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Lunch Break Read: Is Reform Conservatism a Friend or Foe of Limited Government?

Will this presidential election be the most important in American history?

There is a new buzz phrase popping up in the GOP that could redraw the battle lines in the presidential primary: “reform conservatism.” Those subscribing to the philosophy (nicknamed “reformocons”) focus on strengthening families and communities, while taking a more populist opinion on welfare reform.

Reason has put together an intellectual round table of political and philosophical thought leaders who have strong opinions on reform conservatism, and how its ideas will translate to actual policy. The debate makes for a fascinating peak into the future of the GOP, and what the party’s tone of voice may sound like going into the 2016 election cycle.

Here is a quick preview:

Ideas have consequences and a recent idea that is already generating major consequences in the political world is “reform conservatism.” It is barely out of the womb and it is spawning serious policy proposals such as the Rubio-Lee tax reform bill (that I’ve written about here and here). Conceived by some of the nation’s most prominent conservatives, reform conservatism is an ambitious undertaking that seeks to simultaneously advance an array of electoral, political, and social aims.

Its primary electoral aim is to apply the lesson of Mitt Romney’s 2012 “shellacking” to help the GOP once again become the majority party. And as far as it’s concerned, that lesson is not that the GOP needs first and foremost to stop the stampede of Hispanic and other minority voters to the Democratic Party as conventional analyses suggest. It is that the GOP has to stop coming across as the rich guy’s party that is in the pay of corporations and out of touch with the great American middle class, which is being itself “shellacked” by the forces of globalization. The GOP’s central problem is to craft a pro-middle class agenda. And this requires a major rebranding of the party with an unabashedly populist message on fiscal/tax, economic, and social policy.

Reformocons’—as the adherents of this movement like to be called—main political goal is to wrest control of the welfare state from liberals and recast it to advance conservative values and constituencies. This, they say, requires not railing against the welfare state—as Republicans have been prone to doing—but reforming it from the inside.

And their fundamental social objective is to strengthen families and communities whose decline, they believe, is America’s number one problem. Every healthy society needs intact families and functioning communities—or what reformocons call “mediating institutions”—especially one that wants to stay free rather than degenerate into despotism or anarchy.

But the question for libertarians, of course, is whether these three goals can be accomplished while staying true to America’s core commitment to limited government?

Read more at here.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a host, Outreach Director with overseeing its outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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