Another fresh face in the 2012 sweepstakes: Indiana Governor Mitch “The Blade” Daniels, one of the rare sitting politicians in this country who has actually shown the fortitude to cut budgets. He trimmed $250 million from the Indiana budget, saved $190 million by renegotiating government contracts and cutting the state’s rate of spending growth in half.
Daniels served as chief of staff to Senator Richard Lugar, was a senior adviser to President Ronald Reagan, was President George W. Bush’s budget director and has been twice elected governor, receiving more votes than anyone who has ever run for office in Indiana. He won 72 of 92 counties (Obama won 15), got 24 percent of the Democratic vote, 20 percent of the African American vote, and won every age demographic.
Daniels will be hard to match when it comes to substance, detail, and record of accomplishment. He inherited a state that was hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and since taking office has balanced every budget. And he’s done it while enacting the largest tax cut in state history, ethics and telecom reform, and a fully funded tax- and debt-free transportation plan.
Daniels’ blunt, plain-spoken and results-oriented approach will be viewed by the GOP faithful as strong assets against an incumbent president perceived as the opposite.