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'Unsung Heroes' Sings Conservatives' Praises

By David A. Patten   |   Wednesday, 01 Oct 2008 01:41 PM

What if Ronald Reagan had remained just another B-movie actor in Hollywood?

And imagine U.S. politics without The Heritage Foundation, the Young America’s Foundation, or similar organizations that diligently promote a thoughtful conservative agenda.

Finally, picture a media devoid of conservative outlets such as Human Events or even National Review.

Find that view of reality a bit unnerving? Well it should, which is why “Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement” is an absolute must read.

[Editor’s Note: Get “Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement.” Go here now.]

Co-authored by YAF President Ron Robinson and Nicole Hoplin, the book features a series of in-depth profiles on the unsung conservatives who wrote the checks, kept the faith, and generally financed the conservative revolution during the past 25 years.

Best-selling author Dinesh D’Souza and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese call the book indispensable, which is reasonable praise considering the rare anecdotes and behind-the-scenes tales it contains.

Robinson says he wrote “Funding Fathers” because the media tend to either ignore or vilify conservative givers, unlike the progressive philanthropists. Some reporters don’t understand the conservative movement, Robinson says, while others “favor the left and want the left to succeed, and they will highlight a gift to a liberal institution and put it in the most favorable way, where they are very critical of conservatives.”

[Editor’s Note: Read “Ron Robinson Chronicles Bias Against Conservatives.” Go here now.]

Author Robinson Chronicles Bias Against Conservatives

As exhibit No. 1, Robinson cites billionaire financier George Soros, who recently was heralded in The New York Times Review of Books for his “many laudable efforts to promote the spread of democracy.” Soros, who once took credit on his Web site for playing a key role in the breakup of the former Soviet Union, has been anointed with honorary doctoral degrees from no fewer than four universities.

Yet funders of conservative causes tend to be labeled sugar daddies of the vast right-wing conspiracy. In “Funding Fathers,” Robinson and Hoplin aim to set the record straight on all matters eleemosynary. Profiles include:

  • Henry Regnery, who incorporated Human Events in 1945 and went on to found the publishing company that bears his surname. The wealthy son of an industrialist, he confessed in a letter to William F. Buckley Jr. to wondering, “how much simpler life would have been if I had stayed in my father’s business, instead of trying to save the world.” Regnery put his business on the line by publishing Buckley’s controversial “God and Man at Yale.” His other titles, including Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind,” were credited by Ronald Reagan and others with exerting a subtle but powerful influence on U.S. politics and policy.

  • Dean Clarence “Pat” Manion, a Democrat and former dean of Notre Dame Law School who gained notoriety for supporting first Dwight D. Eisenhower and later Barry Goldwater for president. He persuaded Goldwater to go along with formation of a committee to explore his prospects, and personally advanced the Arizona senator $1,000 to write “The Conscience of a Conservative” (a title that Manion first proposed). Goldwater would “lose 44 states, but won the future,” as George Will once put it.

  • Holmes Tuttle, Henry Salvatore, and A.C. “Cy” Rubel, the three businessmen who were so moved by a speech Reagan gave on behalf of Goldwater’s brand of conservatism that they bought 30 minutes of NBC airtime to present the speech on nationwide TV. Without that speech, Reagan would confess later, “I never would have been a candidate.”

  • Joseph Coors Sr., who boosted Adolph Coors Brewing Company to hallowed status among beer-lovers, wrote a $250,000 check to help two young conservatives, Paul Weyrich and Edwin J. Feulner, establish the Heritage Foundation in February 1973. “Heritage is my legacy,” Coors would later remark.

    Robinson’s favorite “funding father” anecdote involves industrialist John Engalitcheff, who was born a Russian prince before fleeing Communism and arriving in America penniless. Engalitcheff eventually made a fortune in the air-conditioning business, but never forgot the evils of Communism.

    He became a major contributor to the American Security Council Foundation, whose Peace Through Strength initiative became a cornerstone of Reagan’s defense policies. Engalitcheff actually did contribute to the demise of the Soviet Union.

    In November 1984 Reagan invited him to be honored at a White House reception, but the experience proved overwhelming. Engalitcheff collapsed at Reagan’s feet in the Blue Room.

    “Don’t worry,” Reagan reassured him, as medical help arrived. “We just want you to get better.”

    Just two days later, Engalitcheff would die from a massive stroke. But the story didn’t end there.

    “He was comforted in his closing hours by Ronald Reagan,” Robinson tells Newsmax, “but it was his gift that came to Young Amerca’s Foundation, when his wife Virginia died in the early 1990s, that allowed us to save President Reagan’s ranch, and give the Reagans some of the resources to care for the president at the end of his life.

    “So while Ronald Reagan helped comfort John Engalitcheff in his closing hours, it Engalitcheff’s gift that also comforted the Reagan family, and assured that the Reagan ranch would be attended to in the president’s years, when he had Alzheimer’s.

    Because of that gift, Robinson’s YAF now presides as steward of one of America’s most fascinating historical treasures, Reagan’s beloved Rancho del Cielo, the Western White House.

    Having received the means to preserve the Reagan ranch, Robinson naturally sought in “Funding Fathers” to ensure that Engalitcheff, and others like him, finally would receive their due.

    “Gifts have consequences,” Robinson says.

    “Freedom oriented movements and conservative causes are not going to be championed by the mainline news media,” Robinson adds. “We have to do that ourselves, both as supporters and as people running these institutions. We have to give credit to these great gifts that propel the movement forward.”

    [Editor’s Note: Get “Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement.” Go here now.]

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