This is an out of order post, but Mitch Daniels’ national profile has been rising lately and I wanted to get my views out there while everyone is talking about him, since he is my favorite candidate. He was on Fox News Sunday and has been the recent subject of articles on Pajamas Media and the Wall Street Journal (which is a fine publication I read every day.) If you read my very first post, which gave me the name for my blog, he is the guy who I think can lead this country to the promised land of smaller government and a more effective foreign policy. I don’t believe political leaders can be our salvation and solve every problem. I don’t swoon the way the left did over Obama. However, a no-nonsense politician like Mitch Daniels can clear the way for the people of this country to get back to work and keep our country great.
Mitch Daniels is the anti-Obama in my mind. On both style and substance, he is Obama’s 180 degree opposite. He is no rock star. He is a CPA, and I think our nation could use an accountant in charge instead of a community organizer. He is mild-mannered, plain-spoken and humble. I’m convinced he doesn’t want to run for President, but he will run out of a sense of duty if he thinks his country needs him. Obama, by contrast, wanted to run for President for the glamour of the office, but doesn’t actually want to have to get his hands dirty leading this nation.
Mitch Daniels is an extremely successful two-term governor from the state of Indiana, for those who don’t know. While New Jersey and Louisiana (Louisiana seems godforsaken these days, and I say this with love for the state. In addition, I’m not sure Jindal has the political acumen to run a national campaign) need their governors, Mitch Daniels has already finished putting Indiana on the best possible path by dealing with many of the same entitlement spending issues facing our nation today. He has proved himself as a Reagan like leader capable of battling special interests and taking the case for Conservatism over the heads of the politicians and speaking directly, honestly, and persuasively to the American people. He is a good man; there are no skeletons in his closet.
Some have latched on to his recent comments on a social truce. So what? The best social conservatives can possibly hope for is a truce. Abortion never was illegal everywhere, and it never will be. We just want the right to control it state by state and overturn the awful jurisprudence of Roe v. Wade. Same thing goes for gay marriage. Up until now, Progressives have clearly been winning the culture wars. A truce is a victory for social conservatism, a return to the status quo ante, if you will. Live and let live; not everything should be an issue of federal concern.
Compared with his record, I find every other potential candidate has serious drawbacks.
Sarah Palin is viewed unfavorably by the independents in this country. Fair or not, she has an uphill battle to fight against her caricature in the media, and I’ve seen no evidence she is up to the task.
Newt Gingrich made a series of costly missteps as leader of the Republican Congress, and his personal baggage continues to drag on his candidacy. For those that don’t remember, he lost the government shutdown debate in 1995, and resigned after Republican losses in 1998. He divorced his wife for a younger model while she had cancer. While he was far more honorable in his treatment of her than John Edwards was of his wife, the American people have no tolerance for such hardhearted action. He is a great conservative red meat kind of guy, but he has serious drawbacks and it is my opinion that whatever connection he once had with the great center in this country he has long since lost. Don’t get me wrong, I like Newt, but more as a commentator, strategist, and policy guy than a candidate for President.
Mike Huckabee? Don’t make me laugh. He’s the last thing we need, another big-government conservative to ruin the reputation of the party. Presidents can only focus on so many things at one time, and he would pursue divisive social issues at a time when we have far more serious problems than the never-ending culture wars. If we can succeed in reducing the size of the federal government and get another pro-life vote on the Supreme Court, there won’t be nearly so much policy to fight over at the national level anymore. Right now government is involved in literally every aspect of our lives and therefore politics are about everything. John Q. Wilson said, “Once politics used to be about just a few things. Now politics are about nearly everything.” (hat tip to George Will) People are balkanizing over issues that should be local or private matters and not a cause for dispute. Mike Huckabee will not help us shrink the size of government, and he’s liable not to win, meaning we don’t get that Supreme Court justice. While he is a likable guy, he is much more of a populist than he is a libertarian, and that’s really not acceptable. Reagan once said that the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism (hat tip to Rand Paul).
David Petraeus won’t run, and we need him more where he is anyway.
I don’t trust Mitt Romney as far as I can throw him. We don’t need another Panderer-in-Chief. Who knows what he really stands for?
Mitch Daniels is the only successful two-term governor popular with his base and with independents who is likely to run. He provides exactly the right kind of contrast to Obama’s celebrity style and incompetent, free-spending, reality challenged Presidency. He is running because people in the establishment, who know all the problems with the other guys, see him as the only viable candidate. He is simply miles ahead of everyone else.
Update: I forgot to mention Haley Barbour. I like him just as well, frankly, but I think Daniels is more electable. The image of a Mississippian running against the first black President probably won’t play well. On the other hand, the more liberal elites make fun of Mississippi, the more it is likely to separate them from average Joes everywhere.