Election 2012: Mitch Daniels out, Where Does That Leave the GOP?

By Knickerbocker, Brad | The Christian Science Monitor, May 22, 2011 | Go to article overview

Election 2012: Mitch Daniels out, Where Does That Leave the GOP?


Knickerbocker, Brad, The Christian Science Monitor


Citing family considerations, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels says he will not run for president. That leaves the rest of the GOP field angling for position at a time when many Republicans are less than thrilled with the current choices.

Mitch Daniels' decision not to run for president in 2012 sets scrambling the remaining declared and likely candidates, not to mention professional campaigners, funding sources, and political pundits.

Who benefits from the Hoosier Hamlet's sitting out the election? Where does that leave the more establishment candidates and the tea party outliers?

Winnowing is always inevitable, but there's a sense among Republican voters that their champion may not be evident among the existing field.

What that leaves, as Jonathan Martin at Politico.com puts it, is "a GOP establishment deeply worried that the flawed options they're left with won't be any match for an incumbent president who seemingly won't face a primary but is likely to shatter campaign fundraising records."

Blogging at the conservative Weekly Standard, William Kristol writes: "It would be unfair to call the current field a vacuum. But it doesn't exactly represent an overflowing of political talent."

Speaking Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin pronounced himself "disappointed" at Daniels' decision.

"I think his candidacy would have been a great addition to this race," Ryan said. "I think it's unfortunate that he's not going to run."

As much as anything else, the maneuvering among possible GOP presidential candidates has been marked by those who've pulled out, plus those who've issued Shermanesque "no means no" statements refusing to run.

So far, that includes Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, Haley Barbour, John Thune, Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, and Paul Ryan.

On the other hand, as Kristol puts it, "insofar as politics abhors even a near-vacuum, others are bound to get in."

Saturday that was Herman Cain. Monday, Tim Pawlenty is scheduled to announce.

Jonathan Tobin, senior online editor of the conservative magazine Commentary, says the Daniels move "gives a tremendous boost to former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. …

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