Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has declined to run for the 2012 Republican nomination for president. In a late-night press release, he said this:
"On matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women’s caucus, and there is no override provision,” Daniels said. “Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more."
So that leaves Newt Gingrich, currently groveling his way back into the good graces of the TeaBirchers, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney with maybe Jon Huntsman finding his way into the field. Oh, and Michele Bachmann. Please, let's not forget Michele. She just may be the most interesting, if frustratingly stupid, candidate they'll have.
This is what I think. I think the Republicans have decided to put up a nominal fight for the Presidency in the hopes that Democrats will think it's a cakewalk for Obama. Why? So they can take more state and local seats as well as the Congress. The real fights in 2012 will be for the Senate and the House.
At least, that's how it looks right now. I qualify all of these statements with the assumption that things can change very fast. But like Digby, I'm having trouble wrapping my head around why they are going all the way to the wall on this insane Paul Ryan plan unless there is some larger strategy at the state level that they're insane enough to believe will work.
She's right about this:
I don't think anyone with any sense thought they'd go with budget slashing and deficit reduction, abstractions in a world filled with real problems. It will likely have a salutary effect on the long term goal of crippling government. (After all, the Democrats seem to be willing to do some serious cutting themselves --- and tax hikes are still considered something akin to child molestation.) But the political damage for the Republicans, in both the long and short term, could be severe.
The result is craziness like Newt Gingrich speaking the truth about the whole thing only to be cut off at the knees and brought into line. It either speaks to Republicans' amazing blind hubris, or there's some sort of evil plan that hasn't fully emerged yet. Or, there's this possibility:
I think we're seeing the decadence and delusion of the end stages of a successful political movement. They pretty much fulfilled the corporate wish list. The only things they haven't accomplished are the looney wingnut agenda items, which until now they've managed to keep at arms length, only giving little bits when necessary to keep the rubes on board. Maybe they just have nothing left to do.
Whatever it is, it seems Mitch Daniels will be on the sidelines for it.