- (Photo: REUTERS / Brian C. Frank)
Phyllis Schlafly, considered a founder of the modern conservative movement, endorsed Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for president on Sunday.
“Michele has the courage to be a leader among her peers. She is a real champion in speaking up for values we care about. Michele is a woman of faith and the mother of a beautiful family. She has a 100 percent pro-life record and is a strong supporter of traditional marriage,” Schlafly said in a statement.
Schafly first came to national prominence in 1964 when she wrote A Choice, Not an Echo, a book that is credited with helping the more conservative Barry Goldwater, a senator from Arizona, win the Republican presidential nomination over New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller.
Coincidentally, Michigan Governor George Romney, father to current presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was another moderate Republican who ran for the Republican nomination that year.
Schlafly also played an important role in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment in 1980. She organized conservative women to lobby their state legislators to vote against the proposed amendment. She again argued in 2007 why the amendment wouldn’t have benefited women as many thought it would have. The measure, she said, would “abolish the presumption that the husband should support his wife and take away Social Security benefits for wives and widows. It would also give federal courts and the federal government enormous new powers to reinterpret every law that makes a distinction based on gender, such as those related to marriage, divorce and alimony.”
Eagle Forum was founded by Schlafly in 1972 as a counterweight to liberal women's groups.
Though Schlafly helped found the “New Right” movement that emerged out of Goldwater's failed bid for the presidency, she also became an important figure in the Christian Right movement that began in the 1980s. Schlafly was one of the few Catholic leaders of a movement that was mostly evangelical.
Bachmann, an evangelical Christian, is like Schlafly in that she speaks to the concerns of both New Right and Christian Right movement conservatives. She is pro-life and opposed to gay marriage, plus Bachmann wants lower taxes and less government involvement in the economy.
Bachmann is also the only female in the race. Eagle Forum, along with Concerned Women for America, another conservative women's group, has accused some media organizations of having a bias against conservative women politicians.
In one particularly egregious example, Newsweek had an unflattering cover photo of Bachmann in August with the title, “The Queen of Rage.”
During the controversy, Colleen Holms, executive director of Eagle Forum, said, in an interview with The Christian Post, “We've worked fairly closely with the congresswoman and she is brilliant, she's astoundingly articulate, she's a beautiful woman. She is the epitome of poise and grace.”
Schlafly's endorsement comes a day after former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain dropped out of the race.
Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll in August, but has since remained in the back of the field. Her campaign hopes to make a strong showing in Iowa, the first caucus state, where evangelical Christians will play a prominent role. A recent poll in that state shows Bachmann with about eight percent of the vote. The current Real Clear Politics average of five separate polls shows Bachmann with about five percent of the vote nationally.