Paul  Weyrich

I have written previously about the importance of Mrs. Miles (Margo) D.B. Carlisle, who, almost invisibly, managed to be one of the most important conservatives of our time. Senators called her the 101st Senator. They were correct. First as Executive Director of the Senate Steering Committee (the caucus of conservatives), later as Director of the Senate GOP Conference, Executive Director of the Council for National Policy, Vice President of the Heritage Foundation, and an Assistant Secretary of Defense under Caspar N. Weinberger, she was consulted more and more about the Senate Rules and later on policies of cosmic importance. Her favorite was Senator James B. Allen (D-AL), as both had studied the rules and precedents of the Senate and when working together were dynamite. Yet Margo never acknowledged that she had been meeting with Allen and the Senator never acknowledged his Republican consultant. At one time they had the Senate completely tied up. Better that than passing bad legislation. Talk about the odd couple. One was from the educated East and the other from the backwater of one of the poorest States in the Union.

In this era of flashy egos when one consultant attempts to outdo the other, Margo Carlisle was deliberately the opposite. A deeply private individual, she knew exactly with whom she wished to speak and, conversely, with whom she did not wish to speak. She once upbraided me for giving her home telephone number to a somewhat liberal Republican who had called to ask me a question I was ill prepared to answer. I never did that again and that was about twenty–six years ago.

It is difficult to think about Margo’s not being with us on Thursdays. I initiated a lunch, which Edward J. Feulner, Jr. later named “Six-Pack” inasmuch as in 1975 when I started the lunch there were only six of us, to exchange information. The idea was to have both sides of Congress represented and to have a limited number of outside groups as well so the inside could sing on the same sheet of music as the outside. This meeting dealt with institutional matters rather than only legislative matters. Margo usually spoke the least as we went around the room, taking turns, either telling a story or asking questions. When she did speak everyone listened. While this was as serious a meeting as has ever been constructed, she could turn Six-Pack into an absolute circus just by telling of something which had happened to her during the week. But usually it was terribly important.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Paul Weyrich's column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.