As a registered Independent, I have no idea at this stage who I would support in the next presidential election, though I can assure everyone it would not be Barack Obama. And, assuming Obama is destined to be nominated by his party in 2012, there is only one direction to look, and that’s the Republican Party.
Libertarians would disagree. That’s understandable, I support some of the Libertarian points of view, particularly the concept of less government control and intrusion into our private lives. But, the hard truth is, voters who will cast their ballots for a Libertarian candidate — for the most part — will be draining votes from the Republican candidate. And that spells good news for Barack Obama, the beneficiary.
Ross Perot, in 1992, assured the defeat of G.H.W. Bush by siphoning 19 percent of the vote, mostly from Republican voters, which secured the election of Bill Clinton. Donald Trump has wisely announced that he would never run as an Independent candidate because of that very reason. In his view, the most important goal of the next election is to unelect Obama.
Media pundits are claiming that the Republican field is drab and boring, with no one capable of a serious challenge to Obama. The Trump star will fade rapidly. The vulnerables, Romney and Gingrich, carry too much heavy baggage. Huckabee is out. Sarah Palin has over-used media exposure. Ron Paul is a Libertarian, though a registered Republican. Henry Cain, I think is worth following because he makes a lot of sense, and he brings “diversity.” But does he have charisma? Forget Pawlenty, Santorum and Gary Johnson, all from the same stuffed-shirt, old-style Republican mold. Michele Bachmann is refreshing and has good things to offer, but her connection at the hip of the Tea Party might be more of a liability than an asset. Rep. Allen West has been touted, (a personal favorite) but his congressional experience level can only be counted in weeks and months.
Consider one other. Not well known on the national scene, this fellow has an attractive dossier who might emerge as a very viable candidate in the near future.
After serving as head of the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) between 2001 and 2003, he won the governorship of his state in 2004, defeating an incumbent, the first time that happened there since the 19th century. In 2008, he was reelected with 58 percent of the state vote.
Here are some of his positions and accomplishments:
* Enacted a voter registration law requiring voters to produce a government-issued photo I.D., overcoming a legal challenge by the ACLU
* Balanced budget? Measures enacted as governor saw his state go from a $200 million deficit to a $1.3 million surplus, earning a AAA bond rating.
* Though strong on no-new-taxes, he showed flexibility by acquiescing to a temporary tax increase to help close the state’s budget gap.
* He created an improved health care plan for uninsured residents not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, and paid for in part with increased taxes on cigarette sales.
* He stated that the next republican president will have to call a truce on some of the divisive social issues, because issues of economy, war and homeland security are far more vital.
* He signed legislation restricting abortions after the 20-week mark of a pregnancy.
* Denied in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.
* Enacted a law which imposed fines against employers who hired illegal aliens.
* Barred local governments from enacting most gun control laws.
* On his first day in office, this new governor decertified all government employee unions by executive order removing requirement that all employees must pay union dues. Dues-paying memberships dropped by 90 percent.
* He lowered property taxes for all home owners, and offset the revenue by raising the state sales tax from 6 to 7 percent.
* He implemented a school voucher program to assist students who come from poor families.
In March of this year, this man won the straw poll in Oregon for possible Republican candidates, beating Mitt Romney. Could this be the proverbial “dark horse?”
At this point, thousands of supporters are urging him to put his hat in the ring, but questions loom regarding his reluctance to seek higher office. It is rumored that his wife is a strong influence, and she is hesitant to struggle through in the international spotlight.
While I’m sure many negatives will surface from Democrats and left-leaning media pundits, it’s hard to find much to criticize about Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana. Even liberal columnist, Ruth Marcus, acknowledged as much in her syndicated column in the Washington Post:
It is my fervent hope that the Republican party is not stupid enough to field another nominee for president who is unelectable. No matter who runs, he/she must be capable of defeating Barack Obama. It’s utterly vital for the future security of this country.
More on Mitch Daniels: