Indy Columnist Analyzes National Mitch-Mania

The Indianapolis Star’s Matthew Tully offers analysis on just why it is national talking heads have become so enamored with Indiana’s governor. This comes on the heels of National Review — a magazine popular in some GOP circles — making Mitch its cover story this week. Tully surmises:

Question: Why does the national media suddenly have a crush on Daniels?

Answer: Two reasons: First, he’s blunt and always has something interesting to say. That got him in trouble in Indiana a few years back but plays well on the national stage. Second, unlike many other Republicans, he won last year. It makes sense that political watchers would turn to someone who, as the National Review wrote, "has been able to achieve success in the face of prevailing political and economic headwinds." (It should be noted that Daniels overcame relatively light headwinds by running against Jill Long Thompson, one of the weakest candidates Indiana had seen in decades.)

Q: Does any of this suggest the governor is running for president?

A: Daniels has insisted he will not be a candidate for president in 2012, and most Indiana political insiders believe him. That is likely to keep his profile lower than that of others who are dreaming about the White House. But Daniels’ noncandidacy adds heft to his advice for the national Republican Party. After all, if he’s not angling for a bigger job, everything he says can be taken as an honest appraisal of the party or policy issues — and not a calculated move intended to build support among GOP primary voters.

Q: So what’s his angle?

A: Well, I’d never presume to know what’s going on inside Daniels’ head. But it’s hard to deny he is a man of big ideas, and a guy who enjoys offering those ideas publicly so that others can debate them. He is clearly disappointed with the state of the Republican Party. It makes sense that he would try to draw attention to some of his ideas for the GOP — such as the very sensible idea of actually having ideas.