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June 15, 2010

Mitch Daniels: I’m As Serious As A Heart Attack About My Social "All Divisive Issues" Truce*


Via Jay Cost, Mark Hemingway of the Washington Examiner gave Daniels a chance to ‘revise and extend his remarks’ about his proposed truce and Daniels doubled down.

And indeed, Daniels called me to say that he's dead serious about the need for the next president to declare a truce. "It wasn't something I just blurted out," he told me. "It's something I've been thinking about for a while." He's emphasized the need to focus like a laser beam on the existential threats facing the country -- the two big issues he's previously identified being the war on terror and the country's precarious fiscal position. "We're going to need a lot more than 50.1 percent of the country to come together to keep from becoming Greece," he said.

He did, however, want to clarify that he's not just singling out controversial social issues. "I'm talking about all divisive issues," he said. Clear and unified priorities are the only way he sees the country rallying around common purposes.

Daniels struck me a serious and thoughtful guy but this idea of his is the antithesis of both of those things.

More to the point, it’s impossible. To govern is to choose. If Daniels has his way, all the social liberalism of the Obama is locked in. Well, that goes well beyond the Mexico City abortion issue, DADT, same sex marriage and the rest. For a lot of liberals, health care is a ‘social issue’ not a fiscal one. Where’s that fit into Daniels narrative?

Daniels wants to sound high minded (and I think he is in his sincerity) but he really just sounds kind of silly.

With whom on the left is Daniels going to sign this supposed truce? How would it be enforced? I think I’ll win a lot of money betting on the left to view a truce not as a pause in fighting but a chance to run up the score while the other side isn’t on the field. They’ll still be funding their favorite programs in schools and universities to ensure that liberalism is the default position of the culture.

That ties into another point I wanted to make.

Politico’s Ben Smith
asked via Twitter

So who would be a parallel to (Sharon) Angle or (Rand) Paul on the left? It's as if ____ were a nominee for Senate...

I offered back that once Al Sharpton is considered acceptable in polite company, there’s no one too extreme for the Democrats. He responded that Sharpton never won a party nomination. True enough so I upped the anti with Paul Wellstone and Bernie Sanders. Not only did these extreme liberals (Sanders self-identifies as a socialist) win Democratic nominations but they won Senate seats. Funny but not so much as an eyebrow was raised in the salons of DC or New York. Yet the mere nomination of Angle and Rand Paul is enough to send shudders of fear and revulsion up and down the Amtrak lines and all the way out to LA.

What’s the difference? The media and much of the cultural elite are liberals. Not only aren’t thy not horrified by the Wellstones and Sanders of the world, they see them as fine, mainstream Americans.

There’s a social and cultural price to pay when we don’t fight back against these kinds of built in assumptions.

Sure there are differences in the way left and right approach economics but those differences are informed by culture and values. It’s easy to say, hey let’s not talk about abortion or same sex marriage but what about immigration? America’s role in the world? Free speech v. speech codes? The proper role of government in our lives? These issues are economic and cultural. You can’t draw some arbitrary line between them.

Where exactly does the ‘truce’ end and surrender begin?

I corrected the headline to reflect the Daniels' quote. He's not talking just about "social issues" but all "divisive" issues. That's simply not a serious position.

digg this
posted by DrewM. at 04:08 PM

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