Courage, Vision, Results. Has Mitch Daniels Time Arrived?

Bookmark and Share On Friday, Mitch Daniels tweeted a link to a new video ad (see video below this post). The ad takes one through a year by year list of the Governors accomplishments in Indiana. It was produced by the Indiana Republican State Party but it is pretty obvious that Mitch Daniels is not too shy to promote that which promotes him. The timing of the ad can of course be credited to the recent conclusion of this years state legislative session in Indiana. But it also comes at a time when the governor is preparing to announce his intentions regarding a run for President.

While the release of the ad actually occurred days before the field changing decisions of first Huckabee on Saturday and then Donald Trump during Monday afternoon, it happened to come at a perfect time. With the recent trend for declining to challenge President Obama in 2012, Mitch Daniels who has promised to make a decision any day now, has the perfect chance to jump in to the race at a time when the void in the 2012 Republican field seems to be at the greatest it has been, or will be. According to polls, support for Huckabee and Trump accounts for one third of the support shared among the likely Republican presidential candidates. This third of the electorate is now homeless. They have lost their hero and are in desperate need of a new one.

Aside from their original choices of Mike Huckabee or Donald Trump, the names they have had to choose from so far, obviously do not sit well with these former Trump and Huckabee wannabe voters. That is especially the case when it comes to the now clear frontrunner, Mitt Romney. As such, the next few days present themselves as a perfect time and opportunity for Mitch Daniels to declare with bold confidence, that someone must step forward to properly confront and solve the problems that we face, and that he is the one willing and able to do that.

The new ad that Governor Daniels tweeted to the world, sets the stage for such an announcement. It touts such timely and pertinent accomplishments as his taking Indiana from bankruptcy to a balanced budget within the first year of taking office. It outlines his establishment of affordable health insurance for thousands of uninsured, reducing the size of state government by 40%, producing the largest tax cut in state history, creating a 1% cap on property taxes and bringing about the lowest property taxes in the nation. The promo lists other accomplishments that include record breaking job creation, the lowest per capita rate of state employees in America, breakthroughs that have allowed Indiana to evaluate and pay teachers based on merit not seniority, the largest school voucher program in the nation, the first Triple A credit rating in state history, five consecutive years of budgets that were in the black, and the receiving of titles such as Public Official of the Year and the state with the best tax environment in the Mid-West.

In all, the ad defines Mitch Daniels as a success in every area that President Obama is not. On the most pressing issues of the day, the new Mitch Daniels video establishes him as the man who can best address them.

As you can tell, my enthusiasm for Mitch Daniels is quite high. However; it remains restrained. While I have come to appreciate his leadership, I still need Daniels to prove himself in a sincere battle for the hearts and minds of loyal conservatives.

And at the same time while for many, the emerging Republican presidential field has so far failed to produce a most likely nominee, I have warned that even if Mitch Daniels does not become a candidate and the likely established Republican presidential field were to consist of no names other than those who we currently know are definitely running, one of them can and will surprise us with the ability to develop the type of enthusiastic support that the magic of a well run campaign can produce. Of each of those names that we know with any certainty are running, each possess qualities and the type of promise that can fill many of the voids that the leadership of our current President has created. Between Romney, Pawlenty, Santorum, Gingrich, and even Herman Cain and other lesser known names, is an incredible opportunity to create a campaign that Republicans can in time enthusiastically rally behind and that can successfully exploit the failings of President Obama.

It is for that reason that I have consistently shunned the mainstream medias proliferation of attempts to characterize the developing Republican field as feeble or insignificant and in desperate search of an accomplished political giant who can be willingly recruited into the race and save the G.O.P. from certain defeat in 2012. This was the same complaint issued in regards to the 1992 crop of Democratic presidential candidates. That field consisted of former California Governor Jerry Moonbeam Brown, Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, Former Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas, former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder, a brief flirtation by former Democrat presidential candidate and Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy and a little known governor of Arkansas named Bill Clinton. For the longest part of the nomination process, together, these men comprised a group that became dubbed as the seven dwarves.

Ultimately, the contest surprising came down to a surprising race between the unlikely Paul Tsongas and the scandal plagued Arkansas Governor. But after a few initial primary and caucus losses, Bill Clinton took the title of Comeback Kid and ran with it all the way to two terms in the White House after defeating an incumbent who once viewed as unbeatable. Clearly time and an ability for a campaign to tap into existing discontent, can make a star out of anyone. And the 2012 republican nomination contest will be no different.

Yet some stars are more easily branded than others. Such is the case with Mitch Daniels. While I see great promise in candidates like Romney, Gingrich, Herman Cain, and still even possibly Sarah Palin, each of them, as well as all the others that I did not mention, carry with them distinct baggage that will create hurdles on their road to the White House, that while not insurmountable, are definitely troublesome obstacles to struggle with. But in the case of Mitch Daniels, although he is not perfect, what makes him stand out in a potential field of 2012 Republicans is not just what he brings to the table, but what he doesnt bring to the table. He does not bring with him a state government plan of mandates that contradicts the small government philosophy he represents. He does not bring the issue of repeated marital infidelities that rightly or wrongly will be used to suggest that he contradicts his own representation of strong families and strong values. Mitch Daniels does not bring to the table the type of guttural hate that Sarah Palins meteoric rise to fame, caused the left to weigh her down with in a relentless stream of unflattering caricatures, unfavorable descriptions, unsavory rumors, and an endless array of unsubstantiated allegations.

Daniels also does not bring any doubts about his ability to develop a strong national organization, establish a fundraising operation strong enough to be competitive with the Presidents unprecedented war chest. And he does not bring a reputation for endless partisanship that caters to any single wing of any single Party or special interest. Of course, Daniels will be criticized by social conservatives for not claiming that government intervention in to social issues is not the nations most critical concern at the moment, but his record of favorable accomplishments in such areas should please them quite well.

When everything is said and done, whether the Republican public realizes it yet or not, Mitch Daniels is in my estimation the near perfect candidate that they are looking to run against President Obama. But Republican voters will never begin to come to that realization if there is not a Daniels campaign that gives them the opportunity to learn that. And now is the time for Mitch Daniels to let that learning process begin. Mitch Daniels time has indeed arrived. Now he must just take advantage of it.

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