Mark Byron noted a social conservative objection to Mitch Daniels on his blog the other day, and Byron separates out the three constituencies in the Republican party this way:
modern conservative economic thought is essentially modified libertarian thought with some of the more chaotic and anti-traditional parts tamped down. If I can borrow Postrel’s framework of dynamist versus statist, modern conservatives err on the dynamist side, except where it runs afoul of drugs, sexual or sanctity-of-life issues.With those exceptions, libertarians and standard conservatives are fairly similar in their policy prescriptions. Thus, they’ve been able to make common cause politically in many cases.
What differentiates things is the roots from where their values flow. Libertarians tend to be more secular in their outlook while conservatives tend to have a stronger religious component in their framework.
The article is mainly about how Mitch Daniels (and to a lesser degree, Newt Gingrich) needs to reach across one divide or another to win the 2012 nomination; Daniels is either presenting himself as a libertarian while being more or less an establishment conservative or coming out of the libertarian closet. He’s already picked out a position with the third group by calling for a truce on social issues.