Cheri Daniels milking a cow in a milking contest at the Indiana State Fair.
Newt Gingrich announced his bid for the presidency late yesterday, which earned him two very modest column inches in this morning's New York Times, tucked into the "National Briefing" section on page 17. That's the "ho-hum, here some other miscellaneous stuff that's happening" section. The reporter began the story: "after flirting for years with running for the presidency," a lead-in that was likely written with tongue firmly in cheek, given Newt's past personal tribulations.
Meanwhile, back on page one, there was a lengthy article about Cheri Daniels, the wife of Indiana Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, and whether the fact that she was about to give her first public speech ever, the keynote address to the Indiana Republican Party's spring dinner no less, might be signaling that she is giving the green light to an future announcement by her husband to run for the presidency. It seems that Mrs. Daniels eschews the limelight, even to the extent of having never campaigned for her husband in either of his successful races for governor.
To date, there are no serious and electable candidates who have announced for the presidency on the GOP side. Had there been any, they would have surely made their way down to the GOP debate in South Carolina on May 5, to impress the local folks whose primary has picked every GOP presidential candidate since its inception in 1980. Instead the folks in Greenville, and watching on Fox News, had to settle for Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Herman Cain and some guy named Johnson who used to be New Mexico's governor. Cain, the black former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, scored highest with the Fox News focus group in post-debate analysis. One of the respondents said he liked the "the guy who was governor of Minnesota, I can't remember his name."
Desperate for a serious candidate, key national GOP donors are sending delegations into Indiana to try to convince Daniels to run. He is viewed as reliably conservative, but also blessed with a healthy dose of political pragmatism. I noted that pragmatism a couple of months back when pointing out that Daniels had killed off a legislative effort in Indiana to pass "Right To Work" union-busting legislation because it had not been given any public scrutiny in the recent Fall election campaigns. Governor Daniels:
Into this a few of my allies chose to toss Right to Work (RTW). I suggested studying it for a year and developing the issue for next year. No one had campaigned on it; it was a big issue that hit the public cold.That was a very pragmatic and appropriate thing to do. A pragmatist in my mind is, at a minimum, someone who doesn't go around thinking that what they know is all there is to know. We could use more pragmatists in Wisconsin.