Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has been holding a series of private dinners with top Republican business leaders, policy hands and donors from around the country since this spring, an indication that he’s thinking more seriously about a presidential bid than he publicly lets on.
The dinners, which take place at the governor’s mansion in Indianapolis, are meant to introduce Daniels to a class of GOP heavy-hitters who could both finance and advise a White House campaign.
Both attendees and Daniels’ advisers said the governor is not using the sit-downs to request commitments or even talking in any detail about the prospect of a run.
Rather, the intimate get-togethers are more like get-to-know-you sessions – the political equivalent of a first date – in which the governor can tell the story of what he’s done in the Hoosier State and gauge interest in a possible candidacy and his visitors can get a first-hand look at the Republican who’s been winning so much insider buzz.
“I was very impressed with Gov. Daniels,” said James Huffines, a Texas banker and major national donor who flew up from Austin for a June dinner. “I think he’s a fresh face for the Republican Party and I hope he does run.”
You and me both, James. Especially nice to read are the comments indicating just how smart Daniels is, and how much substance he knows. His command of facts, figures, and issues concerning political and governmental philosophy is tremendously impressive, as is the speed at which his neurons fire–all of which is a welcome palliative to people like Sarah Palin, who have made it clear that they don’t do substance, and who give no indication that they possess intellectual firepower worth mentioning, let alone praising.
Another thing that makes me happy: Praise for Paul Ryan, and Chris Christie. I don’t know if they are going to run for anything in 2012. But I do know that they are working to put dangerous and failed ideas out to pasture, and for that, they deserve plenty of praise.