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Is the Indiana governor running for president?
Is Indiana governor Mitch Daniels running for president? That was one question on the minds of some of the 11,000 people who attended the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend.
Daniels went to the CPAC and gave a terrific one-legged stool presidential campaign address. The minimum number of legs for a stool, however, as many people from the state of Indiana know — Indiana has 154,000 milking cows — is three.
Daniels gave a sober, but not somber, 31-minute speech which was interrupted by applause 42 times. Flown in from Indiana on a friend’s plane, Daniels was relaxed, poised, Teleprompted, and, yes, presidential, in part because a teleprompter prompts people to think of presidents.
Daniels summed up his economic philosophy early on: “We [Hoosiers] believe in paying our bills. We have kept our state in the black throughout the recent unpleasantness, while cutting rather than raising taxes, by practicing an old tribal ritual — we spend less money than we take in.”
The lefties, if they had been listening, would have been scandalized to hear the governor say, echoing Milton Friedman: “When business leaders ask me what they can do for Indiana, I always reply: ‘Make money. Go make money. That’s the first act of corporate citizenship. If you do that, you’ll have to hire someone else, and you’ll have enough profit to help one of those non-profits we’re so proud of.”
Friedman also pointed out that you can only make money (which the left thinks is greed) by serving people (which the left thinks is the exclusive preserve of government).
Daniels said Indiana had cut property taxes to the lowest level in America, and designed the health plans for both the state employees and for low-income Hoosiers as Health Savings Accounts. And he spoke of Indiana’s intention to create a voucher program for every low and middle income family in the state.
Having presented his bona fides, Daniels then addressed the nation’s most pressing problem, what he called a new Red Menace: the sea of red ink drowning the U.S. economy.
As the elections of last November indicated, that is now the central concern of Americans: an economy incarnadined by the hand of Barack Obama, the one we had been waiting for. Yet who would have thought the one we had been waiting for to have had so much red ink in him?
Daniels said we need to cut government spending, redesign the tax code so it will promote private growth (flatter is better, flat is best), deregulate, and stop denying ourselves the energy — oil and gas — that is under our own land.
He spoke about Americans “still on the first rung of life’s ladder.” He urged the audience to “distinguish carefully skepticism about Big Government from contempt for all government.”
Then he asked for “thoughtfulness about the rhetoric we deploy in the great debate ahead.” And, having thought for just a moment himself, decided time was up: whereupon he announced that “our opponents are better at nastiness than we will ever be. It comes naturally. Power to them is everything, so there’s nothing they won’t say to get it.” How do you speak truth when truth is unpleasant?
Daniels also urged “great care not to drift into a loss of faith in the American people.” saying “Americans are still a people born to liberty.”
So far, so good, and very good indeed. Thirty-one minutes. Forty-two applause lines. That’s a great speech. George Will, introducing Gov. Daniels, said, “Our speaker has twice been the right choice for Indiana. Some people think that the other 49 states deserve the chance to make the same choice.”
But other people aren’t so sure. Two legs of the stool were missing: social policy and national security policy.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online