Last year, Daniels told the Weekly Standard that the next president would have to call a "truce on the so-called social issues" to establish a coalition large enough to master America's debt crisis. He has stood by the comment.
"Unless he does a mea culpa--I was wrong--he has no chance of winning the nomination," said Richard Land, one of the nation's most politically seasoned social conservative leaders. "You can't win the nomination without pro life and pro family votes and they are not going to vote for him when he says you have to go to the back of the bus. Those days are over."
Daniels' words awakened social conservatives' enduring political anxiety. Christian right leaders--from Pat Robertson to the late Jerry Falwell to Land--all expressed to me over the years one unanimous gripe with the Republican professional class: the coalition that courts them to win office often forgets them in office. That critique faded with the younger Bush presidency. "Reagan talked a good game but I think Bush is delivering," Robertson told me in 2006. It's the unique context of the offense that therefore causes offense. "He opened up an old wound; it was not a comment made in a vacuum," Land agreed.
Daniels should not be in this situation. He has attended the same Presbyterian church for a half century. He helped found a private Christian primary school serving inner city Indianapolis. Daniels has consistently opposed abortion. He is no Rudy Giuliani.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Daniels and the Truce
David Paul Kuhn writes at RCP: