The Corner

Daniels Mum on ’12, Backs Lugar

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, in a low-key appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, was mum about a potential 2012 presidential bid. “I have agreed to consider it,” he said, but did not sound enthusiastic about the prospect. “Others have said over the course of the last year and a half that I ought to consider something that had never entered my mind.”

With regard to a timeline for his decision, Daniels has “no idea.” He did not shoot down moderator Chuck Todd’s question about waiting until the summer. “I am completely committed to the job I am in now,” he said. “If deadlines pass, they do.” Besides, he mused, it is a “blissful occurrence” that the presidential horse race has been slow to start.

Daniels praised the emerging field of contenders as he sidestepped questions about his own intentions. “There are some really good people running,” he said. “I like them all. I am hoping that our party will simply step up to the issues of the day, and it could be any one of those folks.”

Yet many of those same candidates criticized Daniel indirectly last week at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s spring kick-off. In a series of speeches, White House hopefuls such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum argued that social values should be the keystone of the GOP platform.

Daniels last year proposed a “truce” on social issues, hoping to see Republicans focus on fiscal problems. On Meet, he shrugged off the criticisms. “I happen to share their views and respect their passion,” he said. “Some of it, however, comes to this: Are you more committed to results or rhetoric?”

“I don’t sit around calculating the political pluses and minuses of every little word I utter,” Daniels said. If Beltway leaders want to achieve meaningful fiscal reform, he added, they are “going to have to get together people who disagree on other things.”

Daniels, who served in the Bush administration as director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, also weighed in on the budget debate brewing on Capitol Hill. “To see them arguing over nickels and dimes like this,” he said, is “almost comic,” especially as entitlement spending soars.

Daniels then wagged a finger at House Republicans, who have attached politically-tinged amendments — often dubbed “riders” — to recent spending bills. “As a general rule, it is better practice to do the people’s business, try to concentrate on making ends meet, which Washington obviously has failed to do for a long time, and have other policy debates in other places,” he said. Still, when pressed by Todd, he did not criticize House Speaker John Boehner for enabling such “riders” to be brought to the floor.

Turning toward Hoosier State politics, Daniels offered hearty support to Sen. Dick Lugar, who is facing Tea Party opposition in the run-up to the 2012 GOP Senate primary. “I’m for Dick Lugar, he’s the role model I’ve had,” he said.

Daniels, who once served as Lugar’s chief of staff, emphasized that he would not meddle in the primary. Voters, though, will know where he stands. “Folks in Indiana know that I am for him and that I admire him and think if he wants another term, he ought to have one,” he said.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More