Mitch Daniels considering 2012 Presidential bid?

posted at 3:35 pm on February 26, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Is there room for another conservative Republican executive in the 2012 sweepstakes?  Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who turned down an opportunity to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Evan Bayh, has stopped denying interest in the top job.  That could mean a serious bid from the man who could be called the Un-Obama:

After months of Shermanesque denials, Indiana GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels’ admission that he’s now willing to consider a White House run has roused his long-standing, if unofficial, fan club.

Republican admirers from Washington, Indiana and elsewhere, hoping to encourage their favorite Hoosier, are out in force to make the case that a balding, blunt, unprepossessing, listed-at-5-foot-7 policy wonk would be a strong contender to take on President Barack Obama. Their shorthand is that he’s the un-Obama. If the country has soured on a charismatic orator who brought glamour but little executive experience to the presidency, the thinking goes, then Daniels could provide the antidote. …

At 60, Daniels’s résumé is exhaustive: He’s a Princeton-educated former Senate chief of staff-turned political operative-turned think tank chief-turned Fortune 500 executive-turned White House budget director-turned two-term governor.

And since winning the governorship in 2004, he has practiced the sort of fiscal conservatism that he preached as “The Blade” during his tenure as President George W. Bush’s head of the Office of Management and Budget.

“Mitch is the real thing,” said Nancy Dorn, his deputy at OMB and now the head of General Electric Co.’s Washington office. “He’s a true fiscal conservative.”

He has cut spending, cut taxes, leased the state’s toll road to a private company for billions and expanded health insurance and prescription drug access in a market-friendly way. The result is an approval rating of 70 percent, according to one recent survey, placing him among the country’s most popular governors.

Undoubtedly, Republicans need to offer someone from outside of Washington in a season of discontent with Beltway business as usual.  The strongest candidates will be former governors like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and perhaps Haley Barbour.  Mitch Daniels may have the strongest resume from among them, as Martin details, and perhaps also the most unequivocally conservative track record as an executive.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that Daniels is the Un-Obama also in the charisma department.  He has a strong grasp of policy, but as with most policy wonks, has trouble when it comes to electrifying the masses from the stump.  That hasn’t hindered him in Indiana, much like a similar problem didn’t keep Tommy Thompson from multiple statewide wins in Wisconsin.  However, on the national stage, it could prove to be an obstacle, as voters like to identify personally with presidential candidates.

Or, perhaps not.  Barack Obama was one of the most charismatic candidates since Bill Clinton, but his performance in office has been rated as increasingly poor by the voters.  An Un-Obama may be the right prescription in 2012 — a man with broad experience in governing and a solid track record in reducing government.  Competence may beat charm after three years of Hope and Change.  At the least, a Daniels primary campaign will force Republicans to adhere to fiscal conservatism and economic liberty as the main principles driving the election.


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If a Senator makes a speech, and no one hears it except C-span junkies, did the speech actually happen?

RINO in Name Only on February 26, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Ok, I just realized you’re talking about His Holiness, so my point isn’t relevant here. Still curious about it, though, from a philosophical perspective.

RINO in Name Only on February 26, 2010 at 4:19 PM

How come Indiana turned Blue in 2008?

I like the guy but I’m wonder how a Red state like Indiana turned Blue.

roux on February 26, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Three words: Gary, Bloomington, Indianapolis.

Hey, I love Indy (I’ve from there) but they also elected a complete ditz for a Representative for years simply because she was a black woman. When she died, they voted in her son.

lonesome_pine on February 26, 2010 at 4:20 PM

roux on February 26, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Numerous issues, but in a nutshell-

It was very close (not a landslide by any shot) and the blue dots in a sea of red on electoral maps were cities and areas near Chicago or other Illinois border areas, basically.

cs89 on February 26, 2010 at 4:22 PM

During Daniels’ stint as OMB Chief, the federal budget deficit skyrocketed from a near breakeven in 2001 to a $500B deficit in 2003.

Norwegian on February 26, 2010 at 4:15 PM

I know the deficits went up during those years, but once that budget leaves the White House and heads to Congress, it is out of his hands. So what were Mitch’s budgets like before congress got their hands on them?

Also, I will give him some lee-way since the war was just getting going during his tenure.

WashJeff on February 26, 2010 at 4:22 PM

I’d LOVE to see Daniels in the mix for the presidential primaries. As stated above, even if he doesn’t end up winning, his strong fiscal con executive cred will push the other players in the right direction.

Kirin on February 26, 2010 at 4:23 PM

roux on February 26, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Remember those late late Gary results??? The state was toss-up until those came in with the right number.

WashJeff on February 26, 2010 at 4:24 PM

Personal note to GOP: …No more platitudes!

ernesto on February 26, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Hahaha…oh man, that’s classic. Obama’s entire campaign was a platitude. Hope, change, etc. etc. x infinity.

Youngs98 on February 26, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Yeah, sadly, Indiana fell for hopenchange. I was really embarrassed for my state.

search4truth on February 26, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Would love to see him run, would vote for him in a heart beat. I actually like him over Palin…

Conservative Voice on February 26, 2010 at 4:30 PM

@WashJeff

I noticed 3 Red states bordering Illinois turned Blue in ’08.

roux on February 26, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Mitch Daniels

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is shrugging off bills meant to crack down on companies hiring illegal aliens.

“You won’t find this on my priority list. But we’ll see what the Legislature does.”

But on the less orthodox side of the ledger, Daniels has told fellow Indiana Republicans that he will not sign an overtly partisan redistricting plan from either party. He has expanded health coverage and all-day kindergarten and raised a tax or two since taking office in 2005. His administration last year fired IBM and took back control of the state’s welfare program, an acknowledgment that privatization — a conservative shibboleth — was failing.

While other Republicans, such as Pawlenty, are under attack for calling the federal stimulus package useless and wasteful, even as they plead for the money and brag about creating jobs with it, Daniels is more nuanced. Some stimulus was fine with him, he said, but “the way they did it turned out to be mediocre.”

Daniels was arguing for the GOP to embrace “a friendly and unifying tone” and that his primary political focus was the upcoming elections for the Indiana legislature.

Letter from Mitch Daniels…

“He does not believe that immigration laws should be broken or that immigration/law enforcement officials look the other way. However, he does believe there are many citizens who consider illegal immigrants vital to their business operation.”

There isn’t a lot on this guy. Ontheissues has very little.

Could someone from his state give a rundown on where he stands on the issues as there is little to nothing out there.

sharrukin on February 26, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Hahaha…oh man, that’s classic. Obama’s entire campaign was a platitude. Hope, change, etc. etc. x infinity.

Youngs98 on February 26, 2010 at 4:28 PM

I never said it wasnt. If you’d read my whole post you’d see that I mentioned that while the GOP has these 2 policy wonks (Daniels and Ryan), the dems have NONE.

ernesto on February 26, 2010 at 4:35 PM

roux on February 26, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Numerous issues, but in a nutshell-

It was very close (not a landslide by any shot) and the blue dots in a sea of red on electoral maps were cities and areas near Chicago or other Illinois border areas, basically.

cs89 on February 26, 2010 at 4:22 PM

The areas of the state that tipped the state to Obama was Gary and East Chicago (of course), Evansville, and all the areas surrounding the collges in the state: IU, Purdue, Indianapolis, Ball State, Indiana State, Valparaiso, Vincennes, etc. The YOUTH vote gave it to Obama.

I bet you $100 ACORN was all over Gary/East Chicago.

Oink on February 26, 2010 at 4:35 PM

His administration last year fired IBM and took back control of the state’s welfare program, an acknowledgment that privatization — a conservative shibboleth — was failing.

Eh…as someone who is contracted with the State, I have to work with IBM products everyday. They’re incompetent. We were rather hoping IBM would be fired off our project as well.

lonesome_pine on February 26, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Eh…as someone who is contracted with the State, I have to work with IBM products everyday. They’re incompetent. We were rather hoping IBM would be fired off our project as well.

lonesome_pine on February 26, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Do you know why it wasn’t working? Why wasn’t it transferred to another company?

sharrukin on February 26, 2010 at 4:43 PM

roux wrote,

How come Indiana turned Blue in 2008?

I like the guy but I’m wonder how a Red state like Indiana turned Blue.

Indiana went blue because GOP strategists took an Indiana win for granted, so they didn’t allocate the resources necessary to counter the excellent ground game ran by Obama’s organization. Democratic Party TV spots were non-stop and effective, and so were their get-out-the-vote efforts in the major cities–especially Gary and Indianapolis.

There is no such thing as a safe seat or a safe state. Everything is in play, always. The GOP forgot that essential fact, and paid for it.

troyriser_gopftw on February 26, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Eh…as someone who is contracted with the State, I have to work with IBM products everyday. They’re incompetent. We were rather hoping IBM would be fired off our project as well.

lonesome_pine on February 26, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Three words,

Undetectable sweetheart deals

Rovin on February 26, 2010 at 4:45 PM

I never said it wasnt. If you’d read my whole post you’d see that I mentioned that while the GOP has these 2 policy wonks (Daniels and Ryan), the dems have NONE.

ernesto on February 26, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Got it…I read your original post assuming (wrongly) the entire thing was sarcastic. Your subsequent words set me straight as well….

I’d work for a Daniels/Ryan campaign. The only 2 GOP policy wonks I’ve ever seen, they’re JUST the kind of politician for whom i’d enthusiastically work.
ernesto on February 26, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Youngs98 on February 26, 2010 at 4:45 PM

I noticed 3 Red states bordering Illinois turned Blue in ‘08.

roux on February 26, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Yep! We are poison here in IL. It may be changing this year though.

WashJeff on February 26, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Eh…as someone who is contracted with the State, I have to work with IBM products everyday. They’re incompetent. We were rather hoping IBM would be fired off our project as well.

lonesome_pine on February 26, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Do you know why it wasn’t working? Why wasn’t it transferred to another company?

sharrukin on February 26, 2010 at 4:43 PM

From our experience, the IBM “support” has no idea what they’re doing. Beyond simple troubleshooting, they’re hopeless. Our lead tech writer would spend hours going ’round and ’round with them with little to no success. They guys they sent to do training didn’t seem to understand their own product.

Whew. But enough ranting. :)

If memory serves, however, on this particular contract, I believe IBM was not fulfilling their terms.

lonesome_pine on February 26, 2010 at 4:48 PM

I bet you $100 ACORN was all over Gary/East Chicago.

Oink on February 26, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Yep. They were registering voters with an address that was a Jimmy John’s in Crown Point.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on February 26, 2010 at 4:49 PM

OH! As for why it hasn’t been transferred to another company, I would guess it’s due to budget. Our team has been restricted almost entirely to maintaining what we have – no new development.

lonesome_pine on February 26, 2010 at 4:50 PM

ernesto on February 26, 2010 at 4:17 PM

So you’re a Daniels shill. Gotcha.

promachus on February 26, 2010 at 4:55 PM

And since winning the governorship in 2004, he has practiced the sort of fiscal conservatism that he preached as “The Blade” during his tenure as President George W. Bush’s head of the Office of Management and Budget.

Or, as Teh Won would say, a scalpel?

Maybe this is why he didn’t run for Evan Bayh’s Senate seat. His term as Governor would expire in 2012, and he would be free to seek another job.

By 2012, he could run on Reagan’s line, “Are you better off now than four years ago?”

Steve Z on February 26, 2010 at 4:59 PM

So you’re a Daniels shill. Gotcha.

promachus on February 26, 2010 at 4:55 PM

No, I just don’t blame people for choices that were not theirs to make.

Are you saying that the director of OMB can just reject legislation out of hand? These positions require serving ‘at the pleasure of the president’…while he may well have voiced concern during deliberation, he got his marching orders from the president. Or is that all a lie? Please elaborate on your position, if you dont mind

ernesto on February 26, 2010 at 4:59 PM

WashJeff on February 26, 2010 at 4:22 PM

I don’t know. If he were the “blade”, his first budget should’ve started cutting. It’s not like there wasn’t fat at that time. He reminds me on Romney, someone who talks the talk, but when cutting is absolutely necessary, he can’t pull the trigger. Bush should’ve had the strength to get budget cuts through a REPUBLICAN congress. We need a Calvin Coolidge type conservative now, Coburn or Demint.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on February 26, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Daniels threads remind me a lot of the old Mark Sanford threads on HotAir.

Boring, with supporters trying to explain away their candidate’s lack of charisma, and rarely exceeding 150 comments.

Norwegian on February 26, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Pipe dream!!!!!!!!

thmcbb on February 26, 2010 at 5:08 PM

For your reading pleasure, an email outlining budget cuts made by Gov. Daniels:

Governor takes more action to offset revenue shortfalls

INDIANAPOLIS (December 4, 2009) – Governor Mitch Daniels today took additional action to reduce state spending following another month of lower than forecast state revenues.

For November, revenue collections were $144 million below the forecast amount for the month. Since the fiscal year started on July 1, general fund revenues are $475million or 9 percent below the May forecast. This is the 14th consecutive month of below forecast receipts.

The latest changes ordered by the governor are estimated to save the state at least $159 million more over the next 18 months. In November, Daniels took actions that are expected to save the state $300 million to $400 million by the end of the biennium.

“We are taking steps to offset shortfalls as they occur. The chance that revenues will suddenly begin to resemble the forecast seems highly unlikely,” said Daniels. “So it’s highly likely these are not the last steps we’ll have to take. Unwelcome as these actions are, we will do what’s necessary to protect Indiana taxpayers from the tax hikes being imposed in almost every other state.”

Budget actions taken today:
• General fund support of the state’s public colleges and universities will be reduced by $150 million over the remainder of the biennium. This amount represents 6 percent of state general fund support of operating expenses and was reached in consultation with the Commission on Higher Education. The governor has charged the Commission to work with each institution to determine its share. The cut as a percentage of the institutions’ total revenue is about 2 percent.
• A $15 bi-weekly matching contribution to state employees for deferred compensation retirement accounts will be suspended for calendar year 2010, a frequent cost-savings suggestion from state employees. Savings are estimated at $9 million.
• The governor directed the Department of Administration to further reduce the number of state-owned vehicles. Since 2005, the number of state-owned vehicles has been reduced by over 2,500.

Additionally, the governor will submit a package of cost savings initiatives to the Indiana General Assembly. It will include a proposal to combine the administration of the Public Employees Retirement Fund and the Teachers’ Retirement Fund, which is projected to reduce investment management fees and administrative duplication by at least $50 million per year. The proposal also will include merging or eliminating several boards and commissions.

The state ended Fiscal Year 2009 with $1.3 billion in reserves. If the current revenue trend continues and the governor had not taken the above actions, state budget agency officials estimate the state’s reserves would have been depleted by July 2010.

lonesome_pine on February 26, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Perhaps w/charismatic runningmate??

kringeesmom on February 26, 2010 at 5:22 PM

http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/the-redemption-mitch-daniels

^^^^no way, he’s a fiscally moderate to liberal. He increased some taxes and doesn’t have a problem increasing taxes to balance the budget. He seems like a moderate that the DC GOP establishment wants. That’s not what we need.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on February 26, 2010 at 5:43 PM

TimTebowSavesAmerica on February 26, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Would it not be more appropriate to judge Mitch’s fiscal management when he was\is Gov of IN rather than a budget director that serves the chief executive? If his boss said to include X in the budget over MItch’s protests, who wins?

WashJeff on February 26, 2010 at 5:50 PM

To be fair, attaining 80+% approval among a population of under 1,000,000 is a little different that attaining 70+ in a state with…you know, actual urban centers and the like.

ernesto on February 26, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Nice try, but as usual, Epic fail.

Alaska has one of the most diverse, independent minded group of voters there are. Tough crowd, anyone who is able to have an approval in the high 80′s low 90′s with that bunch, like Sarah had, can duplicate it absolutely anywhere.

gary4205 on February 26, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Thoroughly conservative articulate but charisma-deficient policy wonk governor with a wide variety of ultra-successful experience…I thought you were talking about Jindal!
Jindal/Daniels ’12!

jgapinoy on February 26, 2010 at 6:03 PM

gary4205 on February 26, 2010 at 5:56 PM

There’s still only 700,000 or so people in Alaska. Your unsubstantiated opinions aside, pleasing 700,000 people who get checks from their states oil authority is just that much easier than pleasing a state with 10 times the number of people…including huge concentrations of university students and urban centers. It is what it is man.

ernesto on February 26, 2010 at 6:10 PM

WashJeff on February 26, 2010 at 5:50 PM

I think you’re from Illinois, so maybe you like the local guy ;-). Anyway, the national review article is a little better on him. You can google Mitch the Knife and Hemmingway, if you want. What I get is that he’s at best a moderate, good government type guy. When you’re already admitting to tax increases to balance the federal budget, you’re not an economic conservative, maybe a fiscal, Concord Coalition conservative. We need someone revolutionary. Either Palin or a solid conservative with gravitas.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on February 26, 2010 at 6:16 PM

My Man Mitch!

Great Sage on February 26, 2010 at 6:31 PM

He has a strong grasp of policy, but as with most policy wonks, has trouble when it comes to electrifying the masses from the stump. That hasn’t hindered him in Indiana, much like a similar problem didn’t keep Tommy Thompson from multiple statewide wins in Wisconsin.

Point of order – Thompson never had the strongest grasp of policy. He was also electrifying to the outstate crowd, especially when telling them to “stick it to ‘em”.

steveegg on February 26, 2010 at 6:33 PM

http://www.in.gov/portal/news_events/38894.htm

Mitch Daniels has it down right, I was hopeful he would run,and it seems I may actually get my wish. Take a moment and read the text of a commencement speech that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on February 26, 2010 at 6:34 PM

I just had to add this as well….

http://www.dailyjournal.net/main.asp?SectionID=165&SubSectionID=417&ArticleID=104969

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on February 26, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Romney is too much of a flip flopper, T-Paw seems like a lightweight and Palin has great values but not enough experience, this unassuming fellow from Indiana might be the best bet. He has experience and a golden record, the country needs this right now.

Daemonocracy on February 26, 2010 at 7:05 PM

From Wiki:

Daniels is a first generation Syrian American and is a supporter of the Arab-American Institute, having been honored by them for his work in the community.

Just sayin’.

jgapinoy on February 26, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Daniels is a first generation Syrian American and is a supporter of the Arab-American Institute, having been honored by them for his work in the community.

This doesn’t bother me in the least, as long as he is a strong supporter of Israel. Perhaps having a Syrian American and friend of the Arab-American community, who is tough on Islamic Terrorism as well, will help assuage the concerns of Muslim Americans that there is some sort of unspoken Holy War or bigotry going on.

Daemonocracy on February 26, 2010 at 7:26 PM

I don’t have anything against Mitch, but I want someone who is working as hard as they can.

Mitt Romney in Michigan Speaks on the Auto Industry, the Governor’s Race, and to the New Eagle Scouts

dnlchisholm on February 26, 2010 at 7:27 PM

–Wasn’t that sort of a backhanded insult to people from Indiana and Wisconsin?

Jimbo3 on February 26, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Some of us WI natives have that “Fargo” syntax, we sound like a Norwegian Sarah Palin. Maybe that is what he was getting at, er.. we sound stupid. People use to make fun of Tommy Thompson because of that.

wi farmgirl on February 26, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Screw charisma, and screw having hair; neither cuts ridiculous, over-the-top spending or creates an environment conducive to expanding employment. Hopefully small-minded women primarily attracted to looks will take a look around at all the unemployed and decide to vote for more paychecks and fewer unemployment checks, as well as a more promising future for their children. (Yes, Mitt has hair, and arguably charisma, but do we really want for our next President a guy who led the charge for Obamacare-lite in Massachusetts?)

churchill995 on February 26, 2010 at 7:31 PM

I’ll vote for Daniels once I learn more about him and his record proves him to be a conservative.

But there are 2 things that stand out:

1) In 2008 he ran ads that specifically said that if the voters elected him, he promised he would NEVER run for higher office. He said it would be the LAST campaign ad that they would see him in EVER.

I have to say that was a risky ad to run, but he ran it. I’ve seen him interviewed on the topic and he flounders with no real answer. Looks really bad on this topic and doesn’t know how to smooth it out.

2) I’d say that Doug Hoffman and Daniels are on the same level in regards to confidence, personality, ability to strongly articulate issues and principles, etc… I’d still support Daniels after learning more about him, but he come off as a weak kid that was easily bullied in school. I just don’t think he is presidential material.

Pence/Pawlenty (as much as I don’t like the guy) seem to be the strongest combo thus far. I don’t know why this isn’t discussed more. They would compliment each other in many ways, and both are confident and measured in dealing with the media.

nottakingsides on February 26, 2010 at 7:57 PM

A significant driver in Indiana was the student vote at the major universities. The organizing for america group is still very active and in constant campaign mode. On MLK day they went door to door.

Daniels would be a nice addition to the race. I hope he joins the fight.

R Square on February 26, 2010 at 8:01 PM

–Wasn’t that sort of a backhanded insult to people from Indiana and Wisconsin?

Jimbo3 on February 26, 2010 at 3:42 PM
Some of us WI natives have that “Fargo” syntax, we sound like a Norwegian Sarah Palin. Maybe that is what he was getting at, er.. we sound stupid. People use to make fun of Tommy Thompson because of that.

wi farmgirl on February 26, 2010 at 7:27 PM

You ever heard anyone from the UP?

Jimbo3 on February 26, 2010 at 9:19 PM

Yeah, sadly, Indiana fell for hopenchange. I was really embarrassed for my state.

search4truth on February 26, 2010 at 4:29 PM

I was embarrassed as well :(

It doesn’t help that Northwest Indiana gets mostly Chigcago media.

aikidoka on February 26, 2010 at 9:28 PM

He would make an awesome president I think.

President Daniels will make our little country more better, and isn’t that what a president is supposed to do?

Yes. Yes it is.

happyfeet on February 26, 2010 at 10:10 PM

anybody but obamaa dog before obama

notagool on February 27, 2010 at 10:27 AM

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