Sunday, May 22, 2011

Daniels Out

Mitch Daniels ends the long tease -- he's not running.

Was it really family reasons? Perhaps, eventually, we'll get enough reporting to put something together; for now, I'll just say that I'm increasingly of the opinion that even the politicians themselves probably don't know the answer. We're talking about multiple variables, with "how much he wants it" only one, and family issues only part of that. So maybe the family was an outright veto -- or maybe if Barack Obama was at 25% approval instead of 50%, and maybe if a few more people were begging him to get in (or, perhaps, making firmer commitments), then his current level of commitment would be enough. As I said, I'm not sure that I'd trust Daniels himself (or any other pol) even if they believed they were being honest about it.

Of course there may be solid, relevant, info we don't know -- Daniels (or Barbour, or Thune, or Huck) could have been told by publicly neutral party leaders that they were really with another candidate, or even that they would strongly oppose him. 

And the list goes down. Remaining from my list (as of early this spring) of plausible GOP nominees for president in 2012 are Romney, Pawlenty, Palin, Perry, and Jeb Bush. I originally said my list of eight (it included Barbour, Daniels, and Huck) had at that point (late March) at least a 90%, and probably close to a 98% chance, of winning the nomination. So far the list as a whole is underperforming, but in my view it's still just about as likely that the nominee is on that list, although I suppose maybe a tick or two less likely. Still safely over 90%, at least in my opinion. By the way, for what it's worth, I really don't think Jeb is going to get in -- he (and Perry) are on the list because if they chose to enter, I think they would still be viable.

As for Daniels...I've never thought he was nearly as formidable as some made him out to be, so I don't think this is as big a deal as Huckabee's recent decision. Basically, I never saw what he had that Pawlenty didn't have, and Pawlenty would have had a major head start, among other advantages. Still, I thought he was at least a viable longshot, and apparently that's done now. 


  1. I know no one wants to give Huntsman a shot, but he's got at least as much chance as Pawlenty at this point, it seems.

  2. What's Perry and Bush's sell-by date? I mean, it seems to me that at some point, they will have waited too long, and even their formidable talents won't be able to pull in staff that's committed to others, money that's already been given to others, etc. Does that make sense? I'm not asking the exact day we need to mark on a calendar, just that won't we know by the time some event comes up that the field is set?

  3. He has a bit more personality than Pawlenty, and he's more of a numbers guy, which I think could dovetail nicely into a campaign centered around sheer competency, whether you agree with the notion or not (I'm guessing most other readers of this blog do not).

    I'm disappointed he's not running; I'd have been happy with him as the nominee. I think it's probably Pawlenty's to lose now, but I also think this really opens things up for some of the long-shot guys like Cain. I still think Pawlenty takes it, but a lot of Republicans are going to be tempted to jump to a firebrand type if it comes down to one of the improbable, more exciting guys like Cain, and a safe, middle-of-the-road option like Pawlenty.

  4. Here's a question I have: Do the recent dropouts make it more likely or less that dark horses like Perry will decide to enter the race?

    I could see an argument either way. On the one hand, for a candidate mulling over a possible run, it takes away competition.

    On the other hand, so many viable candidates have been dropping out that it may send a signal that 2012 is not a good year for a Republican to seek the presidency.

  5. I guess one nice thing is, if the "Dark horse" actually wins, he'll have a nice narrative built up, like Clinton in '92 ("All the big names passed on the race, but one small state governor..."). Of course, that ignores that Clinton was actually a big name himself...though so is Perry or Bush, so I guess it still works.

  6. Jeb Bush is never going to win the nomination and he knows it.

    In fact, a lot of them know if they even somehow do get the GOP nomination they'll probably lose against Obama.

    The only reason why Romney is running is because he knows he can't wait too long. It's his turn, he knows it, and he decided it's better to do it then not.

  7. What did Daniels have? Obviously, Indiana. Doh!

  8. What did Daniels have? Oh, I don't know, maybe a track record in service to the American people of high deficits - he was OMB chief with the tax cuts and with deciding to put two wars on credit cards rather than paying for them that has put us in this deficit "crisis." I can see Obama's ads putting him as the navigator to Bush's driving the bus now.

  9. I agree with the last comment... did everyone forget that Daniels was Bush's budget guy? This seems like a huge, huge liability in his supposed area of expertise.

  10. Caitlin,

    I wish I knew the answer. I'm pretty sure September is too late; I don't think that right now is too late. So somewhere in there.

    For the last two anons: why do you think that cutting taxes and then producing large deficits would be a negative in running for the GOP nomination?

  11. good point Jon... I was referring more to the mainstream perception of him. In GOP circles he's the reasonable moderate, but he's also being portrayed that way in the mainstream media, which I don't get.


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