GOP Race: Daniels Wouldn’t Have Won; Is Cain Able?
Former Governor of Illinois Mitch Daniels thinks his presidential campaign might have been over from the start had he decided to run for the Republican nomination, because of his willingness to consider tax increases along with spending cuts.
Promoting his new book, Daniels said in an interview that he would have disagreed with every other candidate in the race on an infamous question asked at the first debate. The candidates were asked to raise their hands if they would reject a plan that was 10-to-1 spending cuts and tax increases (91% spending cuts and 9% tax increases).
Despite the general consensus that such a deal would be a massive victory for conservatives, every candidate raised their hand, saying they would reject any and all tax increases. (Just months before, Congressional Republicans had favored a 5-to-1 deal.)
But Daniels now says he wouldn’t have raised his hand, considering any deal that might handle the national debt he sees on the level of a “military threat.”
“I would have said, not ‘I’ll take the deal’, but ‘tell me more,’” he told CBS.
Daniels was strongly drafted as a potential GOP candidate before dropping out of the race in May. Supporters hoped he could attract the party base with his track record of balancing budgets, reforming government, and reducing taxes, and yet appeal to centrists for his moderation and lower profile on social issues. But the very qualities that may have made him a favored candidate could have doomed him from the start.
Daniels saw first-hand how demanding the Republican voters were when he was chastised for merely suggesting a “truce” on social issues to focus on fiscal policy.
Had Daniels remained a candidate, he could be suffering a fate similar to Rick Perry. GOP voters have turned on Perry following the Texas governor’s unpopular defense of in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants.
Voter frustration with moderate or even mainstream candidates could have been a cause for Herman Cain‘s surprise victory in the Florida straw poll this week. Straw polls are notoriously informal and unreliable: Republicans have had five so far this season with a different winner at each, and Cain claimed victory with only about 980 votes. But it still represents a vast change of direction for a candidate who considered dropping out and will now be receiving major publicity and donations.
What do you think? Does a moderate candidate have a chance in the GOP race? Does Herman Cain?