Mitch Daniels – the Coolidgean candidate?

For a blog that normally focuses on Calvin Coolidge, I have sneaked in a number of mentions of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels lately. I was going to be all defensive about it, but on second thought I don’t think there’s a reason to be.

Because for someone who has been following U.S. politics from afar for more years than I care to recount, Mitch Daniels comes closer than any other prominent politician of either party in recent decades to the Coolidge mold, and that includes Ronald Reagan. In the years following the First World War, when the national debt hit record highs, Coolidge focused laser-like on reducing government spending, using the savings to pay back the debt and to reduce taxes. For numerous reasons, not all of which were of his own doing and some of which are eminently excusable, Reagan cut taxes first, but never seriously got around to cutting spending.The concept was “starve the beast“, but the beast was still getting fatter, as William Niskanen has observed and empirically demonstrated.

Coolidge favored the term “constructive economy”, indicating his intention not merely to make every tax dollar sweat, but also to be more innovative. And indeed, many times a crisis or budget crunch has precipitated creative and innovative ways to get by or even get better results while spending less. I see Gov. Daniels as just the right man for an update of this approach today.

Gov. Daniels appears to be inching closer to declaring his candidacy (and here), even while naming valid obstacles – most important among them his wife’s reservations about the grueling race and the impaired quality of life for himself and his family during, and especially after a successful run. Should he decide not to run, we who see him as ideally qualified, will have to respect that decision. As long as he hasn’t made that decision, I’ll keep hoping…and occasionally using this tiny corner of the world wide interwebs to tout him and his program😉

Update: excellent speech given by Gov. Daniels at CPAC…love the phrase “morbidly obese government”!

 

Stay tuned… regular COOLIDGE blogging will resume shortly🙂

4 thoughts on “Mitch Daniels – the Coolidgean candidate?

  1. Yes, he might be a good choice but the most like Coolidge today is Ron Paul. Knowing he won’t be nominated, I’ll consider Daniels once we know more about his views.

    • Thanks Dave. Yes, Ron Paul would be fantastic, but as you say he has a snowball’s chance in hell to get the nomination. Mitch Daniels hasn’t even decided if he’ll run, and he also would have an uphill fight on his hands. As a non-U.S. citizen, I shouldn’t even be weighing in on this, but I’m somewhat disenchanted with all of the major GOP names currently topping the polls. Huckabee? Romney? Gingrich? Palin? Please shoot me now😉

  2. Kai

    Now you are a realist in some ways but still an idealist in other points. I like the combination but I don’t think that your hopes will come to fruition.

    Voters all over the World but more so in America and a number of others want to live the high life and will vote for the guy most likely to promise that to them. Voters want hype, excitement, pleasant oratory in speeches, Oprah and Hollywood Stars, candidates with flashy cars and expensive clothing and not the dreariness of a Daniels.

    He is just too real for the modern voter.

    On the final point in your comment I don’t think that you will be shot for any of the names that you mention, but you may get your face bashed in if you attend the wrong meeting of some ardent supporters. Hehehe

    • Ike, as you may glean from my latest post, I do share some of your pessimism…but am still hopeful that the urgency of the message will somehow reach the minds, hearts and pocketbooks of voters. We’ll see. As for the other contenders, I really can’t help but think that most of these are has-beens or in the case of Palin, just all-out unsuitable candidates. This is of course my subjective view. Maybe the ambition to run for president should automatically disqualify contenders? Who in his or her right mind would even want to be president, if not for power.

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