The above words are the optimistic exhortation that NYTimes David Brooks provides to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on running for GOP Presidential candidate. This is also a fat chance exhortation much like fellow columnist Tom Friedman’s advice in If Not Now, When in which he urges the US to create a gas tax that would slowly but surely rise by 5 centsgallon per monthn to a full dollar to be devoted to retiring the national debt and making non-oil energy alternatives more attractive [this still leaves US gas prices well below European levels]. No chance for the a Gas Tax and no chance that Mitch Daniels will win the GOP nomination even if he decides to run.
Here are some of David’s words of “encouragement”:
This is the G.O.P. quandary. The man who would be the party’s strongest candidate for the presidency is seriously thinking about not running. The country could use a serious, competent manager, which Governor Daniels has been, and still he’s thinking about not running. The historic moment calls for someone who can restrain debt while still helping government efficiently perform its duties. Daniels has spent his whole career preparing for this kind of moment, and still he’s thinking about not running.
The country also needs a substantive debate about the role of government. That’s exactly what an Obama-Daniels contest would provide. Yet because Daniels is a normal person who doesn’t have an insatiable desire for higher office, he’s thinking about not running.
Daniels’s Conservative Political Action Conference speech had a serious and weighty tone. He spoke for those who believe the country’s runaway debt is the central moral challenge of our time. Yet within government’s proper sphere of action, he said Republicans have to be the “initiators of new ideas.” He spoke of the program he started that provides health insurance for low-income residents, and the education program that will give scholarships to students in failing schools so they can choose another.
“Our first thought,” he said, “is always for those on life’s first rung, and how we might increase their chances of climbing. He also spoke of expanding the party’s reach. In a passage that rankled some in the audience and beyond, he argued that “purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers.” Republicans, he continued, “will need people who never tune in to Rush or Glenn or Laura or Sean.” He spoke as a practical Midwesterner, appealing to hard-core conservatives and the not so hard-core.”
Now the problem with these words and ideas, which David Brooks knows only too well, is that they are anathema to the GOP Stridency Overlords – the very “Rush or Glenn or Laura or Sean” . Belling these GOP cats has already been tried many times in the past 10-15 years. The Republican Party is deeply dependent on Wedge issue voters to carry their wealthy Base over the magic 50% in elections. And the Wedgies are not going to give up their voices. This is what some insist is the deserved plight of the GOP – as long as the GOP cannot control its Screed, Anti-intellectual Stridency it will be doomed to nominating Presidential candidates who cannot win the election because they alienate too many both within the GOP and nationally. Proof of the Pudding? No body other than Rush possibly, can claim leadership of the party since John McCain lost in 2008.