The Mitch Pitch
I have been meaning to comment on that David Brooks column in The New York Times last week, entitled Run Mitch, Run. Brooks is the latest member of the Republican intelligentsia (including George Will) to make the case that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels would be the strongest Republican nominee in 2012. If the Republican primary environment was likely to be dominated by party regulars and institutional elites this time around, then I would say Brooks just might get his wish. But given the tea party-infused energy of movement conservatives who somewhat suspiciously view Brooks as a moderate (or at least as a liberal’s favorite conservative), Daniels could be in for a challenging ride should he decide to enter the race.
I have heard many a conservative activist say the Republican Party erred in 2008 by settling for someone like Arizona Senator John McCain, who was believed to be more electable by virtue of his centrist appeal. They apparently have no intention of accepting what they view as a compromise candidate like that again. Daniels’ suggestion that the social conservative agenda be set aside in favor of an exclusive focus on jobs and the economy is a colossal red flag for these folks, and his derision toward those who buy into the ideological purity espoused by conservative talk radio and Fox News has not earned him any goodwill with the base either. As a result, Brooks seems almost wistful in his pitch, as though he understands that it just may be the wrong political place and time for a Mitch Daniels candidacy.
Posted On: 03-03-2011 09:23:43 by Jim Splaine
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