One of the very few states in the nation to have a budget surplus right now is Mitch Daniels’ Indiana. As Governor, Daniels actually went into office, raised sales taxes, cut property taxes, fixed his budget problems, then slashed the beejeezus out of tax rates, including the aforementioned sales tax. The state is thriving. He’s an attractive choice to challenge Obama. I think a governor, not some congressman, is going to have to be our pick. Daniels fits the bill.Here he is from the other night at the Indiana Republican Party’s Fall Dinner, using just notes, no prepared text or teleprompter:Key bit in a transcript below the fold.Now I want to close with just a few thoughts that fall outside our borders. Because around America tonight people are noticing Indiana. When I get down to Texas tomorrow, people will have questions. They’re writing about us in the press as Murray made mention. I’m personally getting some very strange phone calls, emails, and letters these days. For some, it’s because their state’s in a wreck. Fiscally. Administratively. Economically. They want to know, what are you guys doing that we might emulate? Some of them are partisan folks that are just tired of losing. They want to know, how is it you approach your fellow citizens in a way that seems to work even in years when things are going against our party? Many of them are alarmed at the direction of our nation and they’re right to be. I am too. To the very great surprise of many Americans we are facing now a radical program. An extreme program that Americans did not vote for. A friend, Judge Sarah Barker, swears this is a true story. She says she went to a parent-teacher night. First grade kids were there with their folks and the claim was on the first day of school the teacher gave some reading to be taken home and a little girl said, “This? All this? I have to read all this?” “Yes you have to read all this. This isn’t kindergarten anymore.” She says, “Well who the heck signed me up for that?”Around America right now a lot of people are saying, “Who signed me up for that?” I don’t recall signing up for a takeover of the housing industry, the banking industry, the insurance industry, or the student loan industry. People say, “I didn’t understand my government was going to go into the automobile industry. Let alone it was going to steal money from the retired teachers and government workers of Indiana in order to pay for it.” And right now people are asking, “Did I really sign up to see 17 or 18% of the American economy that is now wrapped up in health care taken over by the federal government? Did I really sign up to have utility rates double in Indiana, to undo so much of the economic progress we’ve made in pursuit of nothing? In pursuit of no environmental improvement through a cap-and-trade bill so called that by its own computer models will not budge the world thermometer. Will not save one polar bear. But will enrich undeserving states on the coast at the expense of Hoosiers. I didn’t sign up for that.”I said I wasn’t surprised at much of this. If you watch the trajectory, the statements, the votes of our new president, you knew that he sincerely believes these things. I have been surprised, and I’m saddened to see all this abetted by some members of Indiana’s congressional delegation, who have voted in recent days for some of the worst of this. Jackie, you can’t get there in time. You can’t get there too soon.I mean, the pose is over. I don’t know what color these dogs are, but friends, it ain’t blue, I’ll tell you that right now.So people around America are looking for a different model. So our first concern is, and always will be, the good people of this state. The struggling people of this state, and especially the young people of this state toward whom we’ve always aimed everything we did. America may be determined, or some people, to hand over to the next generation an unsustainable set of bills and unaffordable debt. And entitlement programs that plunder the young to benefit those of us who are older. I hope we can turn away from that while there’s time. But in Indiana we think about the next generation. We think about the future. We want this state to be better for our kids than it was for us. We don’t resign ourselves for a second to the idea of any decline. Any step back. And that’s the job that we have taken on as a party. That you have made possible. That you’re making possible by your attendence tonight. I cannot thank you enough for that. I just want to tell you that we’re not going to default on the burden that falls on the party of hope. I read this great line. It’s been on my mind since I read it. In the book Lee’s Lieutenants, the classic study of Civil War generals under Robert E. Lee, there’s a great line. It’s about Gen. Beauregard, whose best battles were his first ones. Bull Run. Early days of the war. Then he gets cautious. Then he gets timid. Then he’s always looking at the newspapers to see how it’s all playing. Freman, the author, says, “A soldier is on the wane from the moment he begins to think more of reputation than opportunity.” A soldier is on the wane from the moment he begins to think more of reputation than opportunity. He meant if you start thinking more about yourself than the people you’re there to serve, the cause you’re there to serve, if you start worrying more about how it’ll look, how it’ll play, than about what’s the next challenge? What’s the next hill? What’s the next battle? What am I going to do for the benefit of the cause I’m a part of? Then you’re not the soldier you used to be. You’re not the soldier you ought to be. We have to be soldiers who think always of opportunity, not of reputation. Who think always of the future and tomorrow. Not of things we already did. Not of preserving gains and any credit that might have come from it. I promise you tonight, on behalf of everybody who’s part of our team. On behalf of the Republican Senate majority that is and the Republican House majority that will be, we will think of opportunity, not reputation. We will think of tomorrow, not yesterday. We will think of yes, not no; hope, not memory. And we will create in this state a model of a party and a state that all of America looks to for greatness.Thank you for your support and for being here tonight.