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Is a Barbour/Daniels Republican Presidential Ticket in the Works?

Mitch Daniels (left) & Haley Barbour (right)

Bookmark and Share Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels are friends whose bonds developed during the early stages of their political careers when they worked in the Reagan Administration. Through the years, their friendship grew in to one that was shared by their families as the wives and children vacationed together. The friendship is not a political one. It is a personal one and that distinction is quite an important one. It is a distinction which could prevent one of the two to forego a run for President in 2012.

Both Haley Barbour are spoken of as potentially powerful candidates for President and both men are considering a run. But in an article by Politico, Daniels told Jonathan Martin

My first inclination would be to help Haley,” and adding “It would be unusual [if we both ran]. On every past occasion, we’ve been teammates.”

But for his part, Haley Barbour, a man who is truly more of a political animal than Daniels, has a bit of different spin. He shrewdly holds up his friendship with Daniels as one so strong that politics could never weaken it. When asked if his personal friendship with Mitch Daniels would make a difference in his decision to run for president or not, Barbour told Politico;

“If I thought we would have some falling out, it would, but I really don’t think we would have a falling out,”. He added “I think too much of him.”

Barbour also revealed that he suggested Mitch Daniels run for president even if he does too.

But while I do believe Barbour would easily run against his friend in a Republican primary for president, I do not believe Mitch Daniels would.

Mitch Daniels knows that Haley Barbour has the ability to consolidate the political and financial resources that Daniels would try to tap in to. For while the career paths of Daniels and Barbour have crossed, they took somewhat different directions. While Daniels immersed himself in policy and legislation, Barbour spent a significant amount of time building the Republican political machine, a machine that could now start working for him if he chose to run for President.

All things considered, the underlying dynamics of the Barbour – Daniels personal relationship could actually be the impetus behind a script that is slowly unfolding before our eyes. Could it be that these two friends whom Daniels once defined as teammates already know where theyre headed?

One school of thought is that Barbour will in fact seek the presidency and that Mitch Daniels will eventually join him, but as Vice President on Barbours G.O.P. ticket. This scenario would fit in to the current storyline quite well. While both Barbour and Daniels are increasing their out of state political presence and beginning to accept speaking engagements that normally precede a run for President, it is Haley Barbour who is calling some of the most prolific Republican fundraisers and bundlers and telling them to not commit to any of the potential Republican presidential candidates until he has made up his own on whether or not he will run. For his part, beyond a speaking engagements, Mitch Daniels has not as of yet conducted any discernable activities that would lead one to believe that he is preparing for a decision to actually run. At least none that are as aggressive as Barbour.

Yet Mitch Daniels has refused to say that he is definitely not running. He claims that he will make that decision sometime after the Indiana state legislative session ends in April. In the meantime, speculation about a Daniels run gains fuel. Not only are there draft Daniels for President movements popping up, a recent straw poll of Washington state Republican leaders gave Daniels a strong first place showing.

All of this only helps to raise the stature of Mitch Daniels and letting it play itself out could provide a boost for Barbour if in the end, he wins the Republican presidential nomination and then taps his trusted and popular friend to be his Vice President.

Vice Presidential nominees are not usually the determining factor in a presidential election. In 1992, Al Gore did not even deliver his home state of Tennessee to Bill Clinton. But in 2008 many suggest that John McCains selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, helped to fire up the Republican base which up till then, was not very enthusiastic. But in 2012, a Barbour-Daniels ticket could prove to be the winning ticket.

While Haley Barbour should be able to corral support from the South of which he is a son of, Mitch Daniels can certainly be a net gain for Republicans in the important Midwest. Daniels could force President Obama to invest more time and money into Illinois, his home state and the neighboring state to Daniels Indiana. Mitch Daniels could also help the Republican ticket to run strong in Ohio and most certainly deliver Indiana for the G.O.P.. In 2008, Indiana went Democratic in the presidential election for the first time since 1964.

Between a solid South for the G.O.P., and reclaiming Indiana and Ohio. All a Barbour-Daniels ticket would need to reach 270 electoral votes is Colorado. But a combination of New Mexico and Nevada could also make winning possible. Of course if the G.O.P. keeps a solid South and can take Indiana and Ohio, just winning Illinois would provide them with the magic number needed to take back the White House.

For now, to discuss who will be the nominee for Vice President when we have no idea who the nominee for President will be, is, to say the least, a stretch. But a look at the underlying political forces that involve the political math and the personal relationship of Barbour and Daniels, and what you have is a very plausible scenario. For me the only real question regarding this scenario is whether or not I would personally prefer a Daniels-Barbour ticket to a Barbour-Daniels ticket?

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