Paul Weyrich
May 13, 2008
The Next Conservatism to be published
By Paul Weyrich

I came to Washington 42 years ago. At the time liberalism was riding high. Senator Barry M. Goldwater had suffered a humiliating defeat. Democrats got commanding margins in both Houses of Congress. The media was overwhelmingly liberal. There were very few op-ed conservative writers. There was no talk radio as we know it today. Those of us who worked in the Congress didn't even call ourselves conservatives that brand had been so disgraced.

I observed the gradual decline of liberalism. The Richard M. Nixon-Spiro T. Agnew ticket represented another setback for conservatism. But beginning in the middle to late 1970s, conservatism was on the march. The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 represented the triumph of conservatism. Later in the decade broadcasting was deregulated, resulting in remarkable talk-radio networks which have influenced policy politics. There are so many conservative op-ed writers that newspapers can't begin to accommodate them all. Conservatives took over the leadership of the Congress. Republicans controlled one or both branches of Congress during much of the past couple of decades.

Conservatives had the ideas. Liberals offered up the failed liberalism of the past. But the pendulum is swinging back. Conservatives appear to be fighting the last war. Many conservatives appear to be tired, their ideas exhausted. The Democrats are proud to be liberals again. They say they are progressives but clearly liberalism is on the march. Conservatives lack an agenda.

For that reason my colleague William S. (Bill) Lind and I will release a book we call the next conservatism. It covers the waterfront and presents the movement with new ideas. The book should be available soon after the 2008 elections. Many of the ideas are controversial. We hope to engender a national debate over some of them.

It remains to be seen if conservatism can regain the initiative which was lost in the past few years. When there is a vacuum liberals always are prepared to rush in. When President Reagan took office the majority of Americans believed that government was the problem. Today, I am sorry to report, the majority of Americans are convinced that government is the solution. It isn't, of course, but by time the public again is convinced that government is the problem it may well be too late. Conservatives gave up some of their principles in order to retain power. The public has lost confidence in the conservative movement.

As one who has devoted most of his adult life to the conservative cause, it saddens me to recognize this. Yet we can't begin to recover unless we acknowledge the problem. We hope when our book comes out you will help to start a debate over some of the ideas we advance.

Only by that means will we be able to begin to recover. It remains to be seen if conservatives again can seize the moral high ground and frame the issues so that conservatives will have the initiative in my lifetime.

© Paul Weyrich


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation... (more)

Latest articles


Alan Keyes
Why de facto government (tyranny) is replacing the Constitution

Stephen Stone
Will Obama be impeached now that Republicans control both houses of Congress?

Alan Keyes
Ravi Zacharias, the question is about good, not evil

Cliff Kincaid
The media's faux outrage over "domestic terrorism"

Paul A. Byrne, M.D.
Nevada Supreme Court protects Aden Hailu

J. Matt Barber
'Emmaus Code' shows Jesus is the Messiah

Bryan Fischer
Planned Parenthood's inflammatory rhetoric

Publius Huldah
Treason, cowardice, and the Islamic invasion: why states must revitalize the militia

Dan Popp
Cruz' cowardly VAT

Lloyd Marcus
The curious case of black advocates and MSM hatred for Dr. Ben Carson

Michael Oberndorf
Heads - they win; tails - we lose

Michael Bresciani
Are liberalism and political correctness making fools of us all?

Curtis Dahlgren
The year the lions lay down with the lamb, a vision

Rev. Austin Miles
9/11 Muslim cheering false? + Dilbert creator's shocking statements!
  More columns


Michael Ramirez
More cartoons

RSS feeds



Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Bonnie Alba
Jamie Freeze Baird
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites