Pre-Emptive Surrender Watch: Mitch Daniels vs. John Adams
Should GOP Call “Truce” on Social Issues?
By Cindy Simpson
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels recently remarked to The Weekly Standard during a lengthy interview: [T]he next president, whoever he is, “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues. We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while,” until the economic issues are resolved.
Favored by many as a potential candidate on the Republican ticket in the 2012 presidential race, Daniels implies such a “truce” is necessary, not only to solve our economic woes, but also to earn the votes needed to win elections. Daniels’ shift into neutral will no doubt win the approval of liberals and the formerly mainstream media, who often deride Republicans as the “Party of No,” although such nods are unlikely to translate into actual votes.
Truce in hand, Daniels seeks to redefine the “Party of No” into a party of “Present” -- as if following in the mold of our current President, whose “non-divisive” record of voting “present” as senator was touted as a notable achievement in “getting along.” Obama, in all seriousness, admitted during his own campaign that some questions were above his pay grade, although his putative offer of humility has since transformed (powered by his win and the Democratic majority in both Houses) into a hubris that has further widened the ideological aisle.
Daniels’ bridge-building truce invites the suggestion that discussion of anything non-economic ranks, if not above collective America’s pay grade, at least far below the pressing priorities of the day. In our brave new world of relative truth, poll-driven popularity and “mainstream” political correctness seem to have transformed into the new morality, leaving behind Judeo-Christian principles and traditions. Contemplation of whether that transformation is positive or itself a real underlying reason for our economic decline is simply dismissed out of hand.
The Daniels’ truce appeals to the simplistic assumption that economic issues are distinctly separate, or separable, from social ones. So many examples of policies that blur the line come to mind -- ranging from federal funding of abortions to welfare. After all, even the root of the word socialism is the word social.
In contrast, liberals feel no need to make such an eviscerating distinction between economic and social issues and have no qualms asserting their answer of “yes” -- to abortion, homosexual “marriage,” repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” amnesty, hate crimes legislation and other moral-issues-that-we-all-supposedly-agree-on, such as social security, welfare, or the manufactured “right” to healthcare for all.
The Democratic platform has hardly remained neutral or silent on these “so-called social issues,” yet for some reason many Americans, conservatives included, have bought into the argument that answers of “yes” dissipate the cloud of unacceptable morality surrounding such issues. Only when the response is “no” are indignant cries of “leave your faith at home!” heard.
Truncated conservatives like Daniels naively believe that by calling for a truce the opposition will also comply and steer clear of sticky social issues (even though liberal groups define themselves by these very issues), and then the political battle can be confined to competing economic philosophies -- basically, socialism vs. capitalism.
The great conservative Whittaker Chambers had something to say about this competition in his review of the godless economic philosophy that seems to describe the trimmed ticket of politicians like Daniels:
[I]n a wicked world, a materialism of the Right and a materialism of the Left first surprisingly resemble, then, in action, tend to blend each with each, because, while differing at the top in avowed purpose, and possibly in conflict there, at bottom they are much the same thing. ... The question becomes chiefly: who is to run that world in whose interests, or perhaps, at best, who can run it more efficiently?
“Who” indeed. Both philosophies reject trust in God and the Founders’ recognition that our rights come from Him and not the government, and both ultimately result in a world led by those who shout, if not the smartest, at least the loudest, and who wield the biggest sticks, guided (or misguided) by the fickleness of society, the hunger for power of politicians, and the whims of empathetic judges.
Politicians on both sides seek votes from Americans who they see as petulant children who only desire to hear “yes” and be instantly gratified with an offer of a cookie jar full of goodies. Representatives campaign on endless ways to say “yes” to lure and maintain the most voters and to fill the jars with treats and promises of more to come.
Liberal politicians especially have become adept at coming up with new and bigger recipes, but with no rational or sustainable ideas of how to actually pay for the necessary ingredients. And then, when any issue with a moral undertone arises, the child-like voters, even if they hear the noncommittal “whatever,” interpret instead the echo of “yes” heard in the reverberations of the surrounding materialistic culture.
So, a conservative politician like Mitch Daniels, who desires to be seen as the savior of America’s economy and not as a judgmental or an intolerant person who must sometimes answer a protective and liberating “no” to the difficult moral issues of life (and therefore must be able to thoughtfully and intelligently articulate his reasons for saying so), says nothing.
“Truce.” “Uncle.” “Whatever.” “Present.”
We learn nothing of such a conservative’s faith, character, or the root of his philosophy, as he focuses only on the cookie jar. And yet this conservative expects to win, solely with his materialist assertion that he can best design, maintain, and run America’s cookie jar the most efficiently.
In effect, a Daniels’-style “truce” will leave voters with the choice between a cookie jar labeled with a “yes” and the other with no label, but still a cookie jar. For the great many Americans who affirm that the very fabric of our nation consists of the common morality, ideals, and recognition of our Creator embodied in the Declaration and the Constitution, both cookie jars are poised to crumble into ruin as this defining national glue erodes.
One of our first great politicians and founders of this nation, John Adams, wrote:
[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
America doesn’t need a different type of cookie jar. We need the net of the Constitution.
Those of us who agree with Adams see no “truce” offered by Daniels. We see, instead, the white flag of “surrender.”
Cindy Simpson is a "citizen journalist" inspired by Nancy Pearcey's book Total Truth and a proud member of the New Resistance. Her work also appears at American Thinker.