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.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”