Conservative leaders to GOP: Stand firm in this ‘period of testing’

Laura E. Davis
The Ticket
Conservative icon on 'Huckabee'

As Republican House Speaker John Boehner is negotiating with President Barack Obama on a deal to avoid sending the country over the "fiscal cliff" come Jan. 1, conservative leaders are publicly urging Republicans in Congress to resist pressure to compromise.

An open letter circulated on Wednesday and signed by more than 100 conservatives never explicitly addresses the "fiscal cliff" talks but warns Republicans that they are "entering into a period of testing." It says they have "a mandate to fight for conservative principles" because they maintained firm control of the House on Election Day.

Among the signers are Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union; Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; Foster Friess, a Wyoming businessman who helped bankroll a super PAC supporting Rick Santorum's presidential bid; and longtime conservative activists Richard Viguerie and Phyllis Schlafly.

Saying that Democrats want to "fundamentally change" America," the letter appeals to Republicans to stand "united" and not vote with their Democratic colleagues on legislation that "violates the principles you publicly committed to support."

It also warns of possible primary challenges for Republicans who might consider compromise.

"Let us also remind you that a great many potent conservative organizations and millions of conservative and liberty-loving voters do not believe in the divine right of incumbents to be re-nominated. Conservatives know how to recruit and support candidates," the letter reads.

Taking the long view, the letter predicts a firm stance in favor of conservative principles will eventually pay off: "If Republicans provide a consistent, conservative alternative, the time will come, probably sooner than later, when most Americans will become fed up with the left's failed agenda and be ready for a change to 'throw the bums out' and restore limited, Constitutional government."