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GOP: In Search of a Messiah – Mitch Daniels

In Can You Hear Me Now? on 14/02/2010 at 09:39

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

The Tea Party protesters set the GOP scrambling for direction in wake their grassroots healthcare uprising last summer. On the surface Republican leadership seems to have renewed energy. But behind all of the elation the party still struggles for a leader with a message. This month LCL will explore some options for the party in the 2012 election cycle.

Our first candidate is Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, who some conservative pundits and strategists are touting as a largely unsung hero in the GOP.

The former Reagan advisor spent two years directing the OBM (2001-2003), where George Bush admiringly called him “the blade” for his budget cutting acumen.

If the American people want a budget cutter they could hardly do better than Daniels. On his first day in office as governor he established the first Office of Budget and Management in state history, and led the state to its first balanced budget in eight years.

Daniels’ “Healthy Indiana” healthcare package, signed into law starting his second term, has some in the Washington press corps positively giddy, and some in the GOP defend the Medicaid-linked program – which puts up as much as $1,100 taxpayer dollars per enrollee– as good government. The first cause for any good Republican to be concerned. His stand on most taxes is way better in our opinion. He signed a property tax relief package in 2008 that cuts homeowners taxes by 30% the first year with more to come.

Quasi government-run healthcare aside Daniels is bright, talks like a Reagan conservative, and above all has a lot of party support. Rich Lowry is high on him as are George Will, and, well, all the obvious pundits.

The message here is that the GOP is in trouble. Whether they realize it or not is the question. Yes, Daniels is a conservative in the GOP sense of the word. He is leaps and bounds better than Mitch Romney, and he doesn’t carry the baggage of Palin or Huckabee. But he also signals a loss of direction for the party.

If there is one bell that the Tea Party Movement has been ringing loud and clear it is that Washington – or politician – politics as usual will not get their vote in November 2012. And whomever the party chooses with need their vote to win against the Democrats.

Daniels is certainly not an empty suite but he is a suit, nonetheless. Still, many in the GOP think the Hoosier could win the independents so vital to their hopes in the presidential race.

As for Daniels himself, he has emphatically declared that he will not run for President in 2012 or any other time. …

Which probably means, “We’re starting the PAC next week.”

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  1. Interesting, thx for the info…keep it up Bro…

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