A group of prominent conservative writers and policy analysts released a 121-page manifesto today outlining how Republicans can appeal to the middle class. "Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a limited government and a thriving middle class" is connected with the conservative group YG network, which has ties to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Contributor Ramesh Ponnuru tells The New York Times:
Building a post-Obama conservatism is more important than still trying to beat Obama.
That post-Obama conservatism won't be shaped by Mitt Romney. YG adviser Kate O’Beirne tells the Times that Romney's focus on entrepreneurship in the 2012 election likely turned middle class voters off. "News flash: Most people don’t own their own businesses," she noted.
"Room to Grow" features policy ideas on health care, tax reform, and family initiatives. Pete Wehner from the Ethics and Public Policy center writes in his essay,
Americans do not have a sense that conservatives offer them a better shot at success and security than liberals. For that to change, conservatives in American politics need to understand constituents' concerns, speak to those aspirations and worries, and help people see how applying conservative policies could help make their lives better.
But before Republicans can convince the middle class the GOP will work for them, "Room to Grow" must convince Republicans to adopt new policies. So far, Cantor and McConnell are set to attend a release party for the report today. More conservative Republicans will probably stick to hammering President Obama on Benghazi and the ACA ahead of the midterms.
The 13 "Room to Grow" authors call themselves "reform conservatives," and they seem to truly believe that the GOP can rebrand itself to the middle class, at least before 2016. Rebranding to women, however, remains a challenge. Only one of the 13 contributors to "Room to Grow" is female. Carrie Lukas, the managing director at the Independent Women's Forum, wrote about balancing work and family.