Two Roads Diverged in a Forest…

A while back, we noted exiting Indiana governor Mitch Daniels’ proposal of a culture war “truce,” so the country can grow up just long enough to solve the continuing economic crisis. For this eminently reasonable suggestion, Daniels caught all manner of flak from his own party. The governor stands unbowed (page 8), and good for him. Kind of. Politico‘s take on it, which I never link if I don’t have to and I don’t have to here, oversimplifies the matter. Daniels would still take these issues as they come. Just not to the detriment of true reform issues (page 9):

If [issues like gay marriage] threatened to crowd out or stop business in a way that meant we couldn’t leap forward for our school kids and all these other issues, then I’d have a problem with it.

Contrast this with Representative Steve King (R-IA):

Back when Clinton was running for President, James Carville coined the slogan “It’s the economy, stupid.” I thought, “Well, that’s stupid. It isn’t the economy at all. It is the culture. If you get the culture right, you’ll get the economy right. Everything will fall into place automatically.”

The same interview contains a monstrously ignorant attempt to distinguish between Supreme Court “case law” and “the Constitution,” as authorities somehow entitled to different weight. I will say only this, and no more: I’ve never met a man with King’s politics who’s read, much less understood, Marbury v. Madison. Moving on:

Weighing Daniels against the millennial ramblings of Steve King, what we have here is a developing Republican pragmatism, met with the same stifling dogmatism. Sitting where we are, it’s by no means clear to me which school of thought will triumph within the Republican Party by the end of the 2011 primaries, but triumph one must, for these approaches to governing are wholly incompatible. There remains a chance for the tea parties to do some good here. If they truly believe what they tell us they do, someone in Daniels’ mold will win out. If not, well, that’s a shame, because I like surprises.


  1. I’m 100% convinced that if Daniels runs and gets the nomination then Obama will lose the Center. I just don’t see any way in which Obama demonstrates a more moderate approach to leadership or a stronger record of bipartisan accomplishment.

    With that said, I still believe Daniels is in the top four potential GOP candidates but I’m not convinced we won’t shoot ourselves in the foot in the primaries.

    1. Mike,
      Those who generated the backlash against Daniels that Ames pointed to will, sadly, likely determine who the Republicans put forward as a candidate. Especially if they continue to pay lip service to the Tea Party. Sad to say, I think Mr. Daniels will have little chance at the nomination, but I hope he runs.

  2. Anti-choice and anti-gay marriage is no longer the center.

    1. Are you sure? I haven’t looked at the polling data lately on support for gay marriage but has it jumped above 50%?

      As for choice – it’s all about nuance. If Daniels advocates a partial ban (2nd and 3rd trimesters) I believe he would see majority support nation-wide (although it would make it harder to carry the blue states that clearly prefer abortion as a means of contraception).

  3. Yes, it is (plurality support or unsure). And a partial ban is already effective, inasmuch as it’s ever going to be. States may freely regulate the third trimester; and may reasonably regulate the second trimester. This is consonant with the constitutional framework. A federal bill would have to target some specific procedure or “dangerous” part of second trimester abortions to come even close to being constitutionally sound.

    In summary, if he’s actively looking for something to ban, then he’s not keeping his promise. If he goes broader, he’s inviting litigation that he’ll lose.

    I’m not aware of anyone anywhere, except for a few exceptions for just bad people, that use abortion as contraception. That’s an insulting canard without any support in the record.

  4. Aren’t there national level bans on abortions in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters in other countries? I’m quite sure Congress could establish a national ban here based on the reasons the abortions are being sought.

    Ames – we’ve been down this road – you’re just completely wrong about this. According to Guttmacher:

    “Each year, two percent of women aged 15-44 have an abortion; half have had at least one previous abortion.”

  5. Other countries don’t have our Constitution. And bans based on mens rea? No. No they could not. It would be either ineffectual, or unconstitutional, maybe both, and patronizing either way. Draft me that statute, and let’s see for sure!

    And one percent of women misuse abortion? …So? What’s the percentage of people who misuse guns? I daresay higher. Should we ban them? What about cars?

    I still can’t get over the idea of state-of-mind based abortions. You people really don’t think women should have agency over their affairs, do you?

  6. Ames – you can correct me if you think i am wrong, but if Roe is overturned then isn’t federal abortion law essentially a blank slate?

    1%. Do you know how many women are represented by that number? 619,096. As an abortion advocate I assume you will call that trivial but it hardly jives with your claim that, “I’m not aware of anyone anywhere, except for a few exceptions for just bad people, that use abortion as contraception.”

    Don’t be so simplistic Ames. You know that our argument has nothing to do with a women having ‘agency’ over her own affairs. Our argument is that she does not have ‘agency’ over the life of her unborn child. We don’t believe that, “I don’t want to carry a baby for 9 months” justifies murder.

    1. Don’t be so simplistic Ames. You know that our argument has nothing to do with a women having ‘agency’ over her own affairs. Our argument is that she does not have ‘agency’ over the life of her unborn child. We don’t believe that, “I don’t want to carry a baby for 9 months” justifies murder

      Except that it’s not all women seeking abortion who fall into that category. And lest you forget, absent the mother’s body, the fetus hasn’t got a prayer. And thus, in the name of th eunborn fetus (who’s chances won’t be better just because she carries to term) you are, in fact, restricting the mother’s agency.

      1. Phillip – you are forgetting that for pro-life advocates it would be no different if I said you are restricting a mother’s rights if you don’t allow her to murder her five year-old. We don’t differentiate between a fetus and a child that has been living outside the womb in terms of rights. I realize this doesn’t jive with the current law but we’re talking hypotheticals here.

        The chances of the unborn fetus would be just fine if brought to term – if both sides of the aisle would make a real effort to simplify the adoption process (and also make it more desirable to adopt babies in the US as opposed to going abroad).

        1. If brought to term? What do future chances have to do with the now? It can’t survive until then without enslaving a woman’s body for several months, and it isn’t capable of consciousness so it doesn’t have rights. Kill it like the parasite it is and be done with it.

        2. I suspect it would also have a significant effect if the federal and state governments would support sex education that actually works, rather than those ridiculous “abstinence” programmes.

          1. Sex ed doesn’t really work at all regardless of how it’s taught. if you look at red and blue states (with the assumption that blue states have more robust sex ed programs) there is no appreciable difference in teen pregnancy rates.

  7. […] his promise of a “truce,” Daniels issued a statement on Friday affirming that he would sign a bill de-funding Planned […]

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