Mitch Daniels At CPAC
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels made quite an impression last night at CPAC
I’ve written several times here about Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who many have touted as one of the few Republicans able to bridge the gap between the fiscal and social conservative wings of the GOP. Last night, he spoke at the CPAC banquet and apparently impressed many of those in attendance:
For Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels it appeared that there were not enough metaphors in the English language to describe the failures of President Obama and his administration.
In a keynote speech that Daniels, a potential 2012 Republican White House hopeful, delivered to a room full of conservative leaders and activists in Washington on Friday night, he warned of a “financial Niagara,” complained of an “orgy of regulation,” and lamented the arrival of a “new Red menace” in the form of mounting national debt.
During the 30-minute address that closed the second day of the Conservative Political Action Convention, Daniels served up a speech that was heavy on substance and even, at times, critical of what he called the “venomous, petty, often ad hominem political discourse of the day.”
Though he’s been criticized by some on the right for comments he made last summer suggesting that social issues should take a back-seat while the country deals with its fiscal woes, he made no mention of issues like abortion, same-sex marriage or guns. What he did do, however, was envision a Republican Party that appealed to a broader electorate.
“We will need people who never tune in to Rush or Glenn or Laura or Sean,” he said, referring to the popular conservative media personalities. “Who surf past CSPAN to get to SportsCenter.”
His remarks amounted to a call to arms for Republicans at the threshold of a presidential election cycle in which Daniels, himself, could be a key player.
“The nation must be summoned to General Quarters in the cause of economic growth,” Daniels said.
This echoes the theme that Daniels has been on for the better part of a year that the nation needs to put aside divisive social issues for the time being and concentrate on economic problems that he characterized last night as ‘the new red menace.’ There’s been plenty of criticism from social conservatives who see this approach as an abandonment of issues like abortion, but Daniels address last night was fairly well received by those in attendance that I talked to afterwords (since I am, of course, from outside the beltway, I was not part of this event). The general consensus seemed to be that it was the kind of speech that a guy who’s planning to run for President would give.
You can watch the whole video, including George Will’s introduction, over at C-Span.