Magazine December 22, 2019, Issue

Common Ground on the Common Good

Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2019 (Erin Scott/Reuters)
Conservatives should be able to find it

In his speech to the Republican convention in 1988, George H. W. Bush said, “I want a kinder and gentler nation.” Nancy Reagan, the wife of the man he was trying to succeed, reportedly had an acerbic reaction: “Kinder and gentler than whom?” When Bush’s son ran for president in 2000 as a “compassionate conservative,” others on the right were similarly unimpressed. Were plain old conservatives to be considered uncompassionate?

Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) should have known what to expect, then, when in early November he spoke at Catholic University of America in favor of what he called “common-good capitalism.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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