Green Room

Bill Kristol starting “reformist” nonprofit to “recraft Republican fiscal policies”?

posted at 2:01 pm on January 7, 2013 by

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.

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Ryan, Rubio, Jindal, Paul.

How about Martinez, Haley, Fallin or Ayotte?

We have female superstars too.

alwaysfiredup on January 7, 2013 at 2:11 PM

I have a hard time thinking Christie will be a serious contender in 2016. He’s gone into full Obama butt kissing mode since hurricane Sandy and many people still blame him in part for Romney’s defeat.

Then again, McCain did get the nomination after all his stupidities so anything is possible.

Kronos on January 7, 2013 at 2:32 PM

This sounds like more “abandon the free market to save the free market” crap.

steebo77 on January 7, 2013 at 2:36 PM

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.

Ted Cruz will probably be in there splitting it too. But still, Christie would only have a short-term advantage, until the field narrowed. Romney got the nom because most primary voters realized there was no better alternative. That won’t be true with Christie.

Jon0815 on January 7, 2013 at 2:41 PM

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

Let’s hope not as ambitious or with the same results as Kristol’s ambitious expansion into foreign policy …

ShainS on January 7, 2013 at 2:50 PM

This sounds like more “abandon the free market to save the free market” crap.

steebo77 on January 7, 2013 at 2:36 PM

The GOP is systematically purging its base (or possibly more accurately, purging any remaining influence the base has in Washington). Social conservatives are basically gone, and now they’re coming for fiscal conservatives.

I’m wondering who they think will vote for them in 2014 and 2016, especially after Romney was unable to turn out Republican voters.

Doomberg on January 7, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Why wouldn’t it work for Christie? The moderate has won the nomination every single time since 1988.

Xasprtr on January 7, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Why wouldn’t it work for Christie? The moderate has won the nomination every single time since 1988.

Xasprtr on January 7, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Because, unlike Romney, Christie doesn’t even recognize the need to be Conservative. Christie is a true RINO: somebody who only belongs to the party because it makes him something of a novelty among the liberals he runs with. He’s not a moderate, he’s a total phony. A 500-pound phony.

cicerone on January 7, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Say, why don’t Rubio, Jindal, Rand Paul, Ryan, and Cruz start a conservative movement akin to the one Bill Buckley started years ago and RINO’s like Kristol latched onto and perverted?

NOMOBO on January 7, 2013 at 6:23 PM

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,

If there were any capacity for the mind to further boggle, after the last few years (there isn’t, really), it would do so now.

Let me translate this to clarify and make it understandable to the average non-specialist.

* The GOP, having never uttered a word to explain the reality of the financial crisis, its origins, and the best responses (apart from strong House opposition to the ridiculous TARP), in effect stipulated an insanely inaccurate fairy tale about the subject offered by the Dems/their press arm. So a “crisis” that had fewer bipartisan fingerprints on it than any in generations – it was entirely a product of non-market insanity, from the CRA to mau-mauing the banks to (esp.) Fannie/Freddie’s creation (you read that right) of the bogus securitized low-quality debt market – is, unbelievably, seen/portrayed as somehow the GOP’s fault.

* Having failed the country (important) and screwed itself (irrelevant) yet again in this manner, the best response is to adopt indefensibly idiotic policies on taxation and spending. Spending has exploded more than any time outside WWII (discretionary, not just entitlements – which properly defined are mostly discretionary, too, with the recent changes), while nominal tax rates are about average for the last 60 years, but with the tax burden less equitably shared than has ever been the case since the introduction of the federal income tax (i.e., 50% are effectively exempted from the system. So with taxation a bit above what seems to be the historical max for vigorous growth, but spending at unprecedented levels (and this ignores the accounting gimmickry and debt gimmickry involving the Fed), the answer is ….. raise taxes!

Ya know, one thing the US could really use is a partisan think tank that can analyze how to take obviously disastrous economic policies and make them work, for the first time.

There’s generally an excess of baseless whining about the “establishment” in terms of which candidates make it to the general election, but it is truly breathtaking how intellectually vapid the “elites” have become. It’s not just character problems – yes, we are talking about very very tiny little people in DC, and that includes Ryan and others who suck less than the others – but along with the cowardice and selfishness there is just a collapse in effective IQ levels (outside the Democratic Party, where this collapse took place years ago).

IceCold on January 7, 2013 at 7:14 PM

a centrist like Christie might have an advantage

Christie is no centrist. He’s a pinko democrat with a republican label. He’s even further left than rinos. Oh, and he sucks.

woodNfish on January 7, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Kristol really appears to have a single priority: hawkish foreign policy. Immigration, taxes, social issues are just distractions from the great conservative issue of of age: how to intervene in the middle east.

Clark1 on January 8, 2013 at 11:12 AM

The easy way to diffuse all the Democrat-courting among Republicans, including RINOs is to rearrange the primary schedule so that the redder states go first; thus, our candidates will be redder than they typically are now. If the RNC won’t agree to the new schedule, then the redder states like Texas ought to withhold their electoral votes.

TXJenny on January 10, 2013 at 10:59 PM