My respect for Mitch Daniels is only increased by Jill Lawrence’s profile of the Indiana Governor:
If Mitch Daniels ends up with a national career, it will be because he’s the anti-Palin: All substance and, aside from his motorcycle habit, no flash.
The Indiana governor is on many Republican short lists for 2012, but he hasn’t gotten there in quite the same way as other governors and ex-governors. He hasn’t quit, published a book or signed a media contract, like former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. Nor has he shifted on the political spectrum from mild-mannered moderate to sharp-edged conservative, as have former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and and Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, the better to rally activists such as those at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.
Lawrence goes on to point out Daniels’s strengths; he avoids red-meat political theater, and sticks to serious discussions of serious policy issues. He is an inclusive politician who understands that politics is, at its best, a game of addition and multiplication. He is very definitely a small-government conservative and a tough politician, but he is also very pragmatic. One may argue with certain of his pragmatic solutions, but one cannot doubt that Daniels is the rare breed of politician who always examines his own ideas to make sure that they possess and maintain intellectual rigor. Daniels always makes sure to speak up when it comes time to voice uncomfortable truths.
Maybe all of this, plus Daniels’s boring speaking style, makes him an unorthodox Presidential candidate. But it would make him a very good President. In addition to all of his virtues, Daniels doesn’t seem to want to run for President, but that again may be a reason to consider him an ideal President for the times.