Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Mitch Daniels at CPAC

If you haven’t read the CPAC speech by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, you should. It has won praise from various quarters (including here and here).

As a statement on the major domestic threats we face — our fiscal crisis more narrowly and the efforts to undermine self-government more broadly — the speech is superb. So is its tone. Civility and outreach are signs of strength rather than weakness. And the peroration reminds us that, in the words from the diary of John Adams, “Great things are wanted to be done.”

Some on the right have criticized the speech, arguing (a) it struck only one note and (b) “it makes no sense to sound disrespectful to political warriors like Rush Limbaugh who kept conservatism inspired during the last two years in the Obama/Reid/Pelosi wilderness.”

The speech itself was focused on the economy. But, of course, some speeches are devoted to a single topic, while others cover the landscape. Daniels used this speech to address our fiscal imbalance in depth rather than with banal talking points. That is, I think, a strength rather than a weakness.

As for the second charge, here is what Daniels said: “We must be the vanguard of recovery, but we cannot do it alone. We have learned in Indiana, big change requires big majorities. We will need people who never tune in to Rush or Glenn or Laura or Sean. Who surf past C-SPAN to get to SportsCenter. Who, if they’d ever heard of CPAC, would assume it was a cruise ship accessory.”

This hardly qualifies as disrespectful toward conservative talk radio, C-SPAN, or CPAC. Daniels’s point is that Republicans need to appeal to their base and reach beyond it, which has been the formula for political victory pretty much since the beginning of time.

I have no idea whether Daniels will run; and if he does, whether he would be the best nominee. But his CPAC speech, as a matter of substance and tone, was masterful.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.