Video: Mitch Daniels’s speech at CPAC

posted at 10:36 pm on February 11, 2011 by Allahpundit

I want to give you the clip because this is, for all intents and purposes, his national political debut and there’s bound to be some curiosity among the readership after all the hype. He told a group of students today that there’s an excellent chance he won’t run, but this doesn’t sound like a speech from a guy who’s considering retirement after his term as governor ends. He plates plenty of red meat about America’s lurch towards socialism, but per Weigel, he stayed away from social issues and attacks on Obama to focus on fiscal catastrophe. Mary Katharine Ham and our Townhall cousin Guy Benson were there in the room and applauded him afterward on Twitter for the gravity of the message and lack of grandstanding. Judge for yourselves: Click the image to watch at CSPAN or scroll down below and read the transcript of his remarks as prepared for delivery.

George Will introduced him by saluting “the charisma of competence.” Is that enough to win a primary? Considering that we nominated McCain last time, probably.

***
David Keene, George Will, good friends, thank you for the enormous privilege of this podium. Even a casual observer of American public life knows how many great ideas have been born here, how many important debates joined here, how many giants of our democracy appeared on this platform. When David broached the invitation, my first reaction was one I often have: “Who cancelled?” But first choice or fifteenth, the honor, and the responsibility to do the occasion justice, is the same. I am seized with the sentiment best expressed by Hizzoner, the original Mayor Richard Daley, who once proclaimed a similar honor the “pinochle of success.”

We are all grateful to our co-sponsors, the Reagan Foundation and the Reagan Ranch. How fitting that we convene under their auspices, as we close this first week of the centennial. Those of us who served President Reagan were taught to show constant respect for the presidency and whoever occupies it. But, among us alums, the term “the President” tends to connote just one of those forty-four men, that great man with whom God blessed America one hundred years ago this week.

The prefix in “cosponsor” is meaningful tonight. It is no state secret that the two foundations have not always been co-operative, or co-llaborative, or co-llegial. So it is a tribute to the stature and diplomacy of David Keene that they have come together to produce so warm a moment as this. I am now converted to the view that yes, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be solved. Well done, David; Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded for far less.

I bring greetings from a place called Indiana. The coastal types present may think of it as a “flyover” state, or one of those “I” states. Perhaps a quick anthropological summary would help.

We Hoosiers hold to some quaint notions. Some might say we “cling” to them, though not out of fear or ignorance. We believe in paying our bills. We have kept our state in the black throughout the recent unpleasantness, while cutting rather than raising taxes, by practicing an old tribal ritual – we spend less money than we take in.

We believe it wrong ever to take a dollar from a free citizen without a very necessary public purpose, because each such taking diminishes the freedom to spend that dollar as its owner would prefer. When we do find it necessary, we feel a profound duty to use that dollar as carefully and effectively as possible, else we should never have taken it at all.

Before our General Assembly now is my proposal for an automatic refund of tax dollars beyond a specified level of state reserves. We say that anytime budgets are balanced and an ample savings account has been set aside, government should just stop collecting taxes. Better to leave that money in the pockets of those who earned it, than to let it burn a hole, as it always does, in the pockets of government.

We believe that government works for the benefit of private life, and not the other way around. We see government’s mission as fostering and enabling the important realms – our businesses, service clubs, Little Leagues, churches – to flourish. Our first thought is always for those on life’s first rung, and how we might increase their chances of climbing.

Every day, we work to lower the costs and barriers to free men and women creating wealth for each other. We build roads, and bridges, and new sources of homegrown energy at record rates, in order to have the strongest possible backbone to which people of enterprise can attach their investments and build their dreams. When business leaders ask me what they can do for Indiana, I always reply: “Make money. Go make money. That’s the first act of ‘corporate citizenship.’ If you do that, you’ll have to hire someone else, and you’ll have enough profit to help one of those non-profits we’re so proud of.”

We place our trust in average people. We are confident in their ability to decide wisely for themselves, on the important matters of their lives. So when we cut property taxes, to the lowest level in America, we left flexibility for localities to raise them, but only by securing the permission of their taxpayers, voting in referendum. We designed both our state employee health plans and the one we created for low-income Hoosiers as Health Savings Accounts, and now in the tens of thousands these citizens are proving that they are fully capable of making smart, consumerist choices about their own health care.

We have broadened the right of parents to select the best place for their children’s education to include every public school, traditional or charter, regardless of geography, tuition-free. And before our current legislature adjourns, we intend to become the first state of full and true choice by saying to every low and middle-income Hoosier family, if you think a non-government school is the right one for your child, you’re as entitled to that option as any wealthy family; here’s a voucher, go sign up.

Lastly, speaking now for my administration colleagues, we believe in government that is limited but active. Within that narrow sphere of legitimate collective action, we choose to be the initiators of new ideas or, as we have labeled ourselves, the Party of Purpose. In President Reagan’s phrase, “We are the change.” On election nights, we remind each other that victory is not a vindication, it is an instruction, not an endorsement, but an assignment.

The national elections of 2010 carried an instruction. In our nation, in our time, the friends of freedom have an assignment, as great as those of the 1860s, or the 1940s, or the long twilight of the Cold War. As in those days, the American project is menaced by a survival-level threat. We face an enemy, lethal to liberty, and even more implacable than those America has defeated before. We cannot deter it; there is no countervailing danger we can pose. We cannot negotiate with it, any more than with an iceberg or a Great White.

I refer, of course, to the debts our nation has amassed for itself over decades of indulgence. It is the new Red Menace, this time consisting of ink. We can debate its origins endlessly and search for villains on ideological grounds, but the reality is pure arithmetic. No enterprise, small or large, public or private, can remain self-governing, let alone successful, so deeply in hock to others as we are about to be.

Need I illustrate? Surely the consequences, to prosperity, world influence, and personal freedom itself are as clear to this audience as to any one could appear before.

Do I exaggerate? I’d love to be shown that I do. Any who think so please see me in the hallway afterward, and bring your third grade math books.

If a foreign power advanced an army to the border of our land, everyone in this room would drop everything and look for a way to help. We would set aside all other agendas and disputes as secondary, and go to the ramparts until the threat was repelled. That is what those of us here, and every possible ally we can persuade to join us, are now called to do. It is our generational assignment. It is the mission of our era. Forgive the pun when I call it our “raison debt.”

Every conflict has its draft dodgers. There are those who will not enlist with us. Some who can accept, or even welcome, the ballooning of the state, regardless of the cost in dollars, opportunity, or liberty, and the slippage of the United States into a gray parity with the other nations of this earth. Some who sincerely believe that history has devised a leftward ratchet, moving in fits and starts but always in the direction of a more powerful state. The people who coined the smug and infuriating term – have you heard it? – “the Reagan Interruption.”

The task of such people is now a simple one. They need only play good defense. The federal spending commitments now in place will bring about the leviathan state they have always sought. The health care travesty now on the books will engulf private markets and produce a single-payer system or its equivalent, and it won’t take long to happen. Our fiscal ruin and resulting loss of world leadership will, in their eyes, be not a tragic event but a desirable one, delivering the multilateral world of which they’ve dreamed so long.

Fortunately, these folks remain few. They are vastly outnumbered by Americans who sense the presence of the enemy, but are awaiting the call for volunteers, and a credible battle plan for saving our Republic. That call must come from this room, and rooms like it.

But we, too, are relatively few in number, in a nation of 300 million. If freedom’s best friends cannot unify around a realistic, actionable program of fundamental change, one that attracts and persuades a broad majority of our fellow citizens, big change will not come. Or rather, big change will come, of the kind that the skeptics of all centuries have predicted for those naïve societies that believed that government of and by the people could long endure.

We know what the basic elements must be. An affectionate thank you to the major social welfare programs of the last century, but their sunsetting when those currently or soon to be enrolled have passed off the scene. The creation of new Social Security and Medicare compacts with the young people who will pay for their elders and who deserve to have a backstop available to them in their own retirement.

These programs should reserve their funds for those most in need of them. They should be updated to catch up to Americans’ increasing longevity and good health. They should protect benefits against inflation but not overprotect them. Medicare 2.0 should restore to the next generation the dignity of making their own decisions, by delivering its dollars directly to the individual, based on financial and medical need, entrusting and empowering citizens to choose their own insurance and, inevitably, pay for more of their routine care like the discerning, autonomous consumers we know them to be.

Our morbidly obese federal government needs not just behavior modification but bariatric surgery. The perverse presumption that places the burden of proof on the challenger of spending must be inverted, back to the rule that applies elsewhere in life: “Prove to me why we should.”

Lost to history is the fact that, in my OMB assignment, I was the first loud critic of Congressional earmarks. I was also the first to get absolutely nowhere in reducing them: first to rail and first to fail. They are a pernicious practice and should be stopped. But, in the cause of national solvency, they are a trifle. Talking much more about them, or “waste, fraud, and abuse,” trivializes what needs to be done, and misleads our fellow citizens to believe that easy answers are available to us. In this room, we all know how hard the answers are, how much change is required.

And that means nothing, not even the first and most important mission of government, our national defense, can get a free pass. I served in two administrations that practiced and validated the policy of peace through strength. It has served America and the world with irrefutable success. But if our nation goes over a financial Niagara, we won’t have much strength and, eventually, we won’t have peace. We are currently borrowing the entire defense budget from foreign investors. Within a few years, we will be spending more on interest payments than on national security. That is not, as our military friends say, a “robust strategy.”

I personally favor restoring impoundment power to the presidency, at least on an emergency basis. Having had this authority the last six years, and used it shall we say with vigor, I can testify to its effectiveness, and to this finding: You’d be amazed how much government you’ll never miss.

The nation must be summoned to General Quarters in the cause of economic growth. The friends of freedom always favor a growing economy as the wellspring of individual opportunity and a bulwark against a domineering state. But here, doctrinal debates are unnecessary; the arithmetic tells it all. We don’t have a prayer of defeating the Red Threat of our generation without a long boom of almost unprecedented duration. Every other goal, however worthy, must be tested against and often subordinated to actions that spur the faster expansion of the private sector on which all else depends.

A friend of mine attended a recent meeting of the NBA leadership, at which a small-market owner, whom I won’t name but will mention is also a member of the U.S. Senate, made an impassioned plea for more sharing of revenue by the more successful teams. At a coffee break, Mr. Prokhorov, the new Russian owner of the New Jersey Nets, murmured to my friend, “We tried that, you know. It doesn’t work.”

Americans have seen these last two years what doesn’t work. The failure of national economic policy is costing us more than jobs; it has begun to weaken that uniquely American spirit of risk-taking, large ambition, and optimism about the future. We must rally them now to bold departures that rebuild our national morale as well as our material prosperity.

Here, too, the room abounds with experts and good ideas, and the nation will need every one. Just to name three: it’s time we had, in Bill Simon’s words “a tax system that looks like someone designed it on purpose.” And the purpose should be private growth. So lower and flatter, and completely flat is best. Tax compensation but not the savings and investment without which the economy cannot boom.

Second, untie Gulliver. The regulatory rainforest through which our enterprises must hack their way is blighting the future of millions of Americans. Today’s EPA should be renamed the “Employment Prevention Agency.” After a two-year orgy of new regulation, President Obama’s recent executive order was a wonderment, as though the number one producer of rap music had suddenly expressed alarm about obscenity.

In Indiana, where our privatization of a toll road generated billions for reinvestment in infrastructure, we can build in half the time at two-thirds the cost when we use our own money only and are free from the federal rulebook. A moratorium on new regulation is a minimal suggestion; better yet, move at least temporarily to a self-certification regime that lets America build, and expand, and explore now and settle up later in those few instances where someone colors outside the lines.

Finally, treat domestic energy production as the economic necessity it is and the job creator it can be. Drill, and frack, and lease, and license, unleash in every way the jobs potential in the enormous energy resources we have been denying ourselves. And help our fellow citizens to understand that a poorer country will not be a greener country, but its opposite. It is freedom and its fruits that enable the steady progress we have made in preserving and protecting God’s kingdom.

If this strikes you as a project of unusual ambition, given the state of modern politics, you are right. If it strikes you as too bold for our fellow Americans to embrace, I believe you are wrong. Seven years as a practitioner in elective politics tells me that history’s skeptics are wrong. That Americans, in a vast majority, are still a people born for self-governance. They are ready to summon the discipline to pay down our collective debts as they are now paying down their own; to put the future before the present, their children’s interest before their own.

Our proposals will be labeled radical, but this is easy to rebut. Starting a new retirement plan for those below a certain age is something tens of millions of Americans have already been through at work.

Opponents will expect us to be defensive, but they have it backwards. When they call the slightest spending reductions “painful”, we will say “If government spending prevents pain, why are we suffering so much of it?” And “If you want to experience real pain, just stay on the track we are on.” When they attack us for our social welfare reforms, we will say that the true enemies of Social Security and Medicare are those who defend an imploding status quo, and the arithmetic backs us up.

They will attack our program as the way of despair, but we will say no, America’s way forward is brilliant with hope, as soon as we have dealt decisively with the manageable problems before us.

2010 showed that the spirit of liberty and independence is stirring anew, that a growing number of Americans still hear Lincoln’s mystic chords of memory. But their number will have to grow, and do so swiftly. Change of the dimension we need requires a coalition of a dimension no one has recently assembled. And, unless you disbelieve what the arithmetic of disaster is telling us, time is very short.

Here I wish to be very plainspoken: It is up to us to show, specifically, the best way back to greatness, and to argue for it with all the passion of our patriotism. But, should the best way be blocked, while the enemy draws nearer, then someone will need to find the second best way. Or the third, because the nation’s survival requires it.

Purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers. King Pyrrhus is remembered, but his nation disappeared. Winston Churchill set aside his lifetime loathing of Communism in order to fight World War II. Challenged as a hypocrite, he said that when the safety of Britain was at stake, his “conscience became a good girl.” We are at such a moment. I for one have no interest in standing in the wreckage of our Republic saying “I told you so” or “You should’ve done it my way.”

We must be the vanguard of recovery, but we cannot do it alone. We have learned in Indiana, big change requires big majorities. We will need people who never tune in to Rush or Glenn or Laura or Sean. Who surf past C-SPAN to get to SportsCenter. Who, if they’d ever heard of CPAC, would assume it was a cruise ship accessory.

The second worst outcome I can imagine for next year would be to lose to the current president and subject the nation to what might be a fatal last dose of statism. The worst would be to win the election and then prove ourselves incapable of turning the ship of state before it went on the rocks, with us at the helm.

So we must unify America, or enough of it, to demand and sustain the Big Change we propose. Here are a few suggestions:

We must display a heart for every American, and a special passion for those still on the first rung of life’s ladder. Upward mobility from the bottom is the crux of the American promise, and the stagnation of the middle class is in fact becoming a problem, on any fair reading of the facts. Our main task is not to see that people of great wealth add to it, but that those without much money have a greater chance to earn some.

We should address ourselves to young America at every opportunity. It is their futures that today’s policies endanger, and in their direct interest that we propose a new direction.

We should distinguish carefully skepticism about Big Government from contempt for all government. After all, it is a new government we hope to form, a government we will ask our fellow citizens to trust to make huge changes.

I urge a similar thoughtfulness about the rhetoric we deploy in the great debate ahead. I suspect everyone here regrets and laments the sad, crude coarsening of our popular culture. It has a counterpart in the venomous, petty, often ad hominem political discourse of the day.

When one of us – I confess sometimes it was yours truly – got a little hotheaded, President Reagan would admonish us, “Remember, we have no enemies, only opponents.” Good advice, then and now.

And besides, our opponents are better at nastiness than we will ever be. It comes naturally. Power to them is everything, so there’s nothing they won’t say to get it. The public is increasingly disgusted with a steady diet of defamation, and prepared to reward those who refrain from it. Am I alone in observing that one of conservatism’s best moments this past year was a massive rally that came and went from Washington without leaving any trash, physical or rhetorical, behind?

A more affirmative, “better angels” approach to voters is really less an aesthetic than a practical one: with apologies for the banality, I submit that, as we ask Americans to join us on such a boldly different course, it would help if they liked us, just a bit.

Lastly, critically, I urge great care not to drift into a loss of faith in the American people. In speech after speech, article upon article, we remind each other how many are dependent on government, or how few pay taxes, or how much essential virtues like family formation or civic education have withered. All true. All worrisome. But we must never yield to the self-fulfilling despair that these problems are immutable, or insurmountable.

All great enterprises have a pearl of faith at their core, and this must be ours: that Americans are still a people born to liberty. That they retain the capacity for self-government. That, addressed as free-born, autonomous men and women of God-given dignity, they will rise yet again to drive back a mortal enemy.

History’s assignment to this generation of freedom fighters is in one way even more profound than the tests of our proud past. We are tasked to rebuild not just a damaged economy, and a debt-ridden balance sheet, but to do so by drawing forth the best that is in our fellow citizens. If we would summon the best from Americans, we must assume the best about them. If we don’t believe in Americans, who will?

I do believe. I’ve seen it in the people of our very typical corner of the nation. I’ve seen it in the hundred Indiana homes in which I have stayed overnight. I’ve seen it in Hoosiers’ resolute support of limited government, their willingness, even insistence, that government keep within the boundaries our constitutional surveyors mapped out for it.

I’ve always loved John Adams’ diary entry, written en route to Philadelphia, there to put his life, liberty, and sacred honor all at risk. He wrote that it was all well worth it because, he said, “Great things are wanted to be done.”

When he and his colleagues arrived, and over the years ahead, they practiced the art of the possible. They made compacts and concessions and, yes, compromises. They made deep sectional and other differences secondary in pursuit of the grand prize of freedom. They each argued passionately for the best answers as they saw them, but they never permitted the perfect to be the enemy of the historic good they did for us, and all mankind. They gave us a Republic, citizen Franklin said, if we can keep it.

Keeping the Republic is the great thing that is wanted to be done, now, in our time, by us. In this room are convened freedom’s best friends but, to keep our Republic, freedom needs every friend it can get. Let’s go find them, and befriend them, and welcome them to the great thing that is wanted to be done in our day.

God bless this meeting and the liberty which makes it possible.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Why are you so angry this morning? ;)

Promote Daniels. Build him up.

No need to mention Palin or the ‘nistas anymore now that you have Mitch. He He!!

I am actually glad he is getting some traction and I hope he decides to run for the nomination.

It’s the Romney fans that are probably feeling sick at all the love being thrown around for Daniels.

If Daniels is to rise out of single digits to make a serious run at the nomination then he will probably take more votes from Romney than from Palin. So I welcome Daniels with open arms.

They will all get the chance to make their case in the primary. Then we get the chance to come together and put the eventual winner in the White House.

chief on February 12, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Mornin’ Jet’!

annoyinglittletwerp on February 12, 2011 at 9:28 AM

I’d rather see political battles waged with experience, great ideas, proven methods, etc than “viciousness”…leave that to the Left, they love that tactic.

Because it works.

Daniels 2012…He’s not a quitter!

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 8:22 AM

“Palin 2012…she’s not bald!” Same level of intelligence.

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:32 AM

chief on February 12, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Heh…I am in a mood the past couple days. Let’s just say “relationship issues” going on.

Yeah, I’m sure the MittWits aren’t all too happy with Daniels getting attention. Although eventually, if Daniels pulls out ahead of Romney in the future (*hopes*) he could siphon off Romney voters, but Daniels and Romney right now aren’t…shall we say…similar.

Palin voters could also go with Daniels…as they’re both socially conservative, and both probably willing to focus on fiscal issues first.

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 9:34 AM

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Why are you so angry this morning? ;)

Promote Daniels. Build him up.

No need to mention Palin or the ‘nistas anymore now that you have Mitch. He He!!

chief on February 12, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Good point.

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Morning a-twerp!

“Palin 2012…she’s not bald!” Same level of intelligence.

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Did I miss something, or did Palin quit as governor?

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Morning a-twerp!

“Palin 2012…she’s not bald!” Same level of intelligence.

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Did I miss something, or did Palin quit as governor?

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 9:37 AM

DId I miss something, or is Daniels lacking a full head of hair?

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:39 AM

The woman has earned the right to go after that MF so lets get this show in gear and make it happen.
oldyeller on February 12, 2011 at 3:20 AM

“Earned”?!?!

Oh lord, it is too early on the weekend to deal with such nonsense.

Vyce on February 12, 2011 at 9:39 AM

^ Newt Gingrich quit as well. Why don’t we EVER hear that being brought up ad nauseam?

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Maybe all Mitch Daniels needs is a charismatic VP?

ctmom on February 12, 2011 at 9:45 AM

^ Newt Gingrich quit as well. Why don’t we EVER hear that being brought up ad nauseam?

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:39 AM

B-b-but Newt!

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Maybe all Mitch Daniels needs is a charismatic VP?

ctmom on February 12, 2011 at 9:45 AM

To take the blame when he gets his butt kicked?

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:46 AM

^ Newt Gingrich quit as well. Why don’t we EVER hear that being brought up ad nauseam?

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:39 AM

B-b-but Newt!

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Really. Do you bring that up whenever Gingrich’s name is mentioned? ‘Course not. It doesn’t serve quite the same memetic purpose now, does it?

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Really. Do you bring that up whenever Gingrich’s name is mentioned? ‘Course not. It doesn’t serve quite the same memetic purpose now, does it?

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:47 AM

I thought we were talking about Palin. And Daniels. Don’t know why you’d bring up Newt except to say “Well, Newt quit too, so that makes Palin quitting a non-issue”.

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 9:49 AM

I thought we were talking about Palin. And Daniels. Don’t know why you’d bring up Newt except to say “Well, Newt quit too, so that makes Palin quitting a non-issue”.

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 9:49 AM

No, your meme selection is the issue.

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:51 AM

^ And no, the topic of the thread, I thought, is Daniels. But he can only be discussed by you in relation to Palin. That speaks volumes in itself.

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 9:52 AM

He seems to believe in the right things – however,
standing next to Obama at a Presidential debate leaves
him lacking -

Too short – bad combover

He is good for the debate of ideas; not good material for president.

Amjean on February 12, 2011 at 10:24 AM

The speech was good, but not drop everything and support him good. From the comments, it seems if you were already favorably disposed toward him, you really liked the speech. I just see his truce comments coming back to hurt him again and again; it was very gratuitous. We still need more good candidates to throw their hats into the ring: best thing is that there’s plenty of time.

IR-MN on February 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Did I miss something, or did Palin quit as governor?

JetBoy on February 12, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Quit banging the same drum, JetBoy. You aren’t any good
at it. Pick a different instrument.

Everyone has quit something in order to do something else. Who cares? Only persons who don’t have something intelligent
to say fall back on this tired rhetoric.

How about this, JetBoy – I wish with all my heart and
soul that Obama would quit the presidency!!! And I promise you that if
he did I would not hold it against him.

Amjean on February 12, 2011 at 10:31 AM

I thought it was a good speech. To say that he did not “attack” Obama would be incorrect but it was subtle and sarcastic. I’m a big fan of sarcasm. I can see why people think he might be the answer. I need to know more about the VAT and more about the union stuff mentioned in the thread by others. I know he has mentioned several times about not talking about social issues and while I agree that isn’t where our emphasis should be right now, I think he should stop saying that. Just stick to the fiscal. It appears that he is afraid of repelling the new friends we need to make change. That might be true but there is no sense in insulting existing friends. Old saying,”Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold?

Cindy Munford on February 12, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Man, I wish I were at CPAC. Great speech, governor.
“Charisma of Competence” 2012!

IU_Conservative on February 12, 2011 at 11:09 AM

“Charisma of Competence”

That would be a nice change to hope for, when compared to what we currently have.

Mutnodjmet on February 12, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Quit banging the same drum, JetBoy. You aren’t any good
at it. Pick a different instrument.

Sorry, Palinistas, but the drum will beat on so long as you keep making the argument that Palin’s executive experience is somehow superior to that of other GOP candidates with executive experience, like Romney, Pawlenty, Daniels or even, god help us, Huckabee.

If you want to argue Palin is the better choice, fine, but arguing it along THOSE lines will not win you many converts outside of the true con ranks.

Vyce on February 12, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Just finished watching. Mitch ‘VAT’ Daniels made me laugh a couple of times, but his self satisfied smirk doesn’t exactly scream sincerity to me.

ElectricPhase on February 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Sorry, Palinistas, but the drum will beat on so long as you keep making the argument that Palin’s executive experience is somehow superior to that of other GOP candidates with executive experience, like Romney, Pawlenty, Daniels or even, god help us, Huckabee.

Vyce on February 12, 2011 at 12:09 PM

That’s not my particular argument. Very very few will ever go into the voting booth and choose Romney based on the fact that he had two years more as governor than Palin did, and in fact in on that score Huckabee beats Romney.

Come to think of it, that type will probably be Romney’s “base”, which is why he most likely would lose.

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 12:27 PM

As if, in the current political climate, a politician is going to stand up at CPAC and laud the benefits of Bushian “compassionate conservatism.”

Funny that Daniels didn’t bring up the VAT./ No chance in hell am I voting for this tool.

pugwriter on February 12, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Help me out. When did Mitch Daniels say he wanted to implement a VAT? I know he brought up a VAT during a speech, but my memory is that the VAT should be part of the discussion not the end all be all.

bej on February 12, 2011 at 1:01 PM

By the way, Mr. Will, I don’t want “competence” I want leadership. Competent is the manager at work who stays under last year’s budget, but is clueless to increase profits. A leader, on the other hand, inspires those under him, scares the hell out of those above him, and makes the company more profitable for all of them.

pugwriter on February 12, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Medicare 2.0 should restore to the next generation the dignity of making their own decisions, by delivering its dollars directly to the individual, based on financial and medical need, entrusting and empowering citizens to choose their own insurance and, inevitably, pay for more of their routine care like the discerning, autonomous consumers we know them to be,” he said, prompting a standing ovation.

Really? That’s the conservative answer to old age? The conservative answer to old age is that people have children, they raise those children to be moral beings with responsibilities and self control, and in their old age, they can rely upon their children. Either that, or you save all the money you would have spent on raising a family and make certain that you can afford your own needs. If something bad enough happens, and your children are not there or your savings depleted, despite your honest and virtuous efforts, then you go to the people of your immediate community and ask for their help. Thereby placing shame upon those who seek help, enough shame that only those truly in need would go to seek it.

astonerii on February 12, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Help me out. When did Mitch Daniels say he wanted to implement a VAT? I know he brought up a VAT during a speech, but my memory is that the VAT should be part of the discussion not the end all be all.

bej on February 12, 2011 at 1:01 PM

I believe that would be this story. The reference seems to be a genuine window into Daniels thought process. He doesn’t want to cut government. He wants a way to make us pay for it.

ElectricPhase on February 12, 2011 at 1:20 PM

I believe that would be this story. The reference seems to be a genuine window into Daniels thought process. He doesn’t want to cut government. He wants a way to make us pay for it.

It’s pretty clear that he’s talking about the VAT as an alternative to the income tax and saying that it’s a way to change the entire system, not add it on top of the current one.

cpaulus on February 12, 2011 at 1:33 PM

The VAT tax is nothing more than hiding the takings of people’s money. It is not like a sales tax where you can look on the receipt and see where the money is going. It is asking the companies to take the blame for higher prices that they do not contribute to making happen.

Hide the pain so you avoid the blame. Great plan Mitchell. I will vote Obama if he is the nominee.

astonerii on February 12, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I get more and more depressed the more I know about all of our potential presidential nominees for the Republican side.

Newt, no chance.
Romney, no chance.
Huckabee, no chance.
Mitch, no chance.
Palin, I wish.
Bachman, I wish.
Cain, not enough known.

astonerii on February 12, 2011 at 1:41 PM

This was the speech that the country needs to hear. Daniels is the only one that may run this year that can balance the budget and has the experience to prove it.

orfannkyl on February 12, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Daniels is the only one that may run this year that can balance the budget and has the experience to prove it.

orfannkyl on February 12, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Except the president doesn’t balance the budget … Congress does.

darwin on February 12, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Pretty good speech. He’s all for unleashing our own massive energy reserves.

darwin on February 12, 2011 at 3:04 PM

astonerii on February 12, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I was waiting for someone to leap to Mitch’s defense after that. No takers? Hmmmm.

ElectricPhase on February 12, 2011 at 3:10 PM

What Governor Daniels doesn’t seem to get is that Republicans must actually stand for something more than fiscal responsibility. That road ends where the Tories are now in the UK, the ones advertising themselves as the more capable and competent managers of the socialist status quo.

So-called social issues matter. Refusal to take a public stand on abortion, for example, could be interpreted as evasion for the sake of political expediency, especially after that horror show in Pennsylvania. True enough, a certain amount of strategic calculation is expected of a candidate for President. Pragmatism can be a virtue. President Lincoln was focused solely on winning the Civil War and didn’t sign the Emancipation Proclamation until he thought the timing of the Proclamation’s issuance was conducive to that end, but no one ever questioned Lincoln’s anti-slavery bona fides before that point. Everyone knew Lincoln opposed it.

Yes, smart-alecks out there, I understand Governor Daniels is opposed to slavery but that’s about all I know about his views on social, moral, and cultural issues, and he’s my governor. What I’m saying is that the GOP should field candidates who give the voter a clear-cut choice. No more Democrat Lite. No more moderates=electability formulations. No more McCains.

troyriser_gopftw on February 11, 2011 at 11:26 PM

I completely agree with you, “troyriser gopftw.”

What concerns me about Daniels is he had this great opportunity to get out in front of just about everything in a contributory if not leadership fashion and instead he made a point (among all points that could have been made, this one he opted to reveal) about denigrating “social conservative issues.”

It seems needless if not gratuitous to a point of Daniels being far too targeting of that one area of American life as to identify the guy as bitter or just plain mean where American values held by well over fifty percent of the population are concerned.

I mean by that, of all the things Daniels might have identified as a handicap as per how he views the GOP, he goes to that. It’s abnormal targeting and ruins Daniels’ credibility if for no other reason than he seems on the wrong side tossing darts at the right people.

Note he didn’t complain about anything else, only “that”. It’s needless, unnecessary and makes Daniels look like a turncoat.

Lourdes on February 12, 2011 at 3:25 PM

This was the speech that the country needs to hear. Daniels is the only one that may run this year that can balance the budget and has the experience to prove it.

orfannkyl on February 12, 2011 at 2:33 PM

If anything, it’s the one speech that will hurt Daniels general popularity among voting Republicans.

He has a solid line of issues to address as to the economy and energy, etc., and there he goes deploying the unnecessary denigration of “social conservative issues.” It was mean spirited and rather stupid, to be blunt.

Lourdes on February 12, 2011 at 3:28 PM

astonerii on February 12, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I was waiting for someone to leap to Mitch’s defense after that. No takers? Hmmmm.

ElectricPhase on February 12, 2011 at 3:10 PM

There’s no way Obama is ever getting my vote. I’ll vote for Daniels if he’s the nominee, gladly. That’s about as much of a defense as I can muster.

ddrintn on February 12, 2011 at 3:53 PM

I won’t vote for anyone who says to be silent about social issues. They are too important.

Rose on February 12, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Let’s see Jetboy supports this nothing jackwagon, so we know Daniels is a guaranteed loser. Remember, Jetboy is a die hard McCain believer. That should disqualify him from voting much less opining on what makes a good candidate. But what do I care. You guys will pick some worthless lump of meat, and here comes Obama for 4 more years.

austinnelly on February 12, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Having not paid any attention to the potential “field” I really had no idea who Daniels was. After just watching his speech, I have to say I don’t know what more any conservative could ask for.

Somebody want to tell how you upgrade from Daniels–besides name recognition, of coarse.

I’m trying not to be a reactionary, but I don’t think I need to anything from anyone else. The only other possible candidate I’m not familiar with is Pawlenty, but I do know he runs the show in Minnesotastan.

Browndog on February 12, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Help me out. When did Mitch Daniels say he wanted to implement a VAT?

He didn’t, it just the go to card for Palin cultists.

lowandslow on February 12, 2011 at 5:03 PM

*YAWN*

Daniels is ok. Nothing about him excites me. Its just that kind of candidate that will lose to Obama.

We need to go the unconventional route and find someone we can get excited about. It will be a campaign that will need to out “energy” the opponent. The fact is, that may be impossible due to Obama’s ability to swoon a certain portion of the voting public no matter how big of a failure he is….

BUT, getting the Tea Party movement energized may make an upset possible….so far im not seeing someone who can do that.

Except maybe someone like Herman Cain, and the GOP establishment would never allow that to happen, now matter how good for the country it would be.

We run Herman Cain, and we win 40 states.

I know….pipe dream of all pipe dreams.

alecj on February 12, 2011 at 5:19 PM

I won’t vote for anyone who says to be silent about social issues. They are too important.

Rose on February 12, 2011 at 4:00 PM

The thing is, you get the government out of our lives and society itself takes back control of social issues. As it stands now the government decides them for us.

The government shouldn’t be involved with social issues … period.

darwin on February 12, 2011 at 5:43 PM

For those comparing Mitch to McCain, I admire you for tackling a tough challenge. Mitch is not milquetoast, he is not go along. The speech that he delivered last night offered a clear vision for the future and a radical change to the status quo. Whereas McCain had no real agenda outside of Iraq, Daniels is like the Churchill of our time. He is not alone in seeing the debt as the great threat of our time, but he is almost alone among the political leaders in having the gall to tell people the sobering truth about the drastic reforms of entitlements and spending that are required to save our Republic, which as he explicitly and without qualification cannot withstand another four years of Obama’s statism. While others vaguely warn of a gathering threat, Mitch is bold enough to say that the threat is not on the horizon but on our doorstep and destroying America now, in 2011 not five or ten years from now. This isn’t the Munich of our time, this is the invasion of Poland.

Raisedbywolves on February 12, 2011 at 7:07 PM

I like Daniels and this speech is impressive, he has a clear vision which seem to be backed up with a clear plan. George Will gave an excellent introduction and had a good line about the Charisma of Competence, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit I nearly nodded off a couple times during Daniels’ speech.

I would have no problem with him as the nominee, but we don’t just need a man of sheer of competence in the White House, but a fighter a swell. You can’t stop the runaway train that is our debt through mild manners and compromise, it’s not going to happen. Reagan was a fighter, no matter what liberal hacks in the media like Andrea Mitchell now claim, he was able to use humor to dress up his fighting spirit. Daniels needs to deliver his message with a little more urgency if he wants to get people to pay attention, that is just how it is in this TV Nation.

Daemonocracy on February 12, 2011 at 9:17 PM

Mitch Daniels speech was a great one. And he was 100% correct about the essential task of focusing on attracting others to the cause.

In the end, that was the greatest political achievement of Ronald Reagan because it permitted him to accomplish what he did. Mitch did not, as some have suggested, say that we should be silent about social issues. Go back and listen again.

What he was quite plain about was the necessity being in a position to effectively engage in, and win the national debate . . . and to do so on the most propitious grounds.

Those would also be the ones on which we must act to save the Republic.

Opponents will expect us to be defensive, but they have it backwards. When they call the slightest spending reductions “painful”, we will say “If government spending prevents pain, why are we suffering so much of it?” And “If you want to experience real pain, just stay on the track we are on.” When they attack us for our social welfare reforms, we will say that the true enemies of Social Security and Medicare are those who defend an imploding status quo, and the arithmetic backs us up.

They will attack our program as the way of despair, but we will say no, America’s way forward is brilliant with hope, as soon as we have dealt decisively with the manageable problems before us.

And . . .

Purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers. King Pyrrhus is remembered, but his nation disappeared. Winston Churchill set aside his lifetime loathing of Communism in order to fight World War II. Challenged as a hypocrite, he said that when the safety of Britain was at stake, his “conscience became a good girl.” We are at such a moment. I for one have no interest in standing in the wreckage of our Republic saying “I told you so” or “You should’ve done it my way.”

Trochilus on February 12, 2011 at 9:36 PM

“UNPLUG GRANNY“……..says who?

…..says Mitch Daniels!

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/02/11/mitch-daniels-suggests-re-examination-of-end-of-life-care/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wsj%2Fwashwire%2Ffeed+%28WSJ.com%3A+Washington+Wire%29

PappyD61 on February 12, 2011 at 11:50 PM

What part of his statement do you disagree with? Obama wants universal healthcare, and then forcefully ration end-of-life care. Mitch wants to limit the governments role in healthcare and in other entitlements, and then to limit what kind of care the government will subsidize.
If you believe that healthcare isn’t a federal government responsibility, then you shouldn’t believe that the federal government is responsibility for providing unlimited end-of-life services. If you believe as Obama does that government should run healthcare, and then that government should determine what kind of care all people should get, then that is what is f’d up. That the government will take control and then deny services.

Raisedbywolves on February 14, 2011 at 12:53 AM

Just to reiterate, there is a difference between
1) the government refusing to cover filet mignon on foodstamps
2) the government taking control of the entire food industry and then getting rid of filet mignon.
Mitch isn’t saying people, with their own money or their own private insurance, shouldn’t be able to pay for lucratively expensive end-of-life services. He’s saying a gajillion dollars in end-of-life care is not a government entitlement.

Raisedbywolves on February 14, 2011 at 12:56 AM

Clearly, social cons are welcome in Daniel’s America, as long as they are silent.

SKYFOX on February 14, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Look, I know Daniels isn’t very well known, but I wish people would not speak of what they do not know. It’s frustrating.

Daniels is pro-life. He is against gay marriage and civil unions. He is pro school vouchers. He balanced our budget for the first time in eight years. He has forgone a raise for the last several years because we didn’t have the money to give State employees a raise. Businesses are moving here. He does a yearly motorcycle ride fundraiser for the National Guard Relief Fund.

Do I agree with everything Daniels has said or done? No. But I can say that about all the people in my life – my parents, my friends, the ministers I’ve known – doesn’t mean I don’t respect them. I’m not sure where we get this idea that candidates have to be perfect.

Daniels has kept this state afloat during a crisis and he will always have my respect for that – and I say that as someone who’s worked for an Indiana state agency the last three years.

lonesome_pine on February 14, 2011 at 4:54 PM

And I do realize, by the way, I don’t have the most objective opinion about My Man Mitch. I think part of that is just the relief I felt once he was elected. We nearly drowned under 16 years of Democrat leadership and, finally, we were coming up for air. And in 2008, when Indiana went Dem in a presidential election for the first time in forever, we still re-elected Daniels.

And this is why I usually avoid Daniels threads. I get too worked up. :)

Truth be told, though, I really have no idea who’d I like to see as President.

lonesome_pine on February 14, 2011 at 5:05 PM

I find this interesting. Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Ann Coulter, even Keynote Speaker Allen West didn’t have their ENTIRE speech quoted in their CPAC posts here at HA. Pushing for a Daniels centerist much, eh?

“I think the ruling class has circled the wagons and used CPAC to do it. Social conservatives were dissed again at CPAC. And the ruling class cheering every speech made, every comment made that dissed the social conservatives. I thought with what had happened last fall, I mean, Cheney got heckled, called a war criminal and a draft dodger at CPAC. Sorry, that’s not the CPAC that I’ve always thought of or known. A guy like Dick Cheney gets heckled and called a war criminal.

What was missing I thought from the CPAC convention just as a theme is what has been occurring the last few years, this ascendancy of traditional conservatism, the ascendancy of Reagan conservatism. There’s no doubt it is happening all across the fruited plain….

What is a conservative candidate? A candidate who supports the Constitution; who supports national security; who supports traditional family values, the basic stuff. And that stuff seemed controversial for parts of CPAC. When a would-be candidate says put aside the social issues, what does this mean? Is the left putting aside the social issues? The left right now, they are in federal court demanding that judges impose an agenda on the nation that was voted down at the ballot box. What do we do in response to that, ignore it? We have a health care bill here that’s unconstitutional, could have been a huge rallying point. Instead, we got the latest ruling class drumbeat that we put aside the social issues, more important things on the agenda than the social issues right now…..

“Look, if you’re worried about immigration, stop it. We don’t want to be seen as racist. Stop talking about abortion, stop talking about the social issues, stop talking about all this, that’s only gonna hurt, we don’t need to deal with that in our party.” This is what the ruling class guys were saying at CPAC…..

Same principle applies to politics. Dance with the people that brung you. But this doesn’t seem to be what’s going on in the Republican Party. The people that brung us embarrass us. Some of the people that brung us embarrass us, seems to be the message. We gotta deemphasize this. We gotta stop talking about the borders and immigration, that’s racist. We gotta stop talking about social issues, that’s abortion, wives don’t like it, we don’t wanna get henpecked at home, whatever it is. You know, it has been forgotten, and the reason I keep bringing Reagan up is Reagan made CPAC. When Reagan attended CPAC he pretty much put it on the map. Reagan fought the establishment. He went to CPAC before 1980 to fight the establishment. Back then CPAC and the Republican Party were two different things. He went to CPAC to ask them to join him in changing the Republican Party. That’s why Reagan went to CPAC. He went there to advance a conservative cause. Remember, now, the establishment had tried to throw him to the curb in 1976. The establishment really wasn’t that enthralled with Reagan. He did not then say, “Okay, how can I make the Republican Party like me? How can I make the ruling class Republicans like me?”

He didn’t care about that. He went to CPAC and said, “We gotta take over the Republican Party. We need to reform it. We need make it a Conservative Party.” He wanted it to be one of the vanguards in advancing the conservative cause. He reached out to all traditionally conservative people, including people of faith. He reached out to all of them. He didn’t ask ‘em to put aside their principles, he didn’t ask ‘em to shut up. He asked everyone if they were conservative to embrace him. He said they had a candidate in him who would promote them. He wanted to win. He wanted to win by running as a conservative, not some hyphenated conservative, and not a special interest conservative. He understood that if the culture crumbles, the society crumbles. And that includes fiscal and national security issues. So he set out a strong — and this is relevant, 100th birthday weekend recently — set out a strong simple agenda of across-the-board tax cuts and spending cuts, rejected the limitations the ruling class and the GOP establishment tried to place on him. He insisted the military needed to be built up, the communists were our enemies, the Islamists of today.

You don’t need to agree with all the things that he said or all the things he did as president, but you knew he was faithful to the Constitution’s principles. He could be trusted to do what was right or at least try to. Now, when you have candidates or would-be candidates telling conservatives to park their principles at the door, to check their principles at the door when they come in, who are not fully understood on a host of issues, they’re not gonna be trusted by voters at large. To the extent that people who voted in November paid attention to CPAC and told that this is conservative political action conferencing, I wonder how much conservatism they actually saw as measured against what they were expecting, if they watched it. You had a candidate promoted by the Republican establishment who didn’t write off conservative voices on the radio but says we’re gonna move beyond that….
~Rush Limbaugh

Sultry Beauty on February 14, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Now, nobody would disagree that for a movement to grow you need people from all over the place to join the movement. So I didn’t take personally Mitch Daniels saying we need to move beyond the audiences of people on talk radio. It’s in fact smart but in the process of doing so, you don’t diss the people who are already audiences of those shows, you don’t say that they’re irrelevant or unnecessary, who won elections for your party year after year after year, and all this, of course, done to impress the mainstream media. The problem with CPAC, frankly, is that rather than promote traditional conservative principles — maybe even with new strategies, that’s fine and dandy — rather than do that, the principles are now up for grabs, the definition of a conservative is up for grabs. And people who have had very little to do with election results since last November are now lecturing everybody on how to move forward, and that’s what CPAC was and it just kind of didn’t compute.
~Rush Limbaugh

Ummm… ^^^^^^what he said^^^^^

Sultry Beauty on February 14, 2011 at 5:28 PM

My Man Mitch, can BITE ME!!!

Voted for this man not once but TWICE! Both times this man proved to be nothing more than a RINO!!!
Want to see My MAN MITCH & his work? Come visit Indiana! Better yet, come stay in Indy for a week, no, to keep you safe, better make it 48 hours! Drive up Washington, head up to 72nd Street, look for some English! They release any illegal aliens they catch, as for taking care of local/state terrorist threats, they do NOTHING, but send it to Washington. Immigration, send it to Washington. You’d think My Man Mitch has a big o’l MAN CRUSH on Obama, because he leaves everything up to him. This state is a JOKE! State law, report all abuse in school, doesn’t happen, why? State does nothing! Department of Social Services making up rules as they go along, why? State does nothing. Who’s in charge here?….lol…Your guess is as good as mine.

christene on February 14, 2011 at 6:25 PM


He has forgone a raise for the last several years because we didn’t have the money to give State employees a raise.

lonesome_pine on February 14, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Oh YEAH!,..like those who work for the city, working with the criminals, who are not allowed to have info on who has aids, or anything contagious, 16 hour shifts because they have laid people off, Mitch didnt ask them to freeze the little bit of pay they get, but he did….I don’t see anything you posted, who is hiring? Visit Franklin, look around, ask people about the closed factory. It’s good you have a job, but know this, about 50thousand are waiting to snatch yours up if given the chance. Lugar & Mitch need to go,…we need a true CONSERVATIVE!

christene on February 14, 2011 at 6:36 PM

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