On the positive side, he’s been a successful governor, implemented health-care reform that doesn’t rely on forcing people to buy insurance they don’t want, has a strong education plan and has won two statewide elections. In other words, his track record is nearly as good as Tim Pawlenty’s. He is smart, articulate, good with facts and figures, and is, by any measure, a serious candidate. In his gubernatorial runs he proved to be a very effective, down-to-earth candidate that could relate to relatively non-ideological, middle-class voters, the very ones who will be up for grabs in 2012. He is solidly grounded in a limited-government perspective. He has been an outspoken opponent of cap-and-trade.
On the downside, he seems to have gone out of his way to needlessly antagonize social conservatives with his “truce” talk and anger hawks, by embracing defense cuts and suggesting America should do less in the world. He appears overly eager to seek the advice of and incur the approval of non-conservative elites. The prospect of Secretary of State Dick Lugar sends chills up the spine of many conservatives. According to many former Bush officials, he does not take input from anyone — subordinates, colleagues and certainly not critics. (The conviction that one is the “smartest man in the room” leads one to ignore important criticism and pile the miscues.) He has indicated his receptivity to a value-added tax. His tenure as George W. Bush’s OMB director may be a liability not a strength in this election. And finally, his tunnel vision on debt control, if adhered to in office, would wind up lacking focus on economic growth andsacrificing many other issues important to conservatives (e.g. judges,right-to-work).
But, Jennifer, who has never been a Daniels fan and who favors a run by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, looks at Daniels in a vacuum. The primary election will be a face off between Daniels (if and when he decides to run) and Mitt Romney.
With Mike Huckabee out, there will be a vacuum on the RIGHT which either Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin or both will fill. Paul Ryan and Chris Christie will NOT be running and it is doubtful that they will enter the race with these four candidates, plus Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty in the race. Jennifer gives a hopeful, but flawed analysis.
These (Daniels Vs. Romney and Palin Vs. Bachmann) will be the semi-final races going into Super Tuesday and beyond.
So, Jennifer, who would you support Daniels or Romney? Who would be the better candidate against President Obama?
I would submit a ticket of Romney-Daniels or Daniels-Bachmann would make a very interesting team going into the summer of 2012.