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Opening Arguments

Could no mean maybe?

Mitch Daniels keeps saying no, but the speculation (and even encouragement) just won't stop. This is from Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School:

Conservative pundits are in love with a candidate for 2012, and it is not Sarah Palin. If you ask many top Republicans their favorite pick for the presidential campaign, they will answer Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Although many news junkies are left scratching their heads over this, the conservative intelligentsia see Daniels as the best possible path to challenging President Obama. As The New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wrote, "He'd be the best president of any of them."

Zelizer lists some of Daniels' positives (fiscal consrvatism, varied experience, executive competence) and some of his negatives (tied to George W. Bush, incumbency in a tea party-drive anti-incumbent atmosphere, little interest in hot-button cultural issues). And there is this:

. . . whether the soft-spoken, wonkish Daniels could survive in a media environment that thrives on charisma and television appeal. In the 24-hour media age, Daniels' lack of television presence could be a major problem. His seriousness could be a vice instead of a virtue.

I wonder about that. By the time the 2012 election comes around, I suspect many Americans will be sick and tired of "charisma and television appeal" and readier than they've been in a long time for a boring but competent executive who appreciates both his own limits and the proper role of government.