Paul Weyrich Biography
Claim to Fame: conservative political activist and commentator
DOB: October 7, 1942
Date of Death: December 18, 2008
Diabetes Type: Unknown
Paul Weyrich was an American conservative political activist and commentator. He co-founded two conservative think tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the Free Congress Foundation. His steadfast principles and passion for conservatism were instrumental in boosting the right wing of the Republican Party to power in the 1980s and ‘90s.
Weyrich was credited with coining the term “moral majority” as a label for social conservatives. Under this banner he relentlessly advocated for small government, free-market economics, the right to life and the sanctity of the family.
James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on Families, said that Paul Weyrich “fought tirelessly for three decades to protect the preborn, preserve traditional marriage, and ensure that people of faith had a voice in shaping the public policy that affected their lives. Had there been no Paul Weyrich, there would be no conservative movement as we know it.”
Weyrich was known as a fearless and tireless member of his party, but he prided himself on being a conservative before a Republican, and he had no problem taking up issues with members of his own political party. He fought former Texas Senator John Tower’s 1989 nomination as Defense secretary based on his opinion that the senator did not have a sound moral character, and he testified that he had seen Tower drunk and in the company of women other than his wife.
Richard A. Viguerie, the conservative direct-mail pioneer said, “He had great conviction, one face, public and private, and with his energy and drive, he just propelled us forward. He was fearless and tireless.” He was never afraid to take a public stand on an issue no matter how it might affect his reputation.
Heritage President Ed Feulner said that his “moral courage was matched with the physical courage he displayed in the face of physical disability in his later years.” After a long battle with diabetes, Weyrich spent his last years in a wheelchair after having both of his legs amputated. But even such a drastic change couldn’t hold this spirited man back.
"The health problems Paul confronted in the last few years would have stopped most men, but not him," David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, said in a statement. "He could be ornery, but he accomplished more than almost anyone of his generation."
When he died in December of 2008 he left behind a memorable legacy and his strong convictions will be remembered by all of those he dealt with.
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