The Corner

APP, CPAC, and Mitch Daniels

The American Principles Project and my position on the Conservative Political Action Conference are being distorted.


Mitch Daniels is a conservative. Yes, he should be allowed to speak at CPAC. But giving him the keynote speech in a dinner honoring Ronald Reagan, in the context of the current flap over GOProud, can only be interpreted by reasonable people as further evidence the ACU is attempting to redefine conservatism so that it has only two legs.

Mitch Daniels is the one conservative who has said we should “declare a truce” on social issues, and has never backed away from that statement. The decision to honor him with the keynote speech at the Reagan dinner is a statement, whether David Keene, the ACU, and CPAC acknowledge it or not, about the place of social issues in the conservative coalition.

Misdescribing APP’s position won’t change that truth. We have many good people running for president. Singling out one of them, the one who has indicated the least energy for social issues, is in this context making a statement about the priorities of conservatism.

This debate is not about Mitch Daniels or even GOProud. All of these are proxies for the most important question: what is the place of “social issues” in modern conservatism? Are life and marriage key and critical parts? Or are they baggage to be jettisoned. Inquiring minds want to know–including what CPAC thinks.

Frank Cannon is president of the American Principles Project.


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