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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Daniels as Babbitt

Jonathan Martin writes in Politico:

The Indiana governor has been showered with favorable coverage from political thinkers and analysts in recent months, most of which heaped praise on his thoughtful and principled approach to governing while celebrating his serious yet down-to-earth mien.

“Of all the Republicans talking about the deficit these days, Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, has arguably the most credibility,” claimed The New York Times’ David Leonhardt in an Indianapolis-datelined economics column recently.

Daniels is hardly the first presidential prospect to be greeted with bouquets from the cognoscenti as the Last Honest Man in politics. There is a long, bipartisan tradition of White House aspirants who play the truth-teller role and they almost invariably receive better reviews in print than at the polls.

Bruce Babbitt, Paul Tsongas, Ross Perot, John Anderson, Lamar Alexander and John McCain in 2000 all won plaudits from elites for their willingness to speak hard truths about the real problems facing the country rather than just pandering to the partisan rabble.

... as Mike McCurry, the Democratic strategist and former White House press secretary, recalled of his days working for Babbitt’s ‘88 campaign, there are dangers in being the pundits’ favorite candidate.

“We were dealt a fatal blow by a column that said Babbitt is tough, honest and will seriously address fiscal issues — and then had a paragraph saying he’ll never win,” McCurry said with a chuckle. “The activists just saw that paragraph and said, ‘I don’t want to be with a guy who’s going to lose.’”