A reader writes:
There is a contrast between Republicans at the state level - who actually have to govern under balanced budget requirements - and Republicans at the federal level, who don't. Because of this fact, I still believe there is hope for the Republican party. Here is how Mitch Daniels must attack Grover Norquist and others of his ilk if he is to survive a primary season:
1. Call out Grover Norquist as a phony, sunshine conservative. Being a true conservative means advocating spending cuts. Grover Norquist does not challenge Republicans to take any pledges for making spending cuts to match his desired tax rates. Label him as an irresponsible phony.
2. Taxes are not beyond the pale if they are part of a negotiation with Democrats that lead to permanent cuts in entitlement spending. Spending cuts are precondition to tax increases.
If Mitch Daniels can put together a stump speech like that and take the stance of an aggressor, then he has a chance.
I grew up in Indianapolis and was close with Mitch's daughter. We lost touch a few years ago when I moved away, but I knew him well in my high school and college years (late '90s through 2004).
As I was coming in to my left-of-center worldview, he was always willing and excited to engage in political and philosophical conversations. My liberalism was probably based in a certain amount of naivete in those days, but Mitch was eager to hear to what I had to say. He never condescended. He listened, considered, and challenged on an intellectual level. I knew then that he was smarter than me, but he never made me feel so. In fact, I always sensed that he wanted to learn from me, too. He was a person unattached to his own ego and self-interests and he possessed an utter disdain for demagoguery. Rather, his passion was for trying to understand the best way to do "what's right." He often spoke of things that "make sense for all of us."
I fear that the Rush/Palin/Kristol/Grover machine can't be beaten, but count me as a liberal hoping that Mitch runs for president. Despite our history, I'm not certain I'd vote for him over Obama. Regardless of who won, though, I suspect a campaign between those two would bring about real progress. Imagine, an election that moves us forward.
I hope you'll keep beating the drum.
We will. Because the Dish wants a sane conservatism to emerge from the ashes.