When this year’s midterm elections are over, there will be a two-month lull. And then in January 2011, because of our crazy system of neverending election cycles, the Republican presidential field for 2012 will begin to take shape.
To date, none of the rumored candidates really stick out. Mitt Romney seems to be the early favorite. But can he credibly run on repealing “ObamaCare” when “RomneyCare” is jarringly similar? Huckabee has problems outside of his evangelical base. Tim Pawlenty’s probably running, but what distinguishes him from anyone else? Newt Gingrich is a rare intellect, a real thinking-man’s candidate. He would mop the floor with Obama in a debate — but could he win the general election? And unlike others, I don’t foresee Sarah Palin running. She knows she doesn’t poll particularly well outside the Republican base. She’s making a bunch of money giving speeches and selling books. And since Palin’s so young, she’s got plenty of time to run for higher office. Why risk all of that on this go-around?
At this point in time, six months away from the GOP’s presidential preseason, the alternative choice for conservatives is becoming increasingly clear: the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 should be Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. Furthermore, his vice-presidential running mate should be Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. But more on Ryan later.
Why Daniels? Well, for starters, he’s the best governor in the country. That may seem like a subjective statement, but consider the financial state of the 50 states — and then look at Indiana. The fiscally competent manner in which Daniels has governed the Hoosier State has created recent buzz about a potential candidacy for the White House in 2012. Andy Barr at Politico writes about Daniels’ record: “Indiana has turned its $200 million deficit into a $1.3 billion surplus, paid all outstanding debts, doubled venture capital investment in the state and increased employment.”
Andrew Ferguson has an excellent piece over at the Weekly Standard detailing Daniels’ leadership style. “He treats waste in government as a moral offense,” Ferguson writes of Daniels. Ferguson continues: “No other state in the Midwest — all of them, like Indiana, dependent on a declining manufacturing sector — can match this record.” The list of accomplishments is impressive: seven percent of new U.S. employment occurs in Indiana, even though Hoosiers comprise just two percent of the country’s population; more people are moving in than out of the state for the first time in four decades; it is one of only nine states with a triple-A bond rating.
Since 2004, Daniels has been a stalwart against encroaching big government, wasteful deficit spending, and debt-ridden economics. He’s also a numbers wiz — he gets it. Daniels understands that the country’s current problems transcend mere disagreements over tax rates. The fundamental nature of our monetary system itself is inherently flawed. We overprint fiat money to pay for entitlement programs while rapidly approaching insolvency, and in doing so we devalue the very worth of our currency.