Mitch Daniels and That Social Issues ‘Truce’

Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin is surprisingly alone as a conservative beating up on Gov. Mitch Daniels this week for his reiterated call for a “truce” on social issues while the country confronts the “new Red Menace” of deficits and debt. The Post’s “Fix” reports the latest:

In a new interview for the online television program “Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson”, Daniels expands on the idea he first laid out in a profile for the Weekly Standard that economic issues – and the debt in particular – should take precedence over social issues.

“If you don’t believe that the American public is mortally threatened – as I do – by this one overriding problem we have built for ourselves, then of course I’m wrong,” Daniels told Robinson in an excerpt of the interview, which is set to air on Monday. “All I was saying was, we’re going to need to unify all kinds of people, and we’re going – freedom is going – to need every friend it can get.”

The NBC-Wall Street Journal poll finds that Republican voters like the idea of focusing on fiscal issues.

Meanwhile, look at the letters in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal in response to the article “Americans Don’t Want a ‘Truce’ on Social Issues” by Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. Every one of them defends Daniels, in language like this:

“Man cannot live on bread alone, but man cannot live if the monetary and fiscal structure of the nation collapses on top of him.”

“Mr. Land’s statement that, ‘Most social conservatives are also fiscal conservatives’ did not seem to be in effect during the George W. Bush administration and the Republican Congress. Those social conservatives significantly increased the size of our government and our debt.”

“What Mr. Land fails to understand is that most fiscal conservatives in the 50 states are social moderates.”

“I congratulate Gov. Daniels for having the courage to acknowledge that there is only so much government can do—a welcome confession to Christians who believe that absolute certainty in one’s own correctness is less an expression of profound faith than human hubris.”

On Friday’s Cato Daily Podcast, John Samples discusses Mitch Daniels and the changing politics of social issues.