I don’t know how I got so lucky, but, somehow I ended up on Richard Viguerie’s e-mail distribution list.
Viguerie is the self-promoting (aren’t they all?) direct-mail pioneer who took credit (don’t they all?) for perpetuating the fraud called Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The “Reagan Revolution” snow-job had many enablers, but the putrid Viguerie was particularly creative by sending out hysterical mail fliers that moved many apparently malleable postal customers to buy into the snake oil sold by the “modern” right-wing charlatans; modern only in their methods, not in their usual well-funded, wealth-loving, reactionary agenda.
The world passed the strange collection of Reaganites by years ago, after they were thumped by Clinton I. The powers-that-were then decided to let young(er) Karl Rove run the show for a while, if he could get anointed empty-suit Junior Bush elected in 2000. Rove failed to get Bush legitimately elected, but he took office anyway. Viguerie and his ilk were then consigned to the shadows from whence they came – richer, certainly, although their cards seemed to have fallen out of the Rolexes of cable TV panel-creators. Nothing is sadder than an irrelevant nut-right pioneer, stuck back in his mother's basement with a bank of obsolete dot-matrix printers and reams of naked labels.
These days, Viguerie appears to have assigned himself the task of protecting the GOP’s purity of essence. He beats up on the current Bush for the apparent sin of “compassionate conservatism” as opposed to his version of “real conservatism” and accuses certain congressional Republicans of insufficient nuttiness in their pursuit of middle ground. “The Republican brand has been destroyed by the kind of Big Government legislators who voted to override the President’s veto of the Water Resources Development Act,” he wrote to me on Nov. 9th. “The American people no longer identify the GOP as the party of fiscal responsibility. Republicans who act like Democrats are destroying the Republican Party.”
Well, there are still plenty of Republicans acting just like Republicans, causing severe damage to the nation so the party, such as it is, is safe for now. We aren’t safe from them, but they are safe from themselves, at least for a couple more election cycles, at which point, if current trends continue, they become the Whigs. But hysteria, bombast and demagoguery have always worked so well for Viguerie, it doesn’t matter whether what he is saying is grounded in any reality sane people would recognize. He doesn’t understand why his previous gullible customers are not lining up for more.
While Viguerie is reduced to tooting his own horn and using spamming software to try to wedge his way back to relevancy, some from his era of wing-nuttiness have people in the supposedly-liberal mainstream media doing it for them. This Sunday morning, Craig Gilbert of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -- no doubt at the behest of the paper's right-wing news editor -- produced an embarrassing puff piece on locally-produced neanderthal Paul Weyrich. In the fawning article, Weyrich is praised as “tenacious”, a “giant” and an “institution-builder” by various nut-right sources. It’s the kind of lame non-judgmental profile where the obnoxious jerk is excused his cantankerous ways because – well, just because. “I do not suffer fools gladly,” muttered Weyrich darkly, leaving open the question of who would willingly suffer him.
Like Viguerie, Weyrich pretends to have answers for the future as he pines for his lost past. “Where's our candidate? Where's our Ronald Reagan?” he whines – even, shockingly, claiming “I’m going to take out my rifle” if he hears the question again. As for the future, Weyrich sees the right's salvation in the trumped-up culture war, fighting those "who seek to tear down the Judeo-Christian culture." Well, whatever – another tired white guy trying to stem the dreaded diversity tide they can’t stop and will never understand. With Weyrich apparently still hosting his Wednesday lunches with nut-right activists and a White House note-taker, he has become a tedious Washington place-holder for right-wing elitists – someone who is subject to ring-kissing only because some poor slobs don’t have anywhere else to go.
The piece ends as badly as it possibly could, with Weyrich pronouncing that "Only God can judge whether I have succeeded or not." Well, no, I think us mere mortals should be able to figure that one out. The only question is whether Gilbert was laughing or crying when he typed that pathetic quote.