Daniels Calls For Truce in Indiana

In another move unlikely to endear him to conservative primary voters should he decide to seek the presidency, the Indianapolis Star reports that:

Gov. Mitch Daniels signaled this afternoon that Republicans should to drop the right-to-work bill that has brought the Indiana House to a standstill for two days and imperiled other measures.

Daniels told reporters this afternoon that he expects House Democrats will return to work if the bill dies. It would be unfortunate if other bills are caught up in the turmoil, he said.

He will not send out state police to corral the Democrats, the Republican governor said.

The Democrat minority has right to express its views, he added.

The governor clung to his view that this is not the year to tackle right to work.

Jim Geraghty is running out of patience with Daniels:

If the Indiana House Democrats get what they want through this tactic, what’s to prevent them from using it again and again every time they think they’ll lose on a big issue?

I had been open-minded about Daniels’ “truce” talk – no matter how much a Republican presidential candidate talks about the importance of social issues, 75 to 90 percent of the president’s time from January 2013 to 2017 will be spent on economic and fiscal crises and managing a dangerous and rapidly changing world. But a concession to Democrats on major reforms like these will spur a lot of talk about Daniels’ toughness, or whether he’s too conciliatory to an opposition that has gone completely off the rails, or more accurately, out of the stateâ€_.

When it came to the social issues “truce” statement, my attitude was that Daniels was stupid to make the comments if he intended to run for president, but in reality he was merely explicitly stating what most other Republican politicians were also doing implicitly — focusing on economic and fiscal issues. By in large, the GOP message of the 2010 midterms was not big on social issues — the Pledge to America, for instance, barely mentioned them. But my bigger fear with Daniels has been that, like Bush 41, he’d be willing to raise taxes as part of a bargain with Democrats. And this latest cave in adds to that perception.

UPDATE: Transcript of Daniels’ remarks here, his office claiming that his comments were misinterpreted.

UPDATE II: Josh Barro defends Daniels’, arguing that private sector unions are in decline in Indiana and thus the “Right to Work” law isn’t as important as other priorities in Indiana. Also, he notes that Daniels’ has the same position he’s held since December, and thus wasn’t caving under pressure.