House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced today that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels will deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address. McConnell explained in the release:
As Indiana’s governor, Mitch Daniels helped improve his state’s economy by fostering an environment to create jobs. An eloquent spokesman for limited government, Gov. Daniels knows that President Obama’s three-year experiment in big government has made our economy worse and our future more uncertain, and he knows that Americans want a government that’s simpler, streamlined and secure. He is a forceful advocate of pro-growth policies like fundamental tax reform, regulatory reform and energy security. And he is the right choice to explain the challenges we face and to outline a hopeful, common-sense vision for moving America forward by growing the economy, not the national debt.
This is all true, and Daniels is a great choice for a response speaker. But for many conservatives, watching Daniels on a national platform will only serve as a painful reminder of what could have been. Daniels had, reportedly, made the decision to run for president, and was close to announcing his entrance into the race, when his family vetoed the move.
If Mitt Romney loses the South Carolina primary to Newt Gingrich, and it looks like the Republican party will be forced to suffer through a long and destructive primary, there will be renewed calls for Daniels to enter the race.