Mitch Daniels: I might not run for president because ... the legislative session might drag on

Seriously? Of all the possible answers to Laura Ingraham’s question from the other day, this must surely be the lamest:

Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels is acknowledging that an impasse in the state Legislature could preclude him from running for president should it drag on long-term…

Daniels has previously said he won’t decide until the legislative session ends. An ongoing standoff caused by boycotting House Democrats has the potential to cause the session to drag on past its scheduled end in late April.

“We’re all about the business of Indiana and trying to move an agenda forward right now,” Daniels said. “That could well get in the way of any national participation. If it does, it does.”

Three possibilities here. One: He’s using this as leverage over Indiana’s fleebagger Democrats, trying to pressure them into coming home so that the state can get on with its business. Except that, er, Daniels is regarded as a formidable potential nominee against Obama, which gives Democrats even more incentive to stay away and hold things up. Two: He’s such a good-government boy scout that he sincerely believes it’d be unfair to Indianans to go off and start stumping when there’s state business to be done at home. If so, that’s nice, but governors who have aspired to the presidency have been doing that for ages. No one will hold it against him. And even if they did, who cares? He’s term-limited. Three: Maybe … the guy really doesn’t want to run for president. He admits that the idea of national scrutiny scares his family to death, and he said a few months ago that if Barbour runs (which seems likely), his first inclination would be to help him. He sounds like a man looking for excuses to pass. Republican primary voters weren’t thrilled with Fred Thompson’s perceived lack of “fire in the belly” and Fred comes off like a dynamo compared to this guy.

Actually, maybe there’s a fourth reason: The will-he-or-won’t-he teasing is aimed at building suspense so that it makes an even bigger media splash when he announces. I guess that’s possible, but if you’re going to build suspense you’d better deliver with excitement and, needless to say, that’s not Daniels’s strong suit. He’d be better served getting in and heading straight to New Hampshire to pound the pavement. In fact, he can have the best of both worlds by doing that ASAP. If he’s the first man in, that in itself would be splash-tastic. Exit quotation via Geraghty: “The long legislative session might be sufficient to deter a man from trying to lead his country, to steer it away from a currently disastrous course, to try to salvage it before it is overtaken by monstrous debt, a threat that Daniels himself said was scarier than the Soviet arsenal?”

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David Strom 9:31 PM on December 05, 2022