Tim Pawlenty's Cash Problem
May 23, 2011
With Mitch Daniels officially out of the presidential race, it seems like the entire GOP is emulating Ethelred the Unready. Well, not quite everyone. In a contrarian move at odds with the Reluctant Republican ethos of the party, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will actually make it official by declaring his candidacy today in Des Moines. Along with the obligatory yawn-inducing “can you win Iowa?” question, Pawlenty almost certainly will be asked again about his ability to compete financially with Mitt Romney, the Daddy Warbucks of the truncated Republican field.
Mitch Daniels And The Cuckold Factor
May 18, 2011
A former colleague of mine recently speculated that Mitch Daniels' marriage would become a problem for him in the Republican primary -- not because he was divorced, but because his wife humiliated him and he forgave her. I am not averse to theories that hold Republican voters in low esteem, but my friend's hypothesis struck me as a little too primitive and reductive. But here is Wall Street Journal op-ed blogger James Taranto vindicating him: There has been no suggestion that Mr. Daniels behaved wrongfully in private, much less in public. Mrs.
Mitch Daniels vs. The Thirders
May 18, 2011
Mitch Daniels sketches the outlines of his now likely-seeming presidential run: Daniels said he would continue to sleep in voters' homes if he does run for president, as he has as governor and during his two statewide campaigns. "It not only saves money, but you learn so darn much," he said. I don't know if you have ever read the Constitution, Governor Daniels, but it contains a little something called the Third Amendment. And as a potential commander in chief, your plan sounds an awful lot like quartering of troops.
Mike Allen describes the Republican panic over the party's presidential field. It's a terrific piece of reporting, confirming everything we've known or suspected about how the party elites think of their field. For reasons I find strange, they desperately want a savior from outside the field, and consider Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie the most plausible white knights. I wrote a column for the New York Times magazine explaining my incomprehension with their assessment of these figures.
The Bachmann Opportunity
May 16, 2011
Like Ed Kilgore and Nate Silver, I think Mike Huckabee's decision not to run for president increases the chances that Michelle Bachmann could win the nomination. In my view, the three main contenders for the nomination are, in order, 1) Tim Pawlenty, 2) A party establishment-friendly Republican not currently running, such as Mitch Daniels or Paul Ryan, and 3) Bachmann. Everybody else, including Sick Man Of The GOP Field Mitt Romney, falls into the longshot bin. Of the establishment-friendly potential candidates, the one most likely to pull the trigger at the moment seems to be Daniels.
May 16, 2011
Mike Huckabee pulled off quite a Sweeps Week carny act Saturday night, pulling in what must have been a record audience for his Fox show by sending all sorts of mixed signals about his presidential intentions. Prior to his announcement, he presided over a spirited trashing of Mitt Romney’s health care speech and listened good-naturedly to guest Ted Nugent call for Navy SEAL teams to “secure” the borders by giving transgressors the ol’ bin Laden treatment.
The Myth of Moderate Mitch
May 11, 2011
During his tenure in office, Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, has enacted a set of policies that would make any conservative proud. Elected with the help of donations from the Koch brothers, he signed bills that abolished the right of teachers to bargain for anything other than wages and wage-related benefits and initiated the largest private-school voucher program in the country. He’s said he will sign a bill that will end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in his state and ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
I Heart Huckabee
May 06, 2011
For Mike Huckabee, the decision of whether to run for president has got to be excruciating. On the one hand, he’s done quite well in both primary and general election polls without lifting a finger. He has a very clear path to the nomination based on his demonstrated strengths with socially conservative voters in 2008. And the GOP has moved in his ideological direction since then, making his “insurgent” persona far more of an asset than a liability.
Is Mitch Daniels... Sane?
May 05, 2011
I was not invited to Mitch Daniels' elite pundit confab. But some smart people were, including Ramesh Ponnuru, who observes: Daniels was pressed repeatedly about the role of the Bush tax cuts in building today’s federal debt, about the failure of his fellow Republicans to recognize the need for tax increases, about the nuttiness of his party’s birthers, and about its general “reality-denial problem.” Daniels politely disagreed on the Bush tax cuts, said that Republicans weren’t the only people with nutty ideas, and suggested that Obama’s budget was “disappointing” in its denial of reality.
Is It Time To Take Trump Seriously?
April 28, 2011
I've been highly skeptical of the idea that Donald Trump is really planning to run for president, or that he would stand any chance at all of winning if he does. But I'm starting to treat the possibility just a bit more seriously now. One reason I've discounted his chances is that Republicans elites have shunned his candidacy.