May 4, 2011


Daniels in the Lamb’s Den (Hendrik Hertzberg, 5/04/11, The New Yorker)

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.”

Better for the country, that is, in case Obama loses. The tradeoff is that Daniels would be harder to beat.

Daniels is unobtrusively friendly. He doesn’t get defensive or suspicious. He is relaxed, and being around him is relaxing. He doesn’t throw off the crackles of craziness—or weirdness or megalomania or suppressed something (rage, fear, insecurity, resentment)—that, to a greater (Palin, Bachmann, Gingrich, Trump, Paul) or lesser (Huckabee, Romney) degree, you get from all the rest. (Huntsman is probably unweird, too, but I haven’t seen enough of him to judge.)

Daniels will be, if not a one-issue candidate, certainly a one-theme candidate, the theme being fiscal responsibility, the deficit, the debt—all that stuff.

Read more the time we're one week into hist first term, Mr. Hertzberg and company will be saying he's worse than W.

Posted by at May 4, 2011 8:03 PM

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