Paul Weyrich: The Man Who Framed the Republican Party
Joan Bokaer printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 09, 2006 at 05:54:43 AM EST
When Paul Weyrich joined the Young Republicans in the late 1950s, the Party was controlled by what he called "the Country Clubbers". "I" writes Weyrich, "came from the wrong side of the tracks."

While I was a useful ornament for the Country Clubbers to display, they were glad there were not lots more like me. They were not anxious to have the great unwashed as part of their organization.

One would think that a young man whose father tended the boiler at a Catholic hospital would chose the Party that favored the working class, but not Weyrich. Instead, he played a major role in transforming the Party of "country clubbers" into the Party of "traditional values."

This is the fifth article in a series on dominionism and the federal government.

As a strategist working for Republican Senator Barry Goldwater in his Presidential bid in 1964, Weyrich and other Goldwater conservatives had a rude awakening. Goldwater was soundly defeated. In fact, that presidential election was one of the most lopsided in U. S. history. Goldwater won only his native state of Arizona and five Deep South states that had been increasingly alienated by Democratic civil rights policies.

After Goldwater's defeat, Weyrich and his colleagues didn't waste any time. They formed the New Right and began the long, steady march to expand the base of their party. Weyrich focused on members of evangelical churches: a very large, mostly apolitical constituency that he vowed to bring into the Republican fold. Obviously, the New Right wasn't going to win over all evangelicals. Some were downright liberal. The New Right targeted members of fundamentalist, Pentecostal and charismatic churches.

Later, Goldwater was to become angry about what his Party had become. He lamented to a friend in 1994:

Our problem is with ... the religious extremists whose interpretation is very narrow, and who want to destroy everybody who doesn't agree with them. I see them as betrayers of the fundamental principles of conservatism. A lot of so-called conservatives today don't know what the word means.

Goldwater was speaking to journalist Bill Rentschler, when he said those words. Rentschler was another lifelong conservative. He had run the 1968 Nixon campaign in Illinois, and served briefly in the Nixon White House. He twice ran for the G.O.P. nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois, and lost both times. Rentschler sees in the politicizing of the Christian Right nothing less than the loss of democracy:
Prepare yourself, fellow Americans, for historic change, the most dramatic and far-reaching change in your lifetime, a sweeping metamorphosis that may alter radically the distinctive, time-honored structure of the fabled American experiment, which has endured for most of the last 225 years.

Goldwater's brand of conservatism couldn't win the White House because people liked the programs that President Roosevelt set up during the New Deal. They counted on receiving their social security checks in their old age. (President Bush discovered this when he tried to privatize social security.)  And without necessarily understanding the complexities of government regulation, people continue to favor protections for the environment, public health, and worker safety.

So Weyrich and his gang set about reframing the political debate. He founded the highly influential Heritage Foundation in 1973 to translate controversial, very conservative beliefs into policy positions.

He went on to found the Free Congress Foundation in 1977 which describes its mission on its website:

[O]ur main focus is on the Culture War. Will America return to the culture that made it great, our traditional, Judeo-Christian, Western culture? Or will we continue the long slide into the cultural and moral decay of political correctness? If we do, America, once the greatest nation on earth, will become no less than a third world country.

To fight the Culture War, Weyrich helped draft television preacher Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1979 to head a new political movement that Weyrich coined "the Moral Majority."  How do you politicize a constituency that is mostly apolitical? And how do you get members of that constituency to join the political party that least represents their economic interests? In August of 1980, Weyrich laid out his vision for a new America at a meeting of fundamentalist ministers:

We are talking about Christianizing America. We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context.

So the Republican Party became the Party that would "Christianize America." (There is a very powerful 28- minute documentary made in 1982 that shows the rise of the Moral Majority and includes a scene of Weyrich making the above speech. If you haven't seen it, watch Life and Liberty for All Who Believe.)

The Moral Majority burst onto the political scene in 1979 like an earthquake, sending shockwaves throughout the United States. They made up the margin that got Ronald Reagan elected President in 1980, and they managed to defeat five of the most liberal Senators from the U.S. Congress that same year.

Weyrich is one of the founders of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and served as it's treasurer (1981-1992). ALEC is a coalition of corporate leaders and culture warriors. It will be the topic of a future post.  

Weyrich is also one of the founders of the highly secretive Council for National Policy where he has served on the Executive Committee. ABC news wrote a story on the CNP with the subtitle, Meet the Most Powerful Conservative Group You've Never Heard Of.

When Steve Baldwin, the executive director of an organization with the stale-as-old-bread name of the Council for National Policy, boasts that "we control everything in the world," he is only half-kidding.

Half-kidding, because the council doesn't really control the world. The staff of about eight, working in a modern office building in Fairfax, Va., isn't even enough for a real full-court basketball game.

But also half-serious because the council has deservedly attained the reputation for conceiving and promoting the ideas of many who in fact do want to control everything in the world.

The Present

Now that Weyrich's culture warriors have won control of both houses of the U.S. Congress, the White House, and hold four of the nine seats on the U.S. Supreme Court, is Weyrich retiring, sitting back in his rocker to enjoy the fruits of his work? Not at all. He is as active as ever. His Free Congress Foundation holds weekly briefing luncheons attended by many of the most conservative members of Congress, leaders of the most influential Christian Right organizations, and a top administration official from the White House. Time Magazine reported in April, 2001:

Each Wednesday Rove dispatches a top administration official to attend the regular conservative-coalition lunches held at Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation.

Perhaps most disturbing of all is a strategy paper published by Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation. It is revealing of true Machiavelli and diabolical thinking. The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement was written for CFC by Eric Heubeck.

Here are some samplings of what Katherine Yurica calls the most immoral political program ever adopted by a political movement in this country.

This essay is based on the belief that the truth of an idea is not the primary reason for its acceptance.

Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our constructive energies will be dedicated to the creation of our own institutions.

We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left. We will not give them a moment's rest.

We will use guerrilla tactics to undermine the legitimacy of the dominant regime.

We must reframe this struggle as a moral struggle, as a transcendent struggle, as a struggle between good and evil. (emphasis theirs)

We hear a lot in the media about the "moral issues" and "values voters" as if opposing gay marriage and abortion define morality while lying to the American public, torturing political prisoners abroad, and destroying the environment are not "moral" issues. You have to give Weyrich's CFC credit for turning the term "morality" on its head.

On April 1, 2005, Weyrich wrote a memo to former Senator John Danforth (R-MO) who is also an Episcopal Priest. Senator Danforth wrote an OP-ED to the New York Times, March 30, 2005, criticizing the religious right.:

BY a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians.

I am and have always been pro-life. But the only explanation for legislators comparing cells in a petri dish to babies in the womb is the extension of religious doctrine into statutory law.

The problem is not with people or churches that are politically active. It is with a party that has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement.

Weyrich's response is fascinating. This personal account of his boyhood in the Republican Party appeared on his Renew America website. He concludes by saying that without the "values voters," the Republicans couldn't get elected dogcatcher:

Do you want to return to the way it was before the religious right became part of the GOP coalition? If that happens, the Republican Party will be dead. Its majorities in both the House and Senate soon would evaporate and the party would be unable to elect a President.

Each new Senator elected in 2004 had the support of the religious right, even Johnny Isakson of Georgia who entered the race as a moderate and who now has pledged to support most pro-life and pro-family initiatives. There is no doubt that John Thune (Mo.), David Vitter (La.), Mel Martinez (Fla.), Jim DeMint (S.C.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) would not be in the Senate today but for the strong backing of values voters. Would former Senator Danforth care to return to the time when no legislation backed by values voters was passed, even legislation the establishment salivates over, because liberals controlled Congress?

I admire Paul Weyrich for what he, son of a working class German immigrant, has been able to accomplish. And I, like conservative Republican Bill Rentschler, fear that the "sweeping metamorphosis" Weyrich helped bring about could "alter radically the distinctive, time-honored structure of the fabled American experiment, which has endured for most of the last 225 years."

Previous articles in the series on Dominionism and The Role of The Federal Government:

Dominionism and The Constitution in Exile Movement

House Bill Would Eliminate Most Regulatory Functions Of Federal Government

A Culture of Life or Death?

Follow The Votes

I posted a reply to this on my own blog that includes a story you are perhaps not aware of. In 1999, Weyrich actually tried to weaken our nation's military in order to get his theocratic views imposed and the rights of Wiccans destroyed. The man is not a patriot, he is an anti-patriot.

by Ed Brayton on Thu Aug 10, 2006 at 12:04:18 PM EST
Would you say more about this or give us a link to your article?

by Joan Bokaer on Thu Aug 10, 2006 at 03:04:24 PM EST

But here it is in long form: p

What I'm referring to is that in 1999, he led a coalition of religious right groups in urging Christians to boycott joining the military until they stopped allowing Wiccans to join. Thankfully, few listened to him, but that doesn't make it any less absurd or idiotic. 


by Ed Brayton on Thu Aug 10, 2006 at 04:41:04 PM EST

Reclaiming citizens talk to action is a website which includes several articles on history and other missions. And also you can get executive drafts reviews  
 to manage your thesis task easily. It has a detailed discussion of Men's framed Republican Party where everyone can allow. Join their website for getting information more.

by DeclanTerry on Mon May 04, 2020 at 01:34:25 PM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (374 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (198 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (110 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (101 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (113 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (144 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (126 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (118 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (250 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (64 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (161 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (176 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (70 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (80 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (218 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (253 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (107 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (211 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (165 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (163 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (169 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (156 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (130 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (330 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (148 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (90 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (214 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.