Religious Right And Republican Establishment Square Off Over Mitch Daniels
Politico reports today that the prominent Republican politicians and activists are increasingly displeased with the current field of presidential candidates (I wonder why) and are pressuring Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to jump into the race. “With Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s decision not to run, the party’s elites are holding out a desperate hope to persuade Daniels, who is publicly reluctant, in part because of his wife’s concerns,” Mike Allen writes, adding that the one scenario which “terrifies Washington Republicans” is “the possibility that some very conservative, insurgent candidate will become the Romney alternative.”
But Daniels’s proposed “social issues truce” has made him a persona non grata among social conservatives who will play key roles in deciding the party’s nominee.
Religious Right leaders are now taking shots at Daniels as he gets ready to announce his decision on a 2012 bid, and it appears that his support for a law that defunds Planned Parenthood has done little to tamper down criticism.
Micah Clark of the American Family Association’s Indiana chapter knocked his “weakness on the homosexual demands”:
I think he has a bit of a weakness on the homosexual demands. Two months after he was elected, he signed an executive order, elevating gender identity and cross-dressing to the same [level] as race and skin color, which was really unfortunate.
The AFA’s Bryan Fischer called the Indiana governor “toast” among the Republican faithful:
Daniels. Kept foolishly defending his call for a “truce” on social issues. But conservatives know that “truce” is just a euphemism for “surrender.” They’re looking for someone to carry the banner, not run up the white flag. He showed no eagerness to sign the Indiana ban on funding for Planned Parenthood, and showed no leadership on that issue at all. Not a good sign if you’re looking for someone who thinks pre-born babies have a right to life. Daniels ain’t gonna fight for unborn babies, and social conservatives know it. Plus he said he’d pick pro-abort Condi Rice as his VP candidate. Daniels is toast.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was angered by Daniels’s suggestion of running on a ticket with Condoleezza Rice:
I’ve been asked a lot about the chances of Gov. Mitch “Truce” Daniels in 2012. On the heels of signing a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, Daniels managed to poke pro-lifers in the eye again when he answered a question about a possible running mate with Condoleezza Rice. Although she has stellar credentials on national defense, the former Secretary of State has long held pro-abortion views, which makes her a non-starter with social conservatives. It is ironic, however, that Governor Daniels seeks a truce with liberals while he attacks the sensibilities of pro-family conservatives within his own party.
As Kyle noted yesterday, Religious Right leaders are looking for a candidate to rally behind after Mike Huckabee decided against running. If Daniels runs and doesn’t apologize for his ‘truce’ talk, expect social conservative activists to pull out all the stops to defeat his candidacy.