Conservatives Huddle to Discuss GOP Cohesion

Friday, 16 May 2014 07:37 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Conservative "ideological purists" gathered in Virginia Thursday to vent and strategize about what they see as a GOP being diluted by establishment Republicans softening their stance on core conservative principles, according to The Washington Post.

Concerned about recent primary elections in North Carolina and Florida that saw mainstream Republicans rout their tea party opponents, the group drafted a 10-page list of demands it plans to share with senior party lawmakers.

The conservatives want assurances, according to the Post, that the party will "champion lower taxes, a well-funded military, and the idea that 'married moms and dads are best at raising kids.'" They adamantly oppose illegal immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion.

The event in Tysons Corner, Va., was organized by Edwin Meese, President Ronald Reagan's attorney general, and former Indiana Rep. David McIntosh. It is part of the Conservative Action Project initiative.

Attending were dozens of key conservative group leaders, including Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee; L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Matters Research Center; Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council; Michael Needham, chief executive of Heritage Action, a part of The Heritage Foundation; and tea party organizer Jenny Beth Martin.

But even among attendees, there were some splits. Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, for example, favors legalizing illegal immigrants and tighter control of defense spending. He told the Post that he attended the meeting to show his support for conservative principles but not to endorse the drafted document "line by line."

Despite predictions that the GOP is poised to regain control of the Senate, the group is concerned that the party is leaning to the center rather than taking a stand on key conservative principles. Those attending discussed how to maintain their positions even in the current political climate.

"We win when we stand for principle and we lose when we give in to Washington's status quo," Cruz told the crowd.

Attendees voiced concern that their values would be "cast aside" even if the GOP has a successful election season, the Post reported.

"What's clear is that we ought to be focusing on economic security for the future, not divisive social issues. That's how we lost several key Senate races last cycle and plays into the Democrats' hand," said GOP consultant Brian Walsh, a former communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

On display at the gathering was the Mount Vernon Statement, signed in 2010 by conservatives, that states their commitment to the founding fathers' U.S. Constitution that "created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law."

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