The patriarch of US conservatives urged his followers yesterday to halt their financial support of the Republican Party and start an independent movement, creating a major political shift that could result in heavy losses for the US ruling party in upcoming elections.
Richard Viguerie, who was instrumental in cementing the winning coalitions behind former president Ronald Reagan in 1980 and US President George W. Bush in 2000, declared that conservatives were "downright fed up" with both the president and congressional Republicans and should strike out on their own.
"At the very least, conservatives must stop funding the Republican National Committee and other party groups," Viguerie wrote in a lengthy essay in the Washington Post.
He suggested that conservatives "redirect their anger into building a third force -- not a third party, but a movement independent of any party" and lay the groundwork for the 2008 election campaign, in the hope that a new generation of conservative leaders will emerge by then.
Traditional conservatives, who abhor big government and excessive spending, equate abortion with murder and emphasize individualism over collectivism, have always formed the so-called "base" of the Republican Party and determined its viability as a political organization.
The integrity and loyalty of this core is considered key to the party's success in any election.
Viguerie's public outburst against both Bush and his congressional allies as well as his suggestion that conservatives should sit out the next election is seen as another ominous sign for the party less than six months before the November congressional vote.