GOP getting ‘strong signal’ that ‘there’s unrest at grassroots’
House Speaker John Boehner easily fended off an 11th-hour effort by conservatives to deny him another term, but longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie says the Republican majorities in Congress need to take concrete steps to prove they are taking the nation down a more responsible path, or members can expect some bruising primaries in 2016.
Viguerie has been an active conservative for more than 50 years. He pioneered the use of direct mail in political campaigns. Viguerie is now chairman of ConservativeHQ.com and an author, most recently of “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It.” He said the conservative insurgents failed on Tuesday but also delivered a clear message.
“I think this sends a strong signal to the leadership that there’s unrest at the grassroots,” said Viguerie, noting the next intraparty battle could unfold next year if GOP leaders don’t chart a solidly conservative course during the 114th Congress.
“The most important thing for conservatives to be focused on between now and election 2016 is the primaries,” he said. “I say, ‘It’s the primaries, stupid.’”
Viguerie added, “We’re going to be collecting a list of people who are supportive of big government by things like (the vote for speaker), those that voted for the cromnibus bill which increased government spending, and there will be many other votes that we can take a look at. I think you’re going to see a record number of Republican House members that are going to be challenged in the primaries in 2016.”
Viguerie said there’s an easy way for incumbent Republicans to avoid such a headache, by pursuing a solid agenda over the next two years. One area of progress, he said, would be for the GOP to “get off of defense” when it comes to spending and get serious about fiscal responsibility.
“Compromise, for as long as I can remember in Washington, has meant we grow government,” Viguerie said. “(Republicans) don’t grow it as much as the Democrats would like but we grow government at some level. Let’s put a marker out there that we want to reduce the power, the scope, the reach of the federal government and compromise with the Democrats that we’re going to reduce it maybe not as much as we want, but we’re going to reduce it.”
Another major focus for the GOP majorities, according to Viguerie, is to obey the demands of voters expressed in last year’s elections.
Written by GREG COROMBOS
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