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What Richard Viguerie Told POLITICO


POLITICO, one of the DC establishment’s favored vehicles for getting its message out, ran an interesting article over the weekend entitled “Tea party loses again; blame game begins” by Kyle Cheney, a reporter for POLITICO’s Campaign Pro. (link at the end of this piece)
The premise of the article was that there is some sort of blame game going on in the ranks of the Tea Party movement over its win – loss record in Republican Primary elections this cycle.
It stands to reason that some losing candidates and their teams would be disappointed and look to outside factors for their losses; just look at Mitt Romney’s people. You can’t find a one of them who will admit that Romney’s content free campaign and abysmal get-out-the-vote effort were to blame for his defeat.
So it is not particularly surprising that the loser in a hard-fought battle, such as the Kentucky Senate race where challenger Matt Bevin took on incumbent establishment Republican Mitch McConnell and lost or the South Carolina race where the campaign to unseat establishment Republican Lindsey Graham never quite jelled for any one of his half-dozen challengers, would be frustrated that they didn’t win and blame it on something beside their own campaign.
But we talk to a lot of grassroots activists here and we’re not hearing a lot of recriminations.
Don’t get us wrong.
Everyone would rather win a campaign than lose a campaign, but that’s not why most activists we know got involved in the Tea Party movement.
They got involved to change the direction of this country and, in many cases, to push the Republican Party to follow limited government constitutional conservative principles.
From that perspective 2014 has been a success for the Tea Party movement, even as many of the candidates the movement backed have lost.
Look at it this way: there’s no amnesty for illegal aliens or “comprehensive immigration reform” that will make granting amnesty easier; Republicans have turned against the Ex-Im Bank and other corporate crony giveaways and practically every Republican, whether the claim stands the red-face test or not, is running for office as a “conservative.”
If you are building a movement, politics and campaigns are not zero sum games; each campaign, be it for an issue or elective office, is a step in the process of attracting and activating adherents to your cause.
Activist movements on the Left understand this concept very well, and until they became appendages of the Republican Party, so did conservatives.
If we look back on many of the milestones in the growth of the modern conservative movement we can see that a lot of them did not result in a “win” for the position or candidate conservatives were backing.
Barry Goldwater’s campaign for President in 1964, the Panama Canal Treaty battle, and Ronald Reagan’s 1968 and 1976 presidential campaigns were not successful in the sense that conservatives got the immediate outcome they desired – but they were successes for the movement in that millions of conservatives were prompted to get involved in politics and public policy.
As Mr. Viguerie told POLITICO, “The tea party was formed to change America and they are having that effect,”
This cycle many high profile candidates backed by the Tea Party movement lost, but many Tea Partiers down ballot won offices such as school board, county commissioner or state legislative seats building the movement's bench for future campaigns. Just as importantly, thousands of activists received training in grassroots campaign techniques and far from looking backwards and having recriminations about the results of the 2014 cycle they are preparing for the next election.
Click the link to read POLITICO’s “Tea party loses again; blame game begins <> ” by Kyle Cheney, and please let us know what you think by registering and leaving a comment for this article.

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