Politics

Mitch Daniels tells CPAC to defeat the ‘new red menace’

Photo of Mary Katharine Ham
Mary Katharine Ham
Contributor

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels took the CPAC stage Friday night with a brainy, intense speech that explained the debt crisis as the “new red menace” and challenged activists to unify and sacrifice to defeat it.

“It is the new Red Menace, this time consisting of ink, ” Daniels said. “If a foreign power advanced an army to the border of our land, everyone in this room would drop everything and look for a way to help. We would set aside all other agendas and disputes as secondary, and go to the ramparts until the threat was repelled. That is what those of us here, and every possible ally we can persuade to join us, are now called to do.”

Daniels, who has a reputation as a policy wonk, didn’t disappoint, addressing the national deficit at the exclusion of almost all else, with length and specificity— something George Will called the “charisma of competence” in his introduction. Daniels likely benefited from his speech slot. The CPAC dinner audience is more focused and patient than the daytime audience, allowing speakers time to unpack a philosophy instead of worrying about packing the room.

The daytime crowds warmed to animated speakers like Herman Cain and Gov. Rick Perry more than the low-key stylings of John Thune and Tim Pawlenty.

But Daniels’ speech wasn’t unrelenting in its seriousness. He zinged Obama over his Nobel Peace Prize and said the EPA should be renamed the “Employment Prevention Agency.” He called the fiscal crisis of our nation our “raison debt,” to chuckling from the audience.

Other parts of the speech offered tough love in the place of easy applause lines. Claiming a longtime animus toward earmarks, Daniels also called them a “trifle” compared to what’s driving insolvency.

“Talking much more about them, or ‘waste, fraud, and abuse,’ trivializes what needs to be done, and misleads our fellow citizens to believe that easy answers are available to us,” he said.

  • diamndgirl

    He was great if you took the time to listen, I changed my mind about Daniels, his speech was brilliant and right on the mark with his dry wit and wisdom.

  • VoxVeritasVee

    No Daniels, other conservatives have told YOU.

    “Conservative columnist Ross Douthat has argued that Daniels “carried water, as director of the Office of Management and Budget, for some of the Bush administration’s more egregious budgets [and] made dubious public arguments in support of his boss’s agenda.”[14] In 2002, Daniels was involved in a controversial attempt to discredit a report by Assistant to the President on Economic Policy Lawrence B. Lindsey estimating the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom at between $100–$200 billion. Daniels called this estimate “very, very high” and stated that the costs would be between $50–$60 billion.[15][16] As of February 2010 the cost of the invasion and occupation of Iraq exceeded $700 billion , and the Congressional Budget Office in August 2007 estimated that appropriations would eventually reach $1 trillion and likely much more, depending on the duration of military operations.[17]”

    woops.

  • kbull

    Certainly can’t fix the nation until the Obozo-care dems are voted out. Obozo-care was the biggest wake-up call Ive seen that defines the dems as they really are. Arrogant socialist ignoramuses. They lied when they said they are for America. They are for forced socialism disreguarding the majority’s wishes. My main wonder is how they can ignore history with all its evidence of how socialism doesn’t work. These dem congressmen should be incarcerated for their arrogance and ignorance of the constitution. They lie to get their socialist agenda pushed forward.

  • borntoraisehogs

    Daniels is one of the very few worthy of serious consideration for the repugnican nomination. Social concervatives just shut up until the candidate is selected and vote for the repugnican. You are not conservative and are decidedly unsocial.

    • nomore

      Grunt, grunt said the hog at the government trough. You should know that pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.