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May 13, 2011

Another Take on Mitch Daniels

This from Dustin. After saying he thinks Daniels is a great leader, he writes:

And I think a more sane appraisal of him would require someone to stop worrying about his private marital problems from YEARS ago and consider how he dealt with public unions, or dealt with democrats in his state legislature, or how he dealt with regulations and businesses.

Mitch has earned respect of people who care about those issues because he is a freaking awesome leader. Scott Walker and Chris Christie style leadership.

But when it comes to national politics, I think he simply shows too much humility. It's like WWE or Nascar, and he's more of an actual accomplished Governor. We get the government we deserve, and if we aren't even thinking about a man's real accomplishments while calling him a weak pansy because he is nice to his wife, I think that's just freaking pathetic, and we deserve 4 more years of Obama.

It will take some backbone to beat Obama. Not being afraid of a little flack for someone's honest decency in their private live is a good place to start. If Mitch isn't the nominee, that's fine with me. I have an open mind either way, but the fear I see in people about Mitch seems weaker than anything Mitch ever showed.

This is the point I was making, sort of.

What is often taken as "toughness" -- surface bluster -- is not in fact toughness. Toughness often exhibits itself as quietness -- and loud brashness is actually often not toughness, but overcompensation due to fear.

And similarly, sure, we might say that "ditch the bitch" is the tougher response. Actually, it's just the more obvious response. And I think it's more obvious because most of us see ourselves in that situation acting out of hurt and vengeance (both justified, by the way!).

But does not forgiving a wrong take more toughness than taking self-pleasing pleasure in payback?

I'm a fan of payback and I will blame no one for saying "Man, I'd want payback in that situation." You bet you would. So would I. So would anyone.

So, in fact, would Mitch Daniels, I'm thinking.

But what I was trying to suggest in my post (obliquely) is that we often confuse good behavior with bad behavior and bad behavior with good.

And you don't have to be a fan of Sun Tzu to recognize that sometimes strength is quiet, not loud, and sometimes the greatest strength is not self-satisfaction, but self-denial.

One other point Dustin makes: I wrote just about the flashy, sexy, interesting news about Mitch Daniels. Of course I did not go into his record. In this respect I'm just as bad as the media: It is easier to do the quick, gut-reaction sexy stuff than the wonky substance stuff.

I would apologize but, like Mitt Romney, there's one problem with that: I'm not really sorry. It's the nature of the thing; we're all limited. If I apologized for that kind of post it would be false because that would imply I intend to do better in the future, and I specifically do not so intend.

But Mitch Daniels is a substantial guy and he's taken on a lot of problems in a quiet way -- not a loud way -- and he's succeeded in imposing his will in that quiet way.

Is that weakness?

Or is that a guy who just doesn't need to strut?

You don't need to strut if you just keep quietly winning. Boys strut around their victories; men go about quietly reassuring the people they just beat, because, in exhibiting modesty, it makes it easier to beat them again later.

That said, yes, I continue to be befuddled by Mitch Daniels' various political instincts.

Actually "befuddled" is a euphemism. If I were befuddled I might think there was some upside to some of these decisions; I just might not be smart enough to see it.

In fact I'm not befuddled; I'm decidedly critical.

And while I believe what I wrote about Mitch Daniels and how true strength may exhibit itself quietly -- I also know you Give The People What They Want, as the Kinks said, and over-subtle is a one-way-ticket to SnoozersVille, Population: You Lose.

Whatever Mitch Daniels might think of fire and red meat, it's what the customers want, and the customers are always right.

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posted by Ace at 04:22 PM

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