Today, CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie concludes his "Where Do Conservatives Go Now?" series with part nine, "Conservatives Need 'Boat Rockers' as Leaders." Viguerie will show 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."
Click here to see Part 8, "Become a Third Force for Conservative Government."
Nine, Conservatives Need “Boat Rockers” as Leaders
As we survey the political landscape in the aftermath of the 2012 Republican presidential primaries two things are clear: conservatives need new leadership and conservatives are looking for new leadership.
And new leadership is essential to the kind of transformational change required to stop the rapid erosion of our quality of life due to the growth of government and the decline of freedom and economic opportunity we are now experiencing.
Like the Biblical Jews of Exodus, to many grassroots conservative activists it seems we will wander in the wilderness until a new generation of leaders, untainted by the past arises.
To them I say, “Be of good cheer, they are out there.”
Many of the longtime leaders of Washington conservative organizations and Republican congressional and Party leaders are fine people, some are friends, but few are conservative anymore.
Many long ago traded their conservative principles for access to establishment power, invitations to the right parties or an earmark for a road or bridge in their District.
However, history tells us that when Republicans present fresh conservative faces who are “boat rockers” they win elections.
That is why Republicans need to clean house and present new, conservative faces to the public – the 1994 takeover of the House and the 2010 Tea Party wave were won, not by the old establishment leaders, but with young conservatives as the faces of the GOP.
Unfortunately, Republicans repaid the trust voters gave them in 2010 by returning to power many of the leaders whose policies caused the routs of 2006 and 2008. Porker of the Month and earmarker-in-chief John Mica of Florida, Big Spending Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Dealmaker Speaker John Boehner all talked a good game in 2010, but in the two years Republicans have controlled the House the deficit has been over a trillion dollars each year.
The “draconian budget cuts” promised in 2011 actually resulted in a multi-billion dollar budget increase and our national debt is now $15 trillion-plus.
And conservatives who objected were told to “get their asses in line” by the Speaker himself.
After two years of promises and failures it is clear you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, or wean a longtime Congressman from the taxpayer’s wallet. Like the Biblical Jews, we need new leaders, a clean slate and a new start in order to get to the political Promised Land.
The same dynamic is found in many of our long-established conservative organizations.
They do good solid work in the areas they know and have grown comfortable with, but many in their leadership have become focused on access to establishment power, rather than rocking the boat to achieve conservative victory over establishment power.
Consequently, many refused to call out the Bush administration for abandoning conservative principles and many gave the Republican congressional leadership a pass for opposing Cut, Cap and Balance and other conservative policy solutions.
The good news is that a new generation of organizations led by young conservative “boat rockers” is rising to fill the gaps.
James O'Keefe's Project Veritas uses edgy citizen journalism techniques to video potential vote fraud, Medicaid fraud and other big government abuses.
Ned Ryun and his team at American Majority have stepped in to train over 20,000 grassroots activists and almost 2,000 conservative candidates – filling a hole left by moribund Republican parties and long-ignored by Washington’s conservative organizations.
Erick Erickson of Red State and the many other young conservative bloggers who hold the establishment’s feet to the fire every day and who have helped build the internet into the powerful tool for conservatives I outlined in my book America's Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power.
During his presidential campaign, Rick Santorum energized a whole new “Santorum demographic” of young conservative activists in state after state.
Running as an unabashed conservative with a platform of conservative change, Louisiana’s 40-year old Governor Bobby Jindal rolled to an unprecedented re-election victory winning about 66 percent of the total vote in a nine candidate field.
In the House of Representatives young conservative freshmen, such as Justin Amash (Mich-3) Chip Cravaack (Minn.-8) and Tim Scott (S.C.-1) have bucked the House Republican leadership to stand for conservative principles by voting against raising the debt ceiling and for real solutions to our spending, deficit and debt crisis. Michael Williams, running for Congress in TX-25, has the same kind of promise and qualifications to provide the leadership necessary to return America to greatness and freedom under the Constitution.
Senator Jim DeMint and the young principled conservatives who were elected in 2010, such as Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee and Rand Paul have inspired a new group of young and young thinking, conservatives to run for the Senate.
Young candidates like Ted Cruz for Senate in Texas, Josh Mandel running for Senate in Ohio, Don Stenberg running for Senate in Nebraska and Mark Neumann running for Senate in Wisconsin are all strong principled conservatives who represent a new generation of candidates unencumbered by the old ways of doing things in Washington.
Young “boat rocker” Dan Liljenquist in Utah is taking on Senator Orrin Hatch, who was elected in 1976, the year after Liljenquist was born. Young-thinking Richard Mourdock, who opposed the Chrysler giveaway to the UAW and Fiat on behalf of Hoosier bondholders, is taking on Senator Richard Lugar, who like Hatch, was first elected to the Senate in 1976.
It remains to be seen whether any of these new faces have the same commitment to conservative principles that led Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan to challenge the Republican establishment and run for President.
But one thing is clear – in the 2012 election and beyond, conservatives won’t leave the field to establishment Republicans. We will hold the GOP responsible and accountable for its actual conduct – what policies it produces, not just its campaign promises. We will not be intimidated by “the lesser of two evils” argument the establishment makes when it betrays conservative principles, and as we reclaim our independence as conservatives we will act as a Third Force to rock the boat and demand positive accomplishments from Republicans in restoring our liberties and shrinking the federal Leviathan.