Thursday, December 18, 2008

Paul Weyrich, founder of the proto-FOX News

The Racine-native is probably one of the five most influential conservatives ever to come out of Wisconsin. Here's a story I always enjoyed:
In December 1975 Gingrich sat in the front row of a conference room at the Marc Plaza hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for Paul Weyrich's class on how to run a winning campaign. Weyrich would become Gingrich's political godfather; he was the founder of net-Political NewsTalk Television and the guru of the New Right. Weyrich quickly saw in Newt a useful if somewhat comic instrument to achieve his ends. Though Weyrich was in charge, Newt quickly took over the meeting. Voice chiming, arms waving, Gingrich "began to lecture me about how we should run as a team," Weyrich recalls, "and how all of the people that were there, if they all ran with the same theme, they would be far better off than if they ran singly, and that it was my responsibility to put together a theme for all of these candidates." Almost 20 years later, that strategy produced the Contract with America. At the time, all Weyrich remembers thinking was, "Where did you come from?"
Weyrich is often described as a conservative "thinker," but he was an infinitely superior activist, organizer and enforcer of conservative dogma. Weyrich had a gift for being ahead of his time, and there's no better examples of this than his founding of the Moral Majority in the late 1970s and, conversely, the "conservative cable TV network" he tried -- and failed spectacularly -- to build in the early 1990s.

An interesting guy who died too young.

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