Things are not looking good for those of us who are pining for the nomination of a Daniels/Christie/Ryan sort of Republican who will throw down the gauntlet over the issue of the national debt, and who is willing to speak truth to power, the power being aging Baby Boomers who are expecting the federal government to keep its entitlement promises in full. Buried in today’s PPP poll was this ominous statistic regarding Republican sentiments towards Mitch Daniels:
We also tested Mitch Daniels on this poll and he trails 48-34 but what might be most interesting is his favorability numbers with Republicans. Only 23% express a favorable opinion of him to 25% with an unfavorable one.
I am actually buoyed by those general election numbers. Most folks haven’t yet heard of Daniels, and the fact that he keeps the president under 50% means that Americans are at least willing to hear out the Indiana governor, something that can’t be said of Palin or Gingrich according to the same poll. But the fact that Daniels is underwater with the half of Republicans who have formed an opinion on the governor is very bad news. Daniels, despite being the most conservative presidential nominee the GOP would have sported since Ronald Reagan, if not Barry Goldwater, is in danger of becoming a polarizing force within the Republican Party, largely due to a rhetorical style and cues that GOP voters are used to associating with more moderate politicians.
Meanwhile, in the Garden State, Gov. Chris Christie gives his most Shermanesque statement yet on the race for 2012. Quoth Christie: “No, my God, I’m not running for president!” I wouldn’t want to be the reporter charged with asking him that question during his next public appearance.
Exit question: Is Paul Ryan the only hope of Republicans who care about the debt? Or will we end up with a choice between Romney and Pawlenty in order to avoid the “Cain Mutiny” that would result in the nomination of an unelectable businessman from Georgia whose sole claim to fame is that he “takes the fight to Obama,” or whatever phrase the talk radio types are using these days.