If Mitch Daniels runs for President, he may be a GREAT General Election candidate. The problem is, if he runs, he might get knocked out in the GOP primaries.
You have to appeal to Evangelicals to do well in GOP primary circles and Daniels idea of a “truce” on social issues won’t play well with Evangelicals.
Just because fiscal issues dominate the agenda doesn’t mean this has to be an “either/or” proposition. How Daniels removes his foot from his mouth will go a long way to determining whether Daniels can possibly even get to a potential matchup with President Obama.
Dan Balz has a great article on Daniels in today’s Washington Post. A portion of it is below.
Daniels has looked to others to seize the issue of the country’s fiscal problems, hoping that would give him a good reason not to run. He has examined from various angles the question of whether he should run.
Can he advocate as effectively for action on the debt problem if he does not become a candidate? Does the debate touched off by Ryan’s plan and Obama’s response guarantee that the issue will be front and center in 2012 even without him? Will he set back the cause if he runs and does poorly?
Daniels has an answer only for the last question: No.
“I would choose to believe that doing it and failing, which is maybe even the likely outcome, would somehow [have] advanced things,” he said.
As the time draws nearer, those who know him best see the tension rising as he weighs the political challenges and family trade-offs.
“There’s a fight going on inside him that’s pretty rare,” said one adviser who asked not to be identified, in order to speak candidly.
Asked where he was in his thinking, Daniels replied with a laugh, “Oh, muddled.”
Then he turned serious: “I don’t want to leave a misimpression. If we get in, we will go all out, and we know a little about how to do that. So reluctance or hesitation about running doesn’t mean we would be a reluctant candidate if we got there.”
Asked about family considerations — friends say his wife has been opposed — Daniels goes quiet.
“I don’t have much more to say about that,” he said. “It’s just a very important factor.”
As he deliberates, calls come into his office, and the offices of his political advisers and friends, with words of encouragement. He has drawn praise from a number of conservative commentators. They see him as someone who can espouse conservative ideas but who believes the GOP must avoid appearing harsh or braying.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush told a Jacksonville audience in February that, among prospective GOP candidates, Daniels was the “only one who sees the stark perils and will offer real detailed proposals.”
Democrats, too, are taking him seriously. Obama advisers see him as a credible general-election candidate, if he can survive a nomination battle. Democrats, with some encouragement from Washington, have begun to step up their criticism of him and to question whether his record will hold up to serious scrutiny.