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Mitch Daniels: Coward

Reihan Salam writes:

Mitch Daniels 2012 | Politics | The American Scene: If McCain loses this time around, I think I have my candidate for 2012. When Indiana was facing a severe budget shortfall, Mitch Daniels, a budget hawk, backed a tax hike on Indianans making over $100,000. Though the legislature didn’t go along with the proposal, he demonstrated a level of sanity and flexibility that’s admirable. Daniels also made a number of controversial decisions to improve the quality of Indiana’s infrastructure that have since paid off. He expanded healthcare coverage and placed a strong emphasis on prevention. In the Hoosier tradition, he has also sought to increase competition and transparency in the delivery of public services and he’s a firm believer in data-driven — i.e., reality-based — public policy. There’s a lot to like. He’s gone through long spells of extreme unpopularity, yet one senses that he’s won grudging respect from voters. Now, Daniels doesn’t exactly sound like the candidate who will set the base on fire. But perhaps a solid, steady, competent manager, one who turned around Indiana’s public finances, is exactly the face Republicans should be presenting the next time around.

From Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty:

p. 219: Mitch Daniels became agitated. He blurted out, "Well, yes, but if you can't do the right thing when you're at 85 percent approval, then when can you do the right thing? I think it's time to say no." Everyone looked with surprise at Daniels--he has a way of expressing what others are thinking but don't say. Often, he'd find himself doubling back when he got an arched brow from Cheney or Rove...

p. 296: The Commerce Secretary echoed much of what had been said.... As usual, not a real discussion, O'Neill thought as he looked over at [Mitch] Daniels.... He knew Daniels was focused on the perils of rising deficits, but it would take gumption to air those concerns in a room full of tax cut ideologues. "I think we need to balance concerns," Daniels said.... "You need to be out front on the economy, but I am concerned that this package may not do it. The budget hole is getting deeper... we are projecting deficits all the way to the end of your second term." From across the table came glares from the entire Bush political team. Daniels paused.... "Ummmm. On balance, then, I think we need to do a [tax cut] package... accelerate the rate cuts and the double taxsation of dividends..." O'Neill looked with astonishment at Daniels... turn 180 degrees in midsentence...

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