Latest posts by Nancy Thorner (see all)
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In light of Trump’s first hundred days in office, much has been made of how President Trump is being viewed by the America people as to his accomplishments and campaign promises honored.
While Trump supporters, for the most part, remain firmly behind what Trump has so far accomplished, those on the Left continue to be critical of Trump’s every tweet and word spoken. It has become obvious that the Left is not about to give Trump any credit for his many positive actions taken to “Drain the Swamp” that is still deeply rooted in Washington DC. Trump is viewed as an illegitimate president who must be discredited and destroyed so Democrats can triumph in 2018.
It would be absurd to predict what Trump’s legacy will be so soon into his presidency, but not so with President Reagan’s legacy. Thanks to the generosity of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, Ed Martin, president, I was recently provided insight into what Phyllis Schlafly thought about Reagan. I was given eight archived articles written by Schlafly from December 1980 to January 1983. (The Phyllis Schlafly Eagles headquarters is at 7800 Bonhomme Ave., Saint Louis MO. 63105. Its website: www.PhyllisSchlafly.com)
Phyllis Schlafly was a leader in the Conservative movement; her brilliant and insightful writing continued up until her death at 92 in Sept. 2016. Phyllis Schlafly’s grass-roots campaigns against Communism, abortion, and the Equal Rights Amendment galvanized conservatives for almost two generations and helped reshape American politics. It does seem fitting to wonder how Phyllis might be judging Trump’s first 100 days in office if she were still alive. In Trump, Phyllis saw Reagan-like potential which led to her endorsement as a private citizen.
With certainty, Phyllis would have been delighted with Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey. Phyllis Schlafly passed away the day before the release of her book “The Conservative Case for Trump.” In the book, she addresses her fellow conservatives with a passionate plea to ignore establishment kingmakers and support this controversial GOP presidential candidate.
Although Phyllis Schlafly was thrilled that Reagan had won. At the very beginning of Reagan’s presidency she was hoping that he was what he said he was, but without yet having any evidence to the contrary. After all, as California’s governor, Reagan had signed an abortion bill and the first no-fault divorce law.
Reagan’s legacy following his presidency and his death is still considered quite favorable among Republicans and conservatives, as it should be, but perhaps all was not as rosy as it is now perceived to be by those who remember the Reagan era, a time when there were only three major TV news outlets and Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist.
It will become obvious that what happened to Reagan, as documented in the Phyllis Schlafly eight articles, is similar in many ways to what Trump is now facing in the infancy of his presidency. Trump had the advantage of bringing into office with him a Republican Senate and House (a plus if Republican legislators are able to get their act together), while Reagan inherited a Democratic House and Senate, although he did have a somewhat agreeable relationship with Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil.
Article 1 — December 1980
Does Reagan Know Who Elected Him?
“Ronald Reagan did not win because his Republican opponents were weak, unattractive, or poorly financed. Actually he had very formidable opponents. In the primaries Reagan faced the fantastically-financed John Connally, the prestigiously-backed George Bush, the super-pro Howard Baker, the media-backed John Anderson, and the young and articulate Philip Crane.
“In the fall, Reagan faced a tough and determined President Carter who used all the power, personnel, and perks of incumbency to win at any cost.”
Schlafly went on to say:
“Ronald Reagan won both the nomination and the election because he rode the rising tides of the Pro-Family Movement and the Conservative Movement. Reagan articulated what those two separate movements wanted from government, and therefore he harnessed their support and rode them into the White House like an athlete rides the ocean waves on a surfboard.”
Quite telling, the public was not impressed when Carter and the media charged that Reagan was too conservative or a warmonger. As with Trump’s win, the pollsters and the pundits then tried to explain away their failure to predict or anticipate “the landslide victory that washed Reagan and the Republican Senate into office,” as Schafly commented.”
Article 2 — August 11, 1982
A Reagan Weapons Strategy Needed
Schlafly wrote how “In 1967 the United Sates made the first bad move in the nuclear arms game, and we’ve been losing ever since. The year 1967 was when the U.S. froze the number of its strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, and we’ve been losing ever since. In contrast: The Soviets haven’t scrapped or delayed anything but have been building weapons as fast as they can.”
Phyllis thought the Soviets had the power to wipe out the U.S., that there was no time to waste in getting started, because, after all, providing for the common defense is the first and foremost responsibility of government. Schlafly urged the Reagan Defense Department to devise a new strategic doctrine to assure our safety against the Soviet missile force and recommended getting out of the unratified SALT II Treaty and shedding MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction).
Article 3 — October 30, 1981
Complaints About The Justice Department
Phyllis observed that “the Justice Department is pursuing Carter politics instead of Reagan politics. The Department is staffed by holdover Carteritesand those who allow the holdovers to behave exactly as they would have behaved under Carter. They see themselves as antagonists rather than as supporters of the newly-elected conservative Senate.
About Sandra Day O’Connor: “The Justice Department misled Reagan about her record as an Arizona State Senator. Whatever the merits or demerits of her appointment, the President had a right to expect accurate information.
Article 4. — February 23, 1982.
Letting Down Our Friends
Phyllis wrote: “A foreign policy issue, rather than a volatile social issue, has provided the best proof so far that loyalties are simply not a treasured asset in the Reagan Administration. What made this clear is the State Department’s decision that it will not permit the sale of advanced military aircraft to Taiwan. Of all our so-called allies around the world, the Republic of China on Taiwan has been the most reliably loyal.”
The Reagan administration asserted: No sale of advance aircraft to Taiwan is required because no military need for such aircraft exists. . Wrote Phyllis: “Either the Administration does not want to offend Red China or does no want to offend the Red China Lobby in the U.S. media.”
Article 5. — March 2, 1982.
Bailing Out The Banks With Polish Loans
Phyllis writes: “Over the last ten years, a handful of the biggest, richest banks in America, including such giants as Chase Manhattan, Citibank, and Morgan Guaranty made large loans to Communist Poland. These loans could never be justified by any commercial criteria. It has become known that the big banks had secretly arranged for the U.S. government to guarantee their bad loans.”
As Phyllis predicted, Poland defaulted on its loan when martial law was imposed and couldn’t pay the $1.6 billion owed the big U.S. banks or $396 million in interest. The Reagan Administration likewise came to the rescue of the big banks.
Said Phyllis: “The big promoters of easy, no-collateral, low-interest loans to Communist countries should pay for their mistakes. There is no reason why the tax payers should pay for those mistakes.”
Article 6 — March 16, 1982.
Arms Control Out Of Control
This expectation expressed by Phyllis Schlafly is also relevant to Trump:
“When a new President is elected, the voters have a right to expect him to appoint new officials who believe in and enthusiastically implement the policies on which the winning candidate ran. In 1980 the major issue was the SALT II Treaty and its arms control provisions. . . Carter signed it, promoted it, and said the 1980 election would be a referendum on SALT II; Ronald Reagan vigorously attacked it and called it ‘fatally flawed.'”
Phyllis was not happy that Reagan had not yet fulfilled his election promise mandate.
“The U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency were still staffed and controlled by the Carter team which tried to shove SALT II down our throats in 1980.”
This resulted in longtime Reagan supporters becoming increasingly alarmed. Phyllis strongly suggested removing all Carter holdovers from ACDA and placing them with Reaganauts.
Article 7 — June 18, 1982.
Cross Purposes At The Justice Department
So writes Phyllis: “President Reagan announced his support of prayer in public schools on May 6 before a large gathering of conservative and religious leaders in the Rose garden. While those assembled were lavishing praise on the President for this forthright decision, the battle was going on behind closed doors over the working of the President’s proposal. Within two hours of the President’s announcement, the Justice Department issued a memorandum opposing all attempts to remedy the Supreme Court’s anti-prayer decision except by the long and difficult route of a constitutional amendment.”
As related by Schlafly: “The principal problem at the Reagan Justice Department was staffing. At the time, 80% of all Deputy Assistant Attorneys General employed at the end of the Carter administration were still on the job. These personnel deficiencies at Justice impeded conservative initiatives by other departments and even by the President himself.”
Article 8. — January 28, 1983.
White House Goof On MX Dense Pack
Phyllis had much to say about the MX Dense Pack and how President Reagan’s embarrassing experience in dealing with it contains a powerful lesson, which prompted this warning:
“If the White House advisers don’t learn it soon, they will not be able to cope with the real world of politics between now and 1984.”
Of Reagan’s advisors: “They seem to function on the assumption that “conservatives” will back any defense proposal promoted by Reagan. When Reagan was pushed out to make an address promoting Dense Pack, he discovered he was all alone, without either hawks of doves to bring nourishment back to his nest.”
The rationale of Dense Pack, explained Phyllis, was in essence the same as the MAD-cum-SALT, based on the premise that both Russia and the United States must build only offensive nuclear weapons, capable of killing the maximum number of people, and must not build defensive weapons to shoot down the enemy’s offensive weapons.”
In assessing the present situation in North Korea, sons of Phyllis Schlafly, John and Andy, following in the footsteps of their mother, wrote this column: Missile Defense Needed Against North Korea. Unfortunately our government still hasn’t put the safety against nuclear attacks of Americans first, as well as other innocent citizens around the world. Hopefully missile defense is of importance to President Trump.
May this article provide an important historical lesson for Trump supporters, and people who want to support Trump, but who are confused after being informed time and again that Trump’s presidency is already a failure because he hasn’t fixed the world in 100 days.
[Originally Published at Illinois Review]