Daniels 2012?

Around here, we are trying to keep people focused on 2010, and for good reason.  However, over the weekend, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels made an announcement that deserves at least a brief mention. Over the last year, Daniels has repeatedly and unequivocally denied that he will run in 2012. Over the weekend at the NGA meeting, Daniels for the first time expressly indicated an interest in running.

“During an interview at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association here over the weekend, Daniels said he has now been persuaded to keep open the door to a possible candidacy.”

Daniels is not without his flaws – his lackluster television presence being chief among them.  Furthermore, he will never be forgiven by some for raising taxes early in his term (even though he lowered them after the state’s budget was back in the black).  However, he has long been a favorite of good-government types and those who feel (like myself) that by 2012, the country will be tired of flowery speeches and be ready for someone who has demonstrated simple competence at running government.  A year and a half ago, Mark Hemingway at NR encapsulated well the reason so many fiscal conservatives in particular are excited about the possibility of a Daniels 2012 candidacy, and his article in full is well worth the read. (pdf warning) Also, you philosophical types will enjoy Daniels’ no-nonsense commencement address at Butler last year.

Mitch Daniels is clearly not as exciting or sexy as a candidate as many in the potential 2012 field. But for those who are tired of “exciting and sexy” and would prefer simply for the government to be run well, Daniels is certainly worth a second look.