Right off the heals of sagging poll numbers and decreased influence due to a largely unpopular shutdown, Utah junior Senator Mike Lee (Republican) is now calling for unification in the conservative movement.
“It’s time for another Great Debate, and we should welcome all input. Grassroots and establishment. Conservatives and moderates. Libertarians and traditionalists. Interventionists and non-interventionists. Economic conservatives and social conservatives. All are part of our movement, and all are vital to our success – so all should be welcome in this debate,” Lee said in a prepared statement to the Heritage Foundation today.
The Heritage Foundation, a self-described conservative think-tank advocated for the tactics used by Lee and others to fully defund Obamacare that ultimately resulted in the shutdown, but were quick to note that they “should not buy into the false assumption that efforts to defund Obamacare equate to a shutdown of the federal government. Heritage and others have pushed for Congress to fully fund regular government operations and separate Obamacare from annual appropriations.”
The political reality, however, was that the Democratically controlled senate and executive branches balked at the package Republicans presented, ultimately resulting in a 17 day government shutdown.
In the same speech, Lee is proposing a suite of legislation that he says will address the cost of raising children, balancing work and home life, traffic, and the rising costs of higher education.
“These bills won’t solve every problem under the sun,” Lee said. “Raising a family isn’t supposed to be easy. But each would restore to working families more of the freedom they deserve to pursue their happiness: to earn a good living and build a good life.”
The normally adversarial Lee concluded with a call for peace within the conservative movement, saying “…in the wake of recent controversies, many conservatives are more frustrated with the establishment than ever before… But however justified, frustration is not a platform. Anger is not an agenda. And outrage, as a habit, is not even conservative. Outrage, resentment, and intolerance are gargoyles of the Left. For us, optimism is not just a message – it’s a principle.”
Time will tell if Lee has made a true about-face.