ndiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) is the Republicans' best hope to beat President Obama in 2012, says David Brooks in The New York Times. The Indiana governor (and former budget director for George W. Bush) has shown himself to be just the kind of "serious, competent manager" this country needs. Daniels understands that America's enormous debt is the "central moral challenge of our time." He realizes that the GOP must appeal to more moderate voters, even if that means rankling hardcore conservatives in the process. The only problem, Brooks says, is that because Daniels is "a normal person" who lacks "an insatiable desire for higher office, he's thinking about not running." Here, an excerpt:
The historic moment calls for someone who can restrain debt while still helping government efficiently perform its duties. Daniels has spent his whole career preparing for this kind of moment, and still he's thinking about not running. ...
He couldn't match Obama in grace and elegance, but he could on substance. They could have a great and clarifying debate: What exactly are the paramount problems facing the country? What is government's role in solving them?
I hope Daniels gives us a chance to be part of that.
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