Gov. Mitch Daniels says that “every penny” from his PAC fundraiser scheduled next week in Washington will be spent back in his state of Indiana. The fundraising event, coupled with a Weekly Standard June cover story on Daniels, has rekindled speculation of a 2012 run by the Indiana governor.
But Daniels, talking to reporters in Washington, said the second worst experience he can think of would be going through the “people shredder of national campaigning.”
He said the worst experience would be going through it, but not being able to make a difference after winning.
Daniels, making wide-ranging comments at a Heritage Foundation event, also said he doesn’t think the BP oil spill will revive the battle fought last year over cap and tax.
“I may be too cavalier about this, but cap and trade is such a flawed and unsupportable idea, that I don’t think that they can revive it,” Daniels said.
Discussing foreign policy, Daniels said the U.S. needs to ask questions about the extent of its commitments.
“I think we have to be open-minded that maybe not all of them will be maintained, at least temporarily,” said Daniels, though he prefaced his remark by saying he believes the peace-through-strength foreign policy has been vindicated. “If we go broke, we won’t be able to pay for them anyway. If we go broke, our influence in the world will evaporate.”
Daniels also said Medicare is going to have to change and that people need to be able to have grown up conversations about it.
“The ‘granny card’ has been played so cynically against Republicans so many times,” Daniels said. “But that is not a grownup attitude.”
He added the “sadness of the situation” is this kind of entitlement change would best be accomplished by a Democrat.
“If President Obama had been what he effected to be—just imagine for a moment—he could have been the person to face down really the reactionaries who on his side who want to protect this whole creaking, reeking edifice at all costs, and make big change,” Daniels said.
Daniels, known for his work on education and fiscal issues in Indiana, said unionized public employees are a new privileged elite in many places throughout America. Daniels cited their higher pay, lavish benefits, and permanent job security.
“We are coming up on a debate in this country about which sector of society serves which,” Daniels said.