Another one bites the dust

Yet another Republican with no chance of becoming President has withdrawn from the Greedy Old Plutocrats’ Party nomination lottery. Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana, blamed his family for the decision.

He claimed that his wife, who once divorced him and left him with his children, married someone else, then divorced that person and returned to Daniels and remarried him, was uncomfortable with the scrutiny a Presidential run would entail. There must be something more to it than this. Perhaps something to do with an unhealthy obsession for waffle irons that propels her to compulsively sign up for the bridal registries of every store she hears about. Because it really couldn’t be about embarrassing publicity. Cheri Daniels has voluntarily disclosed things about herself much more embarrassing: Like that she listens to Keith Urban. Or that she considers herself a “pig whisperer.” Or that she calls herself an “honorary Hooters girl.” (Yes, that’s not a typo. She did not say Hoosiers. And who knew Hooters gave out honoraries? Or that you could use any form of “honor” and “Hooters” in the same sentence?) And it certainly couldn’t have anything to do with unconventional marital histories. Newt Gingrich has shown that that can be fixed by just going on the 700 Club and explaining that your excessive patriotism was the cause and that God personally forgave you. (Of course, it might be trickier when you are the dumpee rather than the dumper but I’m sure that could be worked out if a moment’s facile thought were applied to it.)

Daniels trying out a Dukakis moment with his much taller Lt. Governor ruining the photo op. (Photo by National Guard on Flickr.)

No, it simply could not be for family reasons. There must be something deeper. After all, why would Mitch Daniels thumb his nose at that bloc of voters (probably the vast majority of the Guild of Philanderers Party) who think it a sign of moral weakness to even consult your spouse or children in matters relating to personal ambition? It’s not like Mitch Daniels has enough macho to spare. And it’s certainly not that Daniels is slow on the uptake when it comes to culture warriors wing of the Guard Our Plunder Party. After all, although he made something of a false start by suggesting that maybe for the moment the Goad Our Prejudices Party should cool it on devisive social issues so that they could placate the Tea Party uprising, it didn’t take the Indiana Republicans very long to enact school vouchers, punitive immigration legislation and defunding of Planned Parenthood to serve as a form of Mitch Daniels mea culpa.

Surely it couldn’t be his trouble negotiating swinging doors. As candidate he could almost always expect someone to open the door for him. But then again in the off chance he was elected, he would have to master that running-up-the-stairs-to-Air-Force-One-pretending-not-to-hear-the-question thing that everyone so much admires about Ronald Reagan. That it probably more difficult than mastering a swinging door. But that is too remote to  be a concern right now.

So what is behind the decision, really? After all, the Goofy Old Pettifoggers Party has announced that the number one moral issue facing us today is the budget deficit. And who better to address that problem than President Bush’s budget director? Mitch held that position from the beginning of that glorious reign until 2003. A great deal of the credit is due to Daniels for the result—taking a budget with $236 billion surplus and in the course of less than two years producing a budget with a deficit of $400 billion. That’s the kind of record that Tea Partiers who scream at Town Halls can really get behind.

With credentials like this it’s no wonder that Daniels knew he was going to disappoint his many supporters. “If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise,” he said in an email send out by Indiana GOP chief Eric Holcomb according to Politico. The statement shows all the shame a Republican would who was forced to claim his family made him do it. It also shows the empathy of a man who knows he’s making the right wing pundits pretend to like Romney and Pawlenty.

So it is no wonder that the Wise Men of the Republican Party are in a tizzy today. Men like Charles Krauthammer. Charles is a Man so Wise and with such an appropriately Dickensian name that if he didn’t exist Republicans would have to go to Canada to get him. And Krauthammer told Bill O’Reilly that Daniels is a “very smart guy” and “very nuts and bolts.” “Nuts” we always knew was a pre-requisite for a serious Republican candidate. “Bolts,” however, now seems superfluous.

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