Is This a New Wave of Compassionate Conservatism?

In her GOP response to the State of the Union, McMorris Rodgers lays out an empathetic vision for Republicans.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., delivered the Republican response for the State of the Union.
National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
Jan. 28, 2014, 5:36 p.m.

While Re­pub­lic­ans are not call­ing it “com­pas­sion­ate con­ser­vat­ism,” they are at­tempt­ing to take the high ground with the war on poverty. And one of the biggest signs of this push was clear in the em­path­et­ic tone of the GOP’s of­fi­cial re­sponse to the State of the Uni­on.

Rep. Cathy Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers, one of the party’s rising fe­male stars, ad­ded a caring touch to her verbal re­but­tal to Pres­id­ent Obama’s prime-time ad­dress, high­light­ing her ex­per­i­ences as a moth­er and of­fer­ing a path for out-of-work or des­per­ate Amer­ic­ans.

“Our mis­sion — not only as Re­pub­lic­ans, but as Amer­ic­ans — is to once again to en­sure that we are not bound by where we come from, but em­powered by what we can be­come,” the Wash­ing­ton state Re­pub­lic­an said.

Rodgers, who is chair­wo­man of the Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence, is the highest-rank­ing Re­pub­lic­an wo­man in Con­gress and is of­ten seen next to Speak­er John Boehner dur­ing press con­fer­ences. The moth­er of three was the clear choice for a party that struggles to at­tract fe­male voters.

“We be­lieve in a gov­ern­ment that trusts people and doesn’t lim­it where you fin­ish be­cause of where you star­ted,” she said. “That is what we stand for — for an Amer­ica that is every bit as com­pas­sion­ate as it is ex­cep­tion­al.”

The use of “com­pas­sion” in her speech might help in that drive for wo­men.

The moth­er of a child with Down syn­drome also got per­son­al when talk­ing about Obama­care, say­ing, “And that wheth­er you’re a boy with Down syn­drome or a wo­man with breast can­cer, you can find cov­er­age and a doc­tor who will treat you.”

Over the week­end, House Budget Com­mit­tee Chair­man Paul Ry­an laid out a sim­il­ar vis­ion for the fu­ture of the Re­pub­lic­an Party in an op-ed to The Wall Street Journ­al, pro­mot­ing pro­grams that he said will lift people out of poverty. Part of that, he wrote, starts with curb­ing vari­ous wel­fare pro­grams and re­pla­cing them with pro­grams that help edu­cate their child and im­prove job train­ing.

So, it looks like Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers is pick­ing up right where he left off. Her tone even soun­ded sim­il­ar to that of former Pres­id­ent George W. Bush, who used the term “com­pas­sion” fre­quently. The concept of com­pas­sion­ate con­ser­vat­ism pos­its that the free mar­ket can be used to help the poor and im­prove oth­er so­cial prob­lems, like health care and im­mig­ra­tion. But the term has been used to de­scribe Re­pub­lic­ans who might be fak­ing em­pathy, gar­ner­ing a neg­at­ive con­nota­tion.

Rodgers took a shot of Obama, say­ing that his prom­ises sound good, but it doesn’t ne­ces­sar­ily help the poor.

“The pres­id­ent talks a lot about in­come in­equal­ity,” Rodgers said. “But the real gap we face today is one of op­por­tun­ity in­equal­ity.”

And though the policies might not be any dif­fer­ent than what Re­pub­lic­ans have pro­moted in the past, Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers’s speech might set a tone shift to help im­prove pub­lic per­cep­tion of a party once led by a mil­lion­aire pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate who in­fam­ously be­littled the “47 per­cent” look­ing for gov­ern­ment handouts.

What We're Following See More »
FRENCH IS A LAWYER, VETERAN
Kristol Recruiting National Review’s David French for Third-Party Run
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Two Republicans intimately familiar with Bill Kristol’s efforts to recruit an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have told Bloomberg Politics that the person Kristol has in mind is David French -- whose name the editor of the Weekly Standard floated in the current issue of the magazine.

French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children."

Source:
CALIFORNIA VOTES IN A WEEK
Jerry Brown Backs Clinton
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

California Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton today, calling her "the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump." While praising Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, Brown said "Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee. ... This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun."

Source:
GLASS CEILING STILL HARD TO CRACK
Clinton Says Voters Still Hung Up on Gender
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a New York Magazine profile, Hillary Clinton said she still encounters misogyny at her own events: “‘I really admire you, I really like you, I just don’t know if I can vote for a woman to be president.’ I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me.”

Source:
CHANGE WE CAN’T BELIEVE IN
Trump Vows Not to Change
7 hours ago
THE LATEST
Source:
FILING DEADLINE IS JUNE 24
McConnell Urging Rubio to Run for Reelection
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "One of the things that I’m hoping, I and my colleagues have been trying to convince Senator Marco Rubio to run again in Florida. He had indicated he was not going to, but we’re all hoping that he’ll reconsider, because poll data indicates that he is the one who can win for us. He would not only save a terrific senator for the Senate, but help save the majority. ... Well, I hope so. We’re all lobbying hard for him to run again."

Source:
×