Green Shoots On The Right, Ctd

Ryan Cooper rates 15 “reformish” writers on the political right. From his intro:

The average conservative reformist output consists of about three articles bashing liberal statism for every one questioning Republican dogma. To retain an audience among Republicans, one must be “considerate of the contours of conservative opinion,” Ponnuru told me. By being careful in what they say, a number of these writers have built audiences among party elites, and increasingly so since November, according to interviews with Republican House and Senate staffers. “They’re addressing ideas in policy spaces where there may be gaps,” says Neil Bradley, an aide to Eric Cantor. “Ramesh is widely regarded as a smart and insightful thinker,” agrees a Senate Republican aide. The reformists are read in Marco Rubio’s office; Paul Ryan’s office is a fan of [Yuval] Levin.

It is easy, however, to exaggerate their influence. “There is a cultural gulf,” says John Feehery, a former staffer for Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert, between the reformist writer-intellectuals, with their New York/Washington sensibilities, and Republican officeholders, with their base of voters in Texas, Kansas, and Georgia. The reformists “are speaking the language of policy,” notes Feehery, while the base “is speaking the language of hating Obama.”

Jacob Heilbrunn singles out one of the Dish’s biggest go-tos:

Larison is in some ways the most unpredictable member of this gallery of conservative authors. He is aptly described: “An acerbic critic of American interventionism in both parties, Larison has few fans among the GOP’s neoconservative wing. However, his brand of paleoconservatism is on the upswing among the more libertarian-minded Republicans, most recently on display during Rand Paul’s famous filibuster.” Cooper may go somewhat astray in suggesting that with “Obama’s relative hawkishness,” Larison’s views could gain greater traction in the GOP. Actually, unless I am misreading him, Larison has at times been complimentary of what he views as Obama’s realist proclivities. So the gulf may not between the paleocons and Obamaites may not be all that great—unless, of course, Obama buckles and intervenes in Syria.