October 17, 2010


A tentative step toward the Oval Office by a GOP policy guru (David S. Broder, October 17, 2010, Washington Post)

Back in Washington, the luxury of having a thoughtful presidential contender was striking for everyone hearing Daniels. The onetime Reagan White House political director and Bush White House budget chief is not your run-of-the-mill intellectual. His style is to be down-home, but his record of accomplishment is dazzling.

The turnout was a reminder that during the Reagan and Bush years the Republican Party mustered battalions of policy wonks who were at least the equal of their Democratic counterparts. Most of them have retired to think tanks and law firms now, but they are plainly eager to get back into the battle if Daniels summons them to the 2012 campaign.

Daniels takes hit for tax talk (James Hohmann, October 16, 2010, Politico)
Daniels sought to limit the fallout caused by his Thursday speech, delivered at a dinner sponsored by the conservative Hudson Institute in his honor. Spokeswoman Jane Jankowski insists he was not officially endorsing anything when he spoke fondly and approvingly of an obscure 1982 proposal by the late nuclear theorist Herman Kahn. She also reiterated that Daniels believes a VAT would be thinkable only as a total replacement of the current tax code and in conjunction with a flat income tax, not in addition to the current tax burden.

Daniels, who was George W. Bush’s first Office of Management and Budget director, was already skating on thin ice after he recently told Newsweek that “at some stage there could well be a tax increase.” He’s been one in only a handful of prominent elected Republicans refusing to sign the No New Taxes pledge, and he’s had the temerity to support tax hikes on wealthy residents of the Hoosier State.

For Norquist, the nuance included in Daniels’ VAT speech just doesn’t cut the mustard. He compared the governor to Republican House candidate Rich Iott, who was condemned last week for dressing as a Nazi in World War II reenactments.

“Ok and the guy in Ohio wasn’t really being a Nazi either. But he was dressing up like one,” Norquist said.

Alienating the ideologues was key to making W president. The more they shrieked about compassionate conservatism the more palatable he became to the public.

Mr. Daniels can make plenty of hay running against the tax code and forcing others to defend it.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 17, 2010 6:52 AM
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