Musings on a Daniels presidential bid

September 14, 2010
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The stories speculating about whether Mitch Daniels will run for president keep coming. Newsweek carried a largely favorable profile earlier this month, and Politico.com led off Tuesday’s coverage with a piece headlined “Mitch Daniels makes White House moves.”

The Politico story discussed a series of private dinners Daniels has hosted for groups of Republican donors, policy types and business leaders to talk about policy. Daniels plays up his accomplishments as governor and not-so-coincidentally meets people who could fund a campaign and sit in a kitchen cabinet were he to run for president.

Politico’s sources describe Daniels as non-committal about a run, but some of them also leave the meetings questioning whether he’d be the right nominee. He’s smart and conversant on an array of topics, they say, but maybe not passionate enough to fight a bruising race.

Questions about fire in the belly have been raised by pundits and political observers for some time. Both of Daniels’ campaigns for governor were largely free of negativity, and he’s steered clear of personal attacks on Barack Obama while continuing to lambaste his liberal-leaning policies in speeches, interviews and op-ed pieces.

Terms Daniels uses frequently, “statism,” (the shifting of economic and political power from individuals to the government) and “adult conversation,” might be tip-offs about his intentions.

Daniels is clearly upset about the ballooning federal debt, health care reform and the country’s increasing reliance on foreign oil. The nation is smothering entrepreneurial spirit by expanding government, he believes, and too little is being done to confront such hard questions as sustaining Social Security (he advocates means testing: “Why are we sending a retirement check to Warren Buffet?” he told Fox News in August).

Is he upset enough to run for president? That could depend on whether he thinks potential Republican candidates like Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, the former governors of Massachusetts and Arkansas, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Palenty are talking like adults about the big problems. In other words, are they confronting voters with the hard choices Daniels believes must be made, or are they taking the low road and appealing to hot-button issues that don’t ultimately solve problems.

If they tackle tough issues with serious ideas, he’ll likely stick with his oft-repeated intention of staying on the sidelines while continuing to influence the debate. If he thinks they’re fiddling while Rome burns, he might well feel compelled to jump in.

What are your thoughts?

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  • Mitch - why?
    Daniels: 1)the guy who said forget Reagan 2)the gov. who fired more state employees than all other governors combined 3) the expert who signed a billion $ plus contract with IBM that failed 4) the man who said forget core principles - just vote for me.
    I can only say, here is one Republcian who would NEVER vote for Mitch for any office.
  • Mitch is the answer
    There are those that are detractors, but this much is for certain -- Indiana is doing well. Granted, we have problems through the state, but if you look at the entire state and compare us to our Rust Belt/Midwestern counterparts, you see a shining example of financial prudence.

    I'm not a big Mitch Daniels fan, and in fact I consider myself an independent; however, Mitch has proven he can get the job done. A lot better than anyone at the federal level. Since his views tend to be moderate, coupled with fiscal conservatism, I think he could really bring the country together and make a difference.
  • Mitch is the answer
    There are those that are detractors, but this much is for certain -- Indiana is doing well. Granted, we have problems through the state, but if you look at the entire state and compare us to our Rust Belt/Midwestern counterparts, you see a shining example of financial prudence.

    I'm not a big Mitch Daniels fan, and in fact I consider myself an independent; however, Mitch has proven he can get the job done. A lot better than anyone at the federal level. Since his views tend to be moderate, coupled with fiscal conservatism, I think he could really bring the country together and make a difference.
  • fraud
    AS a Republican I would like to say that Mitch Daniels is a fraud, he has failed at every meaningful endeavor in the business world. When he was at Lilly they sold off his big idea at a huge loss and as a director at IPALCO he urged a really bad deal for shareholders. As candidate for Governor he said that the state was bakrupt yet they have even less money now than when he took office and claimed we were bankrupt 9and that is with two stimulus checks from the feds.) His toll road deal was a bad long term deal and the FSSA privatization was a huge disaster
  • Mitch pres. bid
    Interesting thought. He would be well-prepared based on his Washington experience and being a Governor. Indiana is in decent shape although many of us Hoosier residents continue to be impacted in negative ways (which led to some shifts in party support to Democrats, and the Obama win). He does get things done and is a progressive thinker, getting IN to move forward with the times (DST), and taking some calculated risks (toll road lease, etc.), trying overseas alignments. Funny, but not a lot of people discuss the IBM contract in ref. to him it seems. Time will tell, but things aren't necessarily getting better (which is perhaps ONE reason for a run). Repubs. will get some support back though.
  • My man Mitch
    Mitch Daniels is one of the few soberly speaking individuals in the nation at this time in regards to the must needed steps this country needs to make in the near future. He has made it known that the time is now to right ship the financial course of the nation. He is willing to look at the many social concerns that we have as a society and say, these are important and will need to be addressed inteligently, but we must balance our budget and turn the deficit the other way, while adding jobs and nurturing a good businss climate. If he runs, he wins. If he runs, he will be the next great president of our generation.
  • Selling Off American Assets
    Mitch as president and he will sell off the National Parks to foreign and private concerns and then toot how much he has saved America. In the mean time it seems he dinner parties is lining up all those cronies who want some asset America holds and getting in line for the special sweetheart deals. Maybe the entire interstate highway system is up for bids to the highest campaign contributor. Now that corporations can donate all they want to political campaigns.
  • O'Donnell
    I don't think he can get the nomination in a climate where a moderate like Mike Castle gets voted out. This is a man that both Democrats and Republicans support which means that there is tons of independent support. Mitch needs to disown reality in order to win the nomination.
  • to be POTUS you must win OH
    and that's not going to happen. Keep your anti-Reagan, left leaning conversion of the Republican party in the IN gov mansion's kitchen where you can keep pumping that bald combover ego of yours - I certainly won't be showing for one of your loser meals.

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