Today, CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie suggests to conservatives that "Leadership Begins with You," the first section in his three-part conclusion to "Where Do Conservatives Go Now?" On Monday, Viguerie will explain why conservatives should stay focused on achieving conservative government, regardless of which Party is in power, and on Tuesday he will conclude with his analysis of how new leadership from the conservative movement is essential to the future of our country.
Click here to see Parts 1, 2 and 3
Click here to see Parts 4, 5 and 6
Seventh, Leadership Begins with You
The modern conservative movement was born and nurtured through the new and alternative media. First through direct mail, then through talk radio and cable TV, now through those mediums and the new and powerful mediums of the internet and email.
The Tea Party rebellion was created and powered by bottom-up leadership; individuals who cared passionately about freedom and constitutional government saw or heard about Rick Santelli’s rant and spontaneously came together to make the Tea Party happen.
Rick Santorum’s come from nowhere campaign for President benefited greatly from the same kind of bottom-up leadership. Santorum supporters in Iowa and elsewhere didn’t wait around for their Republican state chairman to give them the OK. They simply emailed their contact list – friends, family, church members, etc. with a simple message, “I’m supporting Rick Santorum because…”
Through the new and alternative media, grassroots conservative activists have been freed from the top-down demands and structure of the old establishment Republican Party leadership. We have been particularly empowered by the internet, a mass media completely unfettered by elite controls and filters. Through today’s web technology, for a few dollars a month any individual, any group, can have a website, a blog, a Twitter account, a facebook page and an email address.
And we don’t have to ask permission from the establishment Republican Party or any of the traditional political powerbrokers in Washington or the state capitals.
Almost a year ago I suggested to grassroots conservatives and Tea Partiers that if they wanted to make a real difference this campaign cycle they should rush to establish Twitter accounts, build their followers list and make a habit of updating regularly, establish a facebook page for their local Tea Party group, set-up fan pages for conservative candidates, blog about where the candidates stand on the issues, and most importantly, build and maintain their email and texting lists.
As I noted in my book, America’s Right Turn, while the conservative media and conservative commentators, such as Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Neal Bortz and others are very influential, the growing power in politics today is at the micro level – taking a telling criticism or incisive observation and making it “go viral” online to millions of email recipients and website visitors.
Just as the internet has enlarged the power of individual conservatives to exercise leadership and it has made it easier for them to organize – it has also begun to create a new mindset. As individuals, grassroots conservative activists are more and more inclined to put principles first, not parties and politicians.
Unlike the professional class of politicians, Party operatives and lobbyists who backed Mitt Romney, conservative activists exercising individual leadership haven’t forgotten why they got involved in politics in the first place – to turn back the growth of Big Government and to restore political, economic and religious freedom in America.
This is a huge, but as yet untapped source of support for the Republican presidential candidate. However, until conservatives see concrete action from Mitt Romney proving that he will exercise his individual leadership to accomplish those goals, the power of individual conservatives to exercise leadership on his behalf may very well remain untapped.