The Corner

Daniels Pushes Romney to Campaign on ‘Constructive Program’

The Indianapolis Star reports:


Daniels ran two successful campaigns for governor that were heavy on positive messages and policy ideas. He said political victories that follow “slash-and-burn” campaigns seldom lead to great accomplishments.

“You have to campaign to govern, not just to win,” he said. “. . . Spend the precious time and dollars explaining what’s at stake and a constructive program to make life better. And as I say, look at everything through the lens of folks who have yet to achieve.”

After a pause, Daniels added with disappointment: “Romney doesn’t talk that way.”

Romney was routinely criticized during the primary for being better at attacking his rivals than making a positive case for his own plans. One problem: Romney’s understandable hesitance to detail extensively what he would do as president. His tax plan, for instance, relies on eliminating some loopholes, but he hasn’t said which ones. He’s talked about eliminating and combining government agencies, but again, is vague on which ones. (Although at a fundraiser earlier this week, he talked in more detail, although his campaign rushed to characterize his comments as of the thinking-out-loud variety rather than set-in-concrete.) Based on his comments to the Weekly Standard in April, it seems that Romney’s ’94 campaign has made him gun-shy on divulging much in the way of specifics. “One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education,” Romney remarked. And with every indication pointing to Chicago intending to run a campaign focused on tearing down Romney rather than making the case for Obama’s work in office, it’s unlikely Romney will change his mind and start being more specific. 

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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