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Viguerie and Bozell: We conservatives fight not to relive the past, but to create an even more glorious future

In remarks at this year's Values Voter Summit CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie said the number one need the conservative cause has had for over 50 years is for more leaders. And in his acceptance remarks this year's Family Research Council Vision and Leadership Award recipient, L. Brent Bozell III, issued this challenge to conservatives: If you want to abandon the battlefield, then do your children, and your grandchildren a favor. Tell them. Sit them down, look them right in the eye (if you can) and utter three simple words: "I give up." What was passed down to you, you will not pass down to them. They are on their own.

L Brent Bozell III and Richard A Viguerie

2015 Values Voter Summit
Introduction of L. Brent Bozell III by Richard A. Viguerie
September 26, 2015

 

All day I’ve been worried that these giants (Mark Levin, Eric Erickson, Ed Meese, Bill Walter) who came before me would use some of my remarks before I got up here.  So far that hasn’t happened.

As the conservative who’s been active at the national level longer than anyone in this room, I’m going to give you a quick history lesson – for those who came in late -- to the movement – like the last 5, 10 to 15 years.

By the way, not only have I been active at the national level longer than everyone in this room but also longer than every living conservative except for 2 others: Dr. Lee Edwards at the Heritage Foundation and the First Lady of the Conservative movement, Phyllis Schlafly.

I first met Brent Bozell in 1964 when he was about 9 years old living in Kenwood, Maryland, and his Dad was running against a RINO Republican for the House of Representatives.

Some conservatives think the conservative movement started with the Tea Party in 2009, or others think the modern conservative movement started with the Gingrich revolution in 1994 or certainly by Reagan’s election in 1980.

All wrong.  Today’s conservative movement began in the late 1940s and early 1950s and was led by less than a dozen conservatives and our tonight’s honoree’s father, L. Brent Bozell, Jr. was one of them.

His father’s roommate at Yale was clearly the single most important person in the founding of the conservative movement, Bill Buckley, Jr.

Brent’s father had the good sense to marry one of Bill Buckley’s many sisters which means Bill Buckley was Brent’s uncle. So I suspect a case can be made that today’s conservative movement started in a Yale University dormitory room.

In addition to the benefit of a quick history lesson, I tell this background to point out that Saint Ronald Reagan was not always correct.  One of Reagan’s many well-known sayings was that:  “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it on to our children in the blood stream.”

But that’s not so for our honoree tonight.   Brent Bozell, III got his love of liberty and freedom in the blood stream of his father, his mother, his uncle and dozens of other liberty-loving family members.

By the way, if truth be told, in my opinion Brent’s father was just a little bit smarter than his roommate, Bill Buckley.

The award Brent is receiving tonight is the Vision and Leadership award.

How appropriate!

I don’t know of another living conservative who combines the qualities of conservative visionary and leader as well as our honoree tonight.

However, you could also have added that he is a world class strategist and a major spokesman for conservatives as well as one of life’s great human beings.

The number one need the conservative cause has had for over 50 years is for more leaders.

So I was dreaming recently about how great it would be if the cause of liberty had five more Brent Bozells maybe we could save America in 2016. Then my dream turned to a nightmare, what if we had one less?

Brent is a conservative in the mold of his father and mother, his uncle and Ronald Reagan.

He’s a cultural conservative.

He’s an economic conservative.

He’s a national defense conservative.

Plus he’s also a Tea Party conservative.

By the way, the Tea Party is separate from the traditional, three legs of the conservative movement.  The number one problem of the conservative cause is that too many of our leaders became an appendage of the Republican Party.  However, the Tea Party is unfettered to the GOP.

When Ronald Reagan ran for President in 1976, he ran against the entire Republican establishment – the Nixon wing of the party, the Ford wing of the party, and the Rockefeller wing (in 1976 Rockefeller was V.P.).

In the 1976 campaign Reagan talked about the need for new leadership – leadership unfettered by old ties and old relations – the kind we see in the Congress and Washington today that causes corrupt, crony government.

Brent Bozell is an unfettered, four-star general of the conservative movement.  I saved the five-star category for Bill Buckley, Jr., and Ronald Reagan.  However, Brent, if you continue to provide the leadership for the movement for another decade as well as you have these past three decades, you also will have five stars.

Stay well, Brent.  America is in desperate need of your leadership.

Congratulations!  A well-deserved award.

 

2015 Values Voter Summit
Vision and Leadership Award Acceptance Remarks
L. Brent Bozell III

September 26, 2015

 

Thank you so much, Tony.

Before I begin, I hope you will indulge me while I introduce some very special people.

I confess to a certain degree of intimidation by those beautiful testimonials. Allow me to attempt to reciprocate.

Bill Walton. I've come to know Bill in recent years as a commodity in such short supply in our movement today: a captain of industry who understands the fundamental requirement of virtue in business, and speaks to this truth more eloquently than anyone on the national scene today. Besides, he's on the board of directors of both my organizations, he sets my salary, and I'd better say very nice things about my dear, revered, and all-around special friend. And he’s smashingly good-looking.

Erick Erickson. Erick is the conscience of the conservative movement today. Here in the Washington area we can endlessly ponder and discuss and sometimes argue about all manner of issues, on the merits, on strategies, on tactics and the like and then -- kaboom! -- Erick's blog arrives which instantly and accurately resolves everything. It is times like that when I am tempted to become very lazy and let him do all my thinking for me. Erick is the true north of our movement.

Richard Viguerie. I've known and been honored to call Richard my friend since.... well, since forever. He was there at the very start of the modern conservative movement. (Rumor has it that he was also there for the signing of the Magna Carta.)

At its inception our movement had nothing with which to sustain itself financially. It was Richard Viguerie who gave the movement and so many of its principals -- including my father -- the financial ammunition without which it would never have found a footing.

But Richard is more than a founder and the funder; and he is more than one of the best strategic minds of the conservative movement. He is one of the finest men I've ever known, with a heart that’s 24 caret gold.

Chris Plante. Is there anyone in our movement more bemused and amused by the insanities of Washington than this man? You cannot listen to his daily radio show and not chuckle along. The world may be going to hell in a handbasket, but nothing seemingly gets him down. Then you visit with him personally and see there’s no “schtick” at play. It’s in his DNA to lift your spirits, and Chris, you’ve done that so many times for all of us. We are in your debt.

Mark Levin. Mark I've known going back to the days when he didn't scare half the world to death. But he’s never scared me. That’s because I am no fool. I’ve always managed to stay on his good side. Actually, I am too much in awe to be frightened by him.

There is no greater intellectual in the conservative talk radio community than Mark. His books are must reading for anyone needing to appreciate the importance of the Constitution as America's signature.

His show is must listening if you want to fully understand freedom, and our obligation to protect it. It’s also must listening if you want to hear the militant left and the GOP so-called “leadership” eviscerated on a nightly basis.

Ed Meese. I met Gen. Meese when I cut my teeth in this town back in 1980. He epitomized the best of the Reagan Revolution then, and the very best of the conservative movement since. We are all humbled by his grace, his loyalty, his selflessness and his bravery.

Some years ago Gen. Meese announced his pending retirement, and he’s still at it. General, this country thanks you for being a liar.

I state these words publicly, but Gen. Meese -- "Gen. Meese" will always just sound better than "Ed" -- knows I mean this in a most personal way as well: you are the best of the best.

I have a test to measure a man's value. It applies to organizations as well. Where would the world be without him? Ladies and gentlemen, I shudder to think where our country would be today without the Family Research Council, and FRC would not be what it is but for Tony Perkins, as principled and courageous a man as you'll ever meet. Thank God for you Tony, and thank God for the FRC.

Ok. So the Family Research Council does me the incredible honor of awarding me it’s Vision and Leadership Award. I am grateful, and I’m touched, but I have to ask: For what?

I’m reminded of a dinner some years ago when I introduced our speaker, then-National Review publisher Ed Capano. National Review was the gold standard in conservative journalism, and had been for decades, therefore I felt it appropriate to declare him the most accomplished publisher in the conservative movement. Ed responded by laughing and pointing out that for 39 consecutive years the magazine had lost money. "Just how high are your standards?" he asked.

I suppose I could ask the same question: What, exactly has been accomplished with that wonderful vision and leadership of mine? Looking up at the scoreboard, the numbers don’t look good, not at all. It seems like our movement has been in constant retreat for the past three decades. We've suffered some real setbacks and it’s taken its toll on our nation, diminishing us across the board.

We are no longer the world’s undisputed economic powerhouse. We have 93,175,000 Americans not in the labor force. We are saddled with the highest corporate tax rate in the world, not to mention stifling federal, state and everything else taxes. We suffer under a regulatory stranglehold that is slowly chocking the life out of the entrepreneurial spirit that made America the most successful economic experiment in the history of man. Obamacare is destroying our health care system; Dodd Frank is a nightmare for anyone trying to buy a home. The $18 trillion national debt we are leaving our progeny is a national disgrace.

Our military has been neutered and our foreign policy is a calamity. Our enemies are more dangerous than ever and on the march everywhere. Our allies are astonished by our lack of resolve. America is no longer feared or respected: her decline on the world stage is apparent to all. The pure evil of Islamic fascism is spreading like a cancer all over the world and there is nothing stopping it.

Our culture has seemingly collapsed. Infanticide is the law of the land. Tens of millions of babies continue to be killed, their deaths made possible by our tax dollars. Euthanasia is now emerging, not as the horrific consequence of a narcissistic society but as a virtuous endeavor.

Spiritual and intellectual decadence are everywhere. Grotesque art is called beautiful. Raunchy entertainment is judged inconsequential. Indoctrination in academia is seen as enlightenment. I need not tell this audience that there is rampant anti-Christian bigotry on the loose. Indeed the very essence of America's grounding in Judeo-Christian values is threatened.

My goodness. What a list. Are you sufficiently depressed? It is enough to lead us to despair.

Don't you dare allow that to happen. Don’t you dare give up hope.

To surrender hope is to sin against God. In my Catholic faith it is a mortal sin that damns my soul for eternity. To surrender hope is to declare your loss of faith in Him, He who has promised us the triumph of good over evil.

In 2 Corinthians 4 He tells us how we must see the world. "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."

And in Jeremiah 29:11 he is unequivocal about his promise: "For I know the plans I have for you... plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

To despair is also to dishonor your forefathers.

Consider the scene: On Christmas Eve, 1775, facing the most powerful army on earth, freezing, starving, almost out of ammunition, bleeding to death, the remnants of General George Washington’s rag-tag army knew they were days, perhaps just hours away from annihilation. In his powerful book "1776," David McCullough quotes Charles Peale, a man who observed the army and said of one of the near-naked soldiers, “He was in an old, dirty blanket jacket, his beard long, and his face so full of sores that he could not clean it.” So disfigured was he that Peale had failed to recognize the man was his own brother.

Another observer would later write of this army that it was “so destitute of shoes that the blood left on the frozen ground, in many places, marked the route they had taken.

These men had every reason, and every right to despair. Their plight certainly did appear hopeless. But their thirst for a new nation, and to live as free people, was unquenchable and their resolve was unshakeable, so they did the impossible.

These patriots picked up their muskets, and in the middle of the night mounted the canoes, silently crossed the icy waters of the Delaware, and on Christmas day, at the Battle of Trenton, changed the course of history.

To despair is also to betray your own children. Do you want to abandon the battlefield? Then do your children, and your grandchildren a favor. Tell them. Sit them down, look them right in the eye (if you can) and utter three simple words: "I give up." What was passed down to you, you will not pass down to them. They are on their own.

But I know us. I know we'll never do that. I know we can't do that. Why not? What's in our DNA that makes it impossible to surrender? What propels us?

First and foremost, we have our faith. We are Christians (and we do not forget our Jewish brothers). We know John 15:5 -- "apart from me you can do nothing." But we also know Philippians 4:13, which reverses the proposition into the positive: "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

Our faith in God, our love for Him, and the knowledge of His love for us is what propels us. He gives us our crosses to bear, yet no matter how heavy, they’re never too heavy. Think of our brothers and sisters being martyred around the world for their faith. Such courage! Let it inspire us. We, too would accept death rather than turn our backs on our God. But we have life, so we fight for Him.

We revere our forefathers. Millions shed their blood, and hundreds of thousands gave their lives so we could be here, tonight, as Americans, as citizens of the United States of America, the greatest nation on earth, and the greatest nation in history. We keep faith with them not just because it's a duty, but because it's an honor to do so. How they fought for us! And so now we fight for them.

Our greatest natural ambition is to ensure the happiness of our children, and theirs, and again theirs. We dare not leave them this mess to clean up. We show them by our every deed that surrender will never be an option. By their very existence they give us the will and the strength to soldier on. They are our everything! And so we fight for them.

I will confess that I have a growing difficulty with the term "conservative." There's very little in society these days I feel like conserving. But we fight not to relive the past, no matter how magnificent it once was. We fight to create a future, one that could be evermore glorious if we want it so.

Why can't we re-create and make even stronger the greatest economic engine in the history of man? The founders had a theory and the courage of their convictions; we now have the wisdom and confidence of historical fact to buttress us.

What's to say we can't have an economy where every man and woman not only has a job, but a prosperous career where one keeps the fruits of his labors, not just as a reward, but as an but as an inherent right?

What's to say we can't restore all of our freedoms, to live, go, speak, think, pray as we please while reestablishing the imperative that the federal government is forbidden by law from transgressing the enumerated powers?

What's to stop us if we want it badly enough?

Tell me why we can't again be the leader of the free world. Why can't we possess the most powerful military on earth, with a natural reluctance ever to use it unless threatened, in which case our response will be as ferocious as it is decisive, in a world where our enemies fear us and our friends not only respect us, but show gratitude for our goodness?

And why can't we have a world where terrorists reside in the deepest recesses of the darkest of caves -- under the rubble?

What's to stop us if we want it badly enough?

But to be great we must be good and I want America to be good again. I want the great stain on our national soul to be erased, which will happen the day we ban, forever, the slaughter of the unborn, and replace that terrible sin not just with a respect for, but a joyful celebration of life, in all its forms, until natural death.

I want innocence restored to children. I want our nation to again embrace her Judeo-Christian heritage. I want our churches once more to grace the village square, and be the cornerstone of our daily life, invited and inviting in a society where government doesn't control religion, religion guides government.

What's to stop us if we want it badly enough?

I want -- you and I want -- America to again be the most envied, the most prosperous, the most noble, the most generous, the mightiest, the freest, and the most virtuous nation on earth.

A tall order? Not really, not if we want it badly enough.

Let us want it badly enough. That is my hope, and my plea.

I thank you again for your great honor.

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The Grandchildren

All these politicians are so phoney, instead of using grandchildren to get their point across, why don't they stop pandering and do the job they are elected to do and keep America strong and financially fit, taking care of the very legal citizens of this country and the future will automatically be bright for the grandchildren.

This illegal use of immigrants and not knowing who is coming into our country is where the enemy within is coming from. Anyone in this country who does not believe in our constitution is the enemy within. I say to all politicians that when and if the situation in our country is total chaos, we the people should not fight,kill, steal,rape any of our own citizens we should stand together and go after the very people who were elected to protect our country and in fact did just the opposite.