In that one respect, Missouri’s Josh Hawley may be the Republican Barack Obama.
The youngest senator, who just turned 40 in his first year of office, has wowed conservative commentators with a series of speeches and bills that seek to evolve Trump’s crude conservative populism into a governing vision with a sustainable intellectual foundation.
He is not bound by traditional conservative orthodoxies. He’s crafted bipartisan legislation that would constrain the power of giant technology companies. In a November speech, he decried “market worship” and praised labor unions (along with “families and farm cooperatives [and] churches”) for fostering community.
He has not been afraid to step on Republican toes. He questioned whether Trump’s judicial nominee Neomi Rao was truly opposed to abortion rights (though he eventually supported her). He blamed both the “Right and Left” for having “steadily expanded America’s military involvement in every theater of the globe.” Breaking with Trump, he flew to Hong Kong to meet with protesters and denounced the Chinese government for making Hong Kong a “police state.”