Skip to main content

"Now 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 they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." —Paul Weyrich, 1980

Short version of that video: Stop them from voting and we win. Not exactly an original thought.

In 1974, Paul Weyrich, who had the previous year co-founded the Heritage Foundation, founded the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress. Its key purpose was to undermine the impact of liberal and labor groups that Weyrich and his compatriots were keeping conservatives from dominating the national legislature.

One of his first targets was Pat Schroeder, the Coloradan whose campaign staff I had worked on in her first run for Congress in 1972. One of the tools he helped develop was the direct-mail campaign. And among his chief impacts has been making Republican senators more aggressive in fighting against liberal and so-called liberal nominees to the federal judiciary.

As Josh Glasstetter at Rightwatch writes, the influential Weyrich, who died in 2008, had had his fingers in a lot of pies. A “founding father of the conservative movement,” he was involved in the creation of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Moral Majority, the Council for National Policy, the Krieble Institute, and others.

In 1984, he said: "We are different from previous generations of conservatives... We are no longer working to preserve the status quo. We are radicals, working to overturn the present power structure of this country." Thus did the word "radical" get tainted by an extremist.

Key to the success of the extremist conservative movement is suppression of the vote alluded to by Weyrich that Republicans have worked so diligently to implement in myriad forms, finding new pathways when any particular measure is blocked.

Unlike the days of Jim Crow when a whole category of citizens was kept from voting by laws directly disenfranchising them, the more recent efforts have been adopted with a patina of fairness attached to them even though they are designed to keep people more likely to vote Democratic away from the polls. It's all about shaving a couple or three percentage points off the totals. That can be enough in a battleground state like Ohio, Florida or Wisconsin to change the outcome. That is what the fights over voter-roll purges, overly restrictive voter-IDs, provisional balloting and early voting have been about.

Paul Weyrich knew what he was saying three decades ago. Today, right this minute, Republican operatives who were just teenagers when he said it are carrying out his vision.


Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Bob Johnson, GainesT1958, Ed in Montana, ponderer, Joe Bob, Bill in Portland Maine, glitterscale, SaveDemocracy, Gooserock, JeffLieber, mimi, tommurphy, Shockwave, Wintermute, cotterperson, eeff, xynz, MarkInSanFran, erinmblair, fugwb, chimpy, roses, ivote2004, sngmama, navajo, Cedwyn, wader, ninothemindboggler, TexDem, virginislandsguy, hoolia, texasmom, wdrath, Chirons apprentice, The Zipper, lawstudent922, lcrp, 313to212, zerelda, Sembtex, Albanius, 3goldens, el dorado gal, dewtx, YucatanMan, reflectionsv37, LNK, Phil S 33, blue jersey mom, LucyandByron, Lisa Lockwood, coloradorob, Alan Arizona, detroitmechworks, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, profundo, Gorette, mooshter, kestrel9000, Audri, KenBee, raincrow, blueoasis, Libby Shaw, armadillo, middleagedhousewife, justiceputnam, democracy is coming, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, nannyboz, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, One Pissed Off Liberal, Cronesense, Haningchadus14, gloriana, Mary Mike, Blue Waters Run Deep, flumptytail, joedemocrat, millwood, uciguy30, madgranny, gizmo59, rogerdaddy, AnnieJo, Cordwainer, Sixty Something, Involuntary Exile, elwior, Bill Prendergast, filby, lineatus, Sharon Wraight, tofumagoo, catly, maggiejean, multilee, J M F, litoralis, divineorder, ewmorr, dharmasyd, be the change you seek, Ohiodem1, mkor7, politicalceci, Denise Oliver Velez, maxzj05, Just Bob, commonmass, FogCityJohn, 4CasandChlo, Crabby Abbey, womankind, laserhaas, DiegoUK, slice, Front Toward Enemy, MidwestTreeHugger, mama jo, Liberal Capitalist, spooks51, Bob Duck, slowbutsure, vahana, deeproots, Ebby, drummergirl, blue aardvark, Mentatmark, Auriandra, DEMonrat ankle biter, AnnetteK, Inkberries, Eric Nelson, a2nite, JGibson, Horace Boothroyd III, This old man, belinda ridgewood, MartyM, sexgenderbody, avsp, arizonablue, Glen The Plumber, Marjmar, zoebear, P Carey, alice kleeman, howabout, Icicle68, Avilyn, progressivist, Digital Auteur, RUNDOWN, WithHoney

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site