Richard Viguerie: 'Cranky Conservatives' are Responsible for Sarah Palin Pick; Conservatives Who Kept Silent Deserve no Credit for Selection that Saved the GOP
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MANASSAS, Virginia, Sept. 5 /Christian Newswire/ -- Conservatives who refused to fall in line behind the Republican Party--who maintained their independence, at the price of being ridiculed as "cranky" or "impossible to please"--are the ones responsible for John McCain's brilliant, game-changing selection of Sarah Palin, Richard A. Viguerie said.
"Those who backed John McCain as the 'lesser of two evils' did no favors to themselves, their movement, or to Senator McCain," said Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. "He needed to know what conservatives really thought, and he needed to know what had to be done to get conservatives enthusiastically on board his campaign.
"As we know now, what he had to do was pick Sarah Palin," he said.
Viguerie said credit for the Palin selection belongs, "of course, to Senator McCain, but also to those who made it clear that, without a strong, principled conservative on the ticket, they would vote for it - but do little else."
Specifically, Viguerie listed, as the heroes of the campaign for a conservative running mate:
· Those conservatives who withheld their support and refused to endorse Senator McCain until after he announced his vice presidential selection.
· Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, who "went nuclear" in their criticism in the past couple of weeks before the announcement upon hearing that the pick might be Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge, or someone nearly as disastrous for the McCain campaign and the Republican Party. ("Those of us who spoke up strongly were roundly criticized by some conservatives," Viguerie noted.) It was our firestorm that stopped that catastrophe from coming to pass.
· The bloggers and radio talk show hosts who spent day after day detailing conservatives' problems with John McCain, and who kept the focus on the most important question: Who are the people who would make and carry out policy in a McCain administration?
· Those who chose to stay home rather than vote in Republican primaries when there was no real top-tier conservative contender.
· Those who threw Republican fundraising letters in the trash, and who gave Republican telemarketers a piece of their mind instead of their money.
"Some folks raise questions about John McCain's health," Viguerie said, "but we know one thing about his health: His hearing works just fine.
"Across this country, conservatives and Republicans at every level let John McCain know what he needed to do to get them fired up and excited and ready to go door-to-door and make phone calls and do all the things that have to be done. They told him, and he listened, and his selection of Sarah Palin has completely turned his campaign around.
"Contrast the principled conservatives with those conservatives who lacked the courage to speak up. As much as anyone, conservatives who remained silent bear responsibility for the Republican Party's drift away from conservative principles, and into disaster, over the past eight, ten, twelve years."
One of Senator McCain's idols is Teddy Roosevelt, Viguerie noted, "and Teddy Roosevelt spoke of how the credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by sweat and blood, who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. The go-along-to-get-along crowd are 'cold and timid souls,' while those conservatives who held to their principles are the men and women 'in the arena' who can claim their own share of John McCain and Sarah Palin's triumph last night."
NOTE TO EDITORS: Richard A. Viguerie pioneered political direct mail and has been called "one of the creators of the modern conservative movement" (The Nation magazine), one of the "conservatives of the century" (The Washington Times), and one of 2008's "top 25 influencers" among Republicans (NewsMax magazine). His latest book is Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big-Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.