Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Conservative Wars: Tamny Target Strikes Back

Peter Wehner
Peter Wehner was on George W. Bush’s White House staff, so a part of the administration John Tamny (and other conservatives) despise for its big spending ways. Wehner was also lead author of Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms For a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class, the book Tamny despises (see previous post).

Wehner recently wrote not about Tamny, but rather about Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), whom Wehner respects.  Wehner says that at a recent event Wehner helped organize, Rubio
offered ideas on how to reform our entitlement programs, tax code, higher education, health care, and our social safety net. In doing so, he spoke about single mothers and working class families, wage stagnation, student debt and retirement security, and the effects of globalization and automation. And like Representative Paul Ryan, Rubio understands the need for structural changes in programs, which is quite different, and rather more important than, simply reducing spending.
Wehner is responding to critics on the right when he lauds Rubio as an “advocate for modernization,” as opposed to moderation that moves the GOP toward liberalism, praises Rubio “for a policy agenda designed for the 21st century” that’s adjusted “to the realities of this new era,” and describes Rubio as wanting a “GOP to be both conservative and constructive, opposing the president” but “willing to offer alternatives.”

More pointedly, Weher adds,
unlike some others, whose main ability is to bring hard-core supporters to their feet, [Rubio] seems eager and capable of persuading those who are not on his side yet who may be amenable to his point of view[, reaching] people who aren’t members of the NRA or the Federalist Society, the Tea Party or the American Conservative Union.
Comment:  Republicans know they've lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.  To Tamny and movement conservatives, the losses stem from the GOP's failure to embrace "less government, more freedom," a failure symbolized by the Bush administration's wrong-headed 2008 bank bailout bill.  To Wehner's more pragmatic conservatives, Republicans are doomed if they can't expand beyond the party's "less government" base to attract--through activist government programs--pieces of the Obama coalition that re-elected him in spite of 2012's bad economy.

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