Paul Weyrich

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Background

Paul Weyrich is a co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and was one of those who spearheaded the growth of the right-wing. In 1974, a year after Paul Weyrich had founded the Heritage Foundation with seed money from Colorado brewer Joseph Coors, he launched the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress (CSFC) with additional backing from the Coors fortune. (The friendship between Coors and Weyrich had begun when Weyrich was an aide to conservative Senator Gordon Allot of Colorado.)

The purpose of the CSFC was to influence the electoral process through fundraising schemes, circulation of propaganda, recruitment of conservative candidates, and grassroots organizing. Out of the CSFC grew the Free Congress Foundation, which has branched out into lobbying for conservative judicial appointments, communications schemes like "National Empowerment Television," and efforts to defeat gay rights initiatives.

Weyrich, a member of the extreme Catholic right and a professed admirer of the pro-Nazi demagogue Father Coughlin, has founded or cofounded numerous right-wing organizations, including the Moral Majority. The Weyrich juggernaut played a decisive role in the ascendancy of Newt Gingrich and the right-wing Republicans of the 104th Congress. Among its top ten "Censored News Stories of 1994," Project Censored cites the press's lack of coverage of the political machinations of Weyrich's Council for National Policy, a secretive high-level strategy-formulating organization whose membership is a Who's Who of the far right.

Admitting that he and his colleagues are not conservatives in the traditional sense, he has described the "New Right" as "radicals who want to change the existing power structure." Weyrich was one of the earliest commentators to advance the idea that the United States is engulfed in a cultural civil war. "It may not be with bullets, and it may not be with rockets and missiles, but it is a war, nonetheless. It is a war of ideology, it's a war of ideas, it's a war about our way of life. And it has to be fought with the same intensity, I think, and dedication as you would fight a shooting war."

Quotes

A leading conservative said Tuesday that President Bush needs to change the subject from Iraq to his stated goal of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages if the Republican wants to win in November.

"If he wishes to be re-elected, then he better be upfront on this issue, because if the election is solely on Iraq, we'll be talking about President Kerry," said Paul M. Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, a conservative think tank, and national chairman of an amalgam of conservative organizations known as Coalitions for America.

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