If there is one thing I have learned in my brief few years of being politically cognizant, it is that to truly understand the meaning (and sincerity) of a politician’s words, we must examine his actions. We are long past the time (if such a time ever existed) where we can take a politician’s words alone and draw conclusions about his intent or his heart. Such has been the sad lesson learned by many about President Obama; his campaign words did not match his previous actions. Some people nevertheless chose to believe his words independent of his record rather than trying to understand his words within the context of his record.
Such is the trap that some are falling into regarding Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. With all due respect to Bill S., in his post “No Truce, No Trucers,” I think the author jumped into this trap with both feet. He found insult in words that could have meant something else. We need to ask ourselves if Bill S.’s interpretation of Gov. Daniels’ statements match up with his record. Is Daniels a squishy Republican on life issues? Has he advocated for increased funding or availability of abortion? Has he pressed for more open access to pornography? Has had openly pined for a change in Indiana law so that gay couples can marry? In each of these cases, the answer (to my knowledge–if somebody knows differently, I’d love to hear it) is not only “no,” but that he has worked toward the exact opposite of these statements. In other words, he is a firm ally on life issues. Given that context, is it possible he meant something else besides “hey, social conservatives–SHOVE IT!”?
As Gov. Daniels explained on Laura Ingraham’s radio show on January 31st (I wish I had the transcript–the conversation is available free on iTunes), he was saying (more to the social liberals than anything), “let’s put aside our social differences (aka a truce) and work towards solving our economic Armageddon. Let’s not cannibalize each other verbally (aka a mute button) over our differences, but let’s come together on what we can agree on–getting our financial house in order.” Even if you believe that he actually meant that social conservative issues need to take a back seat for the time being, I think that is a reasonable debate to have, given the enormity and severity of the economic calamities headed our way. You may say that this is just spin, and you may be right. But given his record, I think his explanation holds water.
It is easy to choose to be offended by what politicians say about the values and principles we hold dear; after all, they have certainly betrayed and belittled us enough in the recent and distant past. Such previous injuries lead us to first be on the look-out for more slights (and sleights of hand) and then to actively look for them, even when they are not there. But when the politician in question is so clearly on our side, both in previous words and past actions, perhaps we should focus not on the presumed betrayals from our own side but on the real havoc being wreaked by the radical left and the squishy center–opponents we can all unite against.
P.S. I realize it is risky to “take on” a valued member of the Redstate community in my first diary entry, but I really mean no disrespect. I simply disagree with Bill S. on this issue and hope that I can contribute to the dialogue on this site.