Bill Kristol starting “reformist” nonprofit to “recraft Republican fiscal policies”?
posted at 2:01 pm on January 7, 2013 by Allahpundit
Just a rumor for now, but worth flagging given his pull with establishment Republicans and the fact that it jibes with Friday’s news about the Beltway GOP trying to exert more influence on the party after November’s Senate debacle.
Plus, Kristol and his allies have been talking about starting a “reformist” organization to recraft Republican fiscal policies and champion a rising generation of Republicans, such as Kristol favorites Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. The hypothetical group, modeled on the defunct Democratic Leadership Council, would join an expanding network of media platforms and nimble nonprofits for Kristol and mark an ambitious expansion into domestic policy…
Kristol declined to comment on the DLC-like nonprofit idea but suggested the GOP will continue to struggle unless it fundamentally rethinks its fiscal policy. “The Republican Party has never come to grips with the financial crisis that happened on Bush’s watch and has this kind of stale view of tax policy,” he said. “It’s a new moment with the debt and the deficits and the financial crisis in the background.”
That’s … awfully vague, but given Kristol’s position on tax hikes on the rich during the fiscal-cliff kabuki, I take it the group will be more flexible on new revenue than grassroots conservatives are. Maybe would-be presidential nominees like Rubio and Ryan will be willing to associate themselves with that if it’s part of a broader tax-reform package, but I dunno. Rubio’s vote against the fiscal-cliff deal suggests he’ll stick to conservative orthodoxy. The other problem for a group like this is that, if it does move conspicuously to the center a la the DLC, it’ll quickly gain a rep among the base for being RINO HQ. Will any 2016 contender want to associate themselves with that, even if it’s a gateway to making nice with Washington power players? The only serious candidate I can think of who might is Christie, just because he’s already building a brand pitched more to rank-and-file Republicans than committed conservatives. If Ryan, Rubio, Jindal, and Rand Paul all jump in four years from now and split the tea-party vote, a centrist like Christie might have an advantage by consolidating the moderates. And a moderate group with big names and big money attached could be key in helping him do that.