Author Phyllis Schlafly's “A Choice Not an Echo” caused waves in 1964 by taking on the Republican 'Kingmakers' who seemed to ignore the needs of true conservatives. Fifty years later, she’s still a thorn in the Establishment's side. This week, Schlafly released the 50th anniversary edition of her groundbreaking book (You can purchase it here.) She told Townhall why any candidate considering running for office in 2016 needs to read it.
Congratulations on your anniversary edition of “A Choice Not an Echo.” I know part of the reason you decided to do this anniversary edition was because it marked 50 years. But was the current political environment also a factor in your decision to release this new version?
“It was a major factor, because we have a two-party system in this country and I do believe we have to work within the Republican Party to get on the right track, since I really have no hope of getting the Democratic Party on the right track – and the Republican Party is still a fight between the Establishment, or the people we call the RINOS, (Republican in Name Only) and the grassroots. I want to activate the grassroots to realize they can be the dominant factor in the Republican Party and nominate a candidate for president who is our choice, such as the example of Ronald Reagan in 1980.”
Do you think there’s anyone right now that could be the next Reagan?
“I’m not going to name a candidate at the present time, however I will point out that Reagan ran three times and it was only after he went out and went around the country and met with small groups that he really became an authentic conservative. I think that’s extremely important for all the candidates to do that so they hear what the grassroots want. They want real conservatives, they want the border closed. Period. That’s the law. They passed a fence law and they never built a fence. So I think we’ve done a lot in bringing the grassroots along. The grassroots have really forced the Republican Party to be pro-life and that was a good move despite the fact that these strategists all tell candidates they should not talk about moral issues (big mistake). And it’s also important that this time around the grassroots not be divided as we were last time and so I’m hopeful that anybody who cares who’s going to be nominated for president will read my book, “A Choice Not an Echo,” and see the type of shenanigans and closed door deals that people who are powerful are trying to work out and hoist on us from behind the scenes.”
Republicans won big last Tuesday. But why should conservatives be hesitant to celebrate?
“It was a big victory for the Republicans and it was after Barack Obama went on television and said his policies were on the ballot. So I think the American people voted loud and clear against his many policies. They are particularly angry about his executive action in which he’s trying to steal the powers of the Congress and particularly, for example, when he talked about executive amnesty. We don’t think he should be doing that, we need to get the grassroots really upset about the president who doesn’t pay any attention to the Constitution.”
You’ve said that you’ve been to a lot of Republican Conventions, have you noticed any kind of dramatic shift in terms of the GOP policy or agenda? Is the party losing touch with its conservative base?
“I think we’ve always had an elite group who think they’re smarter than the rest of us who try to enforce their views on the grassroots and those people whom I originally years ago in my first book called the ‘Kingmakers,’ now we call them RINOs and they’re very powerful because they have a lot of money that they throw around and they have high-priced lobbyists who work in Congress all the time. It’s essentially the same fight we’ve had in the Republican Party for many years and I’m pointing out that it is possible for the grassroots to rise up and win and in order to do that you’ve got to know what the facts are, you’ve got to know what’s happened in the past. That’s the purpose of my book. “A Choice Not an Echo” is to show you the type of closed door deals they were making in previous elections, so we’re prepared for what might happen in 2016.”
Can you talk a little about the importance of nominating someone who will reject amnesty for illegal immigrants?
“I think the American people are overwhelmingly against any kind of amnesty. They want the border closed, they want people who come into this country to obey our laws and they don’t want people let in who are infected or could be infected with Ebola or this new kind of TB that’s coming in with these kids coming in from Central America.”
Why is it important to talk about social issues?
“Well, again and again, these high-priced strategists are telling candidates not to talk about social issues, but the fact is that the social issues are the reason why we have such a big amount of government spending and a tremendous debt. It’s the welfare system. The Heritage Foundation has figured out and done the math to realize and tell people that the amount of money we have spent on Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty is more than the money we’ve spent on all the real wars we’ve ever fought. It’s an incredible sum of money and the worst part of it is it makes people dependent on government and unfortunately a lot of these cheap labor people who are coming in from Mexico and South America are people who don’t know anything except the government telling them what to do. They have no real knowledge of the separation of church and state, the three different branches of government, individual achievement that we value in the United States and it may take them several generations to learn that and meanwhile they’re all going to be voting Democratic. So, they’re going to vote for Big Government, because that’s the only thing they know and that’s extremely unfortunate. And the American people anyway are sick and tired of people coming in to our country illegally and not obeying our laws – not obeying our employment laws or any other laws.”
Is there anyone conservatives should think twice about nominating?
“We don’t want the candidate who is picked by the elitists, the globalists, the internationalists, the RINOs and I can tell you their number one choice is Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush is a globalist, an internationalist, he likes UN treaties and he likes Common Core. Common Core is a very hot issue at the grassroots in this country – I don’t think the media has recognized that. But it is a very hot issue. I have described the moms as coming out of the woodwork to fight this because once they see what their children are being taught, they’ve very unhappy about it. Now Congress has passed four different laws in four different years to say that the federal government should not be involved in setting curriculum in the public schools, but that’s what Common Core does. Now they deny it, but they’ve used sneaky ways to get around the laws. We can’t have someone who’s in favor of federalizing education, we can’t have someone that we want to just get along with other countries, instead of establishing our own positions. I believe that the best way to have peace and for ourselves and everybody else is for the US to have military superiority. It’s not strong enough just to have more people in the army and more money spent on national defense – it’s that we have to be bigger and better and stronger than any other country and then they will respect us.”
Why is 2016 especially important for Republicans to get right?
“It’s especially important because we would have had two terms of Barack Obama, whose standing with the American people has consistently been on a downslide – and still is. We don’t like what he’s done. He went into office saying he was going to ‘fundamentally transform’ the United States. Well, we didn’t want to be ‘fundamentally transformed,’ we just wanted him to pay off the debt and stop spending so much of our own money and telling us what to do. But apparently he’s a Big Government person and we need to have a complete reversal in that if we’re going to rebuild the kind of country most of us want.”