Mitch Daniels: We need a “truce” on social issues to concentrate on our fiscal crisis

posted at 6:20 pm on June 10, 2010 by Allahpundit

Alternate headline: “Mitch Daniels’s dark-horse presidential bid dead on arrival.” Here’s what he told the Weekly Standard per the profile Ed flagged yesterday:

Beyond the debt and the deficit, in Daniels’s telling, all other issues fade to comparative insignificance. He’s an agnostic on the science of global warming but says his views don’t matter. “I don’t know if the CO2 zealots are right,” he said. “But I don’t care, because we can’t afford to do what they want to do. Unless you want to go broke, in which case the world isn’t going to be any greener. Poor nations are never green.”

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. He serves as an elder at the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, in inner-city Indianapolis, which he’s attended for 50 years.

John McCormack pressed him to elaborate on what he meant by a “truce” and Daniels couldn’t offer any specifics. (“Everybody just stands down for a little while, while we try to save the republic.”) Enter evangelical leader Tony Perkins to lower the boom:

“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 — which [former] President Bush did on his first day in office with 65% of the country’s support. Let’s face it. These aren’t fringe issues that stretch moderate America. They’re mainstream ideals that an overwhelming majority of the nation espouses. 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. More than 70% of our nation agrees that killing innocent unborn children with federal dollars is wrong. Yet stopping government-funded murder isn’t a “genuine national emergency?” We cannot “save the republic,” in Gov. Daniels’ words, by killing the next generation. Regardless of what the establishment believes, fiscal and social conservatism have never been mutually exclusive. Without life, there is no pursuit of happiness. Thank goodness the Founding Fathers were not timid in their leadership; they understood that “truce” was nothing more than surrender.”

Other religious conservatives are piling on too: “Something like this will cost him any consideration from one of the key constituencies of the Republican Party,” says the president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. Ramesh Ponnuru is right that Daniels is kidding himself if he thinks he can avoid these landmines as president — the first Supreme Court vacancy will thrust him right into the middle of it — and it’s amazingly tone-deaf for an aspiring nominee to propose a “truce” on abortion given how many pro-lifers equate it with murder. But even so, I’m sympathetic to his willingness to prioritize America’s entitlements crisis over everything else, even at the expense of alienating a core wing of the GOP. The hard lesson that Republicans seem to have to learn and re-learn is that, thanks to Roe, there’s not much a GOP president and Congress can do legislatively about abortion, in which case why not temporarily de-emphasize it as a political issue if it’ll buy crucial centrist votes needed to redress a fiscal emergency? (In fact, isn’t that an unstated assumption of the tea-party movement? “Yes, foreign policy and social issues are important, but economic stability is now Job One.”) Unless Daniels means that he’s willing to compromise on a pro-choice Supreme Court nominee, which would be pure political suicide, I’m not sure which social issue he’s supposed to be willing to go to the wall for even if it means detonating a potential political compromise with Democrats to reform social security and Medicare. If McConnell and Boehner come to President Daniels and say they’ve got the votes for a balanced-budget amendment but in return the Dems want the Defense of Marriage Amendment repealed, Daniels is supposed to tell them to hit the bricks?

Sounds to me like what he’s really saying is that we should accept the status quo, whatever it may be, on social issues until entitlements are back on the path to solvency. As for abortion, I suspect his way of squaring the circle will be to argue that, in fact, because fiscal solvency is priority one and because we need lots of young workers to support our federal Ponzi schemes, the moral argument for opposing abortion is actually a very sensible economic argument too. Exit question one: Is this guy done for, assuming he ever had a chance to begin with? Exit question two: He’s pretty much a textbook example of the sort of candidate who’d benefit from a California-style free-for-all primary, isn’t he?


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Plenty of them used social issues as a “hey! look! over there! homos | pro-aborts (sic) | secular humanists!” …

friendlygrizzly on June 11, 2010 at 6:51 AM

No, they haven’t. The last I remember saying a lot about social issues was Dan Quayle talking about Murphy Brown…about which, by the way, he was completely right.

why don’t you social con’s just elect a muslim cleric to deliver fatwas and get really conservative? I hear they are like fiscally conservative too!
Or you could just keep your religion in your pants.

Zekecorlain on June 11, 2010 at 2:46 PM

If it bothers you so damn much to have to share a party with so many icky religious people, maybe you should just join your brethren in the Democratic party.

ddrintn on June 11, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Let’s do a little thought experiment: What would the legal remedies be for the harms that might be done to a mother by her unborn baby, if they were done by a born person?

Here are some of the harms that might result, off the top of my head, more or less in order from least to most harmful. Please add others if I’ve forgotten any:

- Financial loss (e.g. not being able to spend the time or money to go on vacation)
- Loss of job
- Loss of reputation
- Alienation of affection
- Dismemberment
- Loss of life

Financial loss: If I, through my actions, cost someone money, I (or my insuror, if I have liability insurance) should repay the money. If I don’t do that, that’s a civil tort, and I can be sued. I should not lose my life.

Loss of job: If I, through my actions, cost someone her job, I (or my insuror, if I have liability insurance) should compensate that person financially. I should not lose my life.

Loss of reputation: This is harder to assess. I think it would fall under the head of goodwill as an asset. In any case, if I, through my actions, cause harm to someone’s reputation, that person should sue me in civil court, and the court should determine what compensation I should make. No court in the country would give me the death penalty.

Alienation of affection: A civil tort, not a crime. I should not be killed for causing alienation of affection between any persons or entities.

Dismemberment: Now we’re getting into possible criminal law, but any dismemberment caused by an unborn person would be accidental, since fetuses, being minors, do not have legal liability in case of accidents. If I, as an adult, cause the dismemberment of someone, a court may find me legally liable. However, I would not incur the death penalty.

Loss of life: Now we’re approaching the only case where we can look at the death penalty as a possibility. If I cause someone’s death, I may be guilty of murder. It depends on the circumstances: Did I intend to cause the death (mens rea)? Did I plan to (premeditated murder)? Did I do it in a fit of rage or passion (homicide)? Did I cause it by negligence (manslaughter)? The death penalty only applies if I live in a death-penalty state and commit murder. Most minors who cause the death of some other person do not get the death penalty, even when the decision is made to try them as adults. Fetuses are definitionally minors, and if a fetus were tried for the murder of its mother, mens rea or premeditation could hardly be proved.

Legally, there is nothing an unborn person can do that would make it legal to kill a born person who did the same thing. So why is it legal to kill an unborn person?

Mary in LA on June 11, 2010 at 4:52 PM

For Dark-Star and the rest of you who went to public school, I was referring to the Civil War and expressing hope that it doesn’t have to repeat itself.

joe_doufu on June 11, 2010 at 3:34 PM

–The shrug doesn’t give me a whole lot of comfort.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:11 PM

In a word, no. The Fourth Commandment is pretty clear: “Thou shalt do no murder.” That applies to both born and unborn persons. The few nutjobs who have killed abortion doctors are just that — nutjobs, motivated by a desperate rage and a notion of vigilante justice. They should be tried for murder and sentenced appropriately.

After seeing all the evidence that unborn babies are persons with rights, why do you still call yourself “pro-choice”? If it’s only out of reflexive disgust at being associated with “those embarrassing wingnuts”, then you haven’t thought your position through.

Mary in LA on June 11, 2010 at 4:33 PM

–I’m not going to get into this again. I’ve done it a whole bunch of times before with KinleyArdel and others and my position is still my position. Let’s say that “thou shall not murder (as opposed to kill)” leaves some leeway in whether abortion is murder or not in the Bible. And let’s also say that, given everything I’ve seen, I don’t think an early term fetus has any rights.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:15 PM

–The shrug doesn’t give me a whole lot of comfort.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:11 PM

If you’re worried about me flying into an uncontrollable homicidal rage, then please stop prefacing every sentence with a meaningless hyphen. I can’t take it much longer!

joe_doufu on June 11, 2010 at 5:16 PM

And let’s also say that, given everything I’ve seen, I don’t think an early term fetus has any rights.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Why not?

Mary in LA on June 11, 2010 at 5:17 PM

–The shrug doesn’t give me a whole lot of comfort.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:11 PM
If you’re worried about me flying into an uncontrollable homicidal rage, then please stop prefacing every sentence with a meaningless hyphen. I can’t take it much longer!

joe_doufu on June 11, 2010 at 5:16 PM

The hyphen is just to set off what I’m responding to. People in the past have said there wasn’t enough difference between the two, so I’ve tried to do better.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:28 PM

And let’s also say that, given everything I’ve seen, I don’t think an early term fetus has any rights.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:15 PM
Why not?

Mary in LA on June 11, 2010 at 5:17 PM

–It’s in posts from months’ back. KinleyArdal can fill you in (because I think he remembers) or you can use the search function.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:30 PM

–It’s in posts from months’ back. KinleyArdal can fill you in (because I think he remembers) or you can use the search function.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Going to make me do homework, are you? :-)
All right then, to be continued…

Mary in LA on June 11, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Let me ask you this, though: Do you think that terminating a pregnancy is a positive good?

Mary in LA on June 11, 2010 at 5:38 PM

And let’s also say that, given everything I’ve seen, I don’t think an early term fetus has any rights.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Doesn’t matter. As long as someone can be denied their rights just because others decide to think they don’t have rights, then no one has any rights.

If you (or more to the point, a judge) can arbitrarily void your constitutional protections on the basis that he decides to think you don’t have rights, then the constitution is no protection at all.

This argument was concluded before the civil war.

joe_doufu on June 11, 2010 at 5:48 PM

I’ll talk to you all next week. Have a good weekend, all.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Sure you were. Given than you can’t even get the timing of the Honda plant right, I’ll take the word of the IEDC officials and the reporters who questioned them instead.
Lack of DST was a major problem for businesses. They never knew what time we were on. Dealing with businesses in other time zones (like the one I worked for when I lived in San Diego) resulted in at last 4 lost hours each business day. TV schedules were fouled up (for example, Bill O’Reilly would be on a 8 for part of the year and 7 for the other part; and the local stations had to tape delay everything, meaning no live national news for half the year. Major sporting events were thrown off because the major networks time football and basketball games from New York, so there was considerable grumbling in Indy when Pacer playoff games would start at 6 pm or the Colts start at noon; the networks will not adjust their time to Indiana. And many, many young educated people like daylight after work so they can go out – maybe play a round of golf, dinner outside, walking around Mass Ave or Broad Ripple during safer daylight hours. Maybe even get yardwork done during the week to keep weekends free.
And, finally, lack of DST gave the national perception that Indiana was isolated from the rest of the country, which means backwardness. Educated people who bring money and create jobs won’t move here and those already here try to move away to someplace that doesn’t create such inconveniences for no good reason at all.
Pro Cynic on June 11, 2010 at 11:17 AM
Yup, I was.
First off, Honda was ALREADY HERE. Secondly, do you honestly, really, truly think that Honda said “Oh we won’t build another plant in Indiana until they get on DST because it just screws us up when we have to synchronize our clocks we don’t change in JAPAN.”… oh wait… you do think that. It was the tax credits, plain and simple.
There was NEVER a problem with DST and businesses it was all made up as political propaganda so Mitch Daniels could look oh so super competent. And oh yeah… save energy. Remember? DST was going to save us billions in energy. Notice you haven’t been reiterating that lie.
Many, many young educated people like more sunshine in THE MORNING too. To play an early round of golf or to go jogging in the morning. It’s also safer for children at bus stops.
Again, the only reason DST was passed was because a few fat cat rich guys who wanted to invest in a new airport paid off both Democrats and Republicans and ran a multi-million dollar propaganda kool-aid campaign (that you happily sucked down I see because you’re spewing their same talking points) because they would get kick backs if FedEx moved their HQ here because they had insider info that the ONLY reason FedEx refused was because of DST. So they did, FedEx didn’t and then the fat cats lobbied the Democrats and Republicans to put the airport losses on us tax payers.
This is what Mitch Daniels approved.
Skywise on June 11, 2010 at 2:34 PM

If you can’t even get the timing of the Honda plant right, and you obviously cannot, then there’s no point in talking to you. You don’t know what you’re talking about and you don’t obviously don’t care.

But here are a few hints for you:

1. That Honda plant in Greensburg that you say was here the whole time? They are still doing condemnation proceedings for the roads for it.

2. Even Frank O’Bannon admitted DST saved energy when he had state government adjust its business hours commensurate with DST, with the stated goal to save energy.

3. Clearly you are a morning person, and by fighting DST, like most morning people, you are trying to impose your morningviewpoint on everyone else. Daylight after school is safer for children as well. And I’ve yet to see the Pol Pot killing fields of children that people like you allege resulted from DST. Since we went to school in the dark ever since I can remember in Indiana, that charge is ludicrous on its face.

Pro Cynic on June 11, 2010 at 5:57 PM

For Dark-Star and the rest of you who went to public school, I was referring to the Civil War and expressing hope that it doesn’t have to repeat itself.

joe_doufu on June 11, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Take your educational elitism and shove it. My private school closed soon after 5th grade for lack of funds, and my parents had already pulled me out because of disagreements with the new principal.

No need to act like a snotty wingnut just because I missed the point your post.

Dark-Star on June 15, 2010 at 11:01 AM

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