Confident GOP unifies behind candidates once seen as risky
A few days ago, I walked down to the street to buy a newspaper. My car is next to the old-fashioned brick building with the gold letters on the facade that says “Stuart Post” — “The Stuart Post.” The editor, who has known me for three decades, opens the door to admit me.
“It’s good to see you, Mr. Stewart,” he says.
We nod. I was at the office, I explain, just a few weeks ago when he said to me over the phone, “Stewart, you can trust me to run this thing right.” So he called me and explained what he planned to do.
The editor then goes on to tell me how, in his day, he had been the first Republican leader in the House of Representatives who was known for his willingness to cut checks to politicians he wanted to beat up. He once told the head of the House Republican Campaign Committee that he didn’t like being around those Republicans who did things like support the unpopular President Gerald Ford and oppose Republican legislative leaders, such as Speaker Howard Phillips of New York and Senator Philip Crane of Ohio. The editor made sure that this Republican wasn’t invited to the Republican Party dinners that the editor hosted, and told him that if he ever supported someone he didn’t like, then he was welcome to stay away.
Today, the editor is the party’s leader, a man who has been elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, the chairman of the campaign arm of the Republican National Committee, and the chairman of the Republican Caucus. The party of the late Senator Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.) now enjoys a membership of more than 30,000, with tens of thousands of volunteers.
So I go up to the editor and ask him how he became one of America’s most powerful men.
“What do you want me to say, you gave me the job?” he says. “I did all right — the Republicans were lucky to have me. But I did it by making sure that the Democrats who were in office weren’t as committed to the conservative cause. And when the Democrats came