Businessman ‘fed up’ with betrayal of conservatives

By Paul Bremmer

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. (Photo: U.S. House Ways and Means Committee)
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (Photo: U.S. House Ways and Means Committee)

Rep. Paul Ryan will not enjoy a hurdle-free path back to the Republican nomination for Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district, as Wisconsin businessman Paul Nehlen says he is challenging the current House Speaker in his district’s GOP primary.

Ryan replaced Rep. John Boehner, who many times had been accused of betraying conservatives. Now Nehlen says he’s fed up with Ryan betraying conservatives.

“Paul Ryan’s embrace of big government spending, his continued support of illegal immigration and imported workers, and his championing of the job-killing trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership betrays me, this district, and this nation,” Nehlen said, according to the Washington Times.

Longtime conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie said he “absolutely” agrees Speaker Ryan has betrayed conservatives.

“I mean, he’s been part of the Washington Big Government establishment for a long time,” Viguerie told WND. “You don’t get to be in the leadership unless you believe in growing government.”

Viguerie has been active in the conservative movement for over 50 years. He pioneered the use of direct mail in political campaigning, and he now chairs both American Target Advertising and Conservative HQ. He advised conservatives about how to wrest party control from the Republican establishment in his 2014 book “Takeover.”

Republican leadership is a “little club,” according to Viguerie, and members all share the same vision, which is closer to Hillary Clinton’s vision than it is to the grassroots conservative vision. What’s more, Viguerie accused Ryan and other GOP leaders of flat-out lying to the party’s conservative base.

Can the Republican Party save itself? Richard Viguerie has the prescription in “Takeover.”

“It was, ‘If we get a majority in the House and Senate, we’ll revoke Obamacare, we’ll build the wall, we’ll secure the border, we’ll do all these things,'” Viguerie recalled. “And then they get a majority and Obama says in December 2014 [of the $1.1 trillion spending bill], ‘I got everything I wanted.'”

If Nehlen manages to oust Ryan, he would follow in the footsteps of Dave Brat, the former college professor who defeated then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the 2014 primary for Virginia’s 7th congressional district. Brat’s victory was considered one of the biggest upsets in congressional history.

Viguerie said he doesn’t know Nehlen personally, but he has reason to hope the wealthy businessman will be the next conservative underdog success story.

“I know people who are helping him at a national level, and they’re very high on him, so hopefully he will be another Dave Brat and join the Freedom Caucus,” Viguerie said.

Nehlen is the senior vice president of operations for a leading water filtration and disinfection technologies company. He has helped relocate manufacturing jobs from Canada to the United States, including Wisconsin. He is an inventor who holds several patents for filtration and manufacturing technologies, including some processes involved in 3D printing.

A Nehlen adviser told the Washington Times Nehlen is willing to spend a significant amount of his own fortune on the campaign to try and counter the powerful Speaker Ryan and his $5 million campaign war chest.

Nehlen is following the advice Viguerie gave conservatives in “Takeover”: “It’s the primaries, stupid.”

Viguerie maintains the most important political battle in America is not between Republicans and Democrats, but between conservatives and moderate establishment types for control of the GOP. It’s a battle Viguerie sees playing out right now, not only with Nehlen’s challenge, but also with the success of outsider candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in the presidential race.

“I think you’ll find a lot more of these establishment types being challenged,” Viguerie predicted. “And it won’t all change in the 2016 election, but the groundwork is being laid now so the Republican Party going forward will never be the same.”

In Viguerie’s view, the success of Trump and Cruz signals a transformation of politics similar to the types of business transformations brought about by new technology. He noted Blockbuster video stores have faded away because of the new “disruptive” technology of video streaming. This type of disruption is happening in many industries, Viguerie pointed out, and now he believes it has come to American politics – and the establishment GOP is headed for the same fate as Blockbuster.

“The Republican Party, regardless of whether Cruz or Trump is the nominee, is never going to be the same,” Viguerie promised. “Just like mainstream media are dinosaurs – ABC, NBC, CBS, they’re just dinosaurs losing and hemorrhaging supporters – the same with the Republican Party. The leadership, people like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, they’re dinosaurs and when they’re gone you won’t see the likes of them again. The Republican Party will be radically transformed.”

It will transform into a more conservative party, the veteran activist predicted, because the base of the party is moving further right. And he believes Trump and Cruz must seize the moment.

Earlier this week, Viguerie called for an alliance between Trump’s and Cruz’s delegates to prevent GOP insiders from stealing the nomination away from both men. Viguerie is optimistic that if the establishment does try to block Trump and Cruz at a brokered convention, they won’t succeed.

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“Sure, the establishment, the Reince Priebuses and the power structure would like to see that happen, but if they do that it will be the end of the Republican Party as we know it,” Viguerie opined.

If the party elites hand the nomination to an establishment figure like Paul Ryan after the overwhelming majority of voters cast their ballots for outsider candidates, Viguerie believes it would complete the destruction of the Republican Party and the rise of a new limited government, constitutionally conservative party in its place. And the embarrassment for the current party power structure would be overwhelming.

“It would wipe the Republicans out in this election,” Viguerie said. “They’d lose not only the presidency, they’d lose the Congress and most other races on the ballot. It would be a political party committing suicide in primetime.”

 

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