Recently, in a profile by The Weekly Standard, the uber-popular Indiana governor stated that in order for the next President to tackle the "existential threats" facing the nation - the pending fiscal disaster and the war on terror - controversial and divisive issue such as abortion and gay marriage need to be put on the back burner. The rationale is that we need to make some very difficult decisions over the coming years and we can't afford to be sidetracked.
I think this is exactly the type of leadership the GOP needs right now. Daniels is about as conservative a guy as you will find in electoral politics, yet he is also a rare breed among leaders on the right today: a pragmatist. The defining battle for the next 10 to 15 years is going to be over the size and scope of the government and our crushing national debt. It will not be gay marriage - a state issue anyway - or abortion or even global warming and climate change. We have reached a point over the last two years where Americans are finally beginning to seriously question the limits of government effectiveness. That is the battle we will be fighting for the foreseeable future.
Gov. Daniels has received a lot of criticism from the right for his comments, but he stands by them. He clarified his position to Washington Examiner columnist Mark Hemmingway, stating: "It wasn't something I just blurted out. It's something I've been thinking about for a while." Daniels went on to add, "We're going to need a lot more than 50.1 percent of the country to come together to keep from becoming Greece."
This is certainly not what many conservatives want to hear, but I think he's being very serious about what needs to be done in the next decade. It's also a shot at the Bush administration tactic of ginning up the base to win. Focusing on the big issues of cutting wasteful spending and limiting government intrusion is a great idea and a winning one at that. I'm glad someone is taking this seriously.