Compassionate Conservatism: Still Dead

Are new Republican policies really a return to “compassionate conservatism”? No — and that’s a good thing.

Compassionate conservatism is back. That’s how Peter Beinart, a contributing editor at the Atlantic, reads a number of recent developments in Republican politics, the most recent being Representative Paul Ryan’s announcement of new anti-poverty proposals.

Beinart is skeptical that this revival of an old campaign theme will work. I’m skeptical that the revival is even taking place.

Beinart argues that compassionate conservatism — the idea that conservative principles can be applied to alleviate persistent social problems such as poverty — never did much to win elections for Republicans. 

By Ramesh Ponnuru