2012 Update: Mitch Daniels

This post is part of my “2012 Presidential Election” series. Click here to see more in the series.

There’s been more and more buzz in political circles about Mitch Daniels recently, as Republicans try to find someone that can offer a solid alternative to President Obama in the 2012 election.  I think this is primarily due to the fact that Republicans in general have soured to the candidates already assumed to be frontrunners in the race (Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, etc.).  It seems like these candidates have been disqualified by Republican voters (or at least the media) for one thing or another:

  • Mitt Romney – He passed an ObamaCare-like law as Massachusetts governor, and he’s too good-looking.
  • Mike Huckabee – everybody likes him, but he doesn’t have a lot of substance.
  • Sarah Palin – she’s too much “celebrity,” not enough “thinker,” and too shrill.

So that leaves us with the new candidates: Chris Christie (who says he’s not running), Paul Ryan (who says he’s not running), Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich (wait, he’s new?), and Mitch Daniels.

Mitch Daniels is a two-term governor of a midwestern state (Indiana), has led the state through financial stress, and has garnered some support for his straight-talking, no-nonsense style.

Interestingly, he balanced the Indiana state budget in his first term by a combination of increasing taxes and cutting spending.  This is probably something that some conservatives won’t like, and he’ll probably get hammered for it.  He was also in the news a lot recently with Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, because both states encountered Democratic walkouts in their state legislatures to protest union rule-changing.  Indiana was trying to pass a right-to-work law, which would have made it illegal to require someone to join a union in order to work.

I think that Mitch Daniels will be a strong candidate for President, should he decide to run.  His commitment to fiscal discipline is strong, and just what the country needs in order to eliminate our debt (you can read my post on why the U.S. should be debt-free here).  He received the Fiscy Award for fiscal discipline in 2010, and has been praised by many publications for his effectiveness as a leader (see links below).

Here’s a video of Mitch Daniels at the CPAC 2011 conference, where he called debt the new “red menace.”  Decide for yourself:


(If you cannot see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here)


Other Resources:
Mitch Daniels: The Right Stuff” – The Economist
NY Times Flips its Whig Over Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.)” – Reason.com
Run Mitch, Run” – New York Times

  • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

    What no mention for Donald Trump! I can’t wait for the Republican Primary….its going to be the best media circus ever.

    PS. So you say…..

    ” I think that Mitch Daniels will be a strong candidate for President….

    His commitment to fiscal discipline is strong, and just what the country needs in order to eliminate our debt…

    He received the Fiscy Award for fiscal discipline in 2010, and has been praised by many publications for his effectiveness as a leader…

    And HOW did he balance the state’s budget?????

    “he balanced the Indiana state budget in his first term by a combination of INCREASING taxes and cutting spending.”

    That sounds very different than the Repubican talking point of “we dont have a revenue problem we have a spending problem blah blah blah.

    • Bob

      I agree with you in theory… and I concede that there may be a need to increase revenue in order to balance the federal budget (though that remains to be seen). However, in Indiana, Daniels LOWERED the property taxes in his first term, while INCREASING the sales tax in order to close the budget gap. I think that’s an interesting trade off, because he’s lowering taxes for property owners (typically higher-income people) and increasing the sales tax (which affects EVERYONE, while affecting the rich more than the poor). It was basically a taxation redistribution.

      I’d be interested in getting your thoughts on that…

      Re: Trump… he’s an interesting guy, but I think he’s a joke of a candidate (at least right now). If he’s actually running for president, he’s doing a bad job, and he’s focusing on the wrong issues.

      Re: media circus… I totally agree with you on that. It’s going to be an interesting year.

    • Bob

      Let me say, though, that tax increases are far less desirable than spending cuts because tax increases have a much more negative effect on the economy. So, while I may be open to tax increases in theory to help balance the budget, I would only be open to them when all the spending cuts necessary have been done.

  • http://brocmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Broc

    It gives me hope that we can both agree that and combination of spending cuts and revenue increases could be the best way to help solve or curb this debt crisis. The debt commissions and “the gang of six” plan basically calls for a 2 to 1, ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases. I think even 3 to 1 might work if Republicans really kick and scream about it. But revenue increases don’t have to mean tax rates increase. If we could get some bipartisan support for simplifying the tax codes that would generate more revenue without increasing the rates, not sure if you read my blog but there was a story I reference which discussed the biggest tax dodgers in the US. If we could get some of those loop holes closed up it could create hundreds of billions of dollars….or we could just move our budget rates to the last time we had a surplus, a republican led congress and democratic president. Clinton years? And change the cut off salary for “wealthy” at $400,000-$500,000…Its kind of off topic, but I do have to say I find it interesting that the same party that wanted to crush the unions b/c teachers were making too much at $50,000-$75,000 is the same party fighting for the “small business” owners and top earners with $250,000+.

    • Bob

      I don’t know if you’d ever watch John Stossel, but his show this week was called “Freeloaders,” and towards the end he has some segments about how the biggest freeloaders on the government are the rich and large corporations. I think that we should take a good look at where our (the taxpayers’) money is going, and simplify the tax code so that people who are freeloading off the government have fewer (or no) tax loopholes.