Hoosiers Mentioned in Early GOP Talks for 2012

Should probably pace myself on the 2012 talk, but what the heck, we need something to get excited about: Chris Cillizza of "The Fix" offers a blog post on the top 10 contenders for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. And wouldn’t you know it, two Hoosiers are right there in the mix:

9. Mike Pence: Pence’s decision to step aside as the fourth ranking Republican in the House makes clear that he has his eye on a bigger prize. His allies cast him as the only candidate in the field who can unite social and fiscal conservatives and, in the early cattle calls, Pence has performed well. Still, as a House member, he has to overcome a perceived stature gap as well as show he can raise the money to be competitive.

7. Mitch Daniels: The Indiana governor is term limited out of office in 2012 and, despite saying he would never run for another job, certainly seems to be weighing a presidential bid. Daniels ran and won as an outsider in Indiana and had built a record over the past six years in office that makes fiscal conservatives smile. Daniels’ problem? He doesn’t have much interest in the cultural wars that are so important to social conservatives. Can someone focused almost exclusively on fiscal issues win a Republican primary for president?

And this is a stretch, but … on the other side, this op-ed was published in The Washington Post Sunday, arguing that Obama would benefit his party, himself, and the country most by not seeking re-election. Doubtful, but it’s an interesting argument. Should he heed this advice, one wonders if it may open the door for a more centrist Democratic candidate in 2012 — perhaps a certain former governor/soon-to-be former senator. Time will tell.

Going Clean in Colorado

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper may have the right idea (as well as a fun name to say) regarding his campaign commercials in his bid to become Colorado’s next governor. While the ad doesn’t really say much about what he’ll do if elected, it is critical of negative campaigning and may resonate well with voters. The spot was recently featured on The Fix.

Iowa’s Odd Couple

Chris Cillizza of The Fix had an interesting post today, in which he pontificated upon a reader’s question regarding what state had the most politically opposite Senatorial tandem. He answered "Iowa." Here’s the rub (and having worked in Iowa politics a couple of years ago, I can tell you there’s probably no state as politically charged — and engaged — as the Hawkeye State):

In last week’s first official Fix chat — every Friday at 11 a.m. — we got a question that intrigued us.

"Which state’s senate delegation is the most politically schizophrenic, i.e., has the two senators who are the most diametrically opposed politically?" asked a Fixista from Jackson, Mississippi.

These are the very sort of political debates we L-O-V-E. So, we spent the weekend thinking about the Mutt and Jeffs in the Senate. (Yes, we are aware how dorky that sounds.) Add your own in the comments section below and we’ll update the post to create a full list!

The most obvious Mutt and Jeff tandem is in Iowa where Tom Harkin (D) and Chuck Grassley (R) are on opposite end of the partisan spectrum. In National Journal’s 2008 vote ratings, Grassley ranked as more conservative than 82.3 percent of the Senate while Harkin scored as more liberal than 76.5 percent of his colleagues.

Interestingly, despite their disparate ideological views, both Harkin and Grassley have proven to be unbeatable in the Hawkeye State. Grassley, first elected in 1980, has won his re-election races with 66 percent, 70 percent, 69 percent and 70 percent; Harkin, who claimed his Senate seat six years after Grassley, has had a tougher time of it but has repeatedly beaten back quality foes and was re-elected in 2008 with 63 percent of the vote. 

Gov. Daniels Gets More National Ink

In a commencement speech at Butler University Saturday, Gov. Mitch Daniels offered his usual straightforward candor regarding issues du jour. The popular political blog of Chris Cillizza, The Fix, reports on the Governor’s take on baby boomers and the future — and speculates on his political future, as well:

Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered a condemnation of the "Baby Boomer" and a call for generational change during a recent commencement address at Butler University, a speech drawing considerable national attention as the Republican Party continues its search for fresh faces and new leaders.

"As a group, we have been self-centered, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, and all too often just plain selfish," Daniels said in the speech. "Our current Baby Boomer president has written two eloquent, erudite books, both about . . . himself."

Daniels went on to offer a sweeping indictment of his own generation’s financial and moral selfishness, concluding: "It’s been a blast; good luck cleaning up after us."

He offered a brighter prospect for the graduating class, however, insisting that great generations (with apologies to the man from South Dakota) often follow mediocre ones and noting that: "True greatness can only be revealed by large challenges, by tough circumstances. And your opportunities for greatness will be large."