The 2012 Republican presidential candidates and potential candidates are weighing in on the most significant development in the war on Islamic terrorism in years. Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich have commented on the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, offering praise for our magnificent armed forces and intelligence team. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have issued statements as well. Mike Huckabee’s comments included the best line of the day: “Welcome to hell.” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) had extended remarks, and his staff put out the video.
The one noticeable exception? Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R). I was surprised and e-mailed his staff. I received a one-word answer as to whether he had comment on the killing of Osama bin Laden: “No.”
This response does not strike me as one from a guy who envisions himself as commander in chief. Other than mouthing Ronald Reagan’s now very shopworn slogan (“Peace through strength”), Daniels speaks only of national security when he describes the need to cut defense spending.
Does he have views or even an interest in national security? He has never said or written anything to suggest he does. Maybe this is above his paygrade, and he prefers to stick to what he knows — budget cutting. Maybe Daniels will never throw his hat into the ring. But if he does it is fair to ask whether he understands the obligations of and has any views on the job of commander in chief.