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Our Man Mitch

 

The banner headline on the Drudge Report at this hour:

WHO? MITCH DANIELS WOWS CPAC

Who?  Ricochet’s own Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, that’s who.

From the report in the Des Moines Register to which the Drudge Report links:

“We must be the vanguard of recovery, but we cannot do it alone,” Daniels told about 500 attending a banquet at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

“We have learned in Indiana, big change requires big majorities,” the second-term governor and former Bush administration budget director said. “We will need people who never tune in to Rush or Glenn or Laura or Sean. Who surf past C-SPAN to get to SportsCenter. Who, if they’d ever heard of CPAC, would assume it was a cruise ship accessory.”

The speech was a breakthrough moment for Daniels, who has hinted more in recent months that he is entertaining a 2012 campaign.

A breakthrough moment?  Not for those of us who have been following Gov. Daniels here on Ricochet, of course, but I see what they mean.

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Members have made 26 comments.

  1. Profile photo of TeeJaw Member

    Mitch Daniels was a favorite of mine until I heard him say he could support a VAT tax.  I could be confused on this, and I hope I am.  But if I have it right he’s not a conservative.  If we ever get a VAT you can kiss limited government goodbye forever.  All one need do is look to what it did for Europe and the UK.

    • #1
    • February 13, 2011 at 1:14 am
  2. Profile photo of Mel Foil Inactive

    I have a hard time believing that the politicians, like Daniels, that don’t care much about the “social issues,” will care deeply about anything. On what basis do they care about the budget? Presidents should hire plenty of myopic budget wonks, but they shouldn’t be myopic budget wonks.

    • #2
    • February 13, 2011 at 1:16 am
  3. Profile photo of Joseph Eagar Member

    TeeJaw, if I remember right he supported a VAT to replace (or drastically lower) the income tax.

    • #3
    • February 13, 2011 at 1:19 am
  4. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author

    Whoa!  TeeJaw, Mitch was speaking at a think tank, talking theoretically.  What he said was that a consumption tax in place of other taxes would be ideal.  (Every economist I know says the same.)  There’s nothing unconservative about that thought, I don’t think.

    And, Star of the North, Mitch does care about the social issues–his pro-life record as governor is utterly solid.  What he has said is that the budget has to take priority right now, because it can and must be solved, whereas social issues will require a long struggle to change the culture.  Now you may agree or not–I myself wish he’d framed the issue differently, and Ricochet’s Bill McGurn whacked Mitch good and hard in his Wall Street Journal column last Tuesday.  But Mitch’s record is what it is–and it’s stoutly pro-life.

    • #4
    • February 13, 2011 at 1:29 am
  5. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member
    Peter Robinson: I myself wish he’d framed the issue differently

    My sentiment, exactly. He should have just pointed out that no other issue will be a major concern if our economy collapses from debt and excessive regulation, and left it at that.

    • #5
    • February 13, 2011 at 1:50 am
  6. Profile photo of Cunctator Inactive

     One thing that potentially mitigates against Mr Daniels – he doesn’t look different than the stereotype of the Republican Party, so to speak.  Have we entered an era where “novelty candidates” are all the rage?  (hate that term, but can’t think of a more appropriate one)

    • #6
    • February 13, 2011 at 1:56 am
  7. Profile photo of The King Prawn Member

    I just read the speech. It is what we need. He, maybe, maybe not; it, YES! If Gov. Daniels can be the one who does what he said in the speech then I’m all in. If he’s blowing smoke up my pucker, no thanks.

    • #7
    • February 13, 2011 at 1:56 am
  8. Profile photo of TeeJaw Member

    A consumption tax is not the same as a VAT if I understand.  A consumption tax would be like a national sales tax, a tax on retail sales.  A VAT is tax at every stage of production. While a consumption tax is out in the open and everyone who pays it sees just what it is costing them, a VAT is largely a hidden tax.  That is why politicians love it.

    A consumption tax to replace the income tax might sound great in theory, but you must know what would happen.  We would end up both a consumption tax and an income tax.  The theory is nice to talk about, but reality kills it and reality is not optional.

    If Daniels seriously thinks a VAT could possibly be a good idea under any circumstances, then he is not a serious man, in my view.

    • #8
    • February 13, 2011 at 2:03 am
  9. Profile photo of Pike Bishop Member

    It seems that our choices to date are either hacks (Newt, Huckabee, Romney), those who would make good Cabinet members or too young/inexperienced.   

    • #9
    • February 13, 2011 at 2:25 am
  10. Profile photo of Mel Foil Inactive
    Peter Robinson: …And, Star of the North, Mitch does care about the social issues–his pro-life record as governor is utterly solid.  What he has said is that the budget has to take priority right now, because it can and must be solved, whereas social issues will require a long struggle to change the culture.  Now you may agree or not–I myself wish he’d framed the issue differently, and Ricochet’s Bill McGurn whacked Mitch good and hard in his Wall Street Journal column last Tuesday.  But Mitch’s record is what it is–and it’s stoutly pro-life. · Feb 12 at 12:29pm

    I’m glad to hear it, but he made a poor first impression on me. I’m going through Catholic RCIA right now, so maybe I’m just especially sensitive to the troubles in America’s moral sphere. It’s in as much trouble as our budget is, and the consequences of ignoring spiritual health are worse than going broke. At least I think so.

    • #10
    • February 13, 2011 at 2:30 am
  11. Profile photo of Ross C Member

    Mitch was awesome in his speech.  Delivered with a candor I did not know he had.  My big takeaway was that the debt is a red menace that will not negotiate with us.  All the social programs Democrats want to protect are what they are destroying but doing nothing.  Mitch won’t win the beauty contest with Obama, but you know BO will not look forward to debating Mitch.

    You can see about 4 minutes of the speech on youtube. 

    The audio is here:

    • #11
    • February 13, 2011 at 2:33 am
  12. Profile photo of Matthew Osborn Inactive

     Daniels’ less than enthusiastic support for right-to-work legislation in Indiana gives me pause. He did repeal an executive order that had given unions the exclusive right to represent public employees, but it is difficult to understand his underlying principles. The impression I have is that he is a budget cutter (good) but there are no bed rock principles involved.  This is the same ailment inflicting Pawlenty.

    The propensity to git-er-done usually results in reaching-across-the aisle on matters not deemed important.

    • #12
    • February 13, 2011 at 2:40 am
  13. Profile photo of Joseph Eagar Member
    TeeJaw : A consumption tax is not the same as a VAT if I understand.  A consumption tax would be like a national sales tax, a tax on retail sales.  A VAT is tax at every stage of production. While a consumption tax is out in the open and everyone who pays it sees just what it is costing them, a VAT is largely a hidden tax.  That is why politicians love it.

    <snip>

    If Daniels seriously thinks a VAT could possibly be a good idea under any circumstances, then he is not a serious man, in my view. · Feb 12 at 1:03pm

    Look, we don’t need more of this burn-the-nation-down tax populism. &nbsp;A VAT could replace the income tax, or the corporate income tax, or capital gains, etc. &nbsp;These are all possibilities, and should be discussed.

    Right now we do have a consumption tax, the corporate income tax (talk about hidden taxation!). &nbsp;This bleeds into exports. &nbsp;In most nations, they border-adjust their VAT so exports are not taxed.

    • #13
    • February 13, 2011 at 2:53 am
  14. Profile photo of Joseph Eagar Member
    etoiledunord I’m glad to hear it, but he made a poor first impression on me. I’m going through Catholic RCIA right now, so maybe I’m just especially sensitive to the troubles in America’s moral sphere. It’s in as much trouble as our budget is, and the consequences of ignoring spiritual health are worse than going broke. At least I think so. · Feb 12 at 1:30pm

    That’s debatable. &nbsp;If Congress goes down the hyperinflation road it’ll be much worse; hyperinflation can decimate social morality and cohesion.

    • #14
    • February 13, 2011 at 3:01 am
  15. Profile photo of Stuart Creque Member

    Did I miss the segment where he discussed the very pressing foreign policy issues that the next President will have to face? Or are those part of what we can set aside and deal with only after our fiscal house is in order?

    This address seems to be a bit blinkered, as if Daniels believes that America can only deal with one great challenge at a time. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury.

    • #15
    • February 13, 2011 at 3:20 am
  16. Profile photo of Al Kennedy Member

    As I read some of the comments on Peter’s post, I am a little disappointed. &nbsp;Isn’t it too early to write off candidates who have not announced yet? &nbsp;Perhaps incorrectly, I also detect some single issue voters whose choices will not attract the independent voters we need to defeat President Obama.&nbsp; Shouldn’t we wait until the campaign starts, support the candidate of our choice in our state’s primary, and then enthusiastically support the eventual Republican winner in the campaign against President Obama. &nbsp;My primary objective is to ensure that&nbsp;Obama is not re-elected president in 2012.&nbsp; I will support a less than perfect candidate who can do that.&nbsp;&nbsp;Unfortunately, we don’t have another Ronald Reagan waiting in the wings.

    • #16
    • February 13, 2011 at 4:17 am
  17. Profile photo of Pike Bishop Member
    Stuart Creque: &nbsp;

    Did I miss the segment where he discussed the very pressing foreign policy issues that the next President will have to face? Or are those part of what we can set aside and deal with only after our fiscal house is in order?

    This address seems to be a bit blinkered, as if Daniels believes that America can only deal with one great challenge at a time. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury. · Feb 12 at 2:20pm

    Adding to my earlier post, maybe we can go with a Frankenstein approach to our problem.&nbsp; For Foreign Relations let’s go with The ‘Stache ©.&nbsp; His CPAC address can be found here.&nbsp;

    • #17
    • February 13, 2011 at 4:37 am
  18. Profile photo of TeeJaw Member
    Joseph Eagar

    TeeJaw : A consumption tax is not the same as a VAT if I understand. &nbsp;A consumption tax would be like a national sales tax, a tax on retail sales. &nbsp;A VAT is tax at every stage of production. While a consumption tax is out in the open and everyone who pays it sees just what it is costing them, a VAT is largely a hidden tax. &nbsp;That is why politicians love it.

    <snip>

    If Daniels seriously thinks a VAT could possibly be a good idea under any circumstances, then he is not a serious man, in my view. · Feb 12 at 1:03pm

    Look, we don’t need more of this burn-the-nation-down tax populism. &nbsp;A VAT could replace the income tax, or the corporate income tax, or capital gains, etc. &nbsp;These are all possibilities, and should be discussed.

    · Feb 12 at 1:53pm

    We are discussing it aren’t we? &nbsp;Tax populism, or whatever you want to call objections to a VAT, won’t burn the nation down. &nbsp;But a VAT will.

    • #18
    • February 13, 2011 at 5:25 am
  19. Profile photo of The Mugwump Inactive

    &nbsp;I think Mr. Daniels will do a fine job in the campaign&nbsp;should he get the nomination.&nbsp; He has my vote as of today.&nbsp; I don’t want novelty.&nbsp; I’ll settle for executive competence which is a hand that Mr. Daniels holds in spades.&nbsp; He needs to focus on two or three big ideas and hit them everyday.&nbsp; I’ll suggest fiscal responsibility, domestic energy production, and limited government.&nbsp; Americans will respond to that.&nbsp; How will the current occupant of the White House&nbsp;answer?&nbsp; He can’t.&nbsp; Mr. Obama has a public record now.

    Have a look at the Rasmussen numbers.&nbsp; The president has a core constituency of 27% who strongly approve.&nbsp;&nbsp;The numbers have been consistent for 18 months.&nbsp; Another 40% of Americans strongly disagree.&nbsp; That leaves a middle ground of 33%.&nbsp; If a Republican candidate can get half of the people in the middle, he will score an overwhelming&nbsp;victory.&nbsp; If he can get 60% of the middle, he wins in a landslide.&nbsp; The numbers are on our side.&nbsp;

    • #19
    • February 13, 2011 at 6:25 am
  20. Profile photo of Joseph Eagar Member
    TeeJaw

    We are discussing it aren’t we? &nbsp;Tax populism, or whatever you want to call objections to a VAT, won’t burn the nation down. &nbsp;But a VAT will. · Feb 12 at 4:25pm

    Actually, tax populism will destroy the nation–it’s called a balance of payments crisis (we had a mild taste of one in 2008). &nbsp;For a nation as important to world trade as ours, we aren’t risking just America, but many other countries as well.

    Deficits are a terrible price to pay for holding the line against taxes. &nbsp;We have to discuss this (and like I’ve mentioned before, the sooner we fix this mess the less taxes people my age will&nbsp;be paying in the 2020s, not to mention the less our standard of living will shrink).

    • #20
    • February 13, 2011 at 7:32 am
  21. Profile photo of Standfast Inactive

    I have been a Daniels fan since I read the piece about him in the Weekly Standard some months ago.&nbsp; But what is this I hear about him not wanting to sign the law in Indiana to make it a right to work state?&nbsp; Is he soft on unions?&nbsp; We do not need that.

    He has worked budget miracles in Indiana.&nbsp; I like his down to earth demeanor.&nbsp; If he is nominated, there will be a rancor in the media over his wife.&nbsp; She left him a few years back, remarried, divorced, and is now back with the Governor.&nbsp; I don’t think it matters, but I can see the press making it a huge issue.&nbsp; But it does kind of makes him an anti-Clinton kind of candidate.&nbsp; A governor who stayed true to his wife even when she up and left him. Hmmm.

    • #21
    • February 13, 2011 at 8:01 am
  22. Profile photo of Umbra Fractus Coolidge

    I think this whole “truce” thing is seriously overplayed. The whole reason the Dems are in trouble is because the people have the impression that they’ve ignored the economy in order to cram their pet project (health care) through while they could. All Daniels is saying is that we don’t want gay marriage or abortion to be our Obamacare.&nbsp;

    • #22
    • February 13, 2011 at 11:33 am
  23. Profile photo of Brian Member

    I am disappointed to read a few comments nitpicking Governor Daniels not mentioning foreign policy during his speech, or that he mentioned that consumption-based taxes are better than what we have now…..and VAT would be much more consumption based then anything like an income tax. &nbsp;The point is valid and it articulates his conservative-minded tax philosophy.

    What we have in Mitch is a successful leader saying that we need to coalesce around a single, big issue. &nbsp;And that issue is the red menace (red ink). &nbsp;It is the one and only issue of the day that we could get a massive majority to link arms around. &nbsp;Large majorities do not form around a litany of issues, especially issues that have proven divisive at the ballot box. &nbsp;Mitch sees that if you can prove to people that you are right about something as big as government management, fiscal responsibility, and debt….maybe you can persuade those same people that these are but parts of an overarching philosophy that is inter-related between the social and the fiscal.

    Build a successful team and then people will wonder if it might be your philosophy that led to the success.

    • #23
    • February 14, 2011 at 2:05 am
  24. Profile photo of Chris Johnson Member

    &nbsp;My impression, some folks didn’t take the 30 minutes to listen to the speech.

    As an example, when Stuart Creque suggested that he had glossed over foreign policy, he missed one of his early build-ups, in the speech.&nbsp; He set up, to the listeners, the obvious foe of the implaccable enemy that cannot be negotiated with, impying Islamic fundamentalism, then landed his punchline with the Red Menace, our debt.&nbsp; I beleieve him to be correct in that assessment.&nbsp; Peace through strength.&nbsp; We are in laughable financial condition, right now, and our enemies, foreign and domestic know it.

    Listen to the speech.&nbsp; Give him a chance.

    • #24
    • February 14, 2011 at 3:29 am
  25. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member

    TeeJaw, a VAT is a consumption tax.&nbsp; The only difference between that and the hopeless proposal pushed by the Huckabee types is that it is figured at wholesale stages, not just retail.&nbsp; And if the VAT, implemented properly in place of other taxes, is a bad idea, Buckley was an idiot when he was the first national figure to propose it.

    I love Mitch- but I believe that he is viable only in the Cheney slot as the super-doer for several image, not policy, reasons (listed in earlier comments).

    Jennifer Rubin summed things up fairly well in WaPo.

    • #25
    • February 14, 2011 at 8:24 am
  26. Profile photo of Troy Senik Editor

    Just to pile on to some of the Daniels love, this was a great speech. Doubly so knowing that he wrote it himself (and his 2009 commencement address at Butler University&nbsp;is proof that he can do the same thing with ceremonial remarks).

    What’s striking about Daniels’ speaking style is that he really is the Anti-Obama in this area — these remarks are even better when you sit and read them than when you hear them delivered live. They are dripping with substance and incredibly sparse on cliches for an elected official.

    To those who fret, I say give Mitch time. At this point in the pre-campaign, he’s building a narrative — and one that’s deeply responsive to the political moment. There will be plenty of time to tease him out on foreign policy (where his “peace through strength” comments were hopeful) and social issues (where, dare I say it, he was right in everything other than saying it out loud).

    I’m not sold on anyone yet. But I’m closer with Mitch than anyone else. And I’m enchanted by the notion of a ticket with Bolton.

    • #26
    • February 15, 2011 at 9:00 am