But while his colleagues attempt a liberal love-bombing strategy by posing as progressive, Grayling is already gearing up for what could prove a very successful bid to achieve Michael Howard and Ann Widdecombe levels of notoreity.
Here's his latest headline-grabbing wheeze.
Tories to demand: are you married? reports The Sunday Times.
Official forms will routinely demand to know whether a person is married under Conservative plans to promote stable families.
Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, claimed that, under Labour, marriage had become a “non official institution”. In an interview with The Sunday Times, he pledged that a future Tory government would make it a priority to raise the status of married life. “Marriage has almost disappeared from official forms, from official documents,” he said. “I think that needs to change.”
It is very strange that Conservatives love to lecture Labour on the limits of bureaucratic tinkering, critiquing a caricature of Fabianism as the belief that pulling government levers with micro tax and benefit changes can affect deep social and cultural changes in society.
Except on marriage, where the policy appears to consist only of eye-catching initiatives of exactly that kind, based on the idea that a tax-break will have a deep affect on couples' willingness to get hitched or not get divorced.
(Of course, being pro-marriage was also a big issue for the Thatcher government. In a decade, her policy unit came up with no substantive policy attempt beyond the rhetorical).
An idea of what a serious agenda to support the family could look like was set out earlier this year by my colleague Tim Horton in an essay for the Fabian Review special issue on the theme, which looked at how a pro-family agenda should focus on the quality of relationships, including the need to address the pressures on families today.
While Grayling bids to become a liberal bete noire, there is much expectation from his fans and supporters.
And Grayling's appointment in place of the cerebral liberal-leaning Dominic Grieve has been credibly alleged to be a condition of The Sun newspaper's support for the Conservatives by the usually well informed Conservative insider Tim Montgomerie.
Indeed, several months before The Sun switched sides, the ConservativeHome site had reported that "One of the chief obstacles to winning back The Sun was removed when David Cameron replaced Dominic Grieve as Shadow Home Secretary".
The impressively in the loop tabloid had also speculated about the change of roles on the morning it was made, ahead of the official announcement.