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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Weyrich and the Little Shrubs Choose Candidates

While candidate endorsements rarely move actual votes, they are sometimes influential in signalling the acceptability of this or that contender to particular constituencies. And that’s definitely true with respect to the GOP candidates for president, who are all struggling to lay claim to what’s left of the party’s once-invincible conservative factions.
Yesterday Mitt Romney got the nod from a especially significant validator of his conservative bona fides: the ultimate Right Wing War Horse, Paul Weyrich.
In case you’re not familiar with Weyrich, he’s been the great instituton builder for the Right over a period of three-and-a-half decades. He played the main role in snagging Coors family money to create the Heritage Foundation and the less-well-known but very important American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is sort of the Johnny Appleseed of bad state policy ideas. Weyrich is generally credited with giving the late Jerry Falwell the name “Moral Majority” for that briefly influential group. And more recently, he helped set up the Council for National Policy, the Cultural Right’s politburo.
For all his contributions to the Right Wing Noise Machine, Weyrich himself is a crotchety maverick forever finding fault with the GOP”s fidelity to The Cause. He has been among those threating to take a dive or go third party if Rudy Giuliani gets the Republican presidential nomination. And so his endorsement of the Mittster will be widely interpreted as signalling a Stop Giuliani effort that brushes aside concerns over Romney’s Mormonism and late-life conversion to cultural conservatism.
Elsewhere on the endorsement front, Michael Shear has a very entertaining front-page article at the Washington Post today running through the presidential preferences of the Bush family. While virtually everyone in former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s political operation seems to be involved in Romney’s campaign, two of his sons have take the famous name elsewhere. George P. Bush, the bilingual heart-throb generally expected to be the next vehicle for the Bush Dynasty, has joined the Big Fred Machine. But Jeb Bush, Jr., has just endorsed Rudy.
Endorsments aside, you’ve got to figure that Jeb Bush, Sr., is looking at developments in the Republican presidential campaign with a strong feeling of What Might Have Been. Universally considered the smarter, tougher and more ideological of the Bush scions, Jebbie lost his Heir Apparent status in 1994, when he narrowly lost the Florida governorship while W. narrowly won in Texas. His brother’s train wreck of an administration made another Bush presidential run in 2008 a political impossibility. And though Jeb’s name used to come up often as a possible Veep candidate, the desire of Republicans to use the anti-dynasty card against Hillary Clinton has all but eliminated that sort of talk.
When you look over the deeply flawed Republican presidential field, and watch conservatives like Weyrich struggle with their bad options, you have to conclude that if the former governor of Florida were named Jeb Smith, he’d wipe up the floor with these bozos and cruise to the nomination. Irony of ironies, The Name has turned out to be more a curse than a blessing for Jebbie.

One comment on “Weyrich and the Little Shrubs Choose Candidates

  1. Blue Jean on

    Yeah, from your lips to God’s ear. But that’s exactly what was said after Poppy topped out at 37% in 1992. Just eight years later, his ndraft dodging, ne’er do well son with a paper thin resume and a DUI record managed to amass enough votes for his little brother, his campaign manager, and Poppy’s friends on the Supreme Court to drag him over the finish line. The Kudzu Shrub keeps coming back, like Jason, or Michael Meyers.


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