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‘Go Big’ Excerpt #4: Newt’s Four-Part Plan

Go Big: The Marketing "Secrets" of Richard A. Viguerie on How Conservatives Can Win with Bigger and MORE: Organizations, Donors, and Money is now available on Amazon, click here to order. Visit the Go Big website to vote in the

2024 conservative presidential preference poll and learn more about how you and your conservative organization can "Go Big" and help save our country.

In excerpt #3 of Go Big I explained the practical application of BRANDING and how it should be used to BRAND Democrats and how it has been used to BRAND conservatives and Republicans.

Today, I want to share a fundamental tool that will help you build a successful organization or campaign and in the process, help save our country.

My heritage is Cajun. Ask a Cajun chef how to prepare any Cajun dish, and he or she will each start with the same sentence, “Well, first you make a roux [a sauce].” My advice before starting any important project is, “Well, first you start with what I call ‘Newt’s Four-Part Plan.’”

For about 10 years (mid-1970s to mid-1980s), seven or eight national conservative leaders would come to our home in McLean, Virginia, from 7:30 to 9:30 every Wednesday morning for a two-hour breakfast meeting: Paul Weyrich, Ed Feulner, Terry Dolan, Howard Phillips, Morton Blackwell, Ron Godwin (president of Moral Majority), and others.

When others of our national conservative colleagues and friends would be in town, they would frequently join us for breakfast.

Then for a while in the early 1980s, we would re-convene in the evening for a three-hour dinner with the same people as breakfast, but we would be joined by six or seven mostly young congressmen: Newt Gingrich, Vin Weber, Bob Walker, Hal Daub, Bill Dannemeyer, and a few others. To the extent that there was ever anything like what Hillary Clinton called a “Vast Right-wing Conspiracy,” these breakfasts and dinners would have been it.

Each Wednesday evening as we strategized to build the conservative movement, some problem, opportunity, or need would arise, and Newt Gingrich would go to the blackboard (we didn’t have whiteboards in those days) and write five words in four categories. Thirty minutes later, when we had filled in the four categories, we would see a clear path forward.

Elements Of Newt’s Four-Part Plan

1. Vision

2. Goal

3. Strategy

4. Tactics/Projects

Now, this is not the only way to write a plan, but it is a good simple template. And keep in mind that the most important part of the plan is not working the plan. That’s important, but it’s secondary to writing the plan, because as you think and write the plan, ideas come into focus and you begin to see more clearly when, where, and how to go forward with what you need to add to your life, leave behind, change, abandon, etc. Writing the plan helps clarify/crystalize your thinking. I do this one or two times a week, before important meetings, phone calls, prepping for a trip, etc. What’s the purpose of the meetings, trips, phone calls? What’s my number one goal for the meeting? What’s my number two goal? Who do I want to meet with at the conference? Etc.

The premier business consultant of the twentieth century, Peter Drucker, said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” And Kevin Gentry in his weekly blog, Tips, on March 5, 2022, quotes his friend and mentor, Dino Cortopassi: “The best tactics or operations in the world with a so-so strategy can only take you so far. But a superior strategy, even with mediocre tactics, can fly you to the moon.”

In our breakfasts and dinners, we were strategizing how to build the conservative movement and effectively battle the Left. In June of 1975, John Filka of the Washington Star wrote an article and referred to us as the “New Right.” That phrase caught on. We were clearly new and different conservatives.

The New Right was the same ideologically as the Old Right; however, we were operationally different. We would start our day thinking about what two, three, four things we could do today to advance the conservative cause and liberty, and defeat liberals. Also, the New Right (unlike the Old Right), as well as today’s conservatives, included social/cultural issues as part of our agenda.

The Old Right, personified by conservative giants like Senators Bob Taft, Barry Goldwater, Strom Thurmond, and John Tower, would show up for a vote in Congress, get beat 2-1, and ask “When’s the next vote?” When told, they would say something like, “Ok, I’ll be back.” In other words, as Morton Blackwell said after he had been in Washington, D.C., a year or two, it came as a great shock when he realized Barry Goldwater, Strom Thurmond, John Tower, and other conservative politicians did not meet once a day, once a week, once a month, or even once a year to plan conservative strategy.

In those days, no one was leading the conservative movement. I sometimes describe the conservatives after Goldwater’s 1964 loss and before Reagan’s 1980 election to the presidency as conservatives being leaderless. It was like my friends and I were sitting in the back of an airplane that was going through a lot of turbulence. The plane was bouncing all over the sky. So, Weyrich, Phillips, Feulner, Falwell, Blackwell, Dolan, Phyllis Schlafly, Paul Laxalt, Jesse Helms, Tom Ellis, and others, and I got up our courage, walked to the front of the plane, and knocked on the cockpit door. (You could do that in the 1970s.) There was no answer, so we opened the door and found it empty—no one was flying the plane.

In other words, no one was in charge of the conservative movement.

We all began to take our seats, got out our legal pads, put down our coffee cups, picked up a copy of Human Events, National Review, Conservative Digest, and began a seven- to eight-year process of leading the conservative movement. That lasted until January 1981 when Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the fortieth president of the United States, and of course he became the leader of the conservative movement.

The Old Right operated as a two-legged stool, which is not very sturdy. The two legs of the stool were economic issues (lower taxes, balanced budgets, etc.) and national security (which mostly meant anti-communism). However, under the leadership at first of Paul Weyrich and Jerry Falwell, conservatives began to add traditional values issues to the country’s political discussion, and now conservatives were sitting on a three-legged stool. And by the late 1970s, instead of getting 45, 47, or 48% of the vote, conservatives started to get 51, 52, even 55% of the vote.

I strongly encourage conservative organizations to have:

  • a three- to five-year big picture plan for their organization,

  • a plan to double their donors in the next 12 to 18 months, and

  • a plan to grow their organization by 10x in the next three to five years.

Most people think of a plan as a list of their dreams, wishes, hopes, aspirations, etc.

“I want to get a good paying job” is not a plan, it’s a goal.

“I want a wife” is not a plan, it’s a goal.

“I want to be a millionaire by age 30” is not a plan, it’s a goal.

“I want to raise $10 million this year” is not a plan, it’s a goal.

“I want to get 55% of the vote” is not a plan, it’s a goal.

Few conservative organizations have a written plan for the next three years, two years, or even this year. Without a well-written plan, it will be difficult to raise high dollar/major donations, because wealthy donors can see you don’t have the foggiest idea how to go from A to B, much less A to Z.

Winston Churchill said, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is everything.”

As the old saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any train or road will get you there.”

Click here to order Go Big: The Marketing "Secrets" of Richard A. Viguerie on How Conservatives Can Win with Bigger and MORE: Organizations, Donors, and Money from Amazon


Excerpt #1 from Go BigWhy Conservatives Must Go Big

Excerpt #2 from Go Big - From Young Americans For Freedom To Viguerie’s Four Horsemen Of Marketing

Excerpt #3 from Go BigBranding Conservatives – Branding Democrats

  • Free Speech

  • conservative leadership

  • conservative grassroots organization

  • political marketing

  • branding

  • political fundraising

  • issue advocacy

  • Young Americans For Freedom

  • Newt Gingrich 4 part plan

  • New Right

  • Strategy

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