Daniels' political tip: Zip your lips
By Mary Beth Schneider
November 5, 2010
Memo from Gov. Mitch Daniels to candidates thinking about the 2012 election: "Just stifle yourself."
That goes for himself, too.
Daniels, who has left the door open to a run for the White House, said Thursday that he won't be talking about his potential candidacy until at least after the state legislature finishes its work in April.
And with one election just finished, every other candidate ought to take a timeout as well, Daniels said, to focus on governing.
Daniels issued his hush-up advice after being asked about the possibility of U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Columbus, seeking to succeed him as governor.
Standing next to Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who also likely has her eye on moving up to the state's top job, Daniels said Pence is "a great guy, and he's served well."
But, Daniels said, "I'll ask anybody who is thinking of running for any office in 2012 to be quiet about it for the next several months. We just finished an election. We now ought to all be about the business of delivering on the change and the duties that we have. So I'm going to ask anybody who is thinking about running for anything to just stifle yourself for a few months."
Our Story So Far: As the Daniels for President campaign enters its ninth, twenty-fourth, or forty-sixth month, depending on whether you're counting from, respectively, his announcement that he was "leaving the door open" (and not, Ms Schneider to "a run", but to "people who want to convince him to run"; let us take people at their word, especially pathological liars); the beginning of the Daniels for President artificial hubbub in locations as diverse as The National Review and The Wall Street Journal Opinion Pages; or when he started lying about his record as Governor, with an eye to creating a Reaganesque fiscal mystique, and nearly as much long-term fiscal carnage, per capita, our coy and petite candidate would like all those other candidates to kindly be quiet for the next four months while he pretends to manage the two-House Republican majority he just bought himself.
This is known as "Urging restraint". Which shouldn't surprise us, in a world where raising the state sales tax to the second highest in the nation is known as "cutting taxes".
(By the way, that "so close to an election" routine is the seemingly effortless Daniels Genius at Work. It is, in fact, the whole of Reaganism appropriately in a nutshell, an excuse for everyone else to work in your own self-interest offered up as a cherished and time-honored platitude you've based your life on. The terminally bored may recall that way back in Aught Eight the recently re-elected Daniels, shiny Republican hope in a sudden sea of Blue, thought the appropriate response to just finishing an election was to disappear from the public eye for the next few months while economic reality slammed into his trail of campaign lies [which were constructed of cardboard, so there was no real reason to duck from the potential fall-out, not that any occurred anyway]. Not to mention how Rumor of a Run was scraping the fender of his resolute declaration that he'd just finished his last campaign. That Daniels wasn't too keen on catching every last echo of the Vox Populi.)
The Bantam Menace now has precisely the same metaphysical problem Pence just solved, except Running Away isn't an option. (By the way, the Pence for Governor??? thing is, well, interesting, in that "Governor" wasn't mentioned when he won that Iowa straw poll, and damn that state's got a lot of straw. I said it as a gag, but I'll say it seriously now: th' fuck would you want to follow Mitch Daniels when he's spent two terms locking you into starvation rations, and when he's already sold off everything that has a price tag? Particularly when your Ego's stuck on "Palin"? The very suggestion seems conveniently in Daniels' favor, emphasizing, as it does, Pence's "non-executive" track record, and potentially removing an Indiana Republican who's a helluva lot closer to the base. Pence is a Jesus nut and a fiscal Procrustian; he's gotta look at what Huckabee did last time and realize the whole Teabag Party Has Abandoned the Culture Wars thing is a piece of shit, especially where the Republican primaries are concerned. There's a pile of money to be raised, there's no credible Jebus candidate besides the Huckster, and corporate Republicans haven't exactly fared well on the hustings. And while I haven't heard anybody saying this, it sure looks to me like Palin's one of Tuesday night's big losers, since "female" and "female and insane" were both something less than an A Ticket, and she can't even win an election in Alaska. If raising money and supporting candidates meant anything to anyone besides those candidates, Richard Viguerie would have his own reality program.
And, for what it's worth, Pence is at least six inches taller and better looking than Daniels. But who isn't?
Mitch, on the other hand, gets to preside over a rubber-stamp General Assembly, which will slice more meat from education to preserve what it can of his artificial surplus. Of course, no Republican primary candidate will be able to call him on it, but Miracle Mitch is shortly to become Held the Line Provided You Don't Ask About Specifics Mitch, which is a helluva lot less inspirational, and not what they set out six years ago to run on. Whether or not there is actually anything which could be described, however fancifully, as a Budget Surplus is a matter of debate, in no small part because the thing's been kept half-hidden all along. If Daniels breaks out of the box, if he manages, say, to be 2012's Romney and not its Giuliani, and it comes time for whomever else is left to start swinging, his vapor jobs creation and massive sales tax increase is gonna suddenly get noticed.
Sure, sure, I'm wrong all the time, but I'm not selling this like it's a hot stock. I just haven't ever seen where this Daniels shit was supposed to be heading, aside from the rake. He was the wet-dream candidate of the semi-wonkish, semi-realistic, wholly desperate NatRev writer when the GOP was in the dumps. It isn't anymore. Photogenic non-entities like Pence now imagine they can beat Obama. Make that "will", since every Republican gain comes with God's Own Guarantee attached for these fucks. Daniels isn't the Libertoonian Intellectual in a field of Crackpot Sarah and the Losers from Last Time. The man has nothing left to sell to anybody. Except the Indiana state lottery. Bidding is already open, in case you're interested.