Ken Connor
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

When one hears the names Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee, and Donald Trump, cowardice is the last thing that comes to mind. These are men of great and admirable accomplishments, after all. Daniels and Huckabee each possess excellent leadership skills and solid conservative credentials, and Trump is a titan in his industry. Each is, in his own way, an outspoken and persuasive critic of President Obama, and until recently was considered a possible contender for the 2012 Republican presidential ticket.

Now that they are safely ensconced on the sidelines however, Daniels, Huckabee, and Trump have all expressed their confidence that – had they chosen to run and secured their party's nomination – they could have beaten the President.

Other than being self-serving, such behavior serves no useful purpose. It's easy, after all, to speculate about what might have been when you no longer have any real skin in the game. While the field of remaining GOP presidential hopefuls is busy making its case to the American people, those with nothing on the line are free to make the media rounds as conservative pundits-in-residence, offering their expert insight and analysis of this or that candidate, pontificating about his or her strengths and weaknesses and ultimate likelihood of securing the nomination.

While not commenting on the prospects of the remaining candidates directly, Mitch Daniels made his presumptive feelings about the chances of social conservatives clear when he said that the GOP should "mute" the debate on certain issues in favor of a focus on the economy. Huckabee seems intent on remaining in the spotlight with ambiguous statements about a possible vice-presidential run, allusions to the "toxic political environment" that prevented him from remaining in the race, and gloomy forecasts about the GOP's slim chances in 2012. And Trump? He's apparently so disgusted with the GOP's talent pool he's considering an alternative run on the Independent ticket.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.