Georgene Rice Radio Highlights: Who is funding the conservatives?

Georgene Rice of KPDQ-FM interviewed Nicole Hoplin who is co-author of *Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement*.  Here is an excerpt of that interview:

Georgene: You know, this is a very unusual book in that it covers an element of the history of conservatism as a movement that is oftentimes overlooked in other surveys of that history.

Nicole: That’s right. This really is the missing history, the secret gifts behind the conservative movement. We know that gifts have had great impact on the conservative movement. They have made possible some of our best organizations, our most important ideas, and our best leaders, and yet we still don’t know the stories of the individuals who made those financial sacrifices. So that’s what we intended to do with the book: to tell their stories in a meaningful way and encourage other people to make similar sacrifices to advance their principles.

Georgene: I think if you’re going to look at the history of the conservative movement—certainly the 1964 election, the emergence of National Review, Ronald Reagan’s transformation from movie star to America’s president—these are all high points, but what we fail oftentimes to remember is that there are people behind those events and those individuals who created an environment in which this was even possible.

You’re exactly right. Funding really has made so many of these successes possible. I think it is fair to say that without the three men—Henry Salvatori, Sy Rubel, and Holmes Tuttle—who helped sponsor Ronald Reagan’s “time for choosing” speech in 1964 which broadcast nationally on NBC television, Ronald Reagan may never have run for governor of California, nor would have he probably become president of the United States. So it’s important to look at their lives and what prompted them to make that tremendous gift in the 1960s.

And as you point out in the book, history would have been profoundly altered had these individuals and others that you feature in the book not been there at the right time and acted.

Nicole: That’s right and it’s so difficult to know for individuals—I’m always asked, “how do you know you’re investing in the right cause?” Well, the one thing we can say with certainty based on this book is that gifts have great impact, often far beyond what people realize. So when you see an opportunity, take it and invest in it and certainly you will be pleased with what you have accomplished and many, many people will benefit down the road.. . .

Georgene: You make an interesting observation in the book about the way conservatives and their philanthropy are covered, or in most cases, not covered at all. In a very different way, George Soros comes to mind as well as Richard Mellon Scaife, as examples of how the media deal with those who have contribued very generously to their particular ideological and political movements.

Nicole: You’re right. George Soros is called a “guru”, a “philosopher”, and “a man who would mend the world” by our mainstream press today and he has given to causes from to the Center for American Progress. He’s made claims that defeating President George W. Bush’s reelection was the central focus of his life and it was a matter of life-and-death for him to do so. And, of course he’s called this “guru” and “philosopher”. On the other side, someone like Richard Scaife who has invested in causes like the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution—many free-market, traditional, conservative organizations—he’s called a “right-wing nut”, a “sugar daddy”, a “man who has good reason to hide” and we think that’s just unfortunate, and it serves to stifle conservative philanthropy.. . .

Nicole: A couple of years ago, liberals made the assertion that they would never again be underfunded and of course we know that liberals do control our mainstream media, they have control of our university and college system, and of course much of our government bureaucracy. So conservatives really need to look for advantages, and we don’t have many built-in institutional advantages on our side, but funding is one way in which we can at least have an equal playing field and try to compete with the Left and liberals and so funding is extremely important. We need to talk about the gifts that have gone before us, so to speak, to be inspired. Because what we’ve found is that gifts, financial sacrifices, tend to be magnets…they attract other individuals to invest in a similar cause. I know that’s what happened with Osceola McCarty who gave a gift of $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi for scholarships, and Ted Turner quoted that gift as being the reason he gave $1 billion to the United Nations just a few years later, so it’s important to talk about gifts given to conservative causes because that’s the way we’re going to grow the movement.

###    Don’t miss a moment with Georgene Rice Monday through Fridays, 4-6pm on KPDQ-FM.

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