By Andrew J. Ireland
WASHINGTON – “Outrageous,” “unconscionable,” “corrupt” and “immoral” are just a few of the words Richard Viguerie, often called the “funding father” of conservatism for his breakthrough fundraising procedures, is using to describe the tactics that gave Sen. Thad Cochran a narrow primary runoff election victory over tea party favorite Chris McDaniel in Mississippi.
Viguerie, in an exclusive interview with WND, charged that appeals to Democrats, bait-and-switch tactics and character assaults may have played a role in the results, and he advises the McDaniel campaign to “be looking very seriously to see if there was illegal campaign cash passed out.”
He was an architect of the Reagan revolution and the godfather of direct-mail communications, and said Cochran’s 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent margin is a prime target for investigation.
“There’s a long history, particularly in the South, of buying votes,” Viguerie said. “In many years gone by they did it with a pint of liquor. These days it’s known as ‘walking around money.’”
He said one flyer that appeared suggested that McDaniel had links to racism, and that’s something Viguerie called deceptive.
“The tea party conservatives are leading the country’s effort to save tens of millions of black babies, the ones working to improve the inner-city schools that are failing the black community,” Viguerie exclaimed. “It’s the conservative approach to the economy, the free market that has brought so many people, including blacks, out of poverty.”
The “establishment,” on the other hand, wants people “enslaved to the plantation of big government,” he said.
See what the “funding father” of conservatism has to say about the battle raging for primacy in the GOP, in “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It.”
Viguerie described Cochran as a longtime favorite of the establishment and charged that he essentially “sold his soul” to Democrats to support him in the GOP primary runoff.
Cochran’s own campaign had noted his willingness to work with Barack Obama and also highlighted his efforts to bring sizable sums of federal dollars for pork-barrel projects in the state.
Officials say by Mississippi law, citizens who vote in one party’ primary are not allowed to vote in another party’ run-off. However, many tea party activists believe that those laws were broken.
On Thursday Examiner.com reported that Laura Van Overschelde, president of the Mississippi Tea Party, said the group had uncovered about 800 voting “discrepancies” in one county alone.
She said in Hinds County, there appeared to be that many voters who participated in both the June 3 Democratic primary and the June 24 GOP runoff election.
Even with a legal challenge by McDaniel’s, Viguerie concedes, it is unlikely he will be the next senator from Mississippi.
Viguerie said his team instead should focus on ousting establishment Republicans like Haley Barbour and Trent Lott.
Further, he advises that conservatives stop contributing to groups like the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee.
He charged those groups essentially with running bait and switch schemes where they appeal for support from limited government conservatives but use those funds to support big-government establishment Republican candidates.
Viguerie’s latest project, a WND Books product, “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It,” documents that fights like the McDaniel-Cochran faceoff have been going on for a long time.
But he said it’s building to a climax soon.
He said he wrote his book to provide a road map for conservatives to elect like-minded leaders and explain how to bring the Republican Party to value limited government, constitutional conservatives.
He said the Cochran-McDaniel race wasn’t really a loss for the tea party, but an indication of its growth.
“The tea party is gaining in strength,” he said. “With rare exceptions, most all establishment candidates are running as constitutional conservatives…”
He was encouraged.
“The Texans after their defeat at the Alamo rose up as one to defeat the Mexican army. Conservatives will never forget the corrupt Republican establishment Mississippi election,” he said.
“Every time they pull the kind of tricks they pulled in Mississippi they just make grassroots conservatives angrier and more committed to change – they are feeding the tea party revolution, not killing it,” Viguerie finished.
Andrew Ireland is and intern for WND.