Source: IN THESE TIMES, Date: 8/8/94, Title: “Right Wing Confidential,” Author: Joel Bleifuss
SYNOPSIS: Observers of the nation’s political scene, who wonder why the United States took a sharp right turn in 1994, should know about the Council for National Policy (CNP). In May 1981, under a tent in the backyard of political strategist Richard Viguerie’s suburban Virginia home, 160 new-right political leaders celebrated their political fortunes and the election of President Ronald Reagan the previous November.
This elite group of administration officials, congressmen, industrialists, and conservative Christians -including Interior Secretary James Watt, Office of Management and Budget Director David Stockman, Phyllis Schlafly, Joseph Coors, Sen. John East (R-NC), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Paul Weyrich, founding president of the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank-launched a political federation to coordinate their own political agenda.
Weyrich, reportedly the single most important person of CNP once proposed that the Republicans include a plank in their 1988 platform that AIDS be controlled by “reintroducing and enforcing antisodomy laws.” And GNP’s R.J. Rushdoony, a leader of the Christian Reconstruction movement, argues that right-thinking Christians should take “dominion” over the United States and do away with the “heresy” that is democracy.
After the public inauguration of the group, the CNP went underground. As investigative journalist Joel Bleifuss notes, “we do not know much about the CNP’s actions or agenda,” but we do know that the radical right is on the ascendant within the Republican Party and has taken over state GOP organizations in Texas, California, Minnesota, Hawaii, Iowa, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and Virginia.
Russ Bellant, author of The Coors Connection, said the meetings of this little-known organization are often a spring-board for radical-right campaigns and long-term planning. “But these efforts will seldom be traced to the CNP” The group meets quarterly behind closed doors and is so secretive that the group’s Washington office will neither confirm nor deny where, or even if, the group meets.
While the roster of the 500 members of the organization is confidential, it is known to include Jerry Falwell, of the Liberty Alliance; Oliver North, CNP executive committee member; Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK); Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS); Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC); Rep. Bob Doman (R-CA); Brent Bozell III, of the Media Research Center; Iran-contra figure Gen. John Singlaub; Richard Shoff, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana; Republican pollster Richard Wirthlin; Robert Weiner, head of Maranatha, a Christian cult; Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus; Linda Bean Folkers of the L.L. Bean Co.; televangelist John Ankerberg; Bob Jones III, president of the Bob Jones University; and former attorney general Edwin Meese, CNP president in 1994.
To emphasize the secret nature of their meetings, CNP Executive Director Morton C. Blackwell wrote a memorandum to members attending a meeting in St. Louis in 1993 instructing them that all remarks made at the conference were to be strictly private. “The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before or after a meeting.”
And, with the exception of the alternative press, the Council for National Policy has managed to escape the attention of the media.
SSU Censored Researcher: Paul Giusto
COMMENTS: “No mass media outlet has ever investigated the doings of the Council for National Policy (CNP),” according to investigative author Joel Bleifuss. Bleifuss charged that the media’s failure to investigate the CNP, a secretive political networking organization that includes every political figure of the far right, “is a major oversight, given the ascendancy of the Christian right, particularly the Christian Coalition under the guidance of Ralph Reed. “The CNP is not powerful in and of itself,” Bleifuss added, “its importance comes from the role it plays as the ideological tent under which far-right activists confer with the wealthy men and women who fund their activities. Policy discussions and strategic brain-storming both take place at the secretive CNP gatherings. The general public would benefit from a greater understanding of how the far-right functions in the U.S. and what plans it has for our future.”
Bleifuss suggests that Ralph Reed and his ideological compatriots benefit from the lack of media attention given the CNP “Unfortunately,” Bleifuss added, “the mass media have been too willing to swallow the public relations line that Reed et al are merely players in a pluralistic democracy. This claim is baldly refuted by the collection of authoritarian extremists who rally under the CNP banner.”