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The New York Times Attacks Us Deplorables, I Fight Back: Part 1 of 3

Richard Viguerie









A week or so ago in an op-ed entitled “Why Steve King’s Punishment Took So Long” by Sam Rosenfeld and Daniel Schlozman The New York Times attacked me, the late Paul Weyrich, Morton Blackwell, Newt Gingrich and the modern conservative movement in general for adopting “a more pugilistic approach” to politics and abandoning “traditional Republican small-government political appeals in favor of mobilizations over busing, abortion and gay rights while courting the segregationist George Wallace’s followers and brokering a fateful alliance between Christian evangelicals and the Republican Party.”

After more than 50 years in conservative politics at the national level I’ve come to expect this kind of ad hominem attack from the Left, so my initial reaction was to ignore it. Furthermore, I figured that although Steve King is a friend, and this latest attack on him seemed patently unfair, he is a big boy and has done a good job of defending himself in his most recent controversy.

But then I got to thinking that if the entire conservative movement is to be indicted as racists by a newspaper that employs acknowledged racists, such as Sarah Jeong of #CancelWhitePeople fame, then a “more pugilistic” response was required.

Let’s start with a little bit of history about how the “fateful alliance between Christian evangelicals and the Republican Party” came to be and how conservatives and Republicans came to adopt the “more pugilistic approach” to politics decried by Rosenfeld and Schlozman.

As I outlined in my book TAKEOVER, in the immediate post-World War II era the Republican Party, and the conservative movement (often two very different things) consisted of economic conservatives and national defense conservatives.

This “two-legged stool” if you will, could, and did, win some elections, but with only two legs it wasn’t a stable, winning national coalition.

It was Ronald Reagan who had the insight—perhaps genius is a better term—to create his winning political movement by starting with two legs composed of the economic and national defense conservatives who supported Senator Barry Goldwater for president and, by adding a third leg, created a stable three-legged stool. Reagan did that by welcoming social conservatives into the Republican Party.

Separately, each leg of the Reagan coalition was virtually powerless at the national level – and that’s exactly how Leftists, such as Rosenfeld and Schlozman, and liberal Democrats with presidential aspirations, would like to keep it.

Reagan didn’t originate the idea of adding social conservatives to the existing conservative coalition. Astute observers of national politics, such as Tom Ellis of North Carolina, had already seen the unharnessed political potential of Evangelical Christians, but the idea of organizing the Religious Right into a political committee perhaps formed first in the minds of Paul Weyrich and Rev. Jerry Falwell.

As the 1980 presidential campaign began to take shape no one really knew if this marriage would work. The political power of a coalition of California free-market-oriented entrepreneurs, anti-Communists, conservative defense intellectuals, and the socially conservative pastors and social commentators who led the Reagan coalition wasn’t obvious in the beginning – and it certainly made establishment Republicans uncomfortable.

But it worked, and the importance of Reagan’s addition of social conservatives to the GOP coalition cannot be overstated.

It took all three of the legs of the new conservative coalition to create a stable platform for victory, or as my late friend Jeff Bell insightfully put it in his book, The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism: “When social issues came into the mix—I would date it from the 1968 election . . . the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections.”

Social issues have come to the fore on the GOP side in two of the past eight presidential elections—in 1988 (prison furloughs, the Pledge of Allegiance, the ACLU) and 2004 (same-sex marriage). “Those are the only two elections since Reagan where the Republican Party has won a popular majority,” Bell said. “It isn’t coincidental.”

Reagan took all the discontents within the Republican Party and molded them into a coherent conservative ideology and a winning coalition that defeated the Republican establishment in the primaries and beat Jimmy Carter and John Anderson’s third-party run in a landslide carrying forty-four out of fifty states.

It seems lost on Rosenfeld and Schlozman that what Reagan (and Trump) did was empower millions of previously powerless Americans of all colors and ethnic backgrounds whose values, faith and aspirations were being trampled by an overweening government run by an arrogant and out of touch elite.

It is worth noting that this is exactly the opposite of what Mitt Romney and the Republican establishment did in 2012. To the extent that Romney had an ideology, it was the same Big Government Republicanism that cost the Republicans control of the House in 2006 and left them neutered until the Tea Party came roaring to life in 2009 and ran against the Republican establishment and Obama in 2010.

Contrary to what Rosenfeld and Schlozman claim in their column, the views of the conservative coalition created by Ronald Reagan and resurrected by Donald Trump, were not, and are not, “extreme.”

You can hear them preached at services in churches and synagogues across America where living according to Biblical principles is extolled, where defending Israel, supporting persecuted Jews and Christians, and the right-to-life is the majority view, and tithing and offerings to support missionaries and other good works at home and abroad are completely normal.

However, to the hard Left that now runs the Democratic Party civic virtues of any stripe that derive from religious conviction are somehow “extreme,” mostly because they motivate conservative voters to engage in the political process to elect Republican candidates who share those views and are committed to pursuing policies that advance those principles.

At the core of Rosenfeld and Schlozman’s argument is the notion that the elite Left is somehow more virtuous than the great unwashed mass of conservatives. The problem is that the superior virtue of the elite Left is often not apparent to an electoral majority of Americans who resent open borders, globalist elitism and the erosion of American sovereignty, economic and military power.

Given that the ideas that motivate conservatives are so widely held, what Rosenfeld and Schlozman are really saying is that all those millions of discontented voters who go to religious services and believe in the Bible and the Constitution as written are, by definition, racists.

In that lie, they couldn’t be more wrong. The modern conservative movement that coalesced around Ronald Reagan empowered the previously powerless conservative voters of America. Donald Trump has done something similar by adding previously powerless economic nationalists and constitutional conservatives to the Republican coalition.

However, if like Rosenfeld and Schlozman, you believe the lie that the elite Left is more virtuous, then you must also believe we deplorables who voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, voted for the Contract with America in 1994, the Tea Party movement in 2010 and Donald Trump in 2016 are unworthy to govern and we should simply cede power to the Leftist elite and resume the status of the powerless victims we were prior to the rise of the Reagan coalition and the modern conservative movement.

Next, Part 2, a coherent conservative worldview vs. a collection of liberal interest groups…

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The Core of Progressive Ideology

Well done, Mr. Viguerie. Progressivism, particularly in its current Neo-Marxist incarnation, is based on the core belief that we ordinary people are not competent to govern ourselves, hence governing should be left to "experts." This is precisely the opposite of what our founders believed and incorporated into the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and why, if they win, "Democrats" will pick up where Obama left off in their quest to "fundamentally transform America" into a communist dictatorship!