Social War Threatens Daniels’ Truce

Governor Mitch Daniels has an opportunity to be a breakout star in the 2012 primary. He is seen by many to be reserved and quiet, but he has done an incredible job in Indiana and has caught the eye of many because of it.

Daniels has also caught the eye of independent groups as he has called for a truce on social issues to focus on the nation’s fiscal problem. This has caused many to see him as someone who can unite the country to face our debt head on. However, Daniels’ truce is about to receive it’s biggest test. In Indiana, state finances and social conservatism are about to collide.

The Indiana house and senate have overwhelmingly passed a bill that would end state funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, ban Medicaid from being used at facilities that provide abortion, and will require doctors to give women information on the abortion process from the fetus perspective before performing the procedure. The bill will save Indiana millions of dollars, but it will also turn social liberals sour on Daniels if he signs it.

Mitch Daniels faces a make or break decision

This is a moment of truth for this potential GOP nominee. The Indiana congress has the votes to override a veto. Mitch Daniels does not need to sign this bill. But whether he signs it or not, this decision will set the tone for a Mitch Daniels presidential candidacy. For someone who recommended a truce on social issues, Mitch Daniels has found himself standing in the center of the battle field with a gun in his hand. Which way will he turn?

This one decision has the potential to win or lose the TEA Party and religious base of the GOP. With that base, and the strong fiscal record he has already developed, Mitch Daniels would be lacking only a shot of charisma to sweep the 2012 primary. Without the TEA Party and religious base, Daniels’ best hope is a vice president spot on the ticket.

Considering his signature is not needed, this choice may seem inconsequential. With 2012 in view, this decision means everything. So far, Daniels has stated that he hasn’t made a decision yet on whether or not to sign the bill.

The Pomposity of the New York Times’ Nate Silver

Bookmark and Share Wow. I believe pompous arrogance would be the most fitting way to characterize Nate. Silvers recent analysis entitled On The Largely Irrelevant News About Haley Barbour Not Running for President.

First of all, for Mr. Silver to characterize Haley Barbours decision not to run for the Republican presidential nomination as irrelevant, is mind numbingly ignorant. The Barbour decision is one of the most important decisions to have been made regarding the 2012 presidential election to date. As noted in White House 2012, Governor Barbours decision not to run, has freed up many supporters and much money. Furthermore; whether Silver wants to deny it or not, that decisions has increased the chances that one of the top tier Republican presidential contenders, Governor Mitch Daniels, will run. This is far from irrelevant.

But beyond this, Mr. Silver takes it upon himself to bestow great credit to himself for never having given much thought or ink to the possibility of a Haley Barbour presidential candidacy. This is not something which I believe he deserves either personal or public credit for. Perhaps part of the reason as to why Silver did not take the potential candidacy of Governor Haley Barbour seriously was because he is utterly blind to the art of political campaigning and its powerful ability to overcome some negative perceptions, and to accentuate positive ones. Perhaps another reason is because Mr. Silvers liberal biases do not allow his mind to be as open as he would have us believe.

Haley Barbour is conservative, a point that I am sure did not go unnoticed by the New York Times Nate Silver. And it is that point which more than likely accounted for his tendency to not take Barbours potential candidacy seriously.

The fact of the matter is that for Mr. Silver to give himself a Super Bowl ring for Monday morning quarterbacking a game that has not yet even begun, is a bit silly. For him to imply thepossesion ofsome greater political instinct or knowledge than others, including Jonathon Martin of Politic, simply because he had not given much ink to the possibility of a Barbour presidential candidacy, is utterly ridiculous.

Two days prior to Governor Barbours announcement, I made my own assessment here in White House 2012 and in it I questioned the certainty of a Barbour presidential campaign. The accuracy of that post did not give me license to arrogantly discount the opinions of others and claim or imply that I have shrewder political instincts than George Will, Charles Krauthammer or Jonathon Martin.

The truth is that Mr. Silver may not have wanted to advertise the possibilities that existed within a Barbour candidacy, but that didnt make him any more correct than those who refused to deny those possibilities. While Barbour had several obvious handicaps, most of which White House 2012 acknowledged, he also had the capacity to rise above them. His fundraising ability is almost unmatched, his organization reach and ability was endless, and his record, policies and vision were more than powerful enough to build a credible candidacy on. But Mr. Silver claims he never believed so, so he deserves credit.

Credit for what? Denying the potential that existed? I dont think so.

Although I tend to believe that Haley Barbour and his family, decided against a run for President because of the obstacles, I do not believe the decision was reached because they concluded that they could not overcome the obstacles. I believe they decided not to run because they did not know exactly how committed they were to insuring that they overcame those obstacles. It is that uncertainty of commitment that Haley Barbour cited as the reason for deciding not to run. Yet in his analysis, Nate Silver suggests that his colleagues would be best advised to not take what those they write about so literally. I suggest that Mr. Silver listen to what those he writes about have to say and instead of automatically discounting the truth in what they say, perhaps he should first be open to thepossibility of thetruth.

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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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Expect Mitch Daniels to Run for President

Bookmark and Share Like the countdown to a space shuttle liftoff, the month of April has been ticking down to the launch or aborted missions of several different Republican presidential candidacies. The most notable are Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and soon to be former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Jr.. Both Daniels and Barbour have promised to make their decision some time by the end of April. Gingrich has recently suggested a similar timeline and Jon Huntsman who cant legally make an announcement while still serving as an Ambassador is likely to make his intentions known shortly after his April 30th resignation takes effect.

I predict that at least three of these men will be declaring their candidacy.

While that is not a bold prediction insofar as Gingrich and Huntsman go, it is a bit of a stretch to be so definitive about Barbour and even more so concerning Mitch Daniels.

As for Huntsman and Gingrich, the secret is out. Gingrich has done little to keep his intentions hush and as soon as Huntsman announced that he was resigning from his post as the nations chief envoy to China, we all pretty much knew that he was going to act on his already stated intention to look at a run for president in 2012. In the case of Barbour, his intentions have been quite clear, but so have his hurdles to a successful run for both the Republican presidential nomination and the presidency itself. His history as a very successful lobbyist, the oozing of some unfair Southern stereotypes, combined with a few early verbal gaffes on race, and his reputation as the ultimate political insider, pose the potential Barbour campaign with some obvious questions that they have had to figure whether or not they can overcome.

In an attempt to do so, Barbour has been lighting up switchboards from California, to Florida and South Carolina, as he tests the waters. He has even politely suggested that potential supporters hold their powder, and their money, until he makes a decision. Given the extent of Barbours effort so far, I tend to believe that he has the fire in the belly that gives one presidential fever, a fever that has to be fed in order for it break. So I expect that hemaysoonannopunce the creation of his presidential exploratory committee. This will be for two purposes. One is to confirm both how much fire really is in his belly and how amenable his wife is to the idea, and two, to see that if it is at all possible for the fire in his belly to be quite enough to win the White House. As for Mitch Daniels, I am going completely out a very shaky limb when I say that he will be running.

Accept for the talk of others, Mitch Daniels has done little if anything to appear like a potential Republican presidential candidate. And while he has taken advantage of a few high-profile speaking engagements, such events are in many ways only natural for a highly successful, two term governor. At the same time, it has been no secret that like Haley Barbours wife, Mitch Daniels wife Cheri is not thrilled by the prospects of having to endure an invasive and inevitably harsh presidential campaign. So there is really very little to support my conclusion that Mitch Daniels will run.

Except for three things.

The lovely Mrs. Cheri Daniels

First is Cheri Daniels. While she is not a fan of the spotlight and is not excited about the possibility of having to join her husband on the presidential campaign trail, in this, Daniels last year as Governor of Indiana, Cheri has agreed to be the main speaker at a Republican State Party dinner. That is not exactly the sign of a spouse preparing to fade in to the obscurity of private life. It sounds to me more like an introduction of both her to the people, and of Cheri to the spotlight.

Another event having me lean more towards a Daniels run, than against it, is the timing of a major speech on education that the Governor is slated to give in Washington, D.C. at the American Institute. This event is five days after the Indiana state legislative session is scheduled to conclude. Daniels has promised to announce his decision regarding the presidency when that sessionis over. It is here that I do not expect Daniels to announce that he is running, but rather the start of either his exploratory committee or the very soon date to come when he will make a similar announcement.

The final reason I have for believing that Mitch Daniels is in fact running for President has to do with his dragging the question out. Mitch Daniels is an understated man. He is not about the drama. He is a nuts and bolts guy and he had nothing to gain by dragging out the possibility of a presidential candidacy. His whole reason for not announcing his interest in running was due to state politics. Daniels did not want the left to accuse the him of advancing policies that were good for his presidential aspirations but bad for the state. And if Governor Daniels would have been able to get rid of that suspicion altogether by announcing that he was not running for President, he would have done that long ago.

There are of course some caveats.

I do not yet sense that Mitch Daniels has the same fire in the belly that his longtime close friend Haley Barbour does. For that reason, I am suspicious of there beingsome friendly teamwork going here. As I described in a previous White House 2012 post entitled Is a Barbour/Daniels Ticket in the Works? , Daniels could become a candidate in order to help divide the vote outside of the South, between himself, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney. This split would allow Barbour to fare better outside of the South where he does not do so well. It would also help keep Mitt Romney from racking up big numbers. In that scenario, Daniels would eventually drop out of the race and try to swing his delegates over to Haley Barbour.

This may sound too Machiavellian to some but this is the big time. It is politics at the highest level and few know how to play politics better than the ultimate political insider, Haley Barbour. That combined with a well established, longstanding friendship between Barbour, Daniels and their families, makes this not quite as far-fetched as some might be inclined to think.

I for one hope that isnt the case. As someone who in 2008, supported Mitt Romney for President, was a part of the Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President movement, and is currently torn between them Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels and Newt Gingrich, I am looking forward to a genuine battle for my support. I am hoping for a contest that will force the eventual nominee to have to truly earn the nomination and allow us to discover who truly represents our conservative values best, can advance them the most, and is most capable of applying them to the practical application of government. I believe all of the above mentioned names are candidates who can do that. The question is, which one can do all three the best? It is my deepest wish to find that out through a well fought contest, that publicly tests all these skills among all the candidates.

But before that process begins, I expect this final week in April to be slow, in the sense of it being a slow build up to a very busy May.

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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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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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Where the Republican Presidential Contenders Stand on a Government Shutdown

Bookmark and Share As another deadline for a shutdown of the federal government is upon us, CNNs Rebecca Stewart has done a piece which attempts to layout where some of the more likely Republican presidential contenders stand on a government shutdown. Of thirteen candidates , three , Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour and Donald Trump, did not respond to the question, but several others have either answered it or have positions on the issue already on the record. While none of them seek a government shutdown, most of them, including Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Rick Santorum, all believe that the option must certainly be on the table. The common reason given for it being a real possibility, is that until we can get the budget going in the right direction with large spending cuts, we cannot simply pass a budget for the sake of keeping the government open and operating on deficits that we cant afford.

While all the potential candidates agree that a government shutdown is not what they ultimately want, former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer praises the uses of government as a strategic tool and remarks “I don’t like that, but sometimes you have to be skilled at pointing out what could happen if we don’t have some action.”

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has not given any clear indication of he would avoid a government at any cost but he told the PBS program Newshour that a “Government shutdown would be a bad thing for us all, it would be very disruptive and I hope we can avoid it,”

Temporary stopgap compromises have created extensions that averted a federal government shutdown twice during the past month, but attempts to come to a final agreement on the budget during this third attempt, are proving to be much more contentious than previous discussions as the latest deadline for a shutdown is fast approaching.

In March. When the first deadline was approaching, a poll of White House 2012 Republican readers overwhelming supported having Republicans stick to their guns and force Democrats to go along with significant budget cuts even if it forced a shutdown of the federal government. In that poll 82.46% of respondents believe that Republicans must hold their ground, while a mere 17.54% believe that they should do all they can to avoid a such a disruption of government.

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Trunkline 2012: Wednesday Tid Bits From the Campaign Trail

A roundup of todays tidbits from the campaign trail;

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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Will Social Conservatives Have Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen?

Bookmark and Share Although it is far too early to define the still emerging Republican field of potential 2012 presidential candidates, it is safe to say that at this point in time, it is a much more broadly conservative field than we saw in 2008. Right now, while names like Daniels, Romney Gingrich and Barbour are top tier candidates who have records that, whether social conservatives realize it or not, have great merit and should have great appeal to them, an endless slate of names which come directly out of the social conservative movement is producing an extremely crowded field of political battle. Currently such perspective names in this area include Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Jim DeMint. A second tier in this category includes Buddy Roemer, Bob Riley, Herman Cain, and most recently, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, the judge who was thrown off the bench because he refused to uphold an appellate ruling that ordered him to remove a statue of the ten commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building.

Now while it is almost certain that not all of these names will make it to the starting line and even fewer will make it much further past the starting blocks, it is more than obvious that this field of potential Republican presidential candidates is much further to the right than we saw in 2008. That is a good thing, or at least it should be. Especially if the catalyst that moves it to the right is based on fiscal conservatism. But even on social issues, a lurch to the right is a good thing. Part of social conservatism should be support for the values of individualism as opposed to federalism, independence as opposed to bureaucratic tyranny, responsibility rather than dependence, defense of religion instead of offense against religion. All of these beliefs are a part of social conservatism, or at least they should be. So for that reason, I believe that both economic and movement conservatism is a great thing.

But with the endless amount of religious fundamentalists entering into exploratory presidential committees and thinking about entering into such ventures, I cant help but recall that even Noah did not stock his ark with only one breed of any animal. Noah knew that the future of the animal kingdom and of life as we knew it, relied on including all breeds, all types and strains of animal life. Yet right now, in the ark of Republican presidential candidates, we are finding our stalls filled with predominantly religious right, social conservatives. And to compound that point, a specific genus of social conservatives has begun to stock the stalls.. Southern conservatives. The latest count is at eight.

Now before anyone starts writing in and accusing me of being a liberal with prejudices against Southerners, think again. One of my top tier choices happens to be Haley Barbour and correct me if I am wrong, but I dont think you can get much more Southern than Haley and you will be hard pressed to find a more conservative Republican than him. In addition to that, as someone who goes by the online pseudo name of Kempite, I am a self-described, bleeding-heart, Jack Kemp conservative. Have been all of my life, or at least since my political passions were sparked by the campaign and presidency of Ronald Reagan at the age of 12.

So I am not knocking conservatives and I am not belittling the potential candidacy of any conservative aspiring to run for President. But what I am questioning is the potential that exists for splintering the social conservative base and diluting the movements influence over who the Republican presidential nominee is.

From a strategic point, social conservatives are not helping themselves with a field of fourteen zealots who can divide support among the base and along regional and state lines. I mean right now, with the emergence of Roy Moore, even Alabama has the chance to see its primary divided between two favorite sons.. Moore and Bob Riley. And dont think for a moment that Haley Barbour and or Mike Huckabee cant get a few votes from both of them.

The proliferation of social conservative and Southern social conservative presidential candidates in 2012 is something which the religious right and movement conservatives across the nation need to think about before the primaries and caucuses begin. If this segment of the G.O.P. hopes to have any significant influence in choosing the 2012 Republican nominee, they are going to need to rally around a specific name or two rather than divide themselves among a dozen or two names. If they fail to do so, they will be providing a perfect opportunity for a candidate like Jon Huntsman, Jr. or even a Rudy Giuliani, to walk up the middle and become the G.O.P.s next John McCain.

I personally dont mind this split. Again, not because I am anything but conservative fundamentalist, but because I believe the religious right in our Party is marginalizing themselves by shunning people like Mitt Romney and Mitch Daniels, and even Newt Gingrich. It is my belief that social conservatives have great friends in all these men. Yet because of what are somewhat superficial reasons, they object to these names. Romney is a Mormon, Mitch Daniels wants to concentrate on the fiscal crisis, Newt Gingrich is divorced. But for me, the more Huckabees, Bachmanns, Cains, Roemers, Moores, Santorums, and Rileys, they divide their support among the social conservatives, the better chance that their less favored Daniels, Romneys, Gingrichs and even Haley Barbours have at winning the nomination. So I dont mind. But they might.

But even if the records of Romney, Daniels, Barbour or Gingrich, fail to inspire social conservatives and they continue to divide their support among a dozen other religious, or defense of marriage or Right-to-Life agents, we still run the risk of losing both the opportunity to nominate a social conservative for President and to elect such a President. The inordinate amount of movement conservatives running, is going to cause many candidates to portray themselves as more conservative than the next. Each one will try to go further to the right of the other. And at some point it will be hard for the winner to not be believably portrayed as an extremist and to avoid being painted as too radical in the general election.

This is not to say that our ultimate nominee shouldnt be a true conservative of both social and fiscal values. But it does suggest that with such a large number of social conservatives competing, the rhetoric used in the campaign must be carefully parsed. Conservatism is one thing, but extremism is another. President Obama has delivered extremism and it has not exactly increased his popularity. So while Barry Goldwaters words about extremism in the defense of liberty not being a vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice not being a virtue, are true, radicalism in the name of elections is certain defeat.

So there are two things for us as Republicans to think about here. How many candidates are we willing to divide the delicate marriage between social and fiscal conservatives by? Then we must ask ourselves how far we are willing to go before we become the type of radical extremists that we claim President Obama and the Democrat Party leadership and apparatus to be? To answer that question, the candidates in the race must allow ideological fervor to be tempered by constitutional legitimacy. They must allow the United States Constitution to interpret their ideological positions into a practical application of government that allows for constitutionally limited government. We can go as far to the right as we want, so long as the Constitution prevents us from turning religion into legislation and so long as it protects the rights of all, without discriminating against the rights of some. Moving to the right will not be a problem at all, so long as we remember that while our ideology is important, the Constitution is what must shape how it is applied to federal governance and how far it can be taken into the lives of every American. That is a message that the TEA Party movement sent in 2010 and you can expect them to echo that same sentiment in 2012.

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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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The Neapolitan Party

Early on in this race, we are starting to see a clear breakdown in the Republican party into three distinct flavors. The question will be whether one candidate can unite the party once the others have melted away.

Can Republicans compromise on one flavor?

The social conservatives are known for their stances on family values, morality, and for some, Christianity. They are the candidates that the Family Research Counsel and American Family Association would love to see win. They are openly supportive of the TEA Party movement and are popular among talk radio listeners and Glenn Beck fans. They are big on national security, small government, and spending cuts, but these stances are drowned out by their social values. They are often controversial and pull no punches in attacking the Left. This flavor includes Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Jim DeMint, Herman Cain, Haley Barbour, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.

Then you have the fiscal conservatives. They are proven businessmen. They have cut costs in government, they have balanced budgets, they have produced growth, and many of them have large personal fortunes. They have made the tough, controversial decisions having to do with the size of government, and they have produced incredible results. However, even though many of them are pro-life, pro-family, and generally socially conservative, this does not come out strongly in their campaigns. They are willing to work across the aisle, and sometimes alienate their own party by doing it. Social conservatives don’t trust them, but they enjoy a closet relationship with the TEA Party movement. They are strong on national security and foreign policy. These candidates include Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump.

Finally, there are the libertarians. Although they may live socially conservative lives and oppose things like abortion on a personal and state level, they will die by the principle that such things are beyond the scope of the Federal Government’s regulations. They oppose foreign wars and take a very cynical approach to free trade, the UN, and other foreign entanglements. They oppose the war on drugs and would take a chainsaw to the Federal Government’s authority without hesitation. Secretly, many conservatives love them, but most would not actually vote for them. These include Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

And then there is Newt Gingrich. Newt can be credited with helping bring about one of our nation’s most prosperous times as he worked both across the aisle and strongly against a Clinton administration to balance the budget.

Newt can win the general. Can he win the primary?

Newt also is a dedicated social conservative, who despite his own personal family issues from a decade ago is a strong advocate for socially conservative issues. Newt also advocates for limited government, but certainly not anywhere to the extent that Ron Paul does. Gingrich is smart on foreign policy and thinks outside of the box.

His American Solutions website and conservative crusade starting from when he was considering a presidential run in 2007 have helped to codify and establish the conservative brand going into 2012. He has been a strong TEA Party ally without appearing to be a one dimensional TEA Party candidate.

Could Newt be the candidate who can unite enough of the Republican Neapolitan breakdown to win in 2012? He could certainly defeat Obama in a debate and would have a strong showing in a general election. The question is if he can get enough of the social conservative, fiscal conservative and libertarian Republicans to abandon their favorite in order to unite behind him in the primary.

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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The 2012 Presidential Election brought to you by White House 2012

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