INDIANAPOLIS — The team of policy advisers assembled by Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence reflects his efforts to assuage social and religious conservatives who have built him into a national brand while catering to business-minded conservatives who have ruled under outgoing Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.
The group includes Ryan Streeter, a former domestic policy adviser to President George W. Bush who helped define "compassionate conservatism," a pair of former senior aides to Daniels and the former counsel to Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration.
I don't mind that he has to walk that delicate line between social conservatism and fiscal conservatism. That's what the coalition is, and he has to appeal to both groups to win. And it can be done, I think, without having to get too pretzelly in doing it. He just needs to start off staying on message on economics, then bring it the social issues by pushing the them that healthy familes and a healthy economy go together, in fact reinforce each other.
But let's not try to give a fancy name to something that isn't even real -- like that "compassionate conservative" nonsense. The implicationis that your normal, run-of-the-mill conservatism is not compassionate. But of course it is -- conservative policies lead to more people with productive, self-sufficient lives. It is progressive policy to keep people in a state of perpetual dependence that is not compassionate. Hey, I know, let's start a movment call intelligent liberalism.
It is especially pleasing to note mention in connection with Pence's team of the Federalist Society, a group strongly devoted to the decentralization of power as originally envisioned for federalism. It becomes clearer every day that the federal government is beyond out of control and that a return to sanity will require more and better of the states.