Another reason that the GOP “civil war” narrative is overdone is that there is beginning to be a kind of convergence around a new reform agenda geared toward the interests of the middle class. It has its champions in the tea-party wing, foremost among them Mike Lee and Marco Rubio, and in the establishment (or “establishment,” whichever you prefer), including Eric Cantor and now Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky senator gave a nice speech today at the AEI event on reform conservatism. Here is a key passage:
I think that if you were to ask any Republican in Washington which group of Americans stands to benefit most from the ideas and ideals of our party, they’d respond without hesitation that it’s the American middle class, and that any suggestion to the contrary is based on a cheap and dishonest caricature. And yet, I think it must also be admitted that in our rush to defend the American entrepreneur from the daily depredations of an administration that seems to view any profit-making enterprise with deep suspicion – that we have often lost sight of the fact that our average voter is not John Galt. It’s a good impulse, to be sure. But for most Americans, whose daily concerns revolve around aging parents, long commutes, shrinking budgets, and obscenely high tuition bills, these hymns to entrepreneurialism are, as a practical matter, largely irrelevant. And the audience for them is probably a lot smaller than we think.