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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, March 10, 2017

February 1969: Remembering the "Name of the Game" in 2017

by Jordan Henry: Let me paint a picture for you. America is suffering under the weight of eight years of failed liberal policies. Government has expanded and the people are ready for change. A liberal Democrat president is replaced by a candidate running as a strong conservative Republican. If you were to guess what time I’m talking about, you might guess February 2017, and you would be right. However, you could say the same about February 1969, when the Phyllis Schlafly Report headlined with “Patronage Is the Name of the Game.” Phyllis knew electing the right people is only the first step to real change. The next step is to surround the right person with a strong and competent team of staffers and advisors who turn the presidency from a one-man crusade to an unstoppable war machine for the conservative cause.

Unfortunately, the Democrats understood that fact too. That is why they attacked Nixon’s ability to fill positions in the executive branch when he was first elected in 1969. Their strategy was to confound the efforts of Republicans at every turn by making them work in opposition to the very people tasked with carrying out their policies. Immediately after the election, Democrats began to shout about the supposedly unethical practice of replacing executive branch employees from a previous administration with new ones. That practice is commonly known as “patronage.” They said that President Nixon could not make sweeping employment changes because appointing his “friends” to political positions would not be fair to “more qualified” people who were not his “friends.”

However, the Democrats failed to mention that choosing conservative replacements would make them “more qualified” for the positions. The replacements would believe in the conservative agenda Nixon campaigned on. The many bureaus of the executive branch all serve a singular purpose: to enforce the law under the discretion of the president. If a bureaucrat does not agree with the president’s agenda, they should not want to keep the job anyway. While Democrats were quick to call foul on Nixon for using patronage, they weren’t so eager to do so when Democrats like Johnson, Kennedy, or Truman were doing the same thing. As Phyllis pointed out: “The Democrats have never permitted Civil Service to impede their political objectives.” Clearly, Democrats never consider patronage to be a moral issue until a Republican gets in office.

The same thing can be said of the Trump administration today. Democrats have cleverly realized that the best way to attack President Trump is to impede his ability to surround himself with conservative people who want to help him achieve his conservative policy goals. When President Trump appointed Jeff Sessions to the post of Attorney General, the Democrats would not rest until he recused himself. Jeff Sessions was one of Phyllis Schlafly’s favorite people because he is a man of strong principles, easily one of the most honorable men in Washington, DC. For Democrats to attack his character shows that this is really about attacking President Trump via his like-minded confidants.

Phyllis Schlafly warned President Nixon in the February 1969 PS Report that he should not discount the importance of the staff he surrounds himself with. As she recounted in the 50th anniversary edition of A Choice, Not An Echo, Nixon “froze out the conservatives who had nominated and elected him” when he “appointed Henry Kissinger, Nelson Rockefeller’s protégé, to be national security advisor.” As a result, Kissinger convinced Nixon to continue the failed foreign policy of Robert McNamara. President Trump should not make the mistake Nixon made. He should fight against the Democrats in the Senate and elsewhere who would hold him up from putting good people in place who want to help him make America great again. As Phyllis Schlafly did in 1969, we should remember the importance of patronage. It truly is the “name of the game.”
---------------------
Jordan T. Henry is Research Director at The Phyllis Schlafly Center.

Tags: Jordan T. Henry, The Phyllis Schlafly Center, Remembering, "Name of the Game To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
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