Viguerie is a well-respected conservative leader who is considered a founder of the modern conservative movement. Most recently, he has been critical of the Bush Administration, and authored a book titled Conservative Betrayed.
... He is also one of about 43 conservative leaders who attended a recent top-secret meeting about a possible 3rd party movement.
Based on what he told me, much of the reporting and speculation today -- including mine -- has been incorrect.
Viguerie believes the conservative movement has been lied to by the establishment Republicans for 45 years, and that it may be time to launch a true conservative party. He resents the idea espoused by some Republicans that conservatives "have no other place to go."
He tells me that the 3rd party rumor isn't an ad hoc one-time effort to stop Rudy Giuliani, as was reported (I wonder how the rumors that this was about Rudy got started???). Instead, it is a long-term paradigm shift in which conservatives will forever leave the GOP, it's natural home since Ronald Reagan:
"If we do this, we're going to do a very well thought-out, well-planned effort ... this is not something that will be effective just for the '08 presidential election."
Unlike other years when conservatives have fielded candidates merely to make a point, Viguerie tells me this new idea "goes far beyond the '08 elections".
He believes Republicans have gone crazy with spending -- and that the brand has been destroyed. He says conservatives are demanding new Republican leadership to "get conservatives to the political promise land." And he accuses GOP leaders of "bribing" voters. It may be that the Republican Party can't be saved," Viguerie tells me.
According to Viguerie, after years of being treated like a "mistress," conservatives are finally fed-up with the GOP. As evidence, he cites a litany of historical examples: In 1948, Dewey ran a liberal Henry Cabot Lodge on his ticket and lost an election he should have won. 1960, Nixon sold out and put liberal on the ticket and lost. 1976, Ford installed Nelson Rockefeller on the ticket and lost. George H. W. Bush betrayed conservatives across the board ...
When I mentioned my recent interview with Rep. Pete Sessions -- and the argument that a 3rd party challenge will only result in electing Hillary Clinton -- Viguerie boldly declares: "That's a very unsophisticated argument that angers conservatives."
He dismisses what a source told me earlier today about Roy Moore possibly being the 3rd party candidate. Viguerie tells me Roy Moore's name never came up at the meeting (a source told me today he was a leading pick to be the 3rd party candidate). He also tells me the concerns voiced were not just among social conservatives (as was widely reported today), but also includes fiscal conservatives, as well.
Listen below ...
Note: The audio quality starts off as extremely bad, but dramatically improves as after about 20 seconds. It's worth putting up with...