Mitch Daniels

We live in disordered political times, when visceral antipathy to Barack Obama’s agenda drives even reasonable conservatives to say things they should know are not true. The reaction to the president’s unfortunate remark about the condition of the private sector is a perfect example. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana said this: “He [Obama] does not understand where wealth and jobs come from. It comes from a successful private sector or not at all … Government does not create wealth or income.

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American manufacturing is basically the same everywhere. It’s an albatross around the necks of places that depend on it, preventing them from attracting the “creative class,” which drives economic development today. Except in a few very high tech industries, such as pharmaceuticals, manufacturers are looking for lower costs above all else. That’s why, if they’re staying in the United States at all, they’re moving to low-wage locations.  Metropolitan areas, with their higher costs, offer manufacturers no special advantages. These beliefs about the geography of manufacturing in the United States

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TO: MITT ROMNEY FROM: BILL GALSTON SUBJ: YOUR CAMPAIGN Every successful presidential campaign faces at least one defining moment when choices spell the difference between victory and defeat. Your first one has come earlier than just about anyone expected, and much depends on how you respond. Up to now, you’ve pursued a steady-as-you-go, above-the-fray strategy, ignoring your Republican rivals and training your fire on President Obama. And for six months it worked well enough to keep you in the lead.

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The sub-headline in Stephen Hayes’ latest Weekly Standard post trumpeting the possible emergence of a Paul Ryan presidential campaign lists some big political names who are encouraging the idea: “Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, John Boehner, Jim Jordan, and Bill Bennett encourage Ryan to run for president.” Hayes missed a few more big names who might well be equally excited about a Ryan run: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.  Indeed, Democrats (especially those in Congress) have been plotting for months to make Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, and particularly its radical treatment

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They rolled out of Washington in the dead of night. But the Huntsman bus was wide-awake. A group of around 50 young Jon Huntsman supporters had hit the road, heading up to Liberty State Park, New Jersey, to see the former ambassador announce his dark-horse candidacy. Like the campaign itself, the pilgrimage had been cobbled together at the last minute. The young volunteers had gotten word only a few days in advance and had scrambled to fill buses from D.C. and Philadelphia. Stephen, a Huntsman organizer with a Utah basketball jersey draped over his button-down, handed out bagels.

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One story I've been following but haven't written about is the possibility that Paul Ryan might decide to run for president. When you have the power to set your party's vision of government for the next fifty years, and nobody in the party is allowed to disagree with you, or even dodge paying fealty to you, then you already are the party leader. Ryan's disavowals of interest never struck me as terribly strong. Now he's dropping even stronger hints: On Thursday evening, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan said yet again that he is not considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination.

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Weak One

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced his candidacy for president on Monday, just a week after fellow presidential contender Newt Gingrich managed to torpedo his own nascent campaign within a matter of days. Could Pawlenty avoid the same fate?

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With Mitch Daniels officially out of the race, Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee now a distant after-thought, and Newt Gingrich’s campaign running on fumes, pundits of all political stripes are finding it hard to shake a persistent belief that there’s a gaping hole in the Republican presidential field. Indeed, the most frequent theme that keeps cropping up in smart analysis of the current state of play is that the contest cries out for a late-entering, credible southern candidate.

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[Guest post by James Downie] Last week, Ezra Klein suggested that perhaps the lack of enthusiasm among the GOP establishment for Tim Pawlenty lay in his unimpressive record as governor, including his reliance on "accounting shortcuts" to try to close the deficit, rather than actually cutting the size of the state government. Indeed, one of Pawlenty's favorite habits was shifting costs to local governments, as documented here: Pawlenty oversaw dramatic reductions in higher-education funding and refused to spend more on early childhood programs.

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Mitch Daniels announced over the weekend that he will not seek the presidency. As far as I can tell, conventional wisdom holds this is good for Mitt Romney, the frontrunner about whom no Republicans seem particularly enthusiastic. The theory goes like this: Daniels, the governor of Indiana, had great potential as a candidate. He was smart and conservative. He was likeable, with a few endearing quirks.

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