The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessement of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at  Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

Born: April 7, 1949 (1949-04-07) (age 61), Monongahela, Pennsylvania

Spouse(s): Cheri Lynn Herman Daniels

Children : Meagan, Melissa, Meredith and Margaret

Residence : Governor’s Residence, Indianapolis, Indiana

Alma mater: Princeton University, Georgetown University Law Center

Profession: Businessman (pharmaceuticals)

Political Career :

  • Worked on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of William D. Ruckelshaus.
  • Interned in the office of then-Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar.
  • Worked on Lugar’s re-election campaign, joined then Mayor Lugar’s staff and soon became his Chief of Staff.
  • When Lugar was elected to the U.S. Senate, Daniels joined him in Washington as an administrative assistant and eventually as one of his top aides.
  • Daniels went on to become executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee,
  • He was also the campaign manager of three successful Senate campaigns for Richard Lugar.
  • In 1985 Daniels became a part of the Reagan Administration when he became chief political advisor and liaison to President Ronald Reagan.
  • In January 2001, Daniels accepted President George W. Bush’s invitation to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) where He served from January 2001 through June 2003 and in that role after proving to be a real cutter of budgets, he earned the nickname “the Blade”
  • Daniels also served as a member of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.
  • In 2004 and 2008, Daniels was elected Governor of Indiana.

(Click here for Mitch Daniels’ White House 2012 page)

By all rights, Mitch Daniels should have been the frontrunner, not just for Vice President, but for President. He has sailed Indiana through the tough seas of a terrible national economy and created a state that is one of the three best to do business in and for job creation. He came in to office with an $800 million deficit and by the time he was running for reelection in 2008, that deficit was turned in to a $1.3 billion surplus.

That is one reason why he won his 2008 reelection by an 18% margin. Not a bad margin of victory, especially when you consider the fact that at the same time, while a majority of Indiana voters pulled the lever for Barack Obama for President, Mitch Daniels received more than 20% of the African-American vote for Governor. That is an unusually high percentage of the black vote for any Republican, anywhere. But on top of that, the makeup of Mitch Daniels reelection victory was comprised of 51 percent of the youth vote, 67 percent of the elderly, 57 percent of independent voters and even 24 percent of the Democrats in the state. All of which means that Mitch Daniels has crossover appeal.

And like John Thune, Daniels has that Middle American appeal that can allow him to connect with Midwest voters, including and especially those in his own state of Iowa and neighboring Illinois and even the more important delegate rich state of Ohio.

While this Harley Davidson riding governor is understated and even meek, when he starts talking you know you are dealing with a man who like Newt Gingrich, is the smartest person in the room. But unlike Newt, Mitch Daniels’ homespun, midwestern, charm puts you at ease and makes you realize that while he is smart, he is not an elitists. He’s the type of guy who never forgets that he puts his pants on one leg at a time. While some like John Thune may be considered consistent conservatives, Mitch Daniels is consistent but comes across as more of a commonsense conservative. He has an uncanny dry wit, that will slowly rise and surprise you with a slew of knee-slappers. Mitch is both a policy wonk and people person. And what is probably most important of all is that his area of expertise is in the budget…….the budget that has now reached a crisis level, something which Mitch has repeatedly warned us about.

After coming close to running for President but deciding against it largely due to concerns about the pressure on his family, it is unclear if Mitch Daniels would suddenly believe that the pressure will be any less if he runs for Vice President. But you never know. Combine that with the fact that he would be a balancing force on any ticket, and has the experience and ability to lead our nation in the right direction and what you have is absolutely no reason why Mitch Daniels should not be on anyone’s short list.

Pros:

  • A highly successful, popular two term Governor
  • The favorite son of a state Republicans need to win the 270 electoral votes required to take control of the White House
  • His expertise on the economy and budgets will help dwarf any claim of expertise that the Obama Administration will boast
  • Has great appeal in the all important Midwest region
  • Executive experience
  • Considered a budget hawk
  • Has proven to appeal to African-American voters, even winning a majority of them in his state during the same 2008 election that saw Indiana voters elect Barack Obama President

Cons:

  • Daniels’ marriage, divorce, and remarriage to his wife may be come an issue and the Daniels’ are discouraged to seek higher office because of the lack of privacy that would come with such an office
  • Evangelicals were turned off by remarks Daniels made suggesting that social issues needed to go on to the back burner until we resolved our economic problems
  • Daniels is not a firebrand that typically fires up the forces
  • His position as Budget Director for G.W. Bush will provide the opposition with powerful rhetoric linking the economic downturn to Bush, Daniels and ultimately Romney.

Assessment:

Mitch Daniels is one of my prefered candidates for the job. The only thing that would make him the perfect composite for all that the G.O.P. could want their vice presidential nominee to be would if Mitch Daniels was actually Mitchie Danielsita, a Latina Governor of Florida or Ohio.  But shallow demographics aside, not only is Mitch Daniels one of the most responsible choices a presidential nominee can make, he would be a strong and effective voice on economic matters, and has a way of being able to bridge the political divide without caving on conservative principles. He is a solid, stable figure who is methodical, efficient and innovative.  Despite small pockets of criticism to the contrary, his credentials are impeccable and he is an extremely intelligent and likeable fellow. Mitt Romney may be inclined to pick Daniels for many reasons including his gravitas on the economy, his expertise in matters of budgets and his handling of Indiana’s budget, his strong and consistent anti-abortion record and his political demeanor. But criticism about Daniels comment suggesting that social issues must take a backseat to economic matters, may cause Romney to seek a running mate that could help bolster his own standings among social conservatives who still view Romney with great skepticism. Another hitch in this nearly perfect picture is Mitch Daniels relationship to the Bush Administration.  Having held that position, the left will paint him as the architect of the existing federal budget deficit and economic problem we’re in.  However Daniels served only 29 months as Budget Director and in that time most of the cuts Daniels proposed were not passed by Congress.  Such was the case in 2001.  when he helped craft the Bush tax cuts. At that time , the $2.13 trillion budget that Daniels submitted to Congress included deep cuts in many agencies in order to accommodate for those tax cuts.  But against Daniels’ own judgement, very few of the spending cuts were actually approved by Congress.     But try to explain that to the nation when President Obama is pumping a billion dollars into an effort that tries to deny those facts and to make Mitch Daniels the fall guy.

It’s a close call but if Mitt is not afraid of how the left will try to distort Daniels’ record during his time at OMB, Romney’s proclivity for playing it safe may just make Mitch Daniels his near perfect running mate.  I for one will be ecstatic if Mitt picks Mitch.

Photobucket

Recent Key Votes

SB 1 – Authorizes the Use of Force Against Law Enforcement Officers in Certain Situations

Legislation (Sign)

March 20, 2012

HB 1269

Legislation (Sign)

March 19, 2012

HB 1149 – Prohibits Smoking in Public Places

Legislation (Sign)

March 19, 2012

More Key Votes

Photobucket

Mitch Daniels on the Issues

International Issues Domestic Issues Economic Issues Social Issues
Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

Photobucket

Bookmark and Share

Mitch Daniels; Getting More Done By ‘Not Doing Anything”

Republican candidate Mitch Daniels

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

 

Bookmark and Share   Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels recently told an Editorial Board of the Courier-Journal, a paper which serves the Southern part of his state and parts of Kentucky, that he was not taking any steps to run for President. As for the speculation about a run for that office,  he stated

“This is nothing I have started, encouraged,”.

But he added

“People have asked, ‘Please don’t absolutely close your mind’ and I have said I’ll think about it.” To which he also added “It’s nothing I’m going to do anything about,”

Daniels said.

“If it’s still an interesting subject in a few months, ask me then.”

The truth is, that Mitch Daniels truly isn’t  openly running for President.  He has not found any excuses to go to Iowa and New Hampshire. He has not found any reason to raise extra campaign money that he could donate to 2010 candidates and make them beholden to endorsing him for President in 2012.

But while he stays the course, he has refused to say that he will not run. And while not closing the door to that option he has he has stated that he is a lot more worried about the condition and direction of the country now than he was a year and a half ago.

Daniel’s is playing his cards just right. Unlike others such as Tim Pawlenty, he is not demonstrating an over eagerness to get his name out their and appear too opportunistic. Unlike Governor Pawlenty, the people of Governor Daniels’ state are not turning their back on him as the people of Minnesota are doing with Pawlenty.

Recent polls of Minnesotans show that the people in the land of a thousand lakes would prefer that their Governor stay home and govern their state before he goes AWOL on that responsibility and tries to take on another one.  That same poll also showed that at the moment, Minnesotans prefer frontrunner and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney over their own Governor by a margin of 13% with 45% wanting Romney for President to 32% preferring Pawlenty.

Daniel’s doesn’t have this problem though. Instead he is governing his state and making it one of the most economically stable ones in the nation. And while Pawlenty is losing support from his home state base as he tries to get the voters in other states interested in him, Mitch Daniels continues to win the favor of his fellow Hoosiers and has other people asking why  he doesn’t run for President.

While Tim Pawlenty and other candidates are out there trying to get votes, others are trying to get Mitch Daniels to  run so that they could vote for him.

One of Daniels’ biggest cheerleaders is Indiana elder statesman, Senator Richard Lugar, whom Daniels once served as Chief of Staff. Lugar calls Daniels someone who would;

“be an outstanding candidate and a great president”, which is why Lugar has been encouraging Mitch to run.

And others are too. That’s  because Indiana is representative of a region whose electoral votes are critical to the election of any Republican. Indiana is normally a Republican leaning state in presidential elections, but Barack Obama changed that. In 2008, although it was close, Obama beat John McCain and Republicans know that they if they again fail to win Mid-West states like Indiana and Ohio in the future, the White House will only slip further and further away from them.

So Mitch Daniels may, as he put it, not “do anything about” a run for President in 2012 at the moment, it could just be that his ‘not doing anything about it’, is a smart way of actually doing a lot about it. Unlike Tim Pawlenty who is trying to force his way into the 2012 presidential race, Mitch Daniels is actually putting himself in the position of being forced into the race by the people. And all while managing his state and staying in the good graces of his hometown voters.

Not bad for a humble and often understated, ol’ country boy from the Midwest and quite a stark contrast form the current occupant of the White House.  

Bookmark and Share
%d bloggers like this: