Inside the Beltway: Viguerie’s vigorous conservative opus

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Into the insta-world of contemporary politics comes the weighty “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It” — a new book by veteran conservative activist Richard Viguerie, a man with much institutional knowledge. He’s also been an eyewitness to all the machinations for more than four decades. But it goes beyond that.

“One hundred and two years ago, Teddy Roosevelt split the Republican Party to advance his progressive agenda. Progressivism, or big government Republicanism, became the philosophy of the Republican Party’s establishment elite,” the author declares. “Fifty years ago, conservatives began a battle for control of the party. Now is the time for conservatives to finish the job and take back the Republican Party.”

The cavalcade of talent includes Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, William F. Buckley, M. Stanton Evans and Ronald Reagan; chapters include “The selling of Gov. George W. Bush as a conservative;” “Consultants make millions wrecking the GOP;” and “It’s the Primaries, Stupid.” The author is man ready to rumble as “civil war” and division rattle the Grand Old Party.

“One can’t understand the tea party movement unless one understands that it is as much a rebellion against the big-government Republican establishment and the entrenched leadership of the Republican Party as it is driven by opposition to specific liberal policies of President Obama, such as Obamacare or the growth of spending, the deficit and the federal debt,” Mr. Viguerie says.

The 368-page book will be published by WND Books on Tuesday.

RAHM-A-RAMA

This has been chatter off and on that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel could end up a White House hopeful in 2016, either running for president himself, or as Hillary Clinton’s running mate. While the press and even the GOP itself are often fixated by the idea, few have actually gone to Planet Emanuel to seek answers. As in one-on-one.

Not so Issac Chotiner, senior editor of the New Republic, who got the interview, wrote the story and ultimately deems it “stark raving Rahm,” among other things.

“A conversation with Emanuel is a physical experience. When he has strong feelings about a subject — which is often — he frequently sits on the very edge of his chair, emphasizing his point through proximity,” Mr. Chotiner reports. “At one point, he waved his finger inches from my face, Lyndon Johnson — style.”

The pair talked about Mr. Emanuel’s years as a senior advisor in the Clinton White House, the travails of the Republican Party and the differences between Chicago and the nation’s capital.

“When the Obamacare website wasn’t working properly, did you want to be in Washington trying to fix it?” Mr. Chotiner asked.

“You gotta be kidding. You get a freebie question for the ridiculousness of that question,” the mayor replied.

“I was asking about your competitive instinct. You say you like to fix things,” the interviewer explained.

Mr. Emanuel rose to his feet, and walked around his office before issuing his reply.

“That goes down as one of the more intriguing questions I have ever had. Did I wish I was in Washington to fix a website? Let me answer that. I have a single-word answer: No. Please do not edit out the sarcasm of that answer,” he observed.

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