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Social conservatives: Don't ignore us

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) and the Conservative Political Action Conference have been targeted by the American Principles Project, specifically Andy Blom, the group’s executive director. Blom is upset over CPAC’s invitation of Daniels to give a keynote speech at the conference honoring Ronald Reagan, because of Daniels’ call for a “truce” on social issues.

Daniels, who describes himself as a “pro-life conservative,” has said it’s a matter of prioritization, which I wrote about yesterday.

Blom chatted briefly in a telephone interview with First Read yesterday afternoon, talking about his misgivings with both CPAC and Daniels.

“We’ve gotten involved because the social conservative movement and social conservative issues are a critical part of the conservative movement,” Blom said.

He added that the invitation of Daniels was a “sign” that the group is “out of line” and “trying to abandon core values. We cannot be a movement without morals and values.”

Blom charged that Daniels shouldn’t be speaking about Reagan, because he’d heard that he didn’t support Reagan for president, that he wanted it to be Richard Lugar (R-IN) instead.

When it was pointed out to him that Daniels worked for Reagan, Blom said he didn’t know that, but that he didn’t feel Daniels was recognizing Reagan’s three-legged stool of conservatism -- fiscal, national security, and social.

(For the record, Daniels eventually became Reagan’s chief political adviser in the White House.)

“The core issue here is there is not a truce on social issues,” Blom said. “The other side does not have a truce. We cannot take this position.”

Responding to Daniels’ point that the economy and long-term debt and deficits should be the top priority, Blom said, “It is certainly true that the economy is a very serious consideration, but that does not allow us to abandon social issues.

“When one side adopts a truce, and the other side doesn’t, that’s called surrender.”

He said he doesn’t yet have a preferred 2012 Republican presidential candidate, but stressed that social issues are key in GOP primaries in Iowa and South Carolina, and that no Republican in the modern era has won the nomination without winning two of those three.

“We have an abundance of candidates who stand not just for very intelligent economic positions,” he said, “but also the complete range of core conservative values. No candidate is going to win the nomination without the social values. … The candidate is going to have to meet the approval of social conservatives.”