Thursday, December 18, 2008

Paul Weyrich, 1942-2008. R.I.P.

2008 saw the passing of William F. Buckley. Today, it has seen the passing of another conservative icon, Paul Weyrich. I don't know the cause of his death but, of course, he has been in poor health for more than a decade. He was only 66.

I never met Weyrich. So I have no doubt others associated with IC who had the opportunity to interact with him directly could provide more profound insight. The one occasion that I wrote about him was his reaction to the 2006 Canadian election and I found myself in disagreement with him. ('t-be-resigning-after-all-and-neither-rosie-o'donnell-nor-paul-weyrich-need-fret-about-canada/)

If there was a Conservative Hall of Fame his involvement in the founding of the Heritage Foundation alone would get him inducted. But his subsequent efforts through the Free Congress Foundation to organize conservative activists, especially on the Religious Right, were a significant contribution to Ronald Reagan's ascent to the White House and helped change the electoral map in this country.

Weyrich also took an interest in issues one might not necessarily expect a conservative to champion namely light rail transportation. Given the problems he had with his mobility later in his life one can understand the affinity he had for this issue. Public transportation is a lifeline to the outside world for people with physical disabilities. As someone who is able bodied but doesn't drive a car and relies on public transportation his advocacy in this area is personally appreciated.

I have no doubt there will be others who will post their thoughts about Paul Weyrich on IC in the days and weeks to come.

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