Friday, January 14, 2011
Daniels Sending Mixed Signals on Presidential Race
Governor Mitch Daniels continues to send a wide range of signals regarding his intentions to run for President.
On Tuesday, he gave a very state-focused State of the State address. As Matt Tully points out in the Indianapolis Star, it had no soaring nationally-focused rhetoric, but it was a nuts and bolts speech that laid out the Governor's plan for education and what he might push for during this session of the General Assembly. Pretty much no hints were given there.
Now comes word today that Daniels will be the speaker at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, D.C. Channel 6 reports he will be the "Republican speaker" at the event. Daniels is also scheduled to speak in front of the CPAC later this year as well. Those would seem to signal that he is running.
I frankly don't know what he's doing, and there really is no reliable rumors out there on the subject. What I do know is that if I were the Governor, I would flirt with the idea as long as people think I'm viable. Heck, I might even dip my toe in for a moment. Governor Daniels' star is probably never going to get higher in the right's universe than it is right now, so I would continue to get every last ounce of shine out of it.
If Daniels were to jump in though, I don't know how far he could go in the Presidential race. He doesn't have the war chest that a Mitt Romney would have, and he certainly doesn't have the profile that Sarah Palin has.
I'm going to give the Governor some credit. He and I disagree almost at every turn on policy, but I believe he is a moderate on many social issues. That may or may not get him votes on the right, but I believe that Daniels is very principled and that he believes in his agenda. I can't say that for all Republicans (or Democrats for that matter).
The agenda, of course, has been bad in many ways in my opinion, but Daniels has manage to iron out the rough spots and mask the problems. Would those wrinkles re-appear in a national race...you bet they would. Pretty soon, Mitch would have to be answering for some of the problems that have occurred under his watch. If there's one thing Mitch Daniels doesn't like, it's answering tough questions and being challenged.
Overall, I think Mitch is a very smart politician, and he knows his chances in the 2012 Presidential race are slim, but he's smart for taking the opportunity to put his name continuously in the national lexicon on the right.