Let’s stipulate that no matter how softly you put these issues, the strong feelings on either side can make for an acrimonious debate. Let’s concede too that, with the Middle East in turmoil and President Obama spending—er, “investing”—away our future, it’s simply common sense that Republican messaging concentrates on taxes, spending, and keeping America safe from attack. Unfortunately, Mr. Daniels’ “truce” is probably the worst way to get there.
Here’s why. To begin with, the aggression on social issues today emanates mostly from the left, whose preferred vehicle is a willing judge inflicting his private social preferences on the law. Anyone who believes that a Republican call for a truce will end this is living in dreamland.
To the contrary, the agitation will continue. Ultimately it will force a president’s hand on a host of issues—not least his judicial nominees. A far better way to unite Republicans and independents and tea partiers would be to talk about returning these hot-button issues to where they belong: with the states and localities, acting through the people’s elected governors and legislators.
Instead, Mr. Daniels’s truce conveys only that he is afraid to talk about these issues. That fear virtually guarantees that rather than moving on, Mr. Daniels will be constantly forced to explain himself by two groups of people. First will be those who suspect truce really means unilateral surrender. Second will be a press corps that will have great sport fomenting the split in the Republican Party that it is forever predicting.