Further proof that Mitch Daniels is a strident liberal

If you don’t believe that Mitch Daniels is a strident liberal, or that he’s not qualified to be President, here’s definite proof.

Jennifer Rubin reports that:

“Earlier in this campaign cycle, feature stories in the conservative Weekly Standard was the kiss, if not of death, then of serious political injury, for GOP presidential contenders. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour got tangled up on the race issue. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels made the now infamous “social truce” gaffe. But now it’s a liberal publication that is likely to give Daniels’s presidential boosters fits.

The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg explains that Daniels didn’t go to the Tea Partyers or to the National Rifle Association for a testing-the-waters confab. Instead, he went to Manhattan:

On Tuesday, at the Gilded Age Upper East Side mansion that houses the nascent Bloomberg View, Daniels lunched with a baker’s dozen of journo-pundits ranging politics-wise from rightish (Peggy Noonan, Ramesh Ponnuru) and leftish (Michael Kinsley, Josh Marshall) to neitherish (Mark Halperin), and outlet-wise from mass market (George Stephanopoulos) to niche market (me). Afterward, the informal consensus of the leftish contingent was summed up in this exchange:

“If we have to have a Republican…”

“…this one seems like he’d be better than the others.”

That’d be strike one. Don’t expect “favorite of New York liberal elites” to make it into a Daniels ad. (Notice that in the group only National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru could be considered a movement conservative.)

But it gets worse.

Strike two: Liberals are comforted by the notion that he is “if not a one-issue candidate, certainly a one-theme candidate” and is more than happy to take the meat ax to defense spending. Why, sort of a penny-pinching Obama!”

True. Indeed, Daniels has called for “massive cuts” to defense spending, while showing how ignorant he is on the subject: “When I was OMB Director, it was $300 bn per year. Now it’s what, $800 bn per year?”

(The answer is: $513 bn in FY2011, as a part of a total $673 bn ($513 bn +$160 bn) total military budget. The FY2010 defense budget was $550 bn in today’s dollars.)

“And then there is this:

On foreign policy, he said that he’s a “water’s edge” kind of guy. He is sure that the President is in a position to know a lot more about what’s needed in Afghanistan than he is. He said he didn’t think Obama had “made the case” for the Libya intervention, though this doesn’t mean there is no case. Pressed to say something critical about Obama’s foreign policy, he said that he was “uncomfortable” with the President’s “apology tours.” But he didn’t look comfortable saying it.

Jamie Rubin asked him a clever question, right out of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”: if he had just one phone call to make about some foreign policy issue and he could call either Richard Lugar or John McCain, which would it be? After a little hemming and hawing, he said that he is “always comfortable” talking with Lugar. Though of course he respects McCain, too, he hastened to add. Maybe he was just being nice about his state’s senior senator, but I hope he was expressing a preference for diplomacy (Lugar’s M.O.) over warmongering (McCain’s).

This is what liberals have written. This is what they think of Mitch Daniels. They love him. They sincerely hope that Mitch Daniels will be the GOP’s presidential nominee, because 1) he’s an ignorant, incompetent fool who would be extremely easy to beat; and 2) in the very unlikely event he wins, he’ll implement the same policies as Obama, except maybe on a few fiscal issues (e.g. entitlements).

Daniels is a bumbling fool. He would be an easy opponent to defeat, and the Dems know it, which is why they’re backing him.

The GOP has seen such a scenario happen before. In 2007 and 2008, the Democrats kept advising Republicans to nominate John McCain (the weakest of all the 2008 GOP candidates) and telling people how they loved and respected McCain. But once the Arizona Senator won the nomination, they turned on him and made mincemeat of him. For them, he was just a useful idiot, a useful tool they used to get Obama elected. It’s a fair bet that, even despite the political environment of 2008, a more conservative candidate would’ve been able to defeat Obama, who was the least qualified, least experienced, and most leftist candidate ever nominated by the Democratic Party.

Rubin continued:

“That’d be strike three. Relying on the Senate Republican most despised by the conservative base (who’s sure to be primaried) and who has run interference for President Obama on foreign policy issues such as START and a Russian reset will set alarm bells ringing on the right. If personnel is policy, then a Daniels administration would seem to be to the left of George H.W. Bush.

Unfortunately, for Daniels, the portrait of the sort of Republican squish whom the Tea Party has come to regard with contempt may have more staying power than his two D.C. appearances on Wednesday.”

Of course Lugar is the Senate Republican most despised by grassroots conservatives, including Tea Partiers, is sure to be primaried, and has enthusiastically supported Obama’s appeasement towards Russia and the ridiculous New START. Yet, what Rubin failed to mention is that Daniels has not only said that he would consult his foreign policy with that guy, he has also enthusiastically ENDORSED Lugar for another Senate term and admitted that the Indiana Senator is his mentor. So on foreign affairs, Daniels would be Obama on steroids.

Luckily, Daniels can be stopped. Indeed, Tea Party groups have already warned him that his endorsement of Lugar will cost him the nomination. Let’s work to make sure this will be the case.



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