POLITICAL Season: the biennial period when political reporters pretend they don't know anything about politics.
So some over-ripe frat boy and Politico reporter (but I repeat myself) with the Mitch the Knife beat and a steno pad reports on the Bantam Menace's recent string of garden parties with Republican fixers, bag men, and...but I repeat myself. Daniels has been holding these soirées at the Governor's mansion, which immediately raises two questions: one, who told him how to get there? and two, are they having a problem keeping Cheri-with-an-i sedated enough to allow visitors into his real residence? I think if I were being asked to pony up a few black millions I'd be more than a little interested in what the wife is up to, and how many days per week she'd have to disappear from the campaign trail for "treatment". I mean, it can't be leftover anthrax from that bulging envelope someone sent her in 2001; that was another house. Plus we're pretty sure the talc-sniffing dogs found it all, and they dye all her powders fluorescent orange these days.
This, of course, and thank you so much, set off another round of "speculation" about Daniels' "intentions" among local "reporters". In fact, part-time Racist Beacon political columnist and full-time amateur Daniels flack Matt Tully jumped the gun over the weekend and wrote a column saying, c'mon, we all know he's running. Which, by the way, was amazing perspicacity, or might've been if he'd written it six years ago.
Because, well, look: I'm not paid to follow this shit full time, not that there's that much money anyway, but Daniels quit the Bush OMB to run for governor of Indiana (with, we might add, the same coy bullshit about "people urging him to do so"). Why? There was plenty of national economy left for him to wreck, and at the time, at least, two or three more Mideast wars to misunderestimate the cost of. Daniels isn't a Hoosier; he's a Princeton elitist, and if he were a Democrat he'd'a been laughed all the way back to Georgetown. The man finds a taste for elected office just as the Democratic incumbent dies suddenly. The national Republican field is wide open for 2008, because Dick Cheney insists he won't run, and, hell, even by 2003, in the midst of Victory Hoopla, he was generally regarded as a particularly noxious species of toad. And speaking of toads, this is the heyday of Karl Rove's New Republican Majority, and lemme tell you, friends, you do not want to get caught between Mitch Daniels and the open bar where they've just uncorked the new Kool-Aid.
Once elected Daniels set out to run up gaudy economic numbers by changing the rules (and exaggerating the state's financial condition to make it look like he'd started way behind), selling off any piece of state property that wasn't nailed down and could attract a buyer who'd agree not to raise rates until Mitch was out of office, and touting all the jobs he'd created in the burgeoning Vapor and Fantasy sectors.
Now, granted, the only thing required for these people to lie their asses off is sufficient oxygen to draw breath. And with zero concern about being discovered; Mitch hadn't suckled from the right side of the Strategic Federal Teat System for thirty years to no purpose. He clearly knew there was no way to underestimate the savvy of the American voter. It's possible all the man was after in 2005 was a second term as governor and a big enough McMansion that he wasn't kept awake every night by breaking glass. And I don't believe it for a moment.
Last year Daniels fought tooth-and-nail to keep his imaginary budget surplus over $1 billion, despite the fact that Hoosiers were suffering mightily from the continuing effects of the two Bush administrations they'd voted for. Why? He torpedoed a done deal between the Republican Senate and Democratic House which would have increased education spending, alone among all other government programs. Why? Not for Hoosiers. For Mitch.
Okay, so he lied about not wanting to be President. I don't give a fuck; I'm just astonished that no matter how many times you run the scam it manages to work.
This routine represents, at bottom, the desperation of those same Republican financiers now facing a party of Palins. I don't know whether this means they are smarter than your average Teabagger, or more cynical, or just differently invested. I do know they're busy fighting the last war. Daniels' luster has been rubbed to the pot metal underneath. Not that that'd keep him from being elected, considering all the other idiots who've made it. And maybe we deserve him. But he's not the Fantasy CEO the banking wing of the GOP thinks will tame the Teabaggers. Do yourselves a favor. Just slip him a few thou and move on.