By Katie Smith
After an introduction by President George Bush saying he was “frankly disappointed he [Daniels] didn’t run for president because he would have been a good one,” Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels opened up to a surprisingly small audience to promote his new book, “Keeping the Republic.”
Suprisingly, there were only about 40 SMU colleagues and students at SMU Meadows Museum for the speech, which took place this afternoon at an event sponsored by the SMU Tower Center for Political Studies.
After three introductions (the last being Bush himself), Daniels finally took the stage to sit with Kathleen Cooper, a senior fellow of the Tower Center and answer her questions on his book. But the most interesting questions (and answers) came during the “student question” part of the hour.
When asked by a student about his opinion on the Occupy Wall Street protests, Daniels seemed like he was trying to remain neutral on the topic but ended up relaying a negative tone towards it calling it a “confused and incoherent movement, if you can even call it a movement.” He then went on to say that he hasn’t seen anything in these protests that will lead to a prescription to fix any issues and that these protestors are “misguided.”
Daniels also spoke of the recent passing of the Apple Inc. icon and made a slight comparison between him and Steve Jobs when he referred to his work ethic. He explained that what made Jobs so successful was that he never used focus groups because people didn’t know what they want until he showed them. Daniels said he attempts to use a similar approach to the people of Indiana.
Not having many positive things to say about his opposing Democratic Party, the nicest thing Daniels could say about Obama is that “he could have been historic.” In regards to the budget deficit, he said “I wish my party and the President’s party would speak the same language.”
Daniels spoke for a good amount of time on the debt crisis happening in the US. He said it was the “central issue and challenge of our time” and should be our central focus that we should unify around. He spoke of his position on social welfare programs, saying that they were designed for a different era. Daniels went on to say, “if we keep going with this we will kill the American promise and will lose our entire leadership.”
Overall, Daniels won over the crowd and myself as well. It would have been interesting to see how he would have actually done in the GOP race for presidency.