This is what I really wanted to talk about when I wrote this post.
At first, I thought about being snarky. I could have taken this quote from Neil Pickett, a Daniels booster who said,
“If Republicans want a social conservative agenda to dominate their choice for president, then Mitch Daniels is not their candidate.”
and replied, “Hey, social conservatives don’t want to dominate the agenda; just throw us the meaningless platform platitudes you usually do.”
But I won’t. Cuz this is serious stuff.
As I’ve noted, unlike some of my fellow conservatives, I’m not one to throw someone under the bus because I disagree with them on a few things. I’d rather see something accomplished than nothing.
But there was no surprise when Mitch Daniels spoke of a truce on social issues and folks started taking sides.
It all started with a profile on Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana, in The Weekly Standard. Tucked way toward the end of that feature was this:
And then, he says, the next president, whoever he is, “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues. We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while,” until the economic issues are resolved. Daniels is pro-life himself, and he gets high marks from conservative religious groups in his state.
And the phrase “truce on the so-called social issue” caused a small stir and showed how fragile the coalition is between social and fiscal conservatives. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council wrote (via Reid Wilson at Hotline OnCall),
“Not only is he noncommittal about his role as a pro-life leader, but the Governor wouldn’t even agree to a modest step like banning taxpayer-funded promotion of abortion overseas. I support the Governor 100% on the call for fiscal responsibility, but nothing is more fiscally responsible than ending the taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion promotion.”
Mike Huckabee posted a couple of time about it. First in a post called The Heartbreaking Truce,
Let me be clear though, the issue of life and traditional marriage are not bargaining chips nor are they political issues. They are moral issues. I didn’t get involved in politics just to lower taxes and cut spending though I believe in both and have done it as a Governor. But I want to stay true to the basic premises of our civilization.
Then a couple of days later, he made this excellent point,
Poverty and crime are the direct results of broken families and broken values of responsibility, work, marriage, and respect of others. Prisons are overflowing and government “relief” programs get traction often because of the breakdown of our social structure. If we don’t respect the value of each individual life whether in the womb or the classroom or the living room, we devalue property and intangible qualities of life. It gets expensive. [Emphasis his]
Mr. Huckabee would probably be bolstered by this recent research found on Heritage.org,
A wedding ring, it turns out, is the ultimate anti-poverty weapon. That conclusion from The Heritage Foundation is both encouragement and warning this Father’s Day.
Research shows that a child raised in a home where Dad is married to Mom is much less likely to live in poverty, get arrested as a juvenile. be suspended or expelled from school, be treated for emotional or behavioral problems or drop out before completing high school.
But I think, social conservatives are too harsh on Mr. Daniels. As Dan Riehl pointed out at Riehl World View, truce is different than surrender. He thinks Daniels is saying to focus on one area not to neglect the other.
At The American Spectator blog, Joseph Lawler asked, “What exactly did Bush do on the social issues that President Daniels would have to forgo?”
I think the answer is evident. Erick Erickson at Red State had a different criticism for Daniels,
“Daniels, without prompting, chose to pick an unneeded fight with social conservatives. That is not leadership.”
But if you read The Weekly Standard article, Daniels is kinda like that.
And read it all, because I kinda like the guy. Wish more politicians were like him.