Ted Cruz invokes lefty favorite John Rawls (albeit somewhat inaccurately) in setting up new messaging for the GOP. But he hits the right notes:
Opportunity conservatism is a powerful frame to explain conservative policies that work. It covers the gamut of issues. Republicans shouldn’t just assail excessive financial and environmental regulations; we should explain how those regulations kill jobs and restrict Americans’ ability to buy their first home.
Don’t just say no to new taxes — fundamentally reform the tax code so that every American can file his taxes on a postcard. Eliminate the corporate welfare and complexity that enrich only accountants and lawyers.
Don’t just criticize union bosses; explain how closed shops confiscate wages and make it harder for low-skilled workers to get jobs.
Don’t talk generically about education; advocate school choice to empower parents and expand opportunity for children struggling to get ahead.
Don’t just dwell on the long-term solvency of Social Security; promote personal accounts to allow low-income Americans to accumulate wealth and pass it on to future generations.
The intellectual left will attack him for getting invoking Rawls and getting him slightly wrong, but that’s just taking flak for being over the target. This is certainly the right tack to take, and it will also help keep the GOP’s policies grounded in growth, which is inextricably tied to opportunity. It’s one of the things that Romney failed to do during the election. Historically, class-warfare rhetoric in the US has failed, because the poor and middle class see themselves as the future rich. If the left can persuade them that that window is closing, they’ll be more likely to embrace lefty policies. Since most probably don’t want to believe it, showing how those policies lead to growth and opportunity will help secure votes.