A reader-activist offers the following thought on the GOP primary in Indiana:
Where the hell are Daniels and Pence!? They want Trump????
Bunch of COWARDS.
They should be leading and instead they are under the bed. People like that will leave us with Trump as the candidate!
I agree. Trump’s big loss in Wisconsin was due in significant part to the vigorous opposition of Scott Walker and other Republican leaders in the state.
Trump is as antithetical to the conservative principles of Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence as he is to those of Walker. Moreover, Pence reportedly loathes Trump, according to longtime friends who have spoken with the governor about the GOP front-runner
Conservative principles matter to Walker. Do they matter to Daniels and Pence?
So far, it looks like they don’t.
STEVE adds: I agree about the gutlessness of Pence and Daniels here. Daniels may be thinking that as a university president he should be removed from politics. Plausible, but weak. I’ve always thought better of him. Pence’s case is much worse. I suspect a combination of cowardice and ambition. He’s afraid for his own re-election this fall, but also may be calculating that if Trump is the nominee and loses badly, he’ll be in a decent position to run for president himself in four years. He should be pressed hard over the next few days. If he ducks, people should say right now that he’s disqualifying himself for the future.
UPDATE: A reader says that Daniels promised not to get involved with politics when he became president of Purdue University. This is true. Daniels said at the time:
No campaigning, no commenting about anybody’s campaigning — in the state or out state or anywhere else — no fundraising, nothing. I won’t be a delegate to the national convention.
Daniels has not involved himself in the Indiana GOP Senate primary except to say that “I’m a friend of all of them; I’m an admirer of all of them.”
Technically, this amounts to commenting. Technically, Daniels could, consistent with his approach to the Senate race, state that he admires John Kasich and/or Ted Cruz, and not comment about Donald Trump. However, doing so would be inconsistent what he said when he became Purdue’s president and, arguably, with the spirit of his approach to the Senate primary.
Therefore, there is a plausible reason other than gutlessness for Daniels’ silence regarding the presidential primary.
Mike Pence has no such excuse.