Matt Lewis

Up from ‘uncompassionate conservatism’

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor

George W. Bush’s foreign interventionism and big-spending ways, coupled with the fact that he had no successor, guaranteed the GOP would spend some time in the wilderness.

That has now turned into at least eight years. After Mitt Romney’s defeat, a new debate is raging within the conservative movement, regarding how to sell first principles and conservative values.

A lot of things went wrong in 2012, but one thing is pretty obvious: The GOP brand is tarnished.

Unfortunately, the backlash against compassionate conservatism was so severe that the 2012 GOP might as well have run on a platform promising, “uncompassionate conservatism.”

My latest column for The Week deals with the fact that conservatism can still sell — if conservatives run on the positive aspects of the disparate elements of the movement:

From social conservatives like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock talking about rape and abortion to Romney’s comments about the 47 percent, the Republican Party in 2012 was already blending the worst aspects of social conservatism and libertarianism. But instead of blending the most angry and exclusionary aspects of otherwise respectable philosophies, why not highlight the best aspects of both?

Read the whole thing here.