Phyllis Schlafly has updated her classic 1964 paperback book, A Choice Not an Echo. In that book, she pointed out that Eastern Establishment Republicans controlled the party. They had the money.
They lost control only once: in 1964. It has never happened again.
She is now warning against Jeb Bush.
She is 90 years old. She never tires out. She never changes her hair. (Hillary Clinton should take notice.) She remains the only conservative Republican who ever made a real difference in American political life. She stopped the ERA. Without her efforts and the efforts of Eagle Forum, that amendment would have passed.
Whether the Bush dynasty defeats the Clinton dynasty will be settled in 2016. Until then, it’s good to have an updated edition of A Choice Not an Echo. It reminds us that once — and only once — Eastern Establishment Republicans did not get their man nominated for President.
It also reminds us that nothing has changed since November 1964.
Every four years, conservative Republicans get excited. “We can win the nomination.” No, they can’t. When the Establishment Republican candidate wins, they conclude: “If the Republican candidate wins, the country will be saved.” No, it won’t. Salvation is not by law. It is also not by presidential elections.
But what about Reagan?
Reagan gave us great rhetoric and $200 billion annual federal deficits. He gave us the TEFRA tax hike. He gave us a hike in Social Security taxes. He gave us this budget.
He put George H. W. Bush on the ticket. He put Bush’s man James Baker III in charge of the White House staff. He gave us the Department of Veterans Affairs. He kept the Education Department, which he had promised to abolish.
These were the highlights. The reality of his domestic programs was worse. Doubt me? Read this.
Choice, no. Echo, yes.
The magnificent cynic Ambrose Bierce in his Devil’s Dictionary over a century ago defined the Presidency as follows: “The greased pig in the field game of American politics.” I read that at age 15. I believed it. That has saved me a lot of grief.