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Home | December 2006 Archives

  Gerald R. Ford | December 27, 2006 | Digg This


I first met Gerald Ford (née Rudolph King) when I came to Washington in 1966 to become an assistant to Ray Bliss, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

My sponsor was John Fisher, formerly Administrative Assistant to U.S. Senator Leverett Saltonstall (R-Mass.). Fisher conceived of, wrote, and produced the weekly Ev and Jerry Show which was a semi-humorous news conference featuring Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen (then the Senate Republican leader) and Gerald Ford (then the Republican leader in the U.S. House of Representatives).

At the time, I was a smoker, and Senator Dirksen had been advised by his doctor not to purchase tobacco. Dirksen, in his gravelly voice, said, "I never buy cigarettes or cigars, but my doctor didn’t forbid me from bumming them from you" – which he regularly did. His favorite was the Tiparillo.

In those days, Congressman Ford had a well-earned reputation as a conservative legislator. He even led the effort to impeach U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.

In 1970, when, at the request of the White House, I ran for Congress in Essex County, Massachusetts, Congressman Ford gave me a letter promising that, should I be elected, I would serve (should I desire it) on both the House Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Ford was a strong supporter of mine when I was Director of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity.

In 1973, after Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned, friends of Ford dissuaded President Nixon from naming his first choice, former Texas Governor John B. Connolly, to fill the Agnew vacancy, and instead, pushed forward Ford whom, they told Nixon, could be easily confirmed in the House and Senate. When Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, Vice President Ford succeeded to the Presidency, the first President never to have been elected either Vice President or President.

As President, Ford was a tremendous disappointment. He shifted far to the Left on virtually every issue, and became a big supporter of the Great Society programs which I had attempted to terminate. His sole Supreme Court nominee was pro-abortion John Paul Stevens.

In 1976, Ford won the Republican Presidential nomination because Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager, John Sears, failed to file a slate of delegates in key Ohio districts. Sears was the man who persuaded Reagan to announce that he would make liberal GOP Senator Dick Schweiker his Vice Presidential running mate if nominated. This promise was made in hopes of breaking loose delegates from the Pennsylvania delegation who had been pledged to Ford by Schweiker’s former close friend of a lifetime, Drew Lewis. I knew both Drew Lewis and Schweiker very well as a result of my managing Schweiker’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in 1968. Ford, of course, blew the 1976 election in many ways, not least of them his dunderhead announcement that Poland would never be a satellite of the Soviet Union so long as he, Gerald Ford, was President.

Ford was one of the worst Presidents in American history. His principal redeeming quality was his issuance of a pardon to Richard Nixon for crimes, real and imagined during the Watergate affair, in which Hillary Rodham, then a staff member of the House Judiciary Committee, had helped orchestrate impeachment proceedings.

  South Africa Sanctions | December 26, 2006 | Digg This


Behind the leadership of GOP Congressman Newt Gingrich in the House and GOP Senator Richard Lugar in the Senate, Congress, in 1986, enacted sanctions against South Africa (RSA), the effect of which was to undercut the anti-Communist RSA government and pave the way for the installation of a Marxist regime. Pat Buchanan and I helped reinforce President Reagan’s desire to veto sanctions against South Africa in the months prior to the 1986 Congressional elections.

To that end, I met with White House Chief of Staff Don Regan and the President’s National Security Adviser Admiral John Poindexter and urged a strategy wherein mailgrams over President Reagan’s signature would go to all $1,000-plus donors to each of the Republican Senators up for re-election in 1986. This would reinforce the likelihood of their voting to sustain the President’s veto which, together with Pat Buchanan, I helped draft.

When a week to ten days had passed without the mailgrams having been sent, I went back to Don Regan and asked when they would be dispatched. He told me they would not be dispatched, that he and Poindexter had been overruled by the White House Political Director, Mitch Daniels, who had close ties to the Eli Lilly Company (which was active in support of the African National Congress (ANC)) and who had been Administrative Assistant to Senator Lugar, architect of the sanctions. Daniels said that it might cost GOP Senators their reelections if they voted to sustain the President’s veto.

This was nonsense. As it turned out, several of them, including James Abdnor of South Dakota and Marlow Cook of Kentucky, were defeated anyway, even though they voted to override President Reagan’s veto.

This is another example of the danger of a President having on his staff individuals who do not give that President their primary political loyalty.

  Plymouth Valiant | December 21, 2006 | Digg This


An article in the Auto Weekend section of The Washington Times for December 15 reminded me of the best car I’ve ever owned – a 1965 Plymouth Valiant.

After my wife, Peggy, and I were married in 1964, we relied for some months on a car made available to us by my father-in-law, Dr. Walter O. Blanchard.

When that car finally broke down, without brakes and side windows that would close, I resolved to purchase a new car. After a careful study of available options, I determined that the Plymouth Valiant would be our best bet. After extended negotiations with a car salesman at Allston-Brighton Chrysler-Plymouth, I was able to work the price down to $1,921. With a $500 loan from the First National Bank of Boston, I embarked on an extended payment plan, the interest from which gave the dealer his real profit.

The car was extremely reliable and lasted until January, 1973, when I was installed as Director of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and was given for my use as Director a chauffeured limousine, driven by a wonderful man named Claude Amidon. Long before cell phones, that brand-spanking-new Mercury Grand Marquis was installed with a phone for the convenience of White House operatives who would regularly call me to let me know that what I was doing and saying horrified them.

My trusted and much beloved black Plymouth Valiant had its final breakdown on Route 123 South, just north of Vienna, Virginia, near what is now Tyson’s Corner. For eight years I had ridden it hard and put it down wet. Several hours later, my official OEO vehicle was placed at my disposal.

The Washington Times article had this to say: "The Plymouth Valiants and Dodge Darts of the 1960s and early 1970s were the everyman’s car. Equipped with the famous ‘Slant Six’ engine, the affordable, economical and comfortable cars were exceedingly popular. If you didn’t own one, you knew someone who did."

  Legislative Planning for 2007 | December 20, 2006 | Digg This

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, in the days which follow, we must plan intensively for the crucial battles which will be waged early in the new year:

  1. Can TCC’s Coalition to Block the North American Union be successful in alerting the American people and awakening the Congress?

  2. Can we persuade the President and Congress to stop spending U.S. tax dollars to aid the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual agenda?

  3. Will we succeed in enforcing the law against corporations which illegally hire illegal aliens?

  4. Will we at last seal our borders against the terrorist invasion which is partially camouflaged among the hordes of illegal aliens?

  5. Will Congress wake up to the growing threat from Communist China by (a) cutting Federal spending down to Constitutional size, (b) imposing tariffs on Chinese imports, (c) ending Most-Favored-Nation trade status for Beijing, (d) blocking technology transfers to the Chinese Communists, (e) rebuilding the U.S. Navy to counter the rapid expansion in size and capability of the Red Chinese navy?

  6. Can we extricate ourselves from the globalist bureaucracies which undermine U.S. liberty and independence, including the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the InterAmerican Development Bank, and more.

  7. Can we rebuild momentum for the Constitution Restoration Act to rein in Constitutionally defiant supremacist judges, and can we pressure President Bush to name an originalist Justice to replace John Paul Stevens when he leaves the Supreme Court?

These are just some of the many issues on which we are hard at work.

But our success depends on securing adequate financial support. You can aid our educational activities with a tax-deductible gift to The Conservative Caucus Foundation (TCCF), and our action priorities with a gift to The Conservative Caucus (TCC).

Please help now. Your support is urgently needed.

  Merry Christmas | December 18, 2006 |


and Best Wishes for the New Year

from Howard Phillips, his family, and the staff members and their families of The Conservative Caucus (TCC) and The Conservative Caucus Foundation (TCCF)

  Popularity | December 11, 2006 | Digg This

A new survey conducted by the Barna Group has some fascinating results.

Positive ratings (among persons interviewed) went to Mel Gibson (69%), Tim McGraw (72%), and Bill Clinton (64%).

Lower on the scale were George Bush at 47%, Jim Dobson at 27%, Rosie O’Donnell at 42%, Rick Warren at 12%.

High scores also went to Denzel Washington (85%), Faith Hill (71%), and Tim McGraw (72%).

The negatives were 8% for Dobson, 21% for Gibson, 5% for Faith Hill, 5% for Tim LaHaye, 6% for Tim McGraw, 47% for Rosie O’Donnell, 5% for Rich Warren, 2% for Denzel Washington, and 50% for George W. Bush.

1003 adults were interviewed in October, 2006.

  Smith Hempstone | December 8, 2006 | Digg This


Smith Hempstone, former editor of The Washington Times and U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, died recently at the age of 77. I had the privilege of knowing Smith and had a high regard for him. Here are some excerpts from The New York Times obituary:

"Smith Hempstone, a journalist who became United States ambassador to Kenya and pushed so forcefully for democracy in that country that its one-party government denounced him as a racist and demanded his recall, died on November 19 in Bethesda, Md. He was 77. …

"When international pressures forced Kenya to hold multiparty elections in 1991, Mr. Hempstone’s long, loud campaign for a free vote was frequently cited as an impetus. Beyond enduring verbal abuse, he faced threats to his life twice in his campaign, he wrote in ‘Rogue Ambassador: An African Memoir’ (1997).

"Mr. Hempstone’s circuitous route to ambassador included working as a correspondent in Kenya in its war for independence; as a novelist; as editor of The Washington Star editorial page; as a syndicated columnist; and as executive editor and editor in chief of The Washington Times. …

"Bashfulness was never a problem for Mr. Hempstone. On his honeymoon in Venice in 1954, he knocked on the door of a hotel suite occupied by Ernest Hemingway, who was only too pleased to converse with the stranger.

" ‘Been to Africa?’ Hemingway asked, in Mr. Hempstone’s recollection. ‘You ought to go. Africa’s man’s country — fish, hunt, write. The best.’ …

"Beyond commonalities like girth, a white beard and a taste for tobacco and good liquor, Mr. Hempstone affected a Hemingwayesque style, reflected by the .38-caliber pistol he packed.

"Mr. Hempstone was ambassador from 1989 to 1993, a time when Washington was shifting its African policy. Formerly, the United States had supported African governments that opposed Communism. With the demise of Communism, Washington began pushing countries to increase democracy and human rights. …

"Beyond carrying the gun in case of assassination attempts, Mr. Hempstone told National Public Radio that he learned to take canapés from the back of the tray at diplomatic receptions on the theory that those would be less likely to be poisoned. …

"Smith Hempstone Jr. was born on February 1, 1929, in Washington, where his maternal grandfather and great-grandfather had been part-owners of The Star. He graduated from the University of the South and served in the Marines in Korea. He went to Africa as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs.

"After joining The Chicago Daily News as Africa correspondent, he wrote two books on Africa, won a Nieman fellowship to Harvard, wrote two novels and joined The Star as a foreign correspondent. He next wrote a syndicated column with a conservative bent, ‘Our Times,’ that 90 newspapers published.

"From 1982 to 1985, he was a pugnacious top editor at The Washington Times.

"Surviving are his wife of 52 years, the former Kathaleen Fishback; his daughter, Hope, of Baltimore; and a grandson."

  Lou Dobbs on Trade | December 6, 2006 | Digg This


Lou Dobbs is right on the money when it comes to U.S. trade policies. Here is what he had to say in his latest CNN commentary:

"[T]he consequences of faith-based free-trade will be eye-popping in the disaster it wreaks on our economy and working Americans. The facts are anything but dull: For 30 consecutive years the United States has run a trade deficit, and our trade deficit has surged to record highs in each of the past four years. Our monthly deficits have reached record levels in two of the past three months.

"Our current account deficit – the broadest measure of international trade – is on track to approach $1 trillion this year. And our current account deficit is almost 7 percent of our nation’s gross domestic product, considerably above the threshold at which Federal Reserve studies have acknowledged our economy must make policy adjustments or face major financial crisis. We’re borrowing about $3 billion a day just to pay for our imports, and our trade debt now stands at $5 trillion.

"We will no longer have to be patient to see the impact of these faith-based policies in free trade. Signs are already beginning to mount that a reckoning is nearing. Our trading partners in Europe are counseling "vigilance" in the currency markets, as their anxiety rises with the value of the Euro against the dollar. For the first time, the Chinese government is publicly expressing its concern about the more than $1 trillion it holds in reserves.

"But most disturbing of all are the comments of new Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who said in London Tuesday, ‘A strong dollar is clearly in our nation’s interest and I feel very good today about the strength of the U.S. economy,’ as the U.S. dollar hit a 20-month low against the Euro. Treasury secretaries are not paid for their candor, but Paulson’s rejection of our current reality won’t bolster his credibility with either our trading partners or the new Democratic-led Congress. …

"I hope they can acknowledge that so-called free trade has come at an inordinate cost to working men and women in this country. We’ve lost three million manufacturing jobs as a result of these so-called free trade agreements that enable corporate America to export plants, production and jobs to cheap foreign labor markets. Millions more American jobs remain at risk of being outsourced. And wages in industries where jobs are being created, on average, pay 21 percent lower than industries in which jobs are disappearing, according to the Economic Policy Institute. …

"And yet we persist with our historical ignorance, and we continue to enter poorly negotiated agreements that pose great threats to the U.S. economy and the middle class. NAFTA, for example: In 1993, we had a $9.1 billion total trade deficit with Mexico and Canada. Last year we ran a $128.2 billion deficit with our North American neighbors, and we’re on pace to break that record again this year." Source: Lou Dobbs,, 11/29/06

  Ed Bradley | December 5, 2006 | Digg This


We are told to speak no ill of the dead, but I am going to make an exception in Ed Bradley’s case.

The recently departed CBS TV personality has received much praise in the media. But, forever emblazoned in my mind is the viciously dishonest Left-wing assault which Mr. Bradley made on Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the leader of the Zulu nation, when Buthelezi made the mistake of agreeing to be interviewed by Bradley who was trying to burnish his bona fides with other Left-wingers.

Bradley ought not be regarded as a hero in the mind of any fair-minded person.

  The Boston Braves | December 1, 2006 | Digg This


Growing up in Boston, as was true in so many things, I was a contrarian. Most of my playmates, beginning at age five, were big fans of the Boston Red Sox. From the outset, I favored the Boston Braves.

When they left town for Milwaukee in 1952, I sat in the bleachers and wept. I followed them from Milwaukee to Atlanta and remain an unabashed devotee of Bobby Cox and his gang.

As a youngster, I had the opportunity to meet many of the Braves’ players, including the greatest southpaw, Warren Spahn, who opened a restaurant next to Braves field, to which I could walk the approximately two miles from my home in another part of Brighton.

Whenever a Brave was hospitalized and recovering from injuries at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton, I visited them and offered comfort and encouragement. In the course of several years, I acquired a terrific autograph collection.

Later when I worked at the Republican National Committee, one of my colleagues was AB Herman, a former first baseman for the Braves with whom I enjoyed a number of ballgames, including one with the Cleveland Indians where Warren Spahn was a pitching coach and where I had the opportunity to pick up on our friendship.

One of Spahn’s ablest teammates was Johnny Sain who died recently. Here is what was reported in a November 9 Washington Post obituary:

"Johnny Sain, an outstanding pitcher with the Boston Braves in the 1940s who later became renowned as baseball’s preeminent pitching coach, died Nov. 7 at Resthaven Nursing Home in Downers Grove, Ill., from the lingering effects of a stroke four years ago. He was 89.

"Between 1946 and 1950, Mr. Sain won 20 games four times and led then Braves to the National League championship in 1948. He and fellow pitcher Warren Spahn were so crucial to the Braves’ pennant run that year that an enduring slogan grew up around them: ‘Spahn and Sain, and pray for rain.’

"Mr. Sain also had the distinctions of being the last pitcher to face Babe Ruth in a game and the first to face Jackie Robinson.

"After his playing career, he achieved unparalleled success as a pitching coach with six big-league teams. Sixteen of his pitchers won 20 games in a season—the benchmark of pitching excellence—and he coached the major leagues’ last 30-game winner, Denny McLain, who won 31 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1968.

"Mr. Sain’s only rival as a pitching coach is Leo Mazzone, formerly of the Atlanta Braves and now with the Baltimore Orioles. Mazzone has said he learned all he knows about pitching from Mr. Sain, spending long hours with him during spring training in Florida. …

"Mr. Sain believed pitchers benefited from steady work and was opposed to the modern five-man rotation, in which pitchers rest for four days between starts. In his day, he pitched on three days’ rest and often less.

"During the September pennant drive of 1948, Mr. Sain started nine games in 29 days. He pitched a complete nine-inning game in each start and won seven times. He had 24 wins that year, with 28 complete games; in 2006, no big-league pitcher had more than six complete games.

"Mr. Sain could correct a pitcher’s flaws and teach him pitches, but he was revolutionary in his emphasis on the mental side of pitching. He consulted books on psychology, salesmanship and warfare and was a keen student of Machiavelli — ‘especially the parts on cunning,’ he once said.

"On the other hand, he thought excessive running and physical fitness were counterproductive.

"After pitching with the Braves, New York Yankees and Kansas City Athletics, Mr. Sain retired in 1955 with a career record of 139-116 and an earned run average of 3.49.

"He worked for the Athletics in the late 1950s before joining the Yankees as pitching coach in 1961, helping lead the team to three straight World Series. Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford had his only 20-win seasons under Mr. Sain’s tutelage, winning 25 games in 1961 and 24 in 1963.

"Joining the Minnesota Twins in 1965, Mr. Sain transformed a mediocre pitching staff into one of the league’s best as the team unexpectedly won the 1965 American League pennant. In 1967, he moved on to the Tigers, where he guided the mercurial McLain to two Cy Young Awards as the American League’s best pitcher.

"With the Chicago White Sox from 1970 to 1975, Mr. Sain built a strong pitching staff , and he closed out his career with the Atlanta Braves from 1985 to 1988, tutoring the young Mazzone on the finer points of pitching."

The New York Times (11/9/06) wrote: "Sain was a 20-game winner four times, pitched on three World Series championship teams with the Yankees and was a renowned pitching coach. He was best remembered for the closing weeks of the 1948 season.

"On Sept. 14, The Boston Post carried a four-line poem by Gerry Hern, the newspaper’s sports editor, calling upon Spahn, the Braves’ future Hall of Fame left-hander, and Sain, their outstanding right-hander, to bear the pitching burden, resting on off days and — if luck was with the Braves — when it rained.

"The rhyme was shortened by Braves fans to ‘Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.’

"Spahn and Sain each started three games and each won twice during the next 12 days. There were three off-days and one rainout. Two other pitchers also started games, in between, as the Braves captured the franchise’s first pennant in 34 seasons.

"John Franklin Sain, a native of Havana, Ark., joined the Braves in 1942, pitching for Manager Casey Stengel. After three years in the Navy, he returned to the Braves and his career flourished at age 28. …

"Sain was 20-14 in 1946 and 21-12 in 1947. Then came the season when the Braves emerged from decades of futility to win the pennant by six and a half games over the St. Louis Cardinals. Sain had a 24-15 record with a 2.60 earned run average in 1948 and led the league in victories, complete games (28) and innings pitched (315). Spahn was 15-12 that year.

"Sain beat Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians, 1-0, in the World Series opener. But the Braves lost the Series in six games.

"After winning only 10 games in 1949, when he had a sore shoulder, Sain was 20-13 in 1950. But he fell to 5-13 in 1951 and was traded to the Yankees at the end of August for Lew Burdette, who became a pitching star for the Braves. …

"As the pitching coach under Manager Ralph Houk when the Yankees won three straight pennants, from 1961 to 1963, Sain taught Whitey Ford how to throw a pitch that alleviated pressure on his elbow and slid sharply. Ford, who had never won 20 games before, won 25 and 24 in two of his three seasons under Sain."

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