Pete Spiliakos is a columnist for First Things.

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Conservative Con Artistry

From Web Exclusives

A breach has opened between the Republican party’s business interests and the party’s activists. It has always existed, of course, but not so widely as now. While the issue of immigration might be the most significant policy consideration that divides them, there is also a very important institutional divide. The Republican business establishment, from K Street down to the local Chamber of Commerce, has functioning institutions, while the party’s populists do not. This is why conservati Continue Reading »

Why I’ll Miss Mitt Romney

From Web Exclusives

Mitt Romney was an unprincipled politician. He was an opportunist and a pragmatist. Still, it’s a pity that Romney won’t be running for president in 2016. A Mitt Romney­­–Jeb Bush fight might have split the Republican “establishment” and allowed an anti-establishment candidate to win. But Romney could have done more than split one faction of the Republican party. He could have nudged the platform of the Republican party’s establishment faction closer to the beliefs of grassroots conservative voters—and closer to the views of the general public. Continue Reading »

Remembering Conservative Reformers

From Web Exclusives

Liberals are enjoying a moment of confidence. Across the board, there is a sense that the salient political issues are evolving and that demographic shifts are weakening the center-right political coalition. It’s true that the challenges have changed, but more than ever it’s the right, not the left, which has the resources to address the problems of today. Continue Reading »

Avoiding the Identity Politics Trap

From Web Exclusives

A Mike Huckabee presidential campaign could be the Republican establishment’s nightmare. His candidacy would combine upfront social conservatism with an economic message targeted at the middle-class and struggling wage-earners rather than at the party’s lobbyist and donor elites. Unfortunately, it seems more likely that Huckabee will emerge as an ally of the establishment—though one disguised as a critic. Continue Reading »

Now Is the Time to Invest in the Future

From Web Exclusives

The recent news of GDP growth indicates that the United States has turned a corner, but that does not mean conservatives should deemphasize economic issues. We are at a good place in the business cycle, but even in this good place, problems remain, future problems are visible, and the good times won’t last forever. Continue Reading »

A Broken Immigration Debate

From Web Exclusives

In 2010, 54 percent of Americans thought our immigration system was broken. Today, that number is 74 percent. Aaron Blake of the Washington Post contends that this means “immigration reform” is winning.This seems a strange comment, because public fears about our defunct immigration system don’t guarantee better policy. We could, by a seeming lack of options, simply exacerbate all that is worst in our current immigration system. Alternatively, critics of the current system could begin the process of creating a broad-based reform coalition. Continue Reading »

Opportunity and Incentives

From Web Exclusives

President Obama’s recent actions to effectively exempt millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation and to issue them work permits has caused frustration among many who believe that neither the precedents nor the law support the his actions. The president’s opponents have focused on what can done in the short-term to reverse his executive orders, or at least make him pay a political price. But rather than simply reacting, conservatives should learn from their experiences with Obamacare. In the short-term,, the ability of the Republican Congress to reverse the president’s executive orders or repeal Obamacare is very limited. It matters much more what President Obama’s opponents are prepared to do the next time they wield greater policymaking power. Continue Reading »