GOP 'Lost Its Reaganite Soul,' Conservatives Say

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - Republicans lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and possibly the U.S. Senate, in midterm elections Tuesday because the party "lost its Reaganite soul," according to conservative leaders reacting to the results.

Brent Bozell, the executive director of the Conservative Victory Fund, criticized Republican congressional leadership for abandoning the values advanced by the late former President Ronald Reagan.

"The Republican Party has lost, slowly but surely, its Reaganite soul," Bozell said at a news conference in Washington, D.C. But, he added, "If conservatives go back to their roots ... I think all will be well."

Bozell is also the founder and president of the Media Research Center, the parent organization of Cybercast News Service.

David Bossie, president of the conservative group Citizens United, echoed Bozell's analysis that Republicans lost because they abandoned what he called a "core set of conservative, common sense principles that guided President Reagan and the conservative movement he so effectively led."

Bossie listed limiting government size, controlling spending, cutting taxes, deregulation of markets and promoting traditional family values as staples of conservative ideology that have been left behind by Republican leaders.

"One thing we have found in yesterday's results is, if you're going to be elected as a conservative, govern as a conservative," Bossie said, adding that Republicans must now regain the trust of conservative voters.

"It's time for conservatives to return to Reagan's roots," he said, warning Republicans who remain in Congress to not sign on to "enormously bad legislation" in the name of bipartisanship.

Wendy Wright, president of the Concerned Women for America, added to the criticism, accusing Republicans of pretending to care about conservative issues like confirming conservative judges and the federal marriage amendment in the last two years.

She said Tuesday's elections showed Republicans that, "You can't just take the [conservative] voters for granted." She encouraged Republicans and conservative Democrats to focus on issues like defining marriage as between a man and a woman and strengthening immigration laws if they hope to get conservative support in 2008.

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