I despaired again on State of the Union night that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels isn’t running for the Republican presidential nomination.

His response to President Barack Obama was the opposite of what we’re seeing in the Roman circuses of GOP debates — it was dignified, unbombastic and focused on the crucial issues that face the country and separate Republicans from Democrats.

Daniels also is more experienced, across the board, than anyone running. He has as strong a background in national government as former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) or former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (and vastly more than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney), having been a Senate aide and a White House budget director.

As a former top executive of Eli Lilly, he has what Gingrich and Santorum lack — experience actually running something — and he’s been a successful governor for two terms, not in-and-out like Romney.

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