Richard A. Viguerie and Steven J. Allen: It's time for the Tea Party to take over the GOP
Books like "The Death of Conservatism," "The Strange Death of Republican America," and "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation" seemed to be accurate descriptions of reality, and 2002's "The Emerging Democratic Majority" seemed flawed only in that it was a little premature. The Big Government Republicans, it seemed, had served as architects of a long-term, perhaps permanent, liberal Democratic majority.
Yet, in 2010, Republicans had their best election in six or seven decades. What happened? Mostly, what happened was the Tea Party movement -- a citizen uprising that provided Republican candidates across the country with hundreds of thousands of grass-roots volunteers, small donors and advocates.
Now we hear, from the likes of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and lobbyist Trent Lott, that, without the Tea Party, Republicans would have done much better. The blame for the GOP's failure to capture the Senate lies, in their view, with Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Tea Party Express and their ilk.
Because political parties always do better without actual supporters - right?
The RINOs' reaction to the 2010 election results -- a reaction that can be described as deluded, insane, or (dare we say it?) DeMinted -- is further evidence that, while the Republican Party is alive and well, its Big Government wing is flailing in its death throes.
The Big Government Republicans no longer contribute to the party's success either intellectually or in putting boots on the ground. They contribute only money and kvetching, plus an occasional last-minute endorsement of a Democrat running against a Tea Party-backed Republican.
The 2010 election made it clear: The era of Big Government Republicanism is over.
As the Big Government Republicans take their place in the dustbin of history beside the slavery-accommodationist wing of the Whig Party, it's time for Tea Partiers to take the next logical step in the development of their movement.
It's time to begin the hard work that will ensure that future Republican nominees, at all levels from constable to president, are supporters of Tea Party principles. It's time to flood GOP meetings, to seek party offices ranging from precinct committee member to national convention delegate, and to gently (or not) push aside the party's moribund, incompetent leadership.
How incompetent? Polls show that conservatives outnumber liberals by more than 2 to 1 nationally, and that conservatives outnumber liberals in 49 or 50 of the 50 states, yet the Left dominates our country's politics, media, academia, and, increasingly, big business.
Such is possible only because members of the Republican establishment are more concerned with the needs of K Street and Wall Street than the needs of Main Street. They worry more about their popularity down at the country club than about the concerns of working-class and small-business-class Americans.
And they know so little about how politics really works that, offered the opportunity to tap into the energy and activism of tens of millions of Tea Partiers, they greet these new recruits with derision and disdain.
Some have asked how the Tea Party movement hopes to pressure Republican leaders or influence the Republican Party. That's the wrong way to look at it. With regard to the GOP, the proper goal of the Tea Party movement is not to pressure Republican leaders, but to become the Republican leaders. From this day forward, the goal is not to influence the party, but to become the party.
Richard A. Viguerie is chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. Steven J. Allen is editor of Tea Party Review magazine, to be published in 2011.