Viguerie: Time for Tea Party to Take Back 'Hijacked' Republican Party

Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 09:00 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Tea party conservatives who are angry at establishment Republicans for allowing the GOP to be "hijacked" need to "take our party back," longtime conservative advocate Richard Viguerie says.

"Over the past 100 years, an elite progressive minority has taken the Republican Party far afield from its conservative platform and the interests and values of its grassroots conservative base," Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, said in a book excerpt published by Politico. "For many on the right, these frustrations have boiled over into new calls for the formation of a third party."

The excerpt is from Viguerie's new book, "Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It." He has had a long career in political marketing.

Describing himself as "a tea partier before there was a tea party," Viguerie details the history of the modern conservative movement and how it has faltered in recent years.

He discussed how adding "limited-government constitutional conservatives" to the coalition built by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s helped the GOP take the House in 2010 and nearly win the Senate.

However, "between 2010 and 2012, today’s establishment Republican leaders did their best to alienate and marginalize the new conservative voting bloc of the tea party movement," Viguerie said.

He called for the creation of a third political party, an idea first broached among some conservatives in the early 1960s. But after gathering steam following GOP Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater's huge defeat in the 1964 presidential election, others called for limited-government conservatives to work within the Republican Party.

But the GOP establishment hasn't appreciated their efforts, Viguerie said.

"Yes, it makes all of us angry when John Boehner, who was made speaker of the House through the efforts of millions of tea party movement voters and volunteers, refers to limited-government constitutional conservatives as 'knuckle-draggers,'" he said.

Viguerie also cited how tea party supporters were blamed for Mitt Romney’s defeat in the 2012 presidential election "and the discrediting of the Republican establishment that tied the future of the party to Romney’s content-free campaign.

"Now is not the time for conservatives to give up on the Republican Party and bolt to a third party," he added. "Now is the time to redouble our efforts to finish the job we started more than 50 years ago and complete the takeover of the GOP.

Such a third party would back such Libertarian-minded Republicans like Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Viguerie said.

"In large measure, we conservatives have accomplished Baroness [Margaret] Thatcher’s first step; we are winning the argument," he concluded. "Now is the time to take over the Republican Party and start winning the vote."

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