I am not really sure what is wrong with Mitch Daniels. Two years ago, you would not have found a bigger Mitch Daniels booster in the United States than yours truly. He had bucked national trends to win an landslide re-election and was doing all the right things to demonstrate administrative competence, which is something our party badly needed to demonstrate after the last two years of the Bush administration. Then he started saying crap like this, courtesy of Jenn Rubin:
So, as Republicans were gearing up for their biggest electoral victories in 16 years by fighting Obama and the Democrats tooth and nail on every aspect of their agenda, Mitch Daniels was telling everyone that the way to victory was to forget what a wedge issue even was, and just be nice so that people will like us again. Since then, Daniels has demonstrated that having a political tin ear in his case is a congenital defect rather than an isolated occurrence, telling social conservatives repeatedly to get to the back of the bus and indicating that he would pick Condi Rice – widely vilified as a miserable SecState by Republicans of all stripes – as his VP.
Mitch Daniels, by all accounts, was a very good governor of Indiana. By all those same accounts, he is very bad at understanding what it takes to build a coalition that could win a national election. In another candidate, this shortcoming would not necessarily be fatal. But let us face facts: Mitch Daniels is short, bald, and boring, and he is running against the Central Casting President. Winning over the marginal voters who tend to decide United States Presidential elections is going to be an uphill task for someone like Daniels, who is infinitely less telegenic than even Bob Dole. More than any other potential candidate in the GOP field, he will require a dedicated and fanatical army who will be able to bypass the media/television-induced fog that doomed Dole against Clinton and Nixon against Kennedy and spread the word to their friends and neighbors about why he would be a great President.
Mitch Daniels has shown, again and again, that he has no understanding of how to build such an army. Thankfully for the GOP, the people he is now busy alienating at every opportunity will be able to prevent him from having the opportunity to lose in a landslide to Obama.
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