Today, CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie suggests that conservatives "Become a Third Force for Conservative Government," the seventh part of the "Where Do Conservatives Go Now?" series. Tomorrow, Viguerie 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
Click here to see Part 7, "Leadership Begins with You."
Eighth, Become a Third Force for Conservative Government.
To embrace the Mitt Romney candidacy before he embraces our issues is the height of folly.
Conservatives and Tea Partiers have no interest in exchanging business-as-usual government by Republican insiders for business-as-usual government by Democratic insiders – we want to see fundamental change in Washington and real action on the issues we care about.
We can still have conservative government during a Romney presidency if we elect a conservative Congress, or if we apply enough pressure to Republicans in Congress to pursue a conservative agenda.
But this means we conservatives must get over the idea that our fortunes are irrevocably tied to the fortunes of the Republican Party – we must go back to our conservative movement roots and focus on being a Third Force relentlessly advocating conservative, not Republican, governance.
A Third Force doesn’t mean a Third Party – that would guarantee Democratic control of Washington for years to come.
The left has thousands of Third Force groups: unions at the local, state and national level, race-based organizations, sex-based preference and advocacy groups, environmentalists – each with their own members, their own sources of funds and leadership pushing a left-oriented agenda independent of the Democratic Party.
The left learned long ago that Democrats wouldn’t automatically give them what they wanted, so they developed a vast array of single issue pressure groups to force liberal ideas through Congress and state and local legislative bodies.
These left-wing Third Force organizations push Democrats to the left relentlessly, and they create leadership opportunities and raise the public profile of left-leaning individuals allowing them to gain experience, develop leadership skills and become potential candidates for public office.
We can do the same on small government constitutional conservative issues: cutting taxes, protecting property rights, and stopping the growth and intrusiveness of government at the state, local and national levels are just a few issues ripe for Third Force action.
Becoming a Third Force means conservatives can finally rid themselves of the notion that a Republican victory in a given election will result in conservative government. As we saw during the Bush – Hastert – Tom DeLay years, Republicans will not automatically deliver conservative government. We have to demand it.
In many ways the 2010 Tea Party election was a Third Force election, but too many of the Tea Party freshmen who have come to Washington have found it difficult to maintain their principles in the face of the blandishments offered by the inside-the-Beltway establishment.
As conservative journalist and author M. Stanton Evans wryly observed, “The trouble with our people is that once they come to Washington, they no longer act like our people.”
It seems all too often when Republicans get to Washington they forget that conservative principles have won seven of the past eleven presidential elections – they become co-opted and want to be invited to the right parties and be admired and accepted by Washington’s insider elite.
And most of all they want to get along with the Party leaders who control committee assignments, the movement of bills and most importantly the favors doled out to lubricate the legislative process.
It’s not enough to send someone who talks and looks conservative to Washington, we then have to watch them and make sure they hold to conservative principles, and replace them if they don’t – that’s why some Tea Party groups are opposing some of the 2010 freshmen who have voted to raise the debt ceiling and grow government.
A conservative Congress could stop Obama cold, or curb Romney’s moderate to liberal impulses. Unfortunately as we noted Friday, we have Republican congressional leadership that has become addicted to big government and the big spending that goes with it.
If conservatives assert their right to be conservatives first, and to act as a Third Force, we can put Republicans on a 12 step program to cure that addiction.
In 2010 the Tea Party demonstrated the power of conservatives acting as a Third Force. By reasserting our independence to be conservatives first, we won’t have to automatically accept more government and more spending; even if we are told it is the best Republicans can do. By reasserting our right to be conservatives first, we can reclaim our independence as a Third Force and hold a Romney administration and the Republican Leaders in Congress to their promise to actually produce conservative government.