Perhaps no other person has spent more time within the conservative movement and guided its development than Richard Viguerie. As a pioneer of direct mail fundraising, one of the original founders of Young Americans for Freedom and as prolific political fundraiser, Viguerie has been involved in the conservative movement for over 50 years.
But his experience and involvement within politics has led him to a stunning conclusion.
“Conservatives haven’t had a lot of victories in the last 100 years,” Viguerie told The Daily Caller Friday.
The political fundraiser has a new book coming out, “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It,” that argues there’s a civil war going on in the GOP — and conservatives have lost many of the battles.
He defines conservatives by their desire “to go back to a government that lives within the constitution — that does limit the power and scope of government.”
In his book, Viguerie argues that liberal Democrats are not the real adversaries of small-government inclined conservatives, but it’s establishment Republicans — like John Boehner — who are capable of pushing through government expansion, hurting the party at the polls.
“Our true opponents are Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Karl Rove, and George Bush. They’re the ones who have been engaged in a massive expansion of government and the American voters don’t like them,” “Whenever they are the face of the opposition to the Democrats, the Republicans almost always lose on the national level. It is the most important political battle in America and it’s not between Republicans and Democrats — it’s inside the Republican Party. And for the most part, conservatives have been losing.”
But in his opinion — outside of a few political victories, cutting taxes and other fiscal reforms — his side of the Republican party has lost on the cultural war front and have not been able to affect change thanks to the predominance of liberalism in cultural institutions.
“We’ve lost more than we’ve gained… It’s for many reasons and a major reason is that the leadership of almost every institution in America is arrayed against the conservatives’ views and values.”
Viguerie believed that big business, educational institutions and Hollywood all contribute to an environment where a predominantly liberal viewpoint holds power in the country.
The political activist calls for the creation of “third force” groups that would dedicate themselves to niche issues and broaden the range of views within the conservative movement and new leaders to take charge of the GOP.
“Conservatives are like the biblical Jews who had to wander through the desert for 40 years until that generation of flawed leaders had passed from the scene. We’re not going to get to the political promise land unless we get new leaders,” Viguerie said. ”We’ve done well with less taxes, balancing the budget, smaller government, etc. But it’s not going to lead to a permanent governing coalition in America, so we need to add many more issues to our platform.”
He does believe that the current GOP is more conservative now than it was during Reagan’s time — citing the fact that no mainstream candidate of the party can run on a pro-choice agenda amongst other issues that are more in line with his definition of a conservative agenda.
“The number one mistake that conservatives have made over the last 30 years is becoming an appendage of the Republican party,” Viguerie believes.
But he now feels that many leaders of the party, such as Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, are no longer fettered to the party and he sees this as a positive development for his side of the GOP.
Viguerie writes in his book that this development bodes well for his side of the party and that there are several new issues that conservatives can get out front on and attract new voters, such as criminal sentencing reform.
“We need to identify lots of new issues and the reform of the criminal justice system is going to be a major issue in 2016. The left cannot lead on this issue — it is a major, major problem,” Viguerie said.