America’s man Mitch?

It seems as though the smoke is still settling from the historic elections of 2008. Barack Obama, after riding a wave of “change” into the White House, has finally gotten settled and is now attempting to push through his legislative agenda.

However, people are already asking the next big question, “Who’s up in 2012?”

The midterm elections are coming up soon and they are usually a good indicator of the country’s general attitude towards the two parties and how people may vote in the general election.

Although it’s two years away, I have already heard names tossed around as possible Republican presidential candidates: Sarah Palin of Alaska, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, just to name a few.

These names should be taken with a grain of salt of course, considering that two years is far off and almost anything can happen in the political calendar-—in 1988, Democratic favorite Gary Hart lost the nomination when news of an affair came out.

Also, these lists of prospects can get kind of ridiculous.  I mean, even Donald Trump has expressed interest in running.  According to Trump, he “is absolutely thinking about” running in 2012.

Perhaps the name most pertinent to Butler students is Indiana’s own Mitch Daniels.

The Pennsylvania native is currently completing his second term as Governor at the Hoosier state.

While neither he, nor anyone else for that matter, has officially announced their candidacy, he certainly has people wondering.

In a recent press conference, when asked about the topic, Daniels said, “I’ve said I’ve made no final decision about running for president and won’t for months, and that is true.”

Since he made that statement, two things are bound to happen.

First, reporters will hound him at every turn about whether or not he has made a decision yet.  Second, people will be following his every move to see if he is laying the “groundwork” for a run-and lately he has been.

Throughout September, Daniels hosted a series of private dinners at the Governor’s mansion—which is within walking distance from campus, on the corner of Meridian and 46th streets. These dinners were attended by high profile Republicans with plenty of interest invested in the party, both strategically and financially.

These individuals include former U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt of Washington, Ohio investor and financial chairman of Bush’s reelection campaign, Mercer Reynolds and former Sen. Spencer Abraham of Michigan.

Daniels’ travel itinerary also fuels the rumors about his possible presidential run.

He recently made an appearance in Connecticut at a fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley before heading to New York City to attend fundraisers for his political action committee, Aiming Higher.

Being an Ohio native, I also could not help noticing that he endorsed both the Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich and Senatorial candidate Rob Portman.

Why would Daniels be traveling to Connecticut and endorsing candidates in Ohio?

He is getting his name out there.

I recall in 2006 John McCain coming through Cincinnati to visit a handful of businesses and meet with the city’s business leaders.  Sure enough in April of 2007, McCain announced his candidacy and eventually became the nominee.

Do I think Mitch Daniels is going to run? Absolutely. Is he my favorite Republican? Not necessarily. Do I think he is a shoo-in for the nomination? No.

In a recent poll conducted by WISH-TV, 45 percent said Daniels should not run in 2012.  The next 37 percent felt as though he should run and the remaining 12 percent had not made up their minds yet.

Daniels certainly has an uphill battle, but so did his predecessors.

Take Obama for example: When he announced he was running, people pretty much just remembered him as “the guy that gave the fiery speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention.”

Before that he, was doing exactly what Daniels is doing now: meeting with party players, making appearances and spreading his message.

I think Daniels’ next few months will be interesting to watch.


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