One of America’s best political reporters, Fred Barnes, has a short piece on one of America’s best governors, Mitch Daniels. Barnes reports that Daniels has “dropped his Shermanesque stance of refusing to consider a presidential bid.” And he calls attention to Mitch’s two basic ideas for the next Republican presidential candidate:
One, the candidate should have a plan for solving the spending, deficit and debt crisis that has “intellectual credibility” and “holds water.” This mean the candidate would “campaign to govern, not merely to win” on what Daniels calls a “survival” issue for the country. The second idea: The candidate should “speak to Americans in a tone a voice that is unifying and friendly and therefore gives you a chance of unifying around some action.” In his campaigns for governor, Daniels never ran a single negative TV commercial attacking an opponent.
Obviously, running for president differs from running for governor. But I very much agree with Barnes’s two core points. (Michael Gerson and I touch on them in this COMMENTARY essay, “The Path to Republican Revival“). He has an impressive record and is one model for Republicans to look up to in the months and years ahead.
Having served with Mitch, I can testify as to what an impressive person he is. I hope he continues to keep the door ajar — and then, if he’s so inclined, I hope he walks through it. He would add a lot to a presidential campaign; and I imagine he’d do well. Maybe very well.