If there’s one thing you can’t accuse Gov. Mitch Daniels of, it’s pandering. The subject of persistent speculation about a presidential run, Daniels has a pretty conservative governing record, yet he continues to say things to alienate key Republican constituencies that he’d need were he to tip his hat into the ring. He’s already called for a “truce” on social issues and floated the idea of a VAT, and now he’s told the Hill that defense cuts should be on the table to combat the debt. “We need to take a really hard look at the missions we’ve undertaken,” he said. That surely isn’t going to sit well with national security-minded Republicans.
Meanwhile, in the same story, he said of Republican disappointments in Senate races, “We didn’t turn up the strongest candidates.” That’s certainly true of candidates like Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle, in my estimation. But then again, I have no presidential ambitions. Maybe Daniels really doesn’t want to run for president. Or maybe he’s decided that if he runs, he’s just going to say what he thinks.