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What they’re saying about “Room To Grow”

“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. —The New York Times Magazine

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“[A] group of prominent conservatives has devised a 121-page policy manifesto aimed at giving the Republican Party a message that will attract some of the middle-class voters the party lost in recent White House races…The authors hope the book will help… address the economic anxieties of Americans… The new Republican ideas are being promoted by a conservative group, the YG Network, with ties to Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader.” —The New York Times


YG NETWORK PUTS GOP UNITY ON DISPLAY… In a notable display of GOP unity in this often acrid primary season, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stood alongside conservative all-star Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Tim Scott, R-S.C. for the release of ‘Room to Grow,’ a 121-page policy manifesto aimed at attracting middle-class voters to the GOP. The book written by the YG Network, a group of prominent conservatives with ties to Cantor, offers proposals on health care, taxes, and education.” —Fox News


“…[A] forward-looking message that can energize the base and reconnect with a broad electorate.” —Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post


“Room to Grow, an essay collection published by YG Network, a conservative group, is the latest evidence that conservatism may be experiencing an intellectual resurgence as well as a political one.” —National Review Online


“As a member of the gang of insurgents who prepared the way for Bill Clinton’s presidency, I know something about reforming a political party on a losing streak. The conservative manifesto ‘Room to Grow,’ released May 22 by the advocacy group YG Network—the YG stands for Young Guns—offers a glimpse of a similar effort among today’s Republicans.” —William Galston, The Wall Street Journal


“One of the theories animating this book and why it was published is the fact that the middle class today is feeling very vulnerable, and anxious and insecure. There’s a lot of unease, and it’s been that way for about fifteen years or more. And that isn’t just a morale problem, it’s a problem, it’s a problem that’s based in real circumstances.” —RTG contributor Peter Wehner, Bill Bennett’s Morning in America


“‘The core of America—the working middle-class families— are facing some serious problems,’ said (Rep. Eric) Cantor, a Virginia Republican. ‘Overwhelmingly, the signs indicate that they don’t have that sense that they will enjoy upward mobility.’” —Bloomberg-Businessweek


“[D]istinctly market-oriented proposals to provide universal health coverage, improve access to higher education and redesign the social safety net [among other interesting ideas].” —Michael Gerson, Washington Post


“[A]n intellectually stimulating and potentially historic event…[N]oteworthy not only for its content but also for the presence of Republican elected officials. It was the debut, however modest, of ‘reform conservatism’ as a political force. Plenty has been written about the need for the GOP to adopt economic policies that help middle-class families, and Room to Grow, the book put together by event co-sponsor YG Network, is the best primer I have seen on the various proposals that constitute reform conservatism. I do not doubt for a moment that if the Republican Party adopted Room to Grow as its platform tomorrow, then both the GOP and the country would enjoy a better future.” —Matthew Continetti, The Free Beacon


[L]iberals should take reform conservatives—and their ideas—seriously…” —Danny Vinik, New Republic


“…[W]idely hailed as representing the best, freshest conservative thinking on the pressing issues of the day.” —


With Room To Grow, reform conservatives have “set off a lively, intensifying debate” and “dramatically raised their profiles.” —Politico


“[A] 120-page prospective agenda designed to drag contemporary American conservatism out of 1981’s death grip and give it marching orders fit to the challenges of the present day.” —Jonathan Coppage, The American Conservative


“[A] blueprint for policy innovation…[C]oncrete proposals…If enacted, they could revive not just the party but also the country.” —Mona Charen, Chicago Sun-Times


Room To Grow “translate(s) fundamental conservative principles into practical policies across a range of issues. (Its) proposals share a commitment to protecting individual liberty, keeping the federal government within constitutional limits, encouraging the states to experiment and innovate, taking advantage of market forces, and respecting civil society—including families, religious faith, and civic associations of all sorts.” —Peter Berkowitz, Real Clear Politics


“[T]he most coherent and compelling policy agenda the American right has produced this century.” —David Brooks, New York Times



“…[T]he most extensive rethinking of conservative policy in a generation.” — Byron York, Foreign Affairs 

Foreign AFfairs

“[A] collection of essays on policy by a number of very bright, creative, and wise conservative writers and commentators.”



“[C]ommonsense, sellable, workable conservative solutions to the most serious problems facing middle-class families today.” — Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week

the week

“There is something to be said for the desire to be seen as a political reformer in America today. It suggests energy and creativity, and often reveals a welcome intellectual curiosity. Reform conservatives–’reformicons’–have justly earned this reputation, putting forth serious policy proposals and demonstrating a mastery of details.”


“[Sen. Marco Rubio] says he has ‘admired and borrowed liberally’ from the reformicon manifesto ‘Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class.'”



“But what Republicans need to do much more effectively than they have is to swing round the debate to terrain that is more favorable to them; to shift their attention on how they will help the middle class in ways much more far-reaching than what Mr. Obama has in mind. Fortunately a middle-class agenda exists in the form of Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class.”

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“[I]t is incumbent on the GOP House and Senate leadership and on GOP presidential hopefuls to offer more than critical analysis; they need alternatives. It begins by understanding the problem.” — Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post linking to Room to Grow

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“It is getting hard to ignore the growing number of conservative reformers. Utah senator Mike Lee has been a veritable innovation factory since he entered Congress, promoting new ideas on education, taxes, and energy, among other issues. Last year’s publication of Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class brought together the brightest conservative minds to think through tough problems. And now Paul Ryan is chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, giving a boost to the hope that someday soon we’ll see tax reform. Meanwhile, the Left seems stuck in the failed policies of the mid 20th century… Conservatives are the ones coming up with new ideas on how to improve the fortunes of middle-class America… Reform conservatism is an exciting new movement. Conservatives are looking beyond traditional GOP tropes to think about how to fix issues like K–12 education, energy, health care, and higher education. The animating belief is that these policies are not optimized for the middle class, and that smart reforms can fix that.” — Jay Cost, National Review Online


Room To Grow has also been covered by…
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