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.