Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wouldn't Be Nominated, Wouldn't Be Elected

The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg, who with other "journo-pundits" recently "lunched" (is that how the New York upper crust really talks?) with Mitch Daniels, is rooting for the Indiana governor. Not to be President, certainly- Hertzberg hasn't lost his mind- but at least to be the GOP presidential nominee, because a Daniel (currently undeclared) candidacy would

test the (rather dubious) hypothesis that Republicans might be willing to forgo some of the visceral pleasures of an eighteen-month-long Hate Week in exchange for nominating someone capable of appealing to moderates and other infidels.

That, it would do, and largely prompted the large (but shrunken) Rush Limbaugh to argue

Now, Mitch Daniels said that we shouldn't see -- he said CPAC, we should not consider -- our political opponents as our enemies. Well, tell that to Barack Obama. Barack Obama told that Hispanic radio station that Hispanics have to "punish our enemies," his enemies. You have to punish your enemies. They look at us that way.

Hertzberg notes "When it comes to red meat he seems to be a vegetarian." And we know what Rush thinks of vegetarians and vegetarianism- he doesn't like them, whether in the realm of food, or political rhetoric.

Limbaugh's skepticism would be a serious obstacle for anyone's effort to gain the Repub presidential nomination. Though if he were nominated, Hertzberg believes, Daniels, with his "reassuring affect" would appeal to "moderates and other infidels." Hertzberg fails to mention Daniels' stint as President George W. Bush's first CBO director, when the magicians from Indiana and Texas turned a $236 billion surplus into a $400 billion deficit. Nor does he note that the governor has admitted that he's "probably not" ready to debate foreign policy with Obama, which, when turned into a general election campaign ad, probably would not inspire confidence in an independent voter.

Count me as less impressed than Hertzberg that Daniels, as a third generation Syrian-American (and Presbyterian) on his father's side, is "less likely to traffic in the kind of disgusting, racially-tinged, Muslim-baiting, xenophobic hate-mongering that some of his “brethren” (and sistren) have flirted with." Count me more impressed that Governor Daniels has enthusiastically signed four education bills intended to destroy the public school system. They limit the collective bargaining rights of teachers, mandate a much stricter system of teacher evaluation and licensing, encourage the growth of sub-standard charter schools, and establish a voucher program permitting children to attend private and religious schools with taxpayer money.

Taxpayer money for private profit- don't you just love those "fiscal conservatives"?

Of course, that portion of the Governor's record would not impede an effort to obtain the nomination of a party which aims to turn education into an enterprise the private sector could run as efficiently as it has the housing and health insurance markets. But there is a reason that Mitch Daniels, if he decides to run, cannot be nominated by the Republican Party. During Chris Christie's campaign for governor of New Jersey in 2009, a word cloud created from voters' responses placed the word "fat" between "honest" and "conservative." Christie is not only fat, he's 5'9". He's a big man- and not coincidentally is the favorite among Republican voters for their party's nomination. (All the better for sticking it to those Democrats and liberals.)

Mitch Daniels, a more decent man and principled conservative than Chris Christie, is reputedly approximately 5'3" and appears fairly slender. Good luck, dude.

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