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NY Times Magazine: Can the G.O.P. Be a Party of Ideas?

Pictured: Room To Grow Authors. Standing, from left: Andrew Kelly, Adam White, Scott Winship, James Pethokoukis, Yuval Levin, Kate O’Beirne, W. Bradford Wilcox, Peter Wehner. Seated, from left: Michael R. Strain, April Ponnuru and Ramesh Ponnuru. Photographed at Gunston Hall in Virginia. Image by Eric Ogden for The New York Times

We wanted to make sure you saw this major piece that will be printed in this Sunday’s New York Times MagazineThe article, written by Sam Tanenhaus, profiles the efforts of YG Network and fellow reform conservatives who are developing and advocating for policies that directly address the anxieties of middle-class Americans on a wide range of pocketbook issues.

The full-length piece — “Can the G.O.P. Be a Party of Ideas?” — describes the process that led YG Network to publish our new book, Room To Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class, and reflects YG Network’s role as “a kind of processing plant for (conservative) policies” to help middle-class families—an organization which marshals the best ideas in the conservative movement, distills those ideas into a smart message through “polls and focus groups with middle-class” Americans, and applies aggressive communications and advocacy tactics to drive the public policy debate.

As Tanenhaus writes:

“There’s a lot of inertia on Capitol Hill,” [YG Network founder John] Murray told me last month. Debt reform and tax reform “were taking up a lot of oxygen” — and crowding out many other issues that most voters were worried about: rising health care costs, exorbitant college-tuition expenses, jobs that didn’t pay enough. “I was frustrated, because I wanted us to be more offensively postured around issues like how to help the middle class.”… Murray was aware of the various reform proposals being published in National Affairs and elsewhere, but, he said, “there’s a difference between how an academic and policy wonk approaches the discussion and how a political-communication person does it.”… The challenge was turning (reform conservative) policy into politics — how to get these ideas out to more lawmakers than the handful who had been closely following the reformists’ work. The group batted around possibilities — a big public-policy conference, a statement of principles — before settling on, perhaps unsurprisingly, “a collection of essays that we would refine and discuss at a conference,” [YG Network policy director] April Ponnuru recalled. The participants in the conference would be drawn from the interlocking worlds of think tanks and politics, and the expectation was that the time spent working through and refining policy ideas would bring the groups closer together and result in a more rigorous, politically realistic vetting. The resulting collection of essays, “Room to Grow,” was intended to repackage those ideas into a simple manifesto.

YG Network will continue to bring these important conservative reforms to the forefront of the public policy discussion, working with conservative leaders like Senator Marco Rubio who understand that conservatives must once again be a movement centered on principled ideas to grow our economy and improve the lives of working Americans who seek economic security, opportunity, and prosperity.