Daniels can wait 

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will speak at AEI today at 12:30 (video here) on his educational reforms which, as AEI notes, go far beyond just the nation’s largest school voucher program that Daniels signed into last week:

Governor Mitch Daniels has championed a number of important educational reforms during this legislative session in Indiana. Under his leadership, Indiana has vigorously pushed for the growth of both virtual and brick-and-mortar charter schools, the empowerment of education leaders negotiating collective-bargaining agreements, an overhaul of the teacher licensure and evaluation system, and the expansion of educational choice for students through vouchers and senior-year scholarships. At this AEI event, Governor Daniels will explain why such changes are vital to public education, and what his team is doing to increase and improve educational options in Indiana.

Daniels AEI speech caps an East Coast tour that included receiving the Distinguished Leadership in Government Award at the Columbia Business School’s 35th anniversary dinner in New York, Monday, and the Ronald Reagan Award from the Harbour League, Tuesday. While in New York Daniels sat down with some reporters including National Review‘s Ramesh Ponnuru who reported:

Daniels said that “it cannot be illegitimate to ask” if some of the country’s military commitments should be unwound, but he has not yet reached any conclusions about which should be—or, at least, any he is willing to share. On Afghanistan he refuses to second-guess the decisions of the president, to whose greater access to information he defers. On Libya he says only that he has not seen the case for intervention made. One gets the impression of someone who is much more cautious about foreign intervention than Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty, but also cautious about saying so. He was asked if he were ready to debate President Obama on foreign policy. “Probably not.” (He is candid.)

The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin, found this admission completely unacceptable:

Really he doesn’t think there’s a case for removing Moammar Gaddafi? I suppose if you don’t think being commander in chief is critical to the presidency this won’t concern you. For those expecting presidential candidates display some level of understanding and show an effort to define positions of critical issues, this is, to be blunt, an embarrassing display.

Later, Rubin then attacks Daniels advisers concluding:

Now, as one GOP communications guru reminds me, the trio of David Axelrod, David Plouffe and Robert Gibbs did not have extensive presidential experience. But that said, the current low-wattage Daniels team may reflect Daniels’s ambivalence about running as well as the difficulty of fielding a top team after others have skimmed the cream of the campaign crop.

One thing is certain: Daniels’s rather rocky start (including unpreparedness on foreign policy and his “social truce” gaffe that lingered for months) demonstrate the perils of running a national campaign with a small circle of home-town confidantes.

But at RCP, Erin McPike detailed, Daniels Campaign in Waiting: “In other words, there’s a kitchen cabinet of political advisers who haven’t exactly been twiddling their thumbs lately but who have been eager for a campaign to take shape.” McPike concludes: “A rap on Daniels is that he hasn’t reached out much to the early states or built the groundwork for a presidential campaign, although it seems that there are strategists in both states willing to help. Instead, Daniels focused on getting his record to look just the way he wanted it to use as a trump card in a potential campaign. So the next time Daniels says he hasn’t been doing the things he needs to do in order to launch a White House bid, it’s probably best not to believe him. He could still wind up not running, but he has set himself up to do so if he gives his advisers the nod.”

McPike is right on this. Daniels spent 2008 electing a GOP legislature that could enact his policy agenda. He has spent 2009 and 2010 enacting that agenda. He just finished Friday. The New Hampshire primaries are nine months away. In today’s media environment that is an eternity. We will know plenty about Daniels views on everything, including foreign policy, by February 1st.

About The Author

Conn Carroll

Pin It

More by Conn Carroll

Latest in Nation

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation