A Daniels presidential strategy

February 26, 2010
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Speculation that Gov. Mitch Daniels will run for president has picked up a few notches since he complained to Washington reporters a few days ago that potential Republican candidates were majoring in the minors, that they weren’t talking about critical issues like oil imports and the national debt.

However, if Daniels were to run for president, how should he do it? As an unconventional politician, he’s quick with a quip—and a barb—and isn’t exactly Hollywood glitterati.

Ice Miller attorney, lobbyist and long-time Republican fundraiser John Hammond thinks Daniels would need to run an unusual campaign that fits his style and also would get him noticed in what looks to be a crowded field.

Hammond, who thinks the odds of the governor running are better than 50-50, says Daniels should stay away from big gatherings like tea party conventions. He also shouldn’t start out traveling to Iowa and New Hampshire.

“I would avoid pure partisan activity at the moment,” he says. “It means you’re just like everyone else, competing in the same space. You need to distinguish yourself.”

Daniels should lay a foundation by talking to lots of opinion-shapers in quarters as diverse as education, media and infrastructure, Hammond continues. Explain to them how he’d handle the debt and trade deficit, how he’d fight terrorists.

Only after building deep grassroots support with influential people should Daniels trek to the early states and build recognition with voters; at this point Daniels would bet on the grassroots people showing up and talking up his candidacy.

What about running in an era when television is the only exposure to candidates most voters get? Hammond thinks voters will crave a candidate who, in his opinion, is more substance than glitz.

“The electorate is pretty intelligent. They make the right choices for the country. You gotta count on that,” Hammond says. “They’ll be searching for someone who can solve some of the biggest issues, and some of their fears.”

That’s Hammond’s take; what’s yours?

Should Daniels opt in?

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

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