A Man or a Mouse?

It seems many Americans perked up when they heard Mitch Daniels's opposition speech after the State of the Union, prompting a heated debate over whether a dark horse could enter the race at this late date. At Pajamas Media, Ron Radosh explains some of the pros and cons of this gambit, but it's the comments section I find most interesting. I had forgotten that Daniels cited his wife's opposition as his reason for giving up the campaign, and that his wife had left him to marry her high school sweetheart, then returned to remarry him ten years later, after he'd earned millions of dollars. To many voters, this apparently marks him as a Beta Man unsuited for the Oval Office.

I don't doubt that that's a common reaction. It's not quite mine. His wife's high school sweetheart was a California plastic surgeon who ditched her after a few years in favor of a younger model. The picture I get is of a woman who made a horrible mistake by choosing a flashy passionate poseur, then came to her senses and realized that the stolid father of her children was the real man. To her great good fortune, he still cared for her and wanted to repair their family. In my eyes, that makes her a reformed liberal, and it makes him a strong man who knows his own heart. There's someone home in there. (Contrast with Ace's piechart of the most common reasons for supporting a candidate:)

Anyway, it's a narrative I prefer over the guy who keeps screwing around on his wife, marrying his mistress, and then doing it again.

What the heck is the matter with the GOP that it can't produce a candidate with a nice, conventional home life who also knows how to translate his personal, economic, and political principles into coherent policy proposals? You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Then I wake up when I read sensible advice like this from commenter "Patrick in Atlantis":
We’re trying to thin the field out, not grow it. If Daniels get in the race now, he’ll have his you know what handed to him. You don’t like any of the contestants? Too bad.


Grim said...

Well, there's also the guy who's had just the one wife, with whom he's had eight children. He's stayed with her through thick and thin, including the tragic death of one of their sons.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."


Good Article.

Texan99 said...

You know, you're right. I'm not sure why I get a big-government vibe from him. His published platform looks good. Maybe I discount him because he doesn't seem able to catch fire with the rank and file, or because I'm allergic to candidates who appear overly concerned with homosexuals.

When I took Cassandra's quiz, http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/candidate-match-game, I matched most closely with Ron Paul, followed by Perry and then Santorum. Gingrich was down a ways, about equal to Bachman. Obama, Huntsman, and Romney brought up the rear and were virtually indistinguishable from each other.

Grim said...

I think the "overly concerned with homosexuals" thing is a media creation, to be honest. It's true that he opposes the usual demands of the gay rights crowd, but it's not true that he spends an ordinate amount of time talking about it. Rather, it is true that the media spends an inordinate amount of time asking him about it, and publishing his answers to their questions in lieu of his actual speeches or arguments.

You saw his victory speech in Iowa, when it was published here. I don't think he said a word about gays.

This is part of a general push to elevate the issue of gay rights to something bigger than it really is. The Pope recently gave a speech in which he challenged the entirety of modern society on commitment to family. The media framed it as "Pope Benedict said Monday that gay marriage was one of several threats...", but in fact, he never said anything like that at all.

I'm sympathetic to Cassandra's concern that we can't frame opposition to social conservatism as merely bad acting by the press; but there are also cases where bad acting frames and aggravates an issue. The attempt to make Santorum (or the Pope) seem to be fixated on gays is a falsehood; but it serves the function that false suggestions of racism served a generation ago. It's meant to make you think he's not a legitimate speaker or political actor, because the suggestion is that he's motivated by some sort of secret illegitimate hate.

RonF said...

What the heck is the matter with the GOP that it can't produce a candidate with a nice, conventional home life who also knows how to translate his personal, economic, and political principles into coherent policy proposals?

They have. But because such a candidate stands the best chance of beating Pres. Obama the news media refuses to give them the publicity they'd need to do so. Whacknuts and freaks sell more newspapers and air time.

Grim said...

Pity about the Moon colony, though.

"The idea that anybody's going out and talking about brand new, very expensive schemes to spend more money at a time when we do not have our fiscal house in order in my opinion is playing crass politics and not being realistic with the people of this country as to the nature and gravity of the problem," Santorum said Thursday.

His point to the audience was quite sober: that for a long, long time, they shouldn't expect to see government do anything big and new. They need to focus on how to survive with less.

Saying that isn't likely to make anyone feel fired up, but it sure is honest.

bthun said...

If only we could extract some of the positive attributes of each candidate to infuse into one. *Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble*

Given my fanatical A.B.O. stance, I'm not saying anything negative about any of our potential nominees. Not that my voice could possibly add to the current national conversation.

Once one is selected from the herd, be they man, mouse or some combination of the two, I will support them with all the gusto I can manage.

Aside: I'm mostly in the green while trending towards black, which may explain my renewed interest in having a JD each evening before I hit the rack.