Ted Cruz Worked With Religious Right Founder Paul Weyrich, To Elect George W. Bush
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 01:26:58 PM EST
"We are talking about Christianizing America. We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context." -- U.S. Senator Ted Cruz' late friend Paul Weyrich, in a 1980 Dallas speech to fundamentalist ministers. Weyrich is widely credited as one of the top architects of the new right and the religious right.

While a September 8, 2013 Politico story from Stephanie Simon documented U.S. Senator Ted Cruz' ties to pseudo-historian David Barton (one of the more influential national middle-aged leaders on the Christian right), Cruz' ties to the politicized religious right are far more profound than that.

Indeed, as a 2011 book from Bush presidential administration member Timothy Goeglein reveals, back in 1999 Cruz already had high-level national-level political connections that helped make George W. Bush president -- connections perhaps developed during his stint as a legal aide for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, but most certainly also tracing through his father Rafael Cruz' participation in the Paul Weyrich-cofounded Religious Roundtable that mobilized Christian conservative voters to help elect Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980.

Over the last several years, mainstream media, liberals and progressives alike have succumbed to a misleading narrative that depicts the Tea Party as secular and libertarian. But leading Tea Party Republicans in the U.S. Senate Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were raised within the bosom of the politicized Christian right and have access to its leadership, one of whom is former Texas U.S. Representative Ron Paul (consider this 2003 op-ed from Rand Paul's father, Ron.)

But Ted Cruz brings to the table his own formidable, even astonishing, elite connections that, in 1999, helped enable candidate George W. Bush's lock on the 2000 election Republican presidential nomination.

In 1999 Cruz, then a George W. Bush campaign aide, helped cement support from the religious right for Bush by arranging a meeting between one of the key architects of the movement, Paul Weyrich - who played a pivotal role in drawing evangelicals into electoral politics - and one of the Bush for president campaign leaders Timothy Goeglein, who went on to serve as Special Assistant to U.S. President George W. Bush and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from 2001 to 2008, and now works with Focus on The Family.

As Goeglein recounted in his book Man In The Middle - An Inside Account of Faith and Politics in the George W. Bush Era (2011, B&H Publishing Group), with book forward written by Karl Rove, George W. Bush had already sent a powerful message to conservative evangelicals that he was theirs when, during the December 14, 1999 Iowa Republican Primary Debate Bush stated that his favorite philosopher was "Christ, because he changed my heart."

But, reveals Goeglein, then-Bush campaign aide Ted Cruz helped play the inside track, by arranging a meeting between Cruz, Goeglein, and Paul Weyrich. Starting on page 34, Goeglein begins,

"In addition to the strong support Governor Bush was garnering in those early primaries, he was also gaining the support of key social conservatives in a systematic but off-the-record outreach effort where I was spending lots of my time. One of the most important such meetings occurred a month after I arrived in Austin. My friend and fellow campaign aide Ted Cruz, a former Supreme Court Clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and later a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Texas, phoned me one day and told me Paul Weyrich, one of the leading traditional conservatives in the country, was in Austin and wanted to have breakfast to discuss Governor Bush's record and the campaign. Ted asked me to join him. Paul, who later became a close friend and ally, had a reputation for blunt talk and core, unswerving convictions, and so I knew the meeting would be foundational to our coalition efforts in the Bush campaign.
   We met for a breakfast all of us thought would last an hour or so. It ended up going nearly three hours. Paul queried me and ted on nearly every issue possible in a spirited, lively session. I came to see the repartee among the three of us was rooted in common principles and values; and by the end of the breakfast, Paul told us, in all his years of following presidential politics, he had never felt more comfortable with the core convictions of a candidate on the issue he most believed in, the sanctity of every human life, the foundation of the traditional family, and American sovereignty. Te breakfast ended in unity and common purpose. This kind of one-on-one outreach was a cornerstone of the first Bush campaign, and conservative support was one of the keys to victory."

In other words, per Goeglein's account, Ted Cruz helped create the Bush Presidency. It's astonishing for an almost endless range of reasons, not the least of which is that it doubly true as well - Cruz also served on the Bush campaign's elite legal team that fought the legal battles over the vote recount in Florida which in turn led to the wildly controversial Bush v. Gore Supreme Court ruling that installed George W. Bush in the presidency.

But Cruz' ties to Paul Weyrich are nonetheless even more jaw-dropping than that considering who Weyrich was. How did Cruz earn the friendship of the man who helped create  the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC ?

As if Ted Cruz tenure as a legal aid to a U.S. Supreme Court Justice wasn't enough, Cruz had inherited ties, also -- through his father, businessman and pastor Rafael Cruz who, at a July 190th-20th, 2013 Iowa pastors conference that was also attended by his U.S. Senator son Ted, pastor Cruz, explained his role in helping get Ronald Reagan elected, through his involvement in one of the earliest incarnations of the politicized religious right, Ted McAteer's Religious Roundtable.

During a fiery speech at the Iowa pastor's' conference, that was sponsored by the virulently anti-LGBT rights nonprofit the American Family Association, in a speech followed by an appearance from Senator Cruz, pastor Rafael Cruz fulminated,

"Socialism requires that government becomes your god. That's why they have to destroy the concept of God. They have to destroy all loyalties except loyalty to the government. That's what's behind homosexual marriage. It's really about the destruction of the traditional family than about exalting homosexuality - because you need to destroy, also, loyalty to the traditional family."

Pastor Cruz also asserted that the Tea Party movement, in which his son is a major leader, was simply a continuation of the religious right movement he'd helped create. Pastor Cruz described his initial support for Jimmy Carter, then subsequent disappointment after deciding Carter was too liberal. He continued,

"I became very involved in an organization called the Religious Roundtable. The Religious Roundtable was a Judeo-Christian organization that mobilized millions of Christians all across the United States and helped elect Ronald Reagan. It was a precursor of the Tea Party, even before the Moral Majority."

As it happens, the co-founder of the Religious Roundtable was none other than Ted Cruz' friend the late Paul Weyrich. In a 1980 address to the Religious Roundtable, Paul Weyrich explained a key part of the electoral strategy by which the religious right, a relatively small percentage of the overall population, has managed to loft, over and over again down the years since Paul Weyrich helped found the movement, its ideologically extreme, Christian supremacist candidates into office:

"How many of our Christians have what I call the 'goo goo syndrome' ? 'Good government' - they want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and hey are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
 

Cofounder of Theocracy Watch Joan Bokaer explains Weyrich's role, in her August 2006 story, Paul Weyrich: The Man Who Framed the Republican Party, provides in-depth background into Paul Weyrich's role in reshaping American politics  :

"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.

[...]

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.

[...]

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)

[...]
"




Display:
Excellent article. Weyrich laid foundation for the Christian Right's Fourth Generation Warfare in America. The central focus of 4GW is to contest and undermine the legitimacy of the federal government at the moral and physical levels of combat. At the moral level, it is to contest that the government is illegitimate or pursuing illegitimate means and ends. This war is based on two essential concepts of the Christian Reconstructionists: (1) pre-suppositionalism: that God's law must trump the U.S. Constitution; and (2) dominionism: Christians of a certain sort--those holding traditional values, that is, white, conservative, Christian born-again men--have the biblical duty to rule in Christ's place and institute biblical law. At the physical level, it is to deny the federal government the monopoly on the use of legitimate force--a means provided for by the Patriot militia. We are witnessing the unfolding of this strategy that is, itself, nearing the final stages of completion. You cannot be something with nothing, and, unfortunately I have not found a counter-strategy. The Obama administration and most of the Democratic Party believe they are engaged in politics. Wrong. You are in the middle of a very sophisticated, complex war which, as Frederick Clarkson pointed out in 1997, was unilaterally declared by the Christian Right.

by James Estrada Scaminaci on Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 06:26:38 PM EST
The sentence should read: You cannot beat something with nothing.

by James Estrada Scaminaci on Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 06:27:56 PM EST
Parent

I'm assuming you're familiar with Eric Huebeck's Paul Weyrich-inspired document "The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement" which really just elaborated and codified strategies that had been in play in Weyrich's movement for several decades already.

In a September 2006 post, I wrote,

"Integration..." is in reality actually only a summary of a strategy that Paul Weyrich - and with astonishing foresight and political acumen - had been implementing for three decades at least and - as such - deserves to be read by anyone seriously interested in American 20th Century politics : it is, in essence, the strategic vision underlying the rise of the new right over the last three decades. While reading "Integration..." a sudden, startling question occured [sic] to me : what if I inverted the piece and replaced every reference to the right, conservatism, and "New Traditionalism" with appropriate terms referring to American progressives and the American left ? Would it work ? Would the result be a new "manifesto" or "teaching manual" for a "New Progressivism" ?"

And so I rewrote the Heubeck/Weyrich document, omitting the most egregious moral and ethical aspects, in what I dubbed "Paul Weyrich's Teaching Manual For The New Progressive Movement".

Why, you may ask ? Well, I'm glad I did it - because my inversion now seems prophetic. It began thusly:

"The new conservative right has achieved at least partial control of many of the significant institutions in American society, especially in politics, media, and to a lesser extent in business and - increasingly - in the area of religion. Meanwhile, political progressives have failed to effectively defend enlightenment values and mainstream institutions from a sustained attack that has been ongoing now for several decades, and progressives have almost wholly missed the parallel construction, by the new American right - largely now the Christian and religious right - of an entire parallel nation, a shadow nation with its own alternate institutions, culture, assumptions, and even versions of history and science. We have slept through the last several decades while the new right has planned, organized and built.

 - Political progressives from almost every quarter, all who seek creative solutions to construct a better tomorrow rather than look longingly towards a partially imagined past colored by nostalgia and wishful thinking, have been out-strategized, out-organized, outspent and out-thought. We may not have lost in the realm of ideas but we surely have failed to broadcast our ideas effectively into the American mainstream and into popular culture. We have failed to live our values because we have failed to advance or even defend them effectively in the the cultural realm.

  • For the failures listed above, politically progressive ideas have become increasingly marginalized in American popular culture, in politics, in media, in almost every significant sphere of American life. The following, our underlying cultural premises and values, are under serious attack and are at risk. Respect for cultural and political pluralism and the rights of minorities, belief in looking forward to and building for the future, belief that acknowledges changing Global realities in this interconnected world and does not in reactive fear attempt to roll back time towards imagined halcyon days but which seeks constructive solutions for a better tomorrow, and our world view based in the Enlightenment values of inquiry, and scientific exploration that lead towards more, not less, objective truth and that build rather than degrade the moral foundations of society : and our faith that science and religion are not opposed but complimentary realms and - for those of us who believe in a creator - that exploration of the nature of physical reality only glorifies the beauty and mystery of the creation, the world in which we live.These central progressive values are now at risk.

  • Because progressive values are becoming marginalized in American culture progressive attempts at political organizing - long underfunded also as liberal political strategists have pursued politics as a mere exercise in effective PR, advertising, and triangulation - have been less and less effective as American cultural values have gradually moved, pushed by the sustained efforts of the American new right, towards a laissez-faire and theocratic cultural set point favored by business interests and Christian Reconstructionism.

  • To reverse the erosion of progressive values and progressive political strength, progressives must pursue a dual strategy : while ramping up efforts at political organizing, and at building effective communication and collaboration among progressive, liberal, and at times even libertarian and conservative political factions in order to advance our agenda, progressives must build, as the new right has done, their own parallel institutions while at the same time they reassert their values and ideas in mainstream American culture, to challenge the new American right in every geographic area and in every sphere rather than retreat to increasingly beleaguered urban enclaves : progressive must win the battle over whose ideas, and in the end whose values, will hold sway in American hearts and minds."


by Bruce Wilson on Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 08:12:13 PM EST
Parent
Yes, I have used the Weyrich-Heubeck strategy document to illustrate their strategy. Your point is well taken that this is the "strategic vision underlying the rise of the new right over the last three decades." I was not aware of your September 2006 article and I appreciate you again making it more widely known. Your re-write of the "Integration" document minus its unethical passages is very illuminating regarding what progressives--religious and secular--should consider doing. Wars, political or military, are won and lost at the level of strategy. As is known in military circles, a bad operational plan violently executed beats a perfect plan attempted one day too late. Progressives need to understand that the Christian Right is executing a strategic plan with many operational parts--each of which appeals to different constituencies motivated by a different set of policies, but all united by the vision (a Christian America under God's protection through fidelity to biblical law), core principles, and central narrative structure derived from, but not identical to, The Protocols and the New World Order, both of which are based on a secret conspiracy by elites (Jewish in one, secular humanists or cultural Marxists or Insiders in the other). These various constituencies include those opposed to abortion; those opposed to gay rights; those opposed to gun control; those opposed to federal spending on social welfare; those opposed to collecting federal income taxes; those opposed to environmental regulations; those opposed to business and banking regulations; those opposed to immigration; and, those opposed to voting rights for the coming non-white majority. Each of these movements can have religious and secular wings; each of these movements can utilize rhetoric that is explicitly or implicitly racist and/or anti-Semitic. But, the most important point is that the Christian Right's strategy is not only a strategy that appeals to "conservative reactionaries," but is a strategy that is openly and wholly committed to the destruction of American democracy and society as we know it. Rushdoony, North, Weyrich, Phillips, Falwell, Robertson, and others have never really hidden their agenda and objectives. Progressives and the Democratic Party need to understand that we are no longer in an era of politics as usual. We are confronted by a radical revolutionary movement with many segments and a Republican Party being devoured by the seeds it planted decades ago when leading strategists decided to destroy the moderate, liberal wing of the party and appeal to southern and Christian voters.

by James Estrada Scaminaci on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 01:43:37 PM EST
Parent



I'm a theologically conservative Eastern orthodox christian, but radical in the social arena. I partly subscribe also to the social ideals of Rerum Novarum.
what am I do do? submit myself to the gulag of the Reconstructionsists, or just deconstruct go home and hide under my bed until they drag me away?


by rdrjames on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 11:49:12 PM EST
...why not learn as much as you have time for about this, and then help spread the word ?

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 02:43:50 AM EST
Parent



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