Republican Party Makes Plans For A Bigger Tent

“Room to Grow” is the new GOP manifesto to win middle-class voters.  We’ll drill down on its content.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks to a group of GOP activist at the Rockingham County Republican Committee's Freedom Founders Dinner, Friday, May 9, 2014 in New Castle, N.H. (AP)

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks to a group of GOP activist at the Rockingham County Republican Committee’s Freedom Founders Dinner, Friday, May 9, 2014 in New Castle, N.H. (AP)

Republicans are fired up about this fall’s mid-term elections and the chance – a real chance – that they’ll come out in control of both the House and the Senate.  The White House, in 2016, is a bigger challenge.  In our great age of inequality, the GOP is widely seen as tied to the famous “one percent.” Mitt Romney’s dissing of the “47 percent” and talk of “makers versus takers” alienated a lot of America’s hard-pressed middle class. Now a “reform conservative” movement within the GOP is looking to win them back.  This hour On Point:  A new Republican playbook for America’s middle class.

— Tom Ashbrook


Yuval Levin, fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Co-author of “Room to Grow: Conservative Reform for Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class.” Contributing editor at the National Review.

Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Co-author of “Room to Grow: Conservative Reform for Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class.”  Contributor to Commentary Magazine. (@Peter_Wehner)

Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of the American Prospect. (@rkuttner)

From Tom’s Reading List

National Review: The Problem with Reform Conservatism — “Close to six years after Barack Obama’s election, the party as an institution is no closer to embracing the ideas of Salam, Douthat, Ponnuru, and Levin than it was when we celebrated the publication of Grand New Party at the Watergate in 2008.”

Washington Post: Reform conservatives tackle the failed liberal welfare state –“Whether it is the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicaid, student loans or any other mismanaged and excessively expensive aspect of the liberal welfare state, the left’s answer to any reform proposal is invariably, ‘No, you’re trying to destroy it!’ To try to reform these programs is, in the left’s eyes, an attempt to hurt the poor, sick, disadvantaged and powerless. The recipients in the current system may not get good care or students may be weighed down with huge debt and no useful degree, but liberals are content so long as more and more taxpayer money is poured into failing programs. ”

Wall Street Journal: A Cautious Step Toward Republican Reform – “By acknowledging and cataloging the challenges facing the middle class, policy analyst Peter Wehner takes a large step toward reality in the ‘Room to Grow’ introductory chapter. Mr. Wehner underscores the average American’s discontent with the present and anxiety about the future. He traces the pessimism to long-established trends in the U.S. economy, including stagnant wages and economic mobility below the levels of many European countries.”

Read “Room To Grow: Conservative Reform For Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class”

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