Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Campaign to Govern

"I want to see our party campaign to govern, not campaign to win"

This was Daniels' quote to CQPolitics when he was pressed on a 2012 run, noting that he wanted to be part of a campaign that "actually has a chance of actually being enacted, if the campaign is successful."

This is exactly why Mitch needs to get into the race --- the fact of the matter is that the GOP is left with either retreads who ran terrible campaigns (or ran good campaigns with bad messages) or newcomers with significant challenges. Daniels (with his 70% approval rating and balanced budget) can demonstrate that high approval ratings are not at odds with disciplined financial management --- allowing the difficult choices to be made without prejudice.

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Official: Daniels "Considering" 2012 Run

This Dan Balz article from the Washington Post includes an interview with Daniels in which he says that he has spoken with George W. Bush and others about a potential 2012 run and has agreed to open the door to such a possibility: "Just to get them off my back, I agreed to a number of people that I will now stay open to the idea,"

Later, Daniels states:

"From now to a year-plus from now, that's all I'm going to do," he said. "And if these people are still around, and still not fully satisfied with the field, and if I don't see anybody who's raising what I think of as the survival issues for the country, I guess I'd listen, if it's not too late, which it might well be. I've told people if it's too late, so be it."

 So, the bar is whether people are "satisfied" with the other choices? I'll be printing up the signs tonight ...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Daniels in Barron's

Jim McTague has a piece in this week's Barron's on Governor Daniels' views on reducing spending and stabilizing America's finances. Although I appreciate the article's forward-looking focus, I wish the author would have built Daniels' credibility on the issue by focusing on his reduction in state employees, lease of the toll road and results of his economic programs --- but still happy to get some national publicity.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Daily Kos Gets Daniels' Position Wrong

I take the fact that Daily Kos is already attacking Mitch Daniels even though he has tried to end speculation that he is running in 2012 as a sign that they want to begin an anti-Daniels narrative because he is their worst nightmare. The Democrats should fear Daniels the most of any Republican because he has done something that runs against the Democrats big government narrative: he has cut the number of state government employees by about 20% in 5 years while cutting taxes and investing in infrastructure. Shock of shocks, after eliminating 20% of state employees and cutting taxes, the state is still able to support schools, build roads and develop an innovative health care plan to cover the uninsured. All while faring better than all of the states that surround Indiana.

With nothing to attack in his record, our friends at Kos are making things up. As posted in the Kos story, Daniels is merely asking for all recalls to be treated similarly. So, if there are going to be Congressional hearings where Toyota officials will be forced to testify, let's bring up GM officials to talk about how their products killed five people because they thought it important to boil wiper fluid.

The motivation behind Daniels statements are twofold: the first is that Toyota has plants in Indiana, so he is, quite literally, fighting for the jobs of his constituents. The more political point is that GM and Chrysler had their debts and bills wiped away, had the government write them checks and then fund a subsidy program --- and they are still sucking wind. So, the feds have moved from a level playing field, to thumb on the scale, to entire hand on the scale to finally just trying to take Toyota off the field by taking a legitimate issue that is faced by car companies on a fairly regular basis and transform the narrative to "Toyota is manufacturing death traps." (Pardon for the mixed analogies.)

The economic term for the situation that Daniels is describing is moral hazard: a situation in which a person/entity takes unjustifiable risks because the person/entity will not bear the costs if those risks fail. In this case, the federal government owns huge stakes in GM and Chrysler (and almost all the rest of GM is owned by the UAW). GM and Chrysler would benefit if their largest competitor is harmed by bad publicity, negative press and the distractions of multiple investigations --- which is exactly what Congressional hearings and investigations would do. However, if Toyota produces fewer cars, then consumers have less choice, which harms the public. Heads: the public buys more GM cars and the federal government makes money because it owns GM; tails: people stop buying Toyotas and don't buy anything else, so everyone loses.

This is a classic case as to why conservatives should fight against big government writ large: a private company has identified and admitted a mistake and is fixing it. Yet, with stupendous deficits, the highest unemployment rate in a generation, a disintegrating health care system and bankrupt states, we still have plenty of bureaucrats and legislative staff to investigate a company that is already fixing a problem.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Daniels Moves off of "No" on 2012 Run

Mitch Daniels has said on numerous occasions that he would not run for President, even making such a statement as part of his final gubernatorial campaign ad.

However, in a recent interview, he moved off of the "no" and towards a "not right now." He stated: "I don't think I have a political future. This is the only job I've ever ran for and the only job that I have really thought about."

Later in the interview he stated: "Right now, I am not doing any of the things that a person does when they are running. I am hearing from people who are asking me to think about it."

In response, I have started this site to track Mitch Daniels in the hopes that he does throw his hat in the ring in 2012 --- the the most competent Republican in the country with a record of innovation and achievement.