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
I don't think most voters sit down and put together a score card when they decide candidates to support. We don't use our computers to figure out if candidate X has more "views" with which we agree than candidate Y. A lot of it has to do with personality and the approach of the candidate toward people -- his or her demeanor, they way they speak, the passion they bring to their message(s). Many people voted for Ronald Reagan over Walter Mondale in 1984 with their hearts, not their minds. People "liked" Bill Clinton over Bob Dole in 1996. Mike Dukakas in 1988 did this weird thing with his hands when speaking, and brought little passion to the microphone (remember his "answer" about his wife being attacked?) Barack Obama wasn't very specific about some of his positions, but he brought a message "hope," "change," and an image of youth compared with John McCain. And in November, 2010, Republicans nationwide and statewide ran on slogans but rode a wave of anger against government. But voters are really smart, and they'll see through fluff and puff eventually.

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