Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Downsizing the GOP's slate of 2012 contenders

Thune, Daniels and Barbour, oh my!
John Thune made it official yesterday: he's not running for president in 2012:
"... I feel that I am best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate."
Mitch Daniels did not issue such a statement, but he made it clear yesterday that he's not a serious contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Dan Spencer summed it up succinctly via Twitter:
"I've said it before ... I've had it with Mitch Daniels from abortion to VAT to defense cuts and now right-to-work."
Jim Geraghty is also disappointed in Daniels:
I had been open-minded about Daniels’ “truce” talk — no matter how much a Republican presidential candidate talks about the importance of social issues, 75 to 90 percent of the president’s time from January 2013 to 2017 will be spent on economic and fiscal crises and managing a dangerous and rapidly changing world. But a concession to Democrats on major reforms like these will spur a lot of talk about Daniels’ toughness, or whether he’s too conciliatory to an opposition that has gone completely off the rails, or more accurately, out of the state….
Add Mike Flynn to the list of those who had viewed Daniels favorably, but are now backing away from supporting him:
Leaders seize a moment, not let a moment seize them.

Which goes to the foundational flaw of any Daniels for President campaign. Herman Melville’s ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ famously said-at every point of decision-”I would prefer not to.” Daniels was just given an unprecedented opportunity to promote liberty and leverage a public zeitgeist to make a profound change to public policy. Rather than seize the moment, as all great leaders do, he shrugged and said, “I would prefer not to.”

I forever apologize for anything I did to promote a “Daniels for President” meme. From now on, “I would prefer not to.”
We never had any such illusions about Indiana's governor. We recognized early on that he's not a movement conservative. Perhaps it was the eagerness of the GOP establishment to embrace Daniels that first made us suspicious of him. We don't remember exactly because it was so long ago that we decided that he was more Vichy Republican than Reagan Republican.

We will admit that we once had a favorable view of Haley Barbour, even with the knowledge that his time as a lobbyist was a considerable load of baggage for the Mississippi governor to haul around. He was outstanding in his state in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and he had done solid work at the RNC and the RGA. But further investigation into his lobbying activities revealed that he's lobbied on behalf of the Mexican government for amnesty, and in a recent interview, Barbour spoke out in favor of federal intrusion into markets via farm subsidies. No wonder that despite his reputation as a conservative, the establishment lies him so much.

Scratch Thune, Daniels and Barbour from the list of serious contenders for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

- JP


  1. Great roundup, JP.

    One correction: I believe Daniels is STILL the gov of IN, hence his defenders saying he praised the WI Dems in an attempt to keep IN Dems from fleeing as well and not passing his bills in IN.

    Still not an excuse, 'cause now IN has dropped its Right to Work bill AND the Dems are demanding more.

    Why not? They've seen how easily Daniels caves ...