13 May, 2011

Why I Don’t (Yet) Support Mitch Daniels

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with his comment about a “truce on social issues”. Couldn’t care less. He was making the very valid point that right now we need to concentrate on the economy and getting our fiscal house in order. His social conservative credentials are up there with just about anyone’s.

Now, a little history.

In 2004, on election day, I stood outside my local polling place in the rain all day long, wearing my green “MY MAN MITCH” t-shirt. I was one of those meet and greet people, “Do you have any questions? Are you sure you’re at the right place? Anything I can help you with?” etc. I’ve voted for Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) twice for Governor, and if he could run again, I’d vote for him again. I’m not thrilled with the whole Daylight Savings Time thing, but I understand it, and he did campaign on the issue, so I have no legitimate gripe. He kept his campaign promise.

So, it’s not as if I’m anti-Mitch. I think he’s done a spectacular job as Governor. And I think he’d likely be a good, possibly great, President. I’d happily vote for him for President, if he’s the nominee. And he’s one of only 2 or 3 people I can say that about. I’m just not convinced of his ability to be a good candidate.

I’m gonna pick on Kevin Eder here, who works for the Media Research Center, but he expresses views I’ve heard elsewhere. Here’s a tweet I got from Kevin last night.

@ChrisOfRights I have no issues with his record, but he gets me as excited as a...zzzzzzzzz.

And that’s the truth, and it’s the way a lot of people are going to see Mitch. He’s not dynamic. He’s not charismatic. He’s not even combative. He simply comes out, says what he intends to do, and then does it.

Now I’m gonna pick on Bruce Newman, who follows me on Twitter, and opined on this as well.

@ChrisOfRights @keder I'm wondering if this is the cycle where someone who isn't so glamorous and charismatic can win.The anti-Bama

This is the general rebuttal you get from Mitch’s supporters when presented with statements like Kevin’s. And it does make sense on some levels. President Barack Obama (D-USA) was definitely treated like a rock star by the MSM, and maybe we do need someone who’s more down to earth.

However, there’s a problem. Let’s look at the last 9 Presidential elections. All but one were won by someone with that charisma and flair. Maybe not at Obama levels, but certainly higher than Daniels. We had:

1976: Jimmy Carter
1980: Ronald Reagan
1984: Ronald Reagan
1988: George H.W. Bush
1992: Bill Clinton
1996: Bill Clinton
2000: George W. Bush
2004: George W. Bush
2008: Barack Obama

With the exception of 1988, all of these were pretty charismatic people. Now, you might argue that President George W. Bush (R-USA) didn’t exactly light up a room, but there’s no doubt that he was personable and friendly and genuinely warm. People enjoyed seeing him and being with him. One of the MSM memes at the time was that the pool reporters following his campaign started liking him too much to write bad stuff about him. He’s a likeable guy.

Now, let’s look at the nominees who never were elected President in that same period:

1976: Gerald Ford
1984: Walter Mondale
1988: Michael Dukakis
1996: Bob Dole
2000: Al Gore
2004: John Kerry
2008: John McCain

Pretty much all of these people are dull, dull, dull. Note too, that while President George H.W. Bush (R-USA) won 1988 without much charisma, he was facing someone at just about his same level in Governor Dukakis (D-MA). And he also was running on being the successor to the incredibly charismatic President Ronald Reagan (R-USA). And he lost in 1992, when facing someone with actual charisma, then Governor Bill Clinton (D-AR).

Which group does Mitch fit better with? I think he clearly fits in better with the second group than the first. So, to win, Mitch would not have to be just the anti-Obama, but also defeat a 35+ year trend in Presidential elections.

It’s quite simple, really. In America, we like charismatic Presidents. Yes, that’s stupid, but it’s also undeniably true. I think it’s very likely that to defeat Obama, we’re going to need someone with a similar level of charisma. Do I like that thought? No, but I’m being honest and facing reality.

Now, maybe Mitch will run and start showing some fire and energy. That will certainly help. I hope he can and does. If he does, I will definitely start writing more supportive posts. I’m keeping an open mind on him, but so far I just don’t see it.

(Yes, I know 4 posts are missing from my blog. See here. I can recreate them if I have to and will do so, but am going to wait a bit longer to see if Blogger can restore them for me)

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