I very strongly recommend Mike Lee’s speech at the Heritage Foundation on the importance of American conservatism taking a reformist and pro-middle-class turn. What is most encouraging is that this speech on upward mobility, the importance of pro-parent tax reform and the centrality of health care policy within the context of limited government and free markets could have been given co-signed by Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell or Chris Christie. Well, maybe Chris Christie would not approve of Lee’s tax plan but that wouldn’t so much be because of ideology as the fact that Lee’s tax plan would hit high-earners in high-tax New Jersey harder than most.
That doesn’t mean that Lee’s strategy would be the first choice of every conservative. Some conservatives might place less priority on expanding health care coverage through tax credits. Other conservatives might place a higher priority on cutting taxes on high-earners. The problem is that every faction of conservatives, even if united, add up to less than a majority. If limited government politics is to have a reasonable chance to succeed, conservatives will have to work together on a strategy they can all live with and that is designed to appeal to persuadable voters who are either middle-class or struggling to enter the middle-class. If each conservative faction tries to insist on the primacy of its own particular vision of limited government, then the left will win and no kind of limited government politics will be enacted. Conservatives should try to avoid acting like a group of men starving on an island who, rather than fishing, choose to spend all their time arguing over who would get the last crumb if they should ever find themselves at a banquet.
Mike Lee has done us all the service of giving us an outline of what a common ground conservative politics looks like.
H/T to regular commenter Douglas Johnson for the idea of looking at things from the perspective of the common ground.