Paul  Weyrich

The ancient saying that "time flies" was never truer as the 110th Congress convened this past week. It was 40 years ago exactly as this eager 24-year old edged into Washington. I had been delayed a few days by then the largest snow storm in history. I stayed overnight in a hotel which now houses the Heritage Foundation. There was no one to tell me that I would one day be its first President. My only concern was where to park my car. I had not yet been to my office, in the suite of Senator Gordon L. Allott (R-CO) and his staff. The opening of the 90th Congress was at hand. Republicans had done better than expected during the 1966 elections. The air, with Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House, was that Republicans would win the 1968 elections. LBJ had become unpopular due to the war. He now had lost politically. The GOP had picked up 46 House seats and five Senate seats.

Republicans, especially in the House, with Representative Joe Waggoner's (D-LA) conservative Democrats, were sufficiently numerous to create political defeats for the White House. I was eager to learn. I had no doubt that my mentor, Senator Allott, got tired of being peppered with questions although he never indicated such. He seemed almost as eager to touch as I had been to learn. For example, the Senator unexpectedly agreed, against the wishes of his entire senior staff except yours truly, to transfer to the newly created Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. The only reason for his doing so was my indicating in a staff meeting to discuss the subject that this was my area of interest. So he dropped in my lap the best present I possibly could have.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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