I know it might be odd to make an endorsement for 2012 a) two years out, and b) before anyone has officially announced they’re running. But I’ve been looking at the list of maybes, and there’s one cat that already stands out for me. That’s why I’m endorsing Mitch Daniels to be the Republican nominee for President.
Don’t get it twisted, I don’t dislike any of the other rumoured candidates (well, maybe Santorum). In the end, I’ll more than likely vote for anyone who has the (R) after their name. That’s November of 2012. Here in November of 2010, we’re going to start hearing people start to announce their intentions where they’ll be lumped into one of three categories: well funded frontrunners, fringe wack jobs, and longshots whose main focus is on the debate and/or their main issue.
That last category is the most important one for me, and why Gov. Daniels is my choice. His main focus (and something I’ve blagged aboot here regularly) is the economy and the country’s current fiscal situation, one he says we need to come together on in a way we don’t normally do outside of wartime. More importantly, he’s willing to talk to people as adults and give his honest opinion on what he feels the solution is, regardless of which part of the electorate (particularly in the Republican primary) he might upset…
Daniels is also the antithesis of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and putative frontrunner for the 2012 Republican nomination. Romney is famous for telling GOP constituencies what they want to hear. Daniels is gaining a reputation for delivering unwelcome news. He told the Weekly Standard, of all places, that military spending would have to be cut. “When Bush arrived we were spending $300 billion on national defense, and he thought that was plenty,” Daniels said. “Now it’s what, $800 billion?”
When Commentary’s Jennifer Rubin invited Daniels to take a whack at the Obama administration’s fecklessness on foreign policy, the governor praised peace through strength and then promised to “ask questions about the extent of our commitments” overseas. “If we go broke,” Daniels argued, “no one will follow a pauper.” Rubin was disappointed: “It’s not clear whether [Daniels] has thought these issues through, or whether he views foreign policy as anything more than a cost-control issue.”
NOTHING DANIELS HAS SAID has gotten him in more trouble with a Republican voting bloc than his proposed “truce” on hot-button moral issues. The next president, he told the Standard’s Andrew Ferguson, “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues. We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while.” Win the budget battle first, wage the culture war later. Daniels is pro-life and believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but social conservatives were outraged.
His refusal to pander is one of the reasons many people don’t give him much of a chance in getting far should he decide to run. The other is the electability argument. Outside of Indiana and the conservative blogosphere, Gov. Daniels doesn’t have the best name recognition. With out a lot of campaigning and a lot more money, it’s something that’s hard to change. That said, I’m not sure I buy the lack of electability. Look at the GOP gains in the Midwest this past election…
NBC called it Team Obama’s “Big Ten” problem. The eight “Big Ten” states (Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania) accounted for four of the six U.S. Senate seats the GOP gained, five of the 12 governors the GOP gained and nine of the 19 state legislative chambers the party picked up.
WI, MN, MI and PA are close to SIXTY electoral votes Republicans haven’t even seriously considered since the 80’s. Minnesota was even the one state Ronald Reagan didn’t win. The Republican Party’s biggest gains were in the Midwest…is there anyone more Midwest that Mitch Daniels? Mitch Daniels IS the Midwest!
No candidates have announced yet, though I’m sure the exploratory committees will start any day now, and there’s a good chance Mitch Daniels made decide to wrap up his current term as Indiana Governor and call it a career. But until he officially says no, for as long as he’s still rumoured to be at least thinking aboot it, he’s my pick for our presidential nominee and who I want leading the Republican Party.