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The Most Important Conservative Who Never Held Public Office


Lee Edwards, Phyllis Schlafly, Richard Viguerie

Today our good friend Phyllis Schlafly, the First Lady of the Conservative Movement, celebrates her 90th birthday. 

 
To some of us, it seems like only yesterday that “A Choice Not An Echo” was published and Phyllis Schafly was launched onto the national stage as one of a new generation of conservative truth tellers dedicated to wresting control of the Republican Party from the inheritors of Teddy Roosevelt and the progressive establishment led at that time by Governors Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney.
 
The jacket of “A Choice Not An Echo” said the book was “a clear, concise statement of the issues of the 1964 presidential campaign, including the hidden issues within the Republican Party” and that it would answer such questions as:

Who really picks your presidential candidates?
How are political conventions stolen?
Who are the secret kingmakers?
How do "hidden persuaders" and propaganda gimmicks influence politics?
 
A Choice Not An Echo” did all of that and more, and in some sense you cannot understand the development of the modern conservative movement, the rise of the Tea Party movement and the “civil war” within today’s Republican Party without reading “A Choice Not An Echo.
 
But Schlafly’s groundbreaking book would not be her only contribution to conservative thought.
 
A true renaissance woman, she has published some 20 books on topics ranging from phonics education, to feminism, to the damage pornography does to children, to foreign affairs and national security.
 
Her opposition to the Left’s campaign to pass the so-called Equal Rights Amendment or ERA made Phyllis Schlafly one of America’s most recognized conservatives – although she never held public office she was likely, next to William F. Buckley, Jr., Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, the most recognized face of American conservatism during the 1970s.
 
Phyllis Schlafly has also been one of the leading voices of the pro-life and traditional family movements. A devout Catholic, she has called Roe v. Wade "the worst decision in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court" and said that it "is responsible for the killing of millions of unborn babies" and her Eagle Forum remains one of the leading organizations of traditional values voters.
 
And even after more than 50 years of leadership in the conservative movement at the national level she is still going strong.
 
At age 90 she still serves as President of the Eagle Forum, an organization she founded in the 1970s, and is a regular on the conservative lecture and political circuit. Her most recent book “No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom” was published in 2012.
 
Phyllis Schlafly’s contributions to conservative thought are many, but one concept from “A Choice Not An Echo” still resonates as no other.
 
America is best served when the two great political parties compete with one another to the fullest possible extent consistent with ethical conduct, concluded Mrs. Schlafly. It was in the forum of vigorous political debate that the United States Constitution was hammered out by the Founding Fathers. Lincoln rose to greatness from the platform of hard-hitting partisan debates with Stephen A. Douglas over issues that were just as important to our country's survival as any issues today.
 
Like trials, said Schlafly, political campaigns should be competitive and adversarial and the Republican Party has a historic duty to compete on all policy issues to give the American people a choice of conservative solutions, not an echo of progressive failures.

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Conservatives

Phyllis Schlafly is a real gem! God bless her!