In typical Trump fashion, Trump makes his own truth. But it’s statements like this – calling Phyllis Schlafly “a champion for women” – that expose both his ignorance and misogyny.
The truly great Phyllis Schlafly, who honored me with her strong endorsement for president, has passed away at 92. She was very special!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2016
As a tribute to the late, great Phyllis Schlafly, I hope everybody can go out and get her latest book, THE CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR TRUMP.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2016
He also wrote a short obituary to her on his campaign website:
Phyllis Schlafly’s latest book, The Conservative Case for Trump was released on 6 September 2016, the day after her death from cancer at 92 years of age. This is obviously a very sad event for her family, who were with her when she died. She was not, however, in Trump’s words, “a champion for women.”
She opens her book with the statement:
The stakes are unmistakably high. I know that some well-meaning conservatives find Trump puzzling or even offensive, but I trust that this book—the culmination, for me, of more than seventy years of active involvement in Republican politics—might help sway them.
That seventy years started with her support of the McCarthy era anti-communist extremism and opposition to the Civil Rights Act, which she continued after it was passed into law in 1964. Then came decades opposing the women’s movement, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. She finally added an opposition to human rights for undocumented immigrants and Muslims to the list. All this apparently led her to supporting Trump for president so strongly, the last public action of her life was to write a book about it.
The book’s blurb on the Amazon page is scary:
Schlafly, the conservative icon whose celebrated classic A Choice Not An Echo (over 3 million copies sold) upended the 1964 Republican Convention, persuasively argues that Donald Trump is worthy of every conservative’s vote. Joined by Ed Martin, the former head of the Missouri Republican Party, and Brett Decker, formerly an editorial writer with the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times, Schlafly presents the real Trump, the Trump she and her colleagues have met with and interviewed, the Trump who is far more conservative than you think.
In The Conservative Case for Trump, Schlafly reveals:
1. How Trump’s appointees to the Supreme Court (on which Schlafly advised him) could be the most consequential in a century
2. How, unlike any other Republican, Trump could actually fix the nation’s immigration mess
3. Why his economic platform could spark an economic revival on the scale of the Reagan boom of the 1980s (it is based on much the same plan)
4. How Trump will defend the First Amendment—guaranteeing freedom of speech and religion—against an ever more dictatorial Left
5. Why Trump’s fresh thinking on defense and foreign policy is long overdue—and could send terrorism into rapid retreat
Donald Trump is the most controversial Republican presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater, and could be the most conservative and successful president since Ronald Reagan. In her very last contribution to the conservative movement, Phyllis Schlafly, the “sweet-heart of the Silent Majority,” makes an irrefutable case that needs to be shared with every wavering voter. Nothing less than the future of our country is at stake.
Trump, as we all remember, opened his presidential campaign with a speech attacking undocumented immigrants and his vitriol towards them has fed his most ardent supporters ever since. Schlafly was just the type to be attracted by such rhetoric. As Right Wing Watch reports:
In recent years, Schlafly turned much of her attention to fighting immigration, and particularly to fighting efforts within the GOP to be more welcoming to immigrants. After the Republican National Committee responded to Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election by issuing an “autopsy” report that urged the party to stop alienating Latinos, partially by considering immigration reform, Schlafly lashed out, saying that there was no hope for the GOP to win Latinos. Latinos, she said, don’t “have any Republican inclinations at all” because “they’re running an illegitimacy rate that’s just about the same as the blacks are.” She added that Latinos “come from a country where they have no experience with limited government. And the types of rights we have in the Bill of Rights, they don’t understand that at all, you can’t even talk to them about what the Republican principle is.” …
“In my mind’s eye,” she said, “I see those railroad cars full of illegals going south. That’s what they ought to do.” …
She tried to square this anti-immigrant sentiment with her Christian beliefs by claiming that the Bible’s demands of “kindness and compassion” to strangers do not apply to the government’s treatment of immigrants.
Schlafly, then was just the type of person Trump’s platform was designed for.
As previously mentioned, Schlafly’s greatest claim to fame is that she spent much of her life fighting AGAINST rights for women. As the Advocate points out:
… she’s most famous for fighting the Equal Rights Amendment [ERA], which would have added these words to the U.S. Constitution: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” When Schlafly began her Stop ERA campaign in 1972, the ERA had been passed by both houses of Congress and ratified by 30 states out of the 38 needed to be added to the Constitution …
The Washington Post credits her with preventing the Equal Rights Amendment “almost single-handedly.” In her opposition to the ERA she said it would lead to same-sex marriage, unisex restrooms, abortion, women drafted into the military, and the repeal of laws that barred women from workplaces deemed dangerous – all things she thought were dangerous to society.
Following her success in stopping the ERA Schlafly formed the Eagle Forum which was a women’s organization in opposition to women’s liberation. The organization opposed abortion rights for women and Title IX, which is a US law that bans sex discrimination in education. She thought that men should be in charge of their wives and that it was impossible for a husband to rape his wife. In her opinion, “by getting married, the woman has consented to sex.”
And it gets worse. In 1981 when testifying before a US senate committee she said:
Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women, except in the rarest of cases. Men hardly ever ask for sexual favors from women from whom the certain answer is no. Virtuous women are seldom accosted by unwelcome sexual propositions or familiarities, obscene talk or profane language.”
I’m not even sure where to start with that. I suppose it means that she thinks, among other things, that a man can judge whether a woman is “virtuous” just by looking at her. Otherwise, there’d be no women being hassled in the streets by strangers, would there? And what on earth is “virtuous” anyway, and who gets to decide?
Equal pay for equal work was another thing she didn’t think women had any right to – she thought not only should men be paid more than women, but that the wage gap should be increased! In 2014 she wrote in The Christian Post:
Another fact is the influence of hypergamy, which means that women typically choose a mate (husband or boyfriend) who earns more than she does. Men don’t have the same preference for a higher-earning mate.
While women prefer to HAVE a higher-earning partner, men generally prefer to BE the higher-earning partner in a relationship. This simple but profound difference between the sexes has powerful consequences for the so-called pay gap.
Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate. …
The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap.
Sex education is schools was another of her crusades – she was against it or course – calling it “a principle cause of teenage pregnancy.” HIV/AIDS education was problematic for her too. The Washington Post again:
When President Ronald Reagan’s surgeon general, C. Everett Koop, tried to introduce AIDS education to public school curriculums [sic] in the 1980s, Mrs. Schlafly likened it to “the teaching of safe sodomy.”
Of course, good quality sex education in schools, along with the availability of contraception, is actually the best way to reduce teenage pregnancy and prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases.
Schlafly, a devout Roman Catholic, was intelligent and well-educated. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Washington University and a Master of Arts in Political Science in 1945 from Radcliffe College (the female co-institution of the then all-male Harvard). In 1949 at 25 she married Fred Schlafly who, she said, “saved her from life as a working girl.” (I assume she didn’t mean prostitution!) In 1978 she also achieved a Juris Doctor from Washington University Law School. She had wanted to attend law school earlier, but her husband was opposed to the idea, so she put it off until he changed his mind.
As is so often the case with religious conservatives, there was more than a taint of hypocrisy in her sermonizing. Although constantly ramming home the message that a woman’s place was in the home, the demands of preaching that message left little time to look after her own six children. She retained a full-time housekeeper for that. And while praising Sarah Palin for being nominated by the Republican party to run for vice-president in 2008, in 2010 she opined that “no woman in ready to be president.” Just two months ago she made the profound statement (yes, that’s sarcasm) when discussing her support for Trump:
Our greatest presidents have all been men, and they’ve been very good for our country.
So no, Mr Trump, Phyllis Schlafly was NOT a champion for women. And Mrs Schlafly was wrong – Trump will NOT be a great president. In fact, he likely won’t be president at all and Hillary Clinton will prove that a woman can be an excellent president. Trumpeting Schlafly as a “champion for women” is yet another example of the stupid and ignorant bluster Trump continuously spews.
And I bet his daughters don’t agree.
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Just heard part of a fascinating evaluation of Schlafly’s work and life on our local Pacifica radio station: https://kpfa.org/episode/letters-and-politics-september-7-2016/. The discussion begins right about 8:18, so drag forward to that point. I tuned in during the program and haven’t yet had the chance to listen to all of it, but what I did hear was excellent and revealing — her life was replete with irony. I won’t spoil things by enumerating them; people should listen to the discussion.
Please excuse the anacoluthon — last sentence. May be more grammatical goofs; my grasp of my native language is admittedly tenuous. Surely a sign of my low IQ (Elementary, My Dear Watson would say — it’s in your genes).
Anybody who knows a word like anacoluthon can’t be all bad! 😀 (It even gets a red wavy line because WordPress doesn’t know it!)
That is an insightful view into the nature and character of Phyllis Schlafly. The best I can say, I guess, is that she is a product of a previous age and a dinosaur culture when women were less valued as people.
While the World is not perfect, we are fortunate to have moved ahead since she formed her ideas and you are right to highlight her failings to ensure that no-one today shares those views – apart from Trump and his followers of course.
Mind you, I am still frightened about Trump.
You’re right Martin. But most of us learn and grow as we live, and we’ve got less excuse not to do that if we’re lucky enough to be intelligent imo.
I’m frightened about Trump as well. Even though I know it’s extremely unlikely he’ll win, I can’t help being scared he will. And if he does, no one knows what we’ll get, including those closest to him.
Well, I guess that is to be expected. One nut supporting another.
She was a wealthy, entitled woman who cared nothing about women in other circumstances.
She was a leader of integrity and genius. She saw the ERA for what it was — a ploy to expand federal judicial power — and she single-handedly scuttled it. And she helped create the movement that elected Reagan, that ended the Cold War and slowed the growth of the welfare state.
If you’re going to say stuff like that you need to explain it. I can see no link between equal rights for women and expanding federal judicial power. Do you think the same about her opposition to the Civil Rights Act?
And I suspect Reagan would’ve done just fine without her. He’s also given way too much credit in Republican folklore for ending the Cold War. Hardly anyone even heard his, “Tear down this wall,” comment, for example, and most media never mentioned it at the time.
Schlafly certainly did play a role in fundamentally transforming the Republican Party and paving the way for Reagan. After all, she was one of the reasons the party made that huge right turn in the ’60s.
Or as someone from Vox just put it today:
“Schlafly’s self-published book A Choice Not an Echo galvanized public support for Barry Goldwater and helped him become the GOP’s presidential nominee in 1964, Adele Stan notes at AlterNet. Goldwater may not have won the presidency, but his candidacy gave rise to the socially conservative New Right and Moral Majority movements that would later dominate Republican politics.”
It was, of course, that New Right and Moral Majority that helped put Reagan in the White House.
Fair point. You’ve changed my mind.
“In this context, ratifying a constitutional amendment with the sweeping abstract language would have been equivalent to giving the federal courts vast new powers and saying, Surprise us!”
“Reagan bolstered the U.S. military might to ruin the Soviet economy, and he achieved his goal,” said Gennady Gerasimov, who was the top spokesman for the Soviet Foreign Ministry during the 1980s.”
“Hardly anyone even heard his, “Tear down this wall,” comment, for example, and most media never mentioned it at the time.”
Hmm, my memory was that it received a great deal of coverage in US media. Were you talking about Europeans?
I can’t say that I particularly remember it. but since I was more concerned at the time with living in the overlapping vapourisation zones of the two foreign cruise missile bases in our country, I’d spend more time cycling over to the peace camp and searching for breaks in the razor wire.
There was only one thing that stopped Reagan from being the most hated person in Britain : Maggie Thatcher [hawk, spit, look for grave to urinate on].
Once the wall came down, it received a lot of coverage, but when he first said it they didn’t mention it. See this post I wrote two years ago: https://www.heatherhastie.com/obama-vs-reagan/
FWIW, I meant that I (thought I) remembered that the comment itself received a fair amount of publicity at the time it was delivered, not that it necessarily had any bearing on the dismantling of the wall itself, some years later.
As to Reagan–of course the Republicans are the only ones to lionize him. (My favorite memories of the Reagan era were of his two youngest children speaking out against his policies. 🙂 )
I heard his eldest son on Fox a few months ago. He was going on that the atheist son shouldn’t speak publicly because it’s disrespectful to their father’s memory. He sounded nasty, petulant, and bitter.
Most people would happily trade the Reagan era’s sunny optimism, confidence and vigorous growth for the pathetic drivel, incompetence and malaise of the last eight years.
Given that most of the malaise has come from the failure of Republicans to cooperate and their determination to block Obama’s policies it’s not something to be pointing to. The GFC, caused by greedy and unscrupulous USian bankers, effected every country in the world. The US actually recovered better than most, but was held back by the fact that the countries it has the strongest economic connections with struggled more than they did. Further, Bush wasted the economic boom most of the world enjoyed during his administration by spending trillions on an illegal war in Iraq, which also meant insufficient attention was paid to Afghanistan, extending that war.
If it wasn’t for Bush, USians wouldn’t be so war weary and there’d be greater support to go against DAESH. Of course, without the extensive warmongering of Bush, there’d likely be less terrorism and part of al Qaeda might not have morphed into DAESH. The leader of DAESH was, after all, partly formed by his experiences in a US prison in Iraq.
Reagan can take little credit for the optimism and financial good times of his presidency. That was driven by all those atheists in Silicon Valley. He was being increasingly hidden from the public in his second term because of his sad illness, while his wife, in naturally seeking to protect him, relied on weirdo astrologers and other such woo. I remember film at the time of him meeting the Queen, and it was obvious his mind was gone.
Blaming Republicans for Obama’s manifold failures is like blaming the doctor for the diagnosis.
Yes, of course you are right that prosperity always comes from private initiative, not politics or politicians, but Reagan created the necessary preconditions by cutting taxes and regulation, and by decisively reversing, once and for all, the default consensus in favor of political meddling in the economy. And by sheer dint of personality, Reagan thoroughly and undeniably reinvigorated America’s spirit, confidence and resolve.
(I remember video of Obama meeting the Queen and other supposed potentates in which he bows and scrapes like a peasant. In those moments you see just how pathetically unlike Reagan he is.)
Yes, it was Gorbachev (and later Yeltsin as final ‘termInator’), not Reagan that ended the Cold War and destroyed the Iron Curtain. Reagan still gets way too much credit there indeed.
Actually, I think that Raygun’s most important legacy is that through sheer personal charisma, he made it not only acceptable, but admirable to be an ignorant, narrow-minded bigot. And the rethuglicans have been milking that mindset for the last 30 years, culminating in the nomination of Herr Drumfenfuhrer.
Hugely satisfying and entertaining post, Heather!
Royally screwed up the damn blockquotes, but I trust you’ll be able to sort out the quotes from your post from my responses to them…
Whereas our worst presidents have all been…um, er, never mind…
I tried to write a sentence in the original post about how bad some of those male presidents have been, but I couldn’t get it right so I left it out. Yours would’ve been perfect! 🙂
Good point. Do you want some crampons for when you’re delivering that little kicking to their tender egos?
Diane, that is a most pertinent point. And you put it so… um er..brilliantly. 🙂
Sounds like another right wing idiot is dead. Big deal. Tough for her family, but at 92 it’s hardly going to have been a surprise.
I don’t get why this is an issue for them :
After all, provision of any rest room is a cost, which is either going to be in a government building (any level of government) or a private business. In either case it’s a cost for the business. So obviously any conservative is going to be concerned with the bottom line – and needing to pay for and maintain two sets of rest rooms is just an unnecessary cost.
I can’t think of a single private home I’ve ever seen which has gender-segregated restrooms. So if unisex restrooms are good enough for people’s private homes, why aren’t they good enough for public spaces.
Oh my FSM – it’s a self-proclaimed conservative who has problems thinking things through! I’m so shocked and surprised! I feel I must go and lie down.
However I liked her ingenious defence of the pay gap. Very clever, although I do not think it cuts real big logs.
(Note on the pay gap, I think it has more to do with the kind of work than actually different pay for the same work. A company would be crazy to pay more for a male for the same work: we would only see female employees if they could get away with that).
The legislated wage rates for many types of work used to be different for men and women. I think it was 1972 that this changed in NZ. Other dates in other countries. When I found out about it as a kid I was shocked that it was that way and couldn’t understand it. At the age of about 7 I had a huge argument with my father about it. (He was opposed to equal pay and insisted that equal pay would see women losing jobs as employers would prefer males if they had to pay women the same.) I was just trying to understand why women were paid differently and even at that age I easily refuted every argument he came up with. I wasn’t trying to be deliberately argumentative, just to understand, but he was furious with me. He ended up spitting the word “feminist” at me and storming off to get drunk. I didn’t know what a feminist was, but I knew it was bad, and for years I denied I was one.
Now there’s an effort to rate jobs by the skills required. Jobs that are traditionally done by women are paid less than jobs that are traditionally done by men even when those jobs require the same skill level. Our courts, unions, government, academics etc are trying to sort that out at the moment. There’s a recent court case that concluded care workers are underpaid because the job is traditionally done by women and they’re likely to get a big rise because of it.
Exactly, traditionally female jobs are paid less. That was my point with ‘the kind of work’: cashiers, childcarers, nurses, etc. Generally underpaid. But I doubt that a female gravedigger, trashcollector, cashier or police officer is paid less than a male one.
So just how was this woman so admired by Trump — a man known for misogynistic rhetoric — a champion for women?