Citizens United Head David Bossie: Conservatism Under Attack from Within

Earlier this month at the Conservative Political Action Conference, David Bossie, the president of Citizens United and a veteran congressional investigator during the Clinton years, did not mince words.

"The conservative movement," he said, "is always under attack from the left. But right now, more importantly, we're under attack from within our coaltion as well."

"The movement is fractured," he said, because groups like the American Conservative Union are "straying from our shared conservative values."

Citing the late William F. Buckley, Jr., who wrote that the conservative movement is "on the side of excellence rather than newness," Bossie asserted that the conservative movement is threatened now because "certain groups are trying to buy their way into [it]."

According to Bossie, the conservative movement "is not part of the Republican Party, whose mission is to elect Republicans." Instead, Bossie said, "our mission is to promote conservative candidates and our core conservative values and principles." 

"The [conservative] coalition that men like Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan built stood on three equally important foundations : fiscal conservativism, strong national defense, and a social conservativism that held society should adopt a moral code set down by God, the same God from whom we derive our most important civil rights."

"Conservativism itself cannot stand divided. There are some groups today who want to do just that," Bossie said. But Bossie reminded his audience,"it was the unity of the Reagan Coalition that gave it strength."

Bossie called for a vigorous defense of the conservative movement's core principles. "Some of conservativism's enemies . . . would see social conservatives silenced and driven out of the movement." Others would see both social conservatives and national security supporters driven out. "These forces constantly scold us," he said, "that we shouldn't stand in front of history and yell stop, but rather stand aside and politely wave as history passes by."

"They tell us we shouldn't defend the rights of the unborn . . . [or] the institution of marriage," he added.

Bossie said the forces opposing the historical principles of the conservative movement resort to tactics based on propaganda rather than intellectual honesty. "They call us names. They call us bigots," he said. "They call us intolerant for daring to speak up against the intellectual cliques of the cosmopolitan left."

But Bossie rejected this distortion of the modern conservative movement. "Theirs is a conservative movement that would be enslaved to the moral fallacies and fads... of the moment."

Conservatives, Bossie concluded, should reject this approach because it is "a recipe for a crippled movement, a losing coalition in a failing country."

You can watch Bossie's entire speech here:


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