"The new right ... is going to be a force that fights for people as opposed to a force that fights against things."

For the past five years, Brooks has been ginning up a minor revolution within the Republican Party. He pictures this: a GOP that fights explicitly for the interests of the poor.

Today, as Rubio delivers his address marking the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty (not coincidentally in the LBJ room on Capitol Hill), he’ll undoubtedly be voicing a variation on Brooks’ doctrine. (The American Enterprise Institute is a host of the event, and Brooks will introduce Rubio.)

“This is the future,” Brooks said in an interview. “The new right in America is going to be a force that fights for people as opposed to a force that fights against things.”

Yet this week has also keenly demonstrated the challenge that Rubio, and Republicans at large, face.

For all their desire to not cede ground to Democrats on poverty, it’s not clear that Republicans are quite ready to give up fighting against things that aim to help the poor.