The other day on Fox’s 12 in 2012 series, I heard Jim DeMint make an interesting argument.  When asked how he felt about Mitch Daniels’ suggestion that conservatives “declare a truce on social issues,” DeMint said the following:

You can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.  A large part of the expansive government is to take…make up for a dysfunctional society because our culture’s falling apart…the family’s falling apart.

I’m not sure I agree with DeMint with regard to all social issues.  For example, I fail to see how supporting homosexual civil unions is connected to the expansive growth of government.  On others (e.g., abortion) I think he could make a strong argument.  I’m curious what you think about “the DeMint Doctrine.”

You know we conservatives are “bitterly clinging” to lots of things:  God…guns…literacy;-)

http://www.youtube.com/v/Q-37qUrgFXQ?fs=1&hl=en_US

Hoosier Next President?

Posted: November 7, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

In the wake of Tuesday’s landslide for Republicans, one underreported story was the virtually unprecedented number of statehouse legislatures the GOP took over.  Redistricting is sure to make all of these gains vitally important, but perhaps none can so much affect the 2012 GOP nomination as the conquest of the Indiana state legislature.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has been talked about quite a bit as a potential 2012 contender.  (Nevermind that the Governor has said he has no intention of running for anything again.)  The removal of Democratic legislative opponents clears the way for Daniels to end his already successful governorship (he currently enjoys something like 69% approval) on a crescendo of accomplishment.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Daniels is preparing to push through fiscal conservative measures such as merit pay for teachers, making it easier to target and fire bad teachers, charter and virtual schools, and the elimination of executive-order collective bargaining without legislative approval.

Yet Daniels, should he ultimately choose to run, could be dogged by a number of questions regarding his “fit” with the GOP.  In the first place, the previously cited Star article notes the Governor wants to centralize various state government structures and consolidate some school systems, all in the name (one presumes) of efficiency and budget-consciousness.

Regrettably, Daniels has been rather impolitic recently regarding some issues near and dear to the conservative base.  First was his opining that the GOP ought to declare a “truce” on social issues.  Second–and perhaps even more damning–was his weigh-in on the results of the historic GOP mid-terms.  He told the Hill that the GOP, “didn’t turn up the strongest Senate candidates.”  No matter how tired the public has grown of Obama by 2012, I still find it difficult to believe that any candidate can win a general election by alienating his/her own base.  (Remember John McCain?)  If Daniels can’t unify a divided party, why should anyone expect him to unify a divided country?

Why Daniels felt the need to do this is a bit disturbing.  Initially, I suspected that he was merely trying to curry favor with the Party bosses and elites.  Upon learning more about Mitch, it seems plausible that he was simply exercising his maverick streak and speaking his mind.  In either case, the comments weren’t very savvy for a potential presidential candidate.

Daniels has amply demonstrated his acumen as a chief executive and numbers guy in Indiana.  Even if he chooses not to run in 2012–he recently told Fox News’ Brett Baier that, “[I] never plan to be a candidate for anything again, and have said so over and over”–I would hope any future conservative administration will exert a lot of effort to try and bring Daniels on board in a post like Treasury Secretary.

“What current events…are telling me is that while poorer countries have adopted free markets in order to improve the living conditions of their people, it is the developed world that has forgotten the lessons of wealth creation and free enterprise.”

Full article here.

Amid the flurry of post-election news coverage, Mike Pence announced his resignation as head of the House GOP conference.  This came as no surprise as the congressman had previously signaled his intention.

The real question now is: Will Pence run for governor of Indiana, or President of the United States?  The language of his announcement leaves wiggle room for either eventuality.

“As we consider new opportunities to serve Indiana and our nation in the years ahead, I have come to realize that it may not be possible to complete an entire term as conference chairman. As such, I think it would be more appropriate for me to step aside now, especially since there are other talented men and women in our conference who could do the job just as well or better.”

Ed Feigenbaum, publisher of Indiana Legislative Insight, echoes a familiar refrain on Pence’s chances for the Oval Office:

“If he takes a close and honest look at himself and tries to evaluate his political strengths and weaknesses, the one apparent weakness in his resume is management experience.”

The conventional thinking goes that Pence could successfully run for governor–current governor, Mitch Daniels, will be term limited out and is rumored to be considering a presidential bid himself–serve a term or two and then nicely round out his resume for a future presidential bid.

It’s true enough that House members rarely get elected to the White House.  The last time it happened was 1880, when James A. Garfield was the beneficiary of an exceedingly strange confluence of events. (For an engaging read on this topic, I strongly recommend:  Kenneth D. Ackerman’s Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield)

Conventional wisdom is right most of the time (otherwise, it wouldn’t be conventional wisdom) but that does not mean it is infallible.  Twenty years before Garfield, the nation chose to elect to its highest office a man whose prior experience in elected office amounted to a single term in the House of Representatives.  That man, Abraham Lincoln,  came to be remembered as one of the greatest presidents in U.S. history.

It is sometimes tempting to think that such political oddities as a Congressman (i.e., Garfield, Lincoln) or a barroom brawler (i.e., Jackson) becoming President were political blue moons reserved to 19th century, we’ve just come through an election cycle that saw the sitting governor of FL defeated in the primaries despite being supported by all the conventional political elites.  We have witnessed an absolutely historic wave of GOP elections in across the country.  We have witnessed sustained conservative activism (via the Tea Party movement) hinting that conservatives will, at long last, start matching the persistence and engagement of grass-roots Left wing groups.  In other words, all bets are off.

Ultimately, Pence would be best advised to take his own counsel on the options.  He probably can’t go wrong running for governor; But if he wants the top job, I see no reason he couldn’t win it.  All of the other putative front-runners have baggage of one sort or another to overcome.  As near as I can tell, Pence’s greatest challenge would be lack of name recognition and fundraising.  The first is very easily overcome in today’s 24/7 news cycle.  (Think about it.  How long did it take people to find out who Christine O’Donnell was?)  If fundraising during the midterm election is any indication, the grassroots are ready (and willing) to put money into candidates they believe in.  For my part, Pence, is someone I could see myself skipping a few meals to support.

Whether anyone chooses to openly acknowledge it or not, the 2012 race is now upon us.  With that in mind, I ran across an article at Red State that proposes some rather sweeping changes to the GOP nomination process.  While I don’t agree with quite everything in the article, on the whole I like it.  I’m in basic agreement that we need to slow the thing down and get rid of this ridiculous notion that we’ve only got about two months to vet candidates and then we need to have one selected, “so they can start focusing on beating the Democrats.”  That’s a bull-crap line used by the elites to try to run the dark horse candidates out before they have much of a chance to get their messages out.  Anyway, I don’t want to steal the thunder of an exciting article.  Here’s a taste of what you’ve been missing:

Who is in control of this process? Technically in charge is the national Republican Party, with the state GOP parties, state legislatures, and the national leftist media(yes, that’s what I said under my breath too!), all having a finger in the pie. As a practical matter, nobody is in charge. It’s a zoo, the monkeys are out of the cages, and they’re flinging poo at each other.

Seriously, the system is a complex system driven by multiple entities with often competing interests. All those groups have been allowed to grab whatever influence and control that they could get away with. The result is chaos, and that result would only by delightful accident produce a candidate satisfactory to the bulk of voting Republicans.

For the full article, click here.

In the wave of post-election coverage, I ran across a story you’re not likely to have heard much about.  MSNBC is perhaps beside itself over the fact that Iowa voters removed three state Supreme Court justices last night.  This represented, “the first time [Iowa] high court justices have lost a retention election.”

The people chose to return these judges to private life apparently because of their participation in last year’s unanimous decision striking down a state law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

Not surprisingly, once the hoi polloi registered their dissatisfaction with their betters, a group of former governors, lawyers and judges said the justices’ removal would “threaten Iowa’s independent judiciary.

Now in the interests of full-disclosure, let me say that I am an advocate of civil unions.  Homosexuals deserve the same rights as everyone to dispose of their property, entrust others with automatic power-of-attorney, and the other rights that are traditionally accorded spouses.  Furthermore, they are entitled to these protections without having to take additional legal steps beyond those taken by a married heterosexual couple.

The Left is right to whatever extent it is simply advocating equal protection under the law.  The Left is wrong, however, to think that they are empowered to unilaterally order the changing of the English lexicon.  They are mistaken to believe that the power to ensure equal protection entails the right to demand that other Americans lend their approval to a lifestyle of which they do not approve…that they may force others (specifically the religious community) to either speak in muted tones with regard to issues that they believe are fundamentally wrong…or worse utilize the power of the State to force the people of Iowa to think a certain way.

It’s very revealing how times have changed the Left’s feelings vis a vis the people and the State.  You will all remember, I’m sure, how upset many on the Left were when the Supreme Court decided in 2000 (in Bush v. Gore) that that pesky little Constitutional mechanism of the electoral college actually DID have to be adhered to, and proclaimed Bush the winner of the hotly-contested race.  Back then the SCOTUS was the Devil-with-a-black-dress-on.  There was talk of chucking the electoral college, and going whole hog with direct democracy (well…minus those overseas military votes, which more and more frequently seem to suffer from “mistakes” don’t they?) The judges, after all, were really just servants of the people.

But this morning in Iowa?  Screw the people.  They’re stupid.  They voted for the conservatives.

No, your honors, they aren’t stupid….and that’s why you’re looking at the want ads today.