Paul Weyrich, the inventor of the "moral majority," hateful bastard, unpleasant bigot, and influential conservative, died today at 66.
What do you hate about the contemporary conservative movement? Chances are, whatever your answer, Weyrich is in some fashion to blame. He started the Heritage Foundation, the most influential think tank of the Reagan era, with money from the miserable Coors family back in 1973.
And, as if "supply-side economics" and Iran-Contra were not enough of a legacy, he went on to found the Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell in 1979, enshrining cheerful hate in mainstream politics for another generation. By the time he went completely mad in the '90s, he was calling for the return of the House Un-American Activities Committee. He remained, of course, massively influential and beloved in the Republican party.
He was also, to boot, a personally unpleasant man, a terror to work with or for, and an gleeful gay-basher who saw Marxists around every corner and wanted to turn the US into a theocracy. There are a number of heartfelt tributes to this hero at The Corner.