He's rejected running for president, but an upcoming book from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels that lays out a comprehensive "reconstruction" plan for the United States is sure to revive the "Draft Mitch" effort, especially if the economy continues to sputter and no GOP candidate catches fire.
His Keeping the Republic, Saving America by Trusting Americans, is a 234-page conservative blueprint to restoring American faith in the nation that columnist George Will, in the forward, calls "The Daniels Doctrine, or conservatism for grown-ups." An advance proof was provided to Whispers. It is due in book stores September 20.
Just looking at the length and thought put into the ideas, it's clear he was working on the book long before he decided not to jump into the 2012 GOP presidential primaries, a decision that disappointed many Republicans who felt he had a good chance to win. It's publication, according to a handful of GOP officials, could revive the effort to draft him or at least making him a leading vice presidential pick. [Check out our editorial cartoons on the GOP.]
In it, Daniels applies the style that made him a hero in the Hoosier State. He doesn't rage against Democrats or the president. He instead approaches the ills of the nation calmly and suggests conservative common sense fixes to everything from the economy to getting Americans more involved in government.
What it's not is a biography that even touches on his presidential decision. "If you're looking for a book full of self-revelation and tales of a tortured childhood, try the next shelf," he writes with the dry wit that keeps him in demand on the chicken dinner circuit. [See a slide show of who's in and out for the GOP in 2012.]
Among his key proposals:
- Work to restore American participation in government.
- Stop calling Social Security and Medicare "entitlements," and instead call them the "safety net," so the nation gets away from looking at the programs as must-have gifts.
- Means test Social Security and raise the eligibility age, while grand fathering older Americans in.
- Cut federal spending, slash the federal workforce, and reduce the pay of those who remain employees of Uncle Sam.
- Consider military spending cuts.
- Eliminate all taxes on savings, including capital-gains tax.
- Reform welfare again with an interesting system of handing the poor cash to use as they see fit, moving to a "culture of independence," and eliminating bureaucracies that run food stamp, health, housing, and other agencies.
- Kill federal regulations that hurt businesses.
- Expand American production of energy, including wind and biofuels.
- Allow more legal immigration to attract "those with brains or money to invest..."
"We have amassed a ruinous amount of debt, current and committed, mathematically beyond the capacity of any economy to pay. This is a survival-level threat to the America we have known," Daniels warns. "I devoutly believe there is a route to renewal, a way to reconstruct both our economy and an ethic of citizenship that will preserve both the prosperity and liberty."