How Did We Get A President Who Advocates Injecting Disinfectant? ‘Mrs. America’ Offers An Answer.Breaking News
tags: conservatism, Equal Rights Amendment, television, Phyllis Schlafly, Mrs America
“Mrs. America” is hardly complimentary to [Phyllis] Schlafly, but it is not as damning as it could have been. It shows that some of her fellow anti-ERA activists had unsavory views (one woman from Louisiana drawls, “We don’t want the same thing happening with uppity libbers as happened with uppity Nigras”), but it doesn’t show how extreme Schlafly’s own views were.
At one point, Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman) accuses her of being a member of the John Birch Society — a group that was convinced that fluoridation was a communist plot and that President Dwight Eisenhower a communist agent. Schlafly follows her husband’s advice to “deny and deflect” the accusation. But a Daily Beast article by historian Ronald Radosh provides definitive evidence that Schlafly was in fact a Bircher. She only resigned in 1964 so that her membership would not discredit her preferred presidential candidate — Barry Goldwater.
Schlafly rocketed to fame that year by writing a bestselling, pro-Goldwater tract called “A Choice, Not an Echo.” Its thesis is that from 1936 to 1960 the Republican Party had been controlled “by a small group of secret kingmakers” who deliberately chose candidates who would be likely to lose and thus pose no threat to the creeping spread of socialism. She accuses “kingmakers” such as David Rockefeller, Dean Rusk and Arthur Hays Sulzberger of “perpetuating the Red empire” because they supposedly benefited financially from foreign-aid programs.
Her paranoid jeremiad about the ongoing appeasement of “Communist slavemasters” was particularly jarring, coming just as President Lyndon Johnson was about to send a half million troops to Vietnam. The only thing more absurd was her contention that “Barry Goldwater is the one Republican who can and will win — because he will campaign on the issues of 1964.” Goldwater lost in a historic landslide.
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