Progressive Conservatism (with Apologies to Mark Radulich)

My favourite moment in the health care “reform” debate was when John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, wrote an editorial supporting free market health care, resulting in open minded and tolerant progressives going apeshit over him expressing an opinion they disagreed with (and who frequent Whole Foods). This led to liberals and the Democrat Party’s employers in the labor unions calling for boycotts, while conservatives called for a “buy-cott” to show support.

The punchline here was the Mackey outlined the heath care plan he provides his employees globally, and who all seem to love it, but that’s a minor detail.

Anyway, this led to another silly subgroup of voters we’re calling “Whole Foods Republicans,” voters who embrace a progressive lifestyle but not necessarily progressive politics. Sounds silly, but author Michael Petrilli makes some interesting points…

What’s needed is a full-fledged effort to cultivate “Whole Foods Republicans”—independent-minded voters who embrace a progressive lifestyle but not progressive politics. These highly-educated individuals appreciate diversity and would never tell racist or homophobic jokes; they like living in walkable urban environments; they believe in environmental stewardship, community service and a spirit of inclusion. And yes, many shop at Whole Foods, which has become a symbol of progressive affluence but is also a good example of the free enterprise system at work. (Not to mention that its founder is a well-known libertarian who took to these pages to excoriate ObamaCare as inimical to market principles.)

What makes these voters potential Republicans is that, lifestyle choices aside, they view big government with great suspicion. There’s no law that someone who enjoys organic food, rides his bike to work, or wants a diverse school for his kids must also believe that the federal government should take over the health-care system or waste money on thousands of social programs with no evidence of effectiveness. Nor do highly educated people have to agree that a strong national defense is harmful to the cause of peace and international cooperation.


The races in Virginia and New Jersey show what can happen when the GOP sticks to its core economic message instead of playing wedge politics. Both Republican candidates won majorities of college-educated voters. Their approach attracted Sam’s Club Republicans and Whole Foods Republicans alike. It’s good news that America is becoming better educated, more inclusive, and more concerned about the environment. The Republican Party can either catch this wave, or watch its historic opportunity for “resurgence” wash away with the tides.

It’s a great article I’d highly recommend everyone giving a read. Your thoughts?


One thought on “Progressive Conservatism (with Apologies to Mark Radulich)”

  1. Stuff like this is part of the “reversing the myth” that’s starting to take place regarding the bs spin that liberals put on republicans to keep their liberal base from having a look-see to the other side of the rainbow…er…fence. Lol.

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