalienable rights granted  by God.  He argued that the purpose of America is to be free yet under the current Administration, that freedom is at stake.  He added;
 
“We are facing a time when we have a group of people led by President Obama who believes that America’s greatness is in government , not its people . And there is one singular act that is the lynchpin and that is Obamacare”
 
According to Santorum, Obamacare is designed to take power away from the people and make them dependent by hooking them up to government with an IV.
 
“They want to hook you. They do not want to free you. They do not want to give the opportunities. They believe in themselves, the smart people, the planners” , said Santorum
 
In a reference to Margaret Thatcher, Santorum made the case that Obamacare, was the greatest example of the type of
legislative threat to our freedom and prosperity that we must make a priority in turning back and repeated the words of Lady Thatcher who after doing an assessment of her time in office, compared to Ronald Reagan’s time in office and stated;
 
“I was never able to accomplish in England, what Reagan accomplished in America, and it was one thing that stood in my way….the British national healthcare system.”
 
Senator Santorum wrapped up his remarks  by describing how in 2008 Americans wanted a President they could believe in, but President Obama took that faith that the American public gave him, and “wrecked our economy, centralized government, and robbed people of their freedom” and concluded by saying;
 
” I believe now that Americans are not looking for someone that they can believe in.  They’re looking for a President Who believes in them.   Fellow Americans, it is our watch, it is our time…it is our time for all of us  to step up and do what America requires us to do.  I’m ready to lead.  I’m ready to do what has to be done for the next generation.  with the courage to fight for freedom, the courage to fight for America.  That’s why I am running for the President of the united States.  Join the fight!”
 
While this speech was not enough to propel Santorum to the head of the pack, no one speech could have.  But this one did demonstrate that he understands the conservative ideology that, if articulated right, can defeat President Obama.  And while many discount the Senator as a one issue candidate, it is clear to me that if his opponents believe that, they can easily be blindsided by an underdog who has been known to come from behind in the past.    So while expectations for him in the G.O.P. field may not be high, he should not be underestimated.  If he can raise a sufficient enough war chest to stay in the race, he will at the very least raise some eyebrows.  And based upon what is a proven conservative record and his ability to convey the sense that he truly understands what lies at the heart of conservatism, if given a chance by voters, Santorum will be one of those candidates who makes the Republican nomination contest a real horse race.    
 
 
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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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Santorum Takes A Big Step Towards an Official Run for President

Bookmark and Share Earlier this evening in an interview with Fox News Greta Van Susteren, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum announced that after visiting 25 states and concentrating on Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, the first four states to hold Republican presidential nominations contests, he is encouraged enough to create a presidential exploratory committee. The purpose of this committee will be to find out whether or not the resources to mount a competitive campaign for the Republican presidential nomination are there.

With a great deal of encouragement from several quarters of the Republican base, Senator Santorum has been buoyed by the reception he and his message are receiving and as he explained, with many other questions answered, the only one remaining is whether or not he will be able to raise enough money to carryhis message over the finish line. Santorum told Van Susteren that in last campaign for the United States Senate he raised over $31 million and 40% of that came from out of state donors. So he is optimistic about what his exploratory committee will find.

There is no word yet as to when Santorum expects to know if he will be able to gather the resources to take his effort to the next stage and declare his candidacy for President.

Two days ago, Mitt Romeny announced that he is setting up an exploratory committee to see if and when he too will run for President. Others who have taken that same step include Minnesota’s former Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Speaker of the HouseNewt Gingrichis anticipating making a similiar announcement soon. On Thursday in New Hampshire, at 9:00 am, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will beannouncing that he is an official candidate for the Republicanpresidential nomination.By the end of the month Missisppi Governor Haley Barbour and Indiana Governor MitchDaniels have promised to announce their own decision onwhether or not they willtake any steps to move closer to a run for the White House. The only otherRepublican contender who has already made his candidacy official is FredKarger a political consultant and gay activists fromCalifornia.

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In South Carolina, Santorum Wins. Barbour Loses

Bookmark and Share Republicans in Greenville, South Carolina held their county convention this weekend and addressing the more than 500 attendees were Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour and Rick Santorum.

Not long after each of the three potential Republican presidential contenders spoke, 413 of those in attendance at the convention voted in a straw poll that produced a big win for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum won 31 % of the vote and coming in second, far behind him, was Newt Gingrich with 14%.

Santorum impressed the GOP activists in attendance with a bombastic speech that touched upon the most important issues of the day. H, ,along with Gingrich and Barbour, praised House Republicans for their handling of the budget negotiations and credited them with getting Democrats to cave and give in to some of the biggest budget cuts in history. But Santorum also roused the crowd with his anti-Obamacare points. He received some of the loudest applause when he spoke of his own healthcare plan which he calls You Care. As Santorum tells it, it is called You Care because you know how to care for yourself better than the government.

Between his good performance and 13 previous visits to South Carolina, more than any other potential presidential rival, Santorum still did surprising well, especially given his lead which was more than double that of the second place finisher.

While Santorum won big, and Newt Gingrich faired decently in the straw poll, Haley Barbour, the third soon to be presidential candidate to address the convention, lost and he lost big. Barbour has been focusing much of his efforts on the G.O.P. establishment leadership in both South Carolina and Florida. He has made numerous trips to both states and is constantly talking to legislative and Party leaders in both states. Yet in the straw poll he pulled a mere 5% of the vote, tying for 6th place with Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul. The only major name who had a more disappointing total was Sarah Palin who received 4%.

Part of the reason for Barbours loss, despite being there to personally address the straw poll voters, is his lackluster oratory skills. While what Barbour says is popular with the G.O.P. base, how he says is uninspiring and as a result, so are his vote totals.

Common thinking is that Haley Barbour actually has a better chance of becoming the Republican presidential nominee than does Rick Santorum. Barbour has solid roots within the establishment and among Party leadership and numerous Republican Governors. He also has a fundraising network unmatched by anyone, including President Obama. Barbour also has a direct line to some of the top talent in politics. All that is in addition to his own superior political strategic skills. But unless Barbour can begin addressing voters in a way that crerates some visuals and inspiration, all his potential will be wasted. Barbour is in desperate need of skilled wordsmiths, people who can phrase the great thoughts that Barbour has in a way that makes people jump to their feet and in a way that can communicate his message to other regions of the country in a way that makes them forget the Southern drawl that dominates his bland message.

The final results of the Greenville Straw Poll were as follows:

  • Santorum – 31%
  • Gingrich – 14%
  • Bachmann – 7%
  • Trump- 7%
  • Romney- 6%
  • Christie- 6%
  • Barbour – 5%
  • Ron Paul- 5%
  • Huckabee – 5%
  • Palin- 4%
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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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Bookmark and Share Shortly after President Obama offered up a speech that presented a national energy full of contradictions, former Pennsylvania Senatorum and likely 2012 presidential candidate Rick Sanotorm issued the folowing opinion.

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2011

“With gas prices approaching $4.00 a gallon, President Obama once again chose rhetoric over substance in a attempt to gloss over his Administrations failure to move us toward energy independence. On one hand, he speaks of expanding domestic energy production, but then does nothing to reduce the regulatory barriers that are hindering oil, gas, and coal industries from expanding and creating the fuels of the future, said Senator Santorum. Our nation must institute a comprehensive all-of-the-above energy strategy that focuses on expanding and harvesting our domestic resources as a means of advancing not just energy independence, but energy security. If the past few weeks have taught us anything, it is irresponsible to rely on a region as unstable as the Middle East for energy resources that are so vital to us. Energy development is also critical to creating jobs in rural America where our unemployment is the highest.”

To learn more about former Senator Rick Santorum, please visit www.RickSantorum.com.

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Rick Santorum Sends A Message To New Jersey Republican Straw Poll Voters

Bookmark and Share As White House 2012 and Building the New Majority conductsa presidential straw poll of New Jersey Republican grass root activivsts, candidates, campaign managers and staffers, former Pennsylvania Senator and likely presidential candidate Rick Santorum, has sent them a message which credited New Jerseyans with starting in 2009 what he called “the American Renaissance” Santorum writes:

“What New Jersey gave, the rest of America is taking. Each of us needs to step forward and stand tall for what we know to be true, that America is the most uniquley exceptional nation in the history of the world, not just b ecause of what we have accomplished, but for who we are as a people and all that we aspire to be.

The American renaissance started here [New Jersey] in 2009, and the rest of the country picked up the flag last year. But we must continue to fight by electing a new President in 2012 and electing a new Republican Senate majority”

You can click on the image below to read the complete message.

White House 2012 will is conducting a straw poll at a conference sponsored by Building the New Majority, a statewide organization that identifies, developes and empowers candidates byfocussing in onthe development of candidates for local, county and state offices through direct contributions and grassroots support in order to help rebuild the New Jersey Republican organization from the ground up. The White House 2012/ Building the New Majority Garden State Republican Presidential Straw Poll will be the first of its kind in New Jersey for the 2012 presidential election and should give a sense of where the Party’s base currently stands on the evolving Republican presidentiall nominating contest.

Results of the poll will be released on Saturday, March 26, 2011, the second day of the Building the New Majority conference.

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Click on the image below to read a larger version of Senator Santorum’s complete message

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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