Mitch Daniels: Social Issues Aren’t Crucial

Back in June, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels made waves in the conservative movement with his call for a truce on social issues, a call that was immediately denounced by many of his fellow social conservatives. With a new legislative session set to begin in January in Indianapolis, Daniels has spoken again on the topic and his words are likely to anger social conservatives again:

As long as it doesn’t get in the way of the really crucial (objectives) — keeping Indiana in the black, improving our economy and bringing big reform to things like education. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of that, there’s plenty of time and capacity [for crafting socially-conservative legislation],” Daniels said.

Daniels also said the moratorium plea was never really aimed at the state Legislature, but Congress.

“I was answering questions about the nation’s situation, which I think is very grave in terms of our economic and financial future.

I said the priorities ought to be there,” Daniels said.

While the local reporter that Daniels spoke to characterized this as Daniels backing away from his moratorium, I agree with Christian Heinze that Daniels is actually doubling down with these words:

So did he back down on the truce? Not really.

Even though it betrays personal preference, it doesn’t alter professional priority, which remains centered on education reform and his fiscal agenda.

Especially on the national level. Daniels not only supports a truce, but he’s now told his fellow social conservatives that their issues aren’t crucial to him. I think there just might a national constituency for that message.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. largebill says:

    Mitch Daniels isn’t crucial.

    Seriously, he doesn’t get to choose which issues he may face during his administration if elected. George W. Bush campaigned on local stuff and not getting into nation building. 9 months later we’re attacked and foreign affairs took center stage. Daniels may not want to deal with social issues like the evil of abortion, but if an opening occurs on the Supreme Court people will raise that issue whether he likes it or not. Presidents prior to Lincoln did not want to confront the evil of their time. However, the stench of evil eventually become too much to bear. Greater use of ultra sound machines are opening peoples eyes to the evil of our time. At some point enough decent people will no longer be able to stand the stench of that evil. If Daniels does not think confronting evil is part of the job of president then I don’t see him as best suited for the job.

  2. Dan says:

    Mike Pence has been seizing on these repeated comments by Daniels. If both Pence and Daniels run in 2012, Pence is counting on the social conservative vote. Definitely some Highlander action here, there can be only one Hoosier that contends for the nomination.

    Other speculation locally has Pence considering a run for governor and then running for the presidency in 2016.

  3. Wordygirl says:

    “I think there just might a national constituency for that message”

    Then again, maybe not.

    He’s done his best to kick the cultural issues to the curb, but most conservatives know that these issues are absolutely foundational and are disregarded at our peril.

  4. Tano says:

    “I think there just might a national constituency for that message.”

    There well may be. Unfortunately for Mitch, it probably represents a group that has little if any overlap with the constituency for the rest of his messages.