Confrontational Politics

How to Effectively Practice the Politics of Principle


By Sen. H. L. “Bill” Richardson

In this era of ever-growing, more distant, unresponsive government—and politicians of both parties who do not walk their talk—the late California State Senator H. L. (Bill) Richardson’s book is a strong tonic.

He warns, however, his words are not for the faint of heart: as Finley Peter Dunne once said, “Politics ain’t beanbag.”

He spells out in a series of lessons how his often hard-pressed conservative minority was able to win victory after victory on issues like the death penalty, gun control, and removing liberal judges. “The central theme of this book is the methodology both sides use. Being ‘right’ is not enough,” he cautions.

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Praise for Confrontational Politics. . .

Your contributions to the State of California through the sixteen years you’ve served in the state are immeasurable. I know how much I counted on you when I was governor.

Ronald Reagan, March 1983

Conservatives today are not in power nationally, but that does not mean they cannot win battles. If they are going to be effective, Richardson’s lessons need to be studied and applied.

Paul Weyrich, Free Congress Foundation

Bill Richardson showed conservatives how to be principled without being dogmatic, informative without being burdensome, [and] even more important, he equipped a whole generation of young conservatives to pick up the load and follow in his footsteps.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

There were pioneers who figured out the real nature of politics and won many battles for their principles. Bill Richardson of California is one of the most important of those pioneers, and he’s still a major force in politics. . . . [Here] he shares an enormous number of lessons he has learned. . . . The book is fun to read, and conservatives who study it carefully and follow Bill’s advice systematically will win a lot more battles in the future.

From the Foreword by
Morton Blackwell, The Leadership Institute

In Confrontational Politics, veteran politician Bill Richardson essentially tells conservatives they’ve been going about this thing all wrong. Conservatives’ chief adversaries—the Left, liberals, socialists, progressives, Marxists, humanists (Richardson uses the terms interchangeably)—have been playing hardball going on centuries now, and he chides polite and accommodating conservatives for not adopting that methodology.

Confrontation to the average American is an uncomfortable, unbecoming attitude to be avoided whenever possible. This methodology of avoidance is a habit deeply ingrained in traditional American patterns of behavior. This, combined with ignorance of humanist methodology, makes the average American very vulnerable, the victim of his own decency.

Methodology is what this book is all about. Richardson shows us how Marxists have stolen a march on constitutionalists. Sure, millions of people vote in elections, but only a very few persons—anywhere from 2 to 5 percent of the population—actually determine the outcome. But these influential people are actually able to predetermine the outcome, not merely through their votes, but by out-organizing and outperforming their opponents.

They’re the hardcore proponents—the ones really committed to their philosophy, the ones willing to make hard choices and sacrifices—who predetermine the results of elections even before they’re held. Lenin and his supporters—never more than a few percent of all Russians—recognized this truth and acted on it, making the most of the least and disdaining swelling the inner core of the Communist Party with people of unreliable loyalties. (Remember Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, with the Inner Party comprising 13 percent or so? They could confidently command—and even afford to ignore—the other 87 percent of the population because none of them were as dedicated or organized and thus offered no real threat to Party dominance.)

Richardson warns conservatives that unless they’re willing to play political hardball, the future lies with the Marxists. At one point he summarizes his approach:

The socialist programs initiated in America are failing as they failed in Eastern Europe. Socialism is based on inaccurate assumptions, fallacious premises, and a misunderstanding of the nature and origin of man. Socialism can survive only if subsidized by the free-market system and then, for just so long. It will, like the parasite it is, kill the host unless exterminated. It can be defeated. The quest for power, the excessive taxation needed to feed it, the bureaucracy it creates, the injustice it promotes, the regulatory excesses, and the desire for arbitrary control over all human action create dedicated enemies.

The task then is to politicize those who have been exposed to humanist excesses. Band them together, raise money from them, teach them the strategy of confrontational politics, build residuals, and form PACs [political action committees]. Then your political organization snowballs. Form these counter organizations around specific issues, after identifying the segments of citizens affected.

Already numerous groups have been set up to stop some of the socialist power grabs. However, most have been nothing more than barricade builders, attempting to keep themselves from being buried in humanist snowjobs.

It’s time to select target districts, networking with like-minded groups who share the goal. Then, together we can work our way to the top of the hill and make our own icy missiles.

“Community organizers” (really socialist evangelists) have been doing these things for years, making headway gradually, sometimes haltingly, primarily forward and seldom backward. Richardson believes that for conservatives such an approach is the only way to regain lost ground.

Just think of all the socialist programs [the Left] have implemented—one step at a time. They advocate, we defend, and confrontation ensues. Then the traditionalists are asked to “compromise.” In order to see the hostilities end, we concede a little. Later, we concede a little more until all is gone.

There can be no compromises with the Left. We are ideologically at opposite ends of the spectrum with no arbitration possible. Either they win or we do. They will run the government or we will. That’s the only choice open to either of us. They know it—shouldn’t we?

That, in a nutshell, is Confrontational Politics.

Mike Gray

Published on behalf of the Gun Owners Foundation

For more information or to order books, contact:
Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 202
Springfield, Virginia 22151
Ph 703-321-8585 •

Gun Owners of California
P.O. Box 278120
Sacramento, California 95827-9932
Ph 916-984-1400 •

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Additional Information

Weight7.3 oz
Dimensions6 × 9 × .4 in

128 pages

H. L. “Bill” Richardson was a twenty-two-year veteran of the California State Senate. Most of those years were served in leadership. Six times he received Legislator of the Year awards from Christian and Sportsman organizations.

Richardson focused his extensive political career on the preservation and protection of Second Amendment rights. He was founder and Chairman of the Board of Gun Owners of California and Gun Owners of America. Membership in these organizations exceeds 200,000. His book Confrontational Politics is used by organizations and individuals as a textbook on how to defeat the Left.

An active hunter and outdoorsman, Richardson long remained involved in state and national politics and was a popular speaker. He provided a colorful media commentary on a host of issues. He wrote for numerous national publications, and was the author of two successful humorous political books, Slightly to the Right and What Makes You Think We Read the Bills? The latter is used as a textbook in political science classes throughout California.

H. L. Richardson and his wife, Barbara, had three children and seven grandchildren and resided in the Sacramento area. He went to be with the Lord in January 2020.

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