Richard Viguerie is a right-wing strategist who invented their direct mail campaign in the 1960's. This consisted of sending short, simple (even too simple in terms of truth)letters to people asking for money to oppose abortion or to shrink the government. Many of the respondents sent in small donations and also identified themselves as the base of what today is the socially conservative movement in the Republican party. Th wingnuts, for short. So Viguerie is kind of a king of wingnuts. He gave an interview to the Salon about what's going to happen now that the Republicans finally have "a mandate". Would you like to know what he is saying? I don't think you do, but I'm going to tell you anyway:
, who is the author most recently of "America's Right Turn: How the Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power," took a break Thursday from his work blocking Specter's ascension to the Judiciary chairmanship to talk with Salon.
You were quoted in the New York Times Thursday saying, "The revolution begins now." But I thought the [conservative] revolution has been going on for a while.
Well, it has; that's a good observation. But it hasn't been at the public policy level. The conservatives have been engaged in building the movement for 43 years. Actually, it really started 49 years ago, when Bill Buckley launched the National Review. Morton Blackwell [one of Viguerie's contemporaries and fellow activists] said many years ago that when he first came to Washington he realized that conservatives had never nominated anyone for president. That was our first challenge, and we did that in 1964 [when Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona won the Republican nomination for president]. Then, we needed to nominate and elect somebody, and we did that in 1980 [with Ronald Reagan]. Then our next goal was to nominate, elect and govern. And that's what we have not yet done. We have not yet governed.
But you can't call it a revolution anymore if you're in power, if you're the government? Or can you?
It would be [a revolution] in terms of legislation. The time is now to take a very different approach to governing that this town hasn't seen since the 1930s, when Democrats took control of the White House in the 1932 election [with FDR]. Since then, the big-government establishment has driven the political agenda. They started driving it in the early 1930s, and they pretty much drove the agenda through 1994 [when Republicans seized control of both the House and the Senate for the first time in 40 years].
Then things kind of came to a halt. It was difficult for the conservatives to implement a lot of their agenda. [With Bill Clinton's election in 1992] they didn't have the White House. The president could veto our legislation, as he did. And then, we had slim [conservative] majorities to none in the Senate. Now we have a comfortable margin. And George Bush has a mandate. It's humorous and amusing to hear people in the media and liberals in the country -- and even some Republicans, though not many, just one as a matter of fact -- who are saying we're not going to move on [our conservative agenda].
If we don't move forward now, what was the purpose of building the movement? We were told under Reagan we couldn't do this and that because we didn't have the House or a majority of conservative senators. Now, we've got everything. We've got a president reelected based on running a conservative agenda. We're thrilled and pleased. We've got a good comfortable [conservative Republican] majority in both houses. Now's the time to do it.
Just to remove any doubt that we are not going to see much unification this year if the wingnuts have their way. Which they might, given that they now have a one-party country to operate in.
Georgie Porgie will have to do an intricate dance here if he doesn't want to use up the ace in his sleeve within the next four years. The ace is of course banning choice in child-bearing, first through the banning of abortion and then through the banning of contraception.
Another article in the Salon poins out that this election was one in which the working classes pretty much went for Bush. The Republicans have succeeded in creating a populist movement which benefits only the conservative elites and their corporate cronies. I must take my hat off for them: this is something Macchiavelli would applaud if he still had hands.