Time for New Republican Leadership, Conservatives Say

By Susan Jones | November 5, 2008 | 8:07 AM EST

U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Voters on Tuesday did not reject conservatism, a longtime conservative activist said. “They rejected Big Government Republicanism in all its forms, including the Bush administration and the Republican leadership in Congress.”
Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, said the Republican defeat in 2008 “can and will be laid at the feet of the Big Government corporate Republicans who abandoned the Reagan coalition, massively expanded government, and ignored the needs and values of regular, grassroots Americans. They protected Wall Street and K Street and forgot about Main Street."
According to Viguerie, Republicans will make a comeback only when they return to their conservative roots.
“That process starts with the replacement, with principled conservatives, of all of the Republicans' elected Congressional leaders, as well as most members of the Republican National Committee and most state party officials. It's time for new leaders, from top to bottom."
New leadership
Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) already has announced his intention to step down.
“I have enjoyed every minute as Conference Chairman, he wrote in a Nov. 4 letter to colleagues, “but I believe it is time to step off the leadership ladder and return my focus to crafting public policy solutions for America’s generational challenges – the very reason I ran for Congress in the first place.”
Putnam admitted he came to the decision “reluctantly.”
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), also is calling for a change of command at the highest levels of the Republican Party.
“Republicans suffered very serious setbacks in the last two years in both the Senate and the House. We have got to clean up, reform and rebuild the Republican Party before we can ask Americans to trust us again,” DeMint said in a news release.
"Americans have again rejected the Democrat-lite strategy of higher spending and bigger government, and it's time for Republicans to chart a new, more principled course. Federal spending must be reduced and that starts with ending wasteful earmarks.
“Republicans must admit the Wall Street bailouts were a trillion-dollar bust, and immediately fight for free-market solutions that create jobs and increase freedom. We must get serious about reforming our complicated tax code that is destroying jobs, and finally reform Social Security and Medicare before they take us over a fiscal cliff. We must fight to secure our borders and keep our military strong, and we must boldly defend our values for life and the family.”
DeMint said the 2008 election reflects a failure of Republicans to keep their conservative promises.
“Our party must start today to admit our mistakes, fight for our convictions, and encourage new conservatives to run for office,” DeMint added.
"The battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party begins now," Viguerie said.