I am glad to see that the effort to get Governor Daniels to run is getting more attention:
After months of Shermanesque denials, Indiana GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels’ admission that he’s now willing to consider a White House run has roused his long-standing, if unofficial, fan club.
Republican admirers from Washington, Indiana and elsewhere, hoping to encourage their favorite Hoosier, are out in force to make the case that a balding, blunt, unprepossessing, listed-at-5-foot-7 policy wonk would be a strong contender to take on President Barack Obama. Their shorthand is that he’s the un-Obama. If the country has soured on a charismatic orator who brought glamour but little executive experience to the presidency, the thinking goes, then Daniels could provide the antidote.
“Do we want a president that’s pretty, or do we want one who can get the job done?” is how Anne Hathaway, a former Republican National Committee chief of staff who is now back in her native Indiana, puts it.
At 60, Daniels’s résumé is exhaustive: He’s a Princeton-educated former Senate chief of staff-turned political operative-turned think tank chief-turned Fortune 500 executive-turned White House budget director-turned two-term governor.
And since winning the governorship in 2004, he has practiced the sort of fiscal conservatism that he preached as “The Blade” during his tenure as President George W. Bush’s head of the Office of Management and Budget.
“Mitch is the real thing,” said Nancy Dorn, his deputy at OMB and now the head of General Electric Co.’s Washington office. “He’s a true fiscal conservative.”
He has cut spending, cut taxes, leased the state’s toll road to a private company for billions and expanded health insurance and prescription drug access in a market-friendly way. The result is an approval rating of 70 percent, according to one recent survey, placing him among the country’s most popular governors.
“Mitch Daniels is one of the best policy-oriented governors in the U.S.,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wrote in an e-mail.
Three more passages from the story explain why I am a Daniels fan:
“He actually believes in small government, understands it and practiced it,” said longtime GOP strategist Frank Donatelli, like Daniels a former Reagan White House political director, who has known the governor for decades.
[. . .]
Mary Matalin, a longtime Bush family loyalist who is also close to former Vice President Dick Cheney, called Daniels “a giant brain.”
“He has unparalleled policy depth combined with razor-sharp political skills, not to mention steely courage to stay the course on tough decisions,” Matalin said.
[. . .]
In his recent interview with a group of Washington reporters, he bemoaned the “savagery of our politics,” saying: “I want to see our party campaign and govern, not merely to win.”
That sober sensibility, a friend said, is part of the Daniels appeal.
“He’s a very intellectual guy,” said this person. “He’s not Glenn Beck. He’s not going to pound the table.”
Who wouldn’t want this kind of person to be President?
UPDATE: More on why Mitch Daniels could be an excellent President, courtesy of Mona Charen.