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Third Base Politics


There’s still room on the Mitch Daniels bandwagon…

I know, I know. 2012 is a long ways away.

But that doesn’t mean potential candidates aren’t preparing now. And many have made their intentions all too obvious.

Personally, I’ve shown my preference towards Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels going all the way back to July of last year.

But a new article in the Weekly Standard has me a bit more starry eyed than usual at the thought of a Daniels candidacy.

While many are quoting a portion of the article that seems to indicate an increased interest from Daniels in running, my favorite part of the article is this one. And for those who still need more convincing on Daniels, maybe this will help.

He treats waste in government as a moral offense. “Government isn’t a business, and it shouldn’t be run as a business,” he said. “But it can be more like business. It has a lot to learn from businessmen.” Government operates without the market pressures that produce efficiency and increase quality. The challenge for government leaders is to produce those pressures to economize internally, through an act of will. “Never take a dollar from a free citizen through the coercion of taxation without a very legitimate purpose,” he said in an interview last year. “We have a solemn duty to spend that dollar as carefully as possible, because when we took it we diminished that person’s freedom.” When you put it like that, overspending by government seems un-American.

When Daniels took office, in 2004, the state faced a $200 million deficit and hadn’t balanced its budget in seven years. Four years later, all outstanding debts had been paid off; after four balanced budgets, the state was running a surplus of $1.3 billion, which has cushioned the blows from a steady decline in revenues caused by the recession. “That’s what saved us when the recession hit,” one official said. “If we didn’t have the cash reserves and the debts paid off, we would have been toast.” The state today is spending roughly the same amount that it was when Daniels took office, largely because he resisted the budget increases other states were indulging in the past decade.

Wowzah. Run Mitch, Run.

While there are some complaints that Mitch may be considered boring, that claim is something his advocates have grasped onto as a positive. They claim that after the celebrity Presidency of Barack Obama, Americans will need a more stable and adult voice to lead them again.

It’s a sound argument.

And yet, I’m not convinced. Can boring work in modern presidential primary politics? It’s a lot easier to say ‘boring is chic’, than actually making it happen. Americans, like it or not, need an engaging personality.

But that is where Mitch works.

His ability to connect with everyday Americans is what won him re-election by a considerable margin in the Year of Obama. And it’s what could make him a very formidable candidate come 2012.

If you doubt me, here’s his first campaign commercial of the 2008 season.

Now the tough part after all of this is to not get too far ahead of ourselves. Daniels has still shown a clear inclination not to enter the race. But after all of this you find him to be a particularly interesting candidate that could add something to the conversation, I urge you to click here and join his facebook fan page.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.


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Third Base Politics