May 6, 2011


Mitch Daniels, an alternative to scary (Dana Milbank, May 4, 2011, Washington Post)

Mitch Daniels, the conservative intelligentsia’s choice for president in 2012, came to Washington on Wednesday to give a speech on education policy to a conservative think tank. But not 10 minutes into his address, he took an unexpected turn.

“Most of what I’ve talked about so far, and much of what I will, is strongly supported by the Obama administration,” the Republican governor of Indiana told the standing-room-only crowd at the American Enterprise Institute. “I salute the president, Secretary [Arne] Duncan. They are right about these things.”

Off-message alert! One of the right-minded thinkers in the room rose to give Daniels a second chance to criticize Obama. The governor declined. “I really do want to salute and commend — and I’ve done it over and over — the president, Secretary Duncan, for a lot of leadership in this area,” he affirmed. “There is a federal role” in education, he argued. “I believe in national standards.” [...]

But the Indiana governor is following a well-written playbook. A dozen years ago, George W. Bush (for whom Daniels later worked as White House budget director) campaigned for the GOP presidential nomination as a different kind of Republican, a “compassionate conservative” motivated principally by concern for poor black kids and public schools.

Posted by at May 6, 2011 7:02 PM

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