Former Harvard College graduate, Director of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, and founder and chairman of The Conservative Caucus (TCC), Howard Phillips could be a hero or a transgressor. It all depends on which political stance you are looking for. The late conservative activist is a role model to many conservatives around the country. Born on February 23rd, 1941, in the state of Massachusetts, Phillips was not initially of Christian origins. Born to Jewish parents, he later converted to Christinaity and practiced it until his death on April 20th, 2013.

Howard Phillips founder and chairmanSource : gaconstitutionparty

He was an advocate for traditional family values, limited government authority, defunding the left, a strong national defense system and other such extremely consertive opinions. His values and opinions translated into some strong actions, such as forming the New Right Movement along with Richard Viguerie, Paul Weyrich, Terry Dolan, to name a few. The movement gave fuel to the Republican Party’s cause, actively working towards spreading the conservative agenda, in many forms.

As a Stalwart conservative, he still stood out among the lot for being too devoted to the right-wing cause. This eventually led to him withdrawing as an ally from the Republican Party, believing that even they had abandoned America’s strict traditional values. Initially, he was appointed as the director of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity by President Richard Nixon. This was to actively work towards dismantling, by awareness and defunding, several social programs. Before that, his major work involved campaigning and putting his efforts towards the Republican party’s causes.

U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity by President Richard NixonSource: monmona

His appointment as the Office of Economic Opportunity director was to abolish all the anti-poverty programs started by President Lyndon B. Johnson, of the Democratic party. He came to be the head in order to root out the agency itself. This did not go as planned when Democrats sued President Nixon for actions to eradicate an agency working towards social good, approved by Congress. Democrats were successful in their opposition as Nixon discontinued the dismantling program and continued financing the Office of Economic Opportunity.

This, however, did not bode well with the conservative advocate and he resigned, considering the President ‘not dedicated enough’ to the cause. This was the time around in 1974 when Phillips decided all the money going into financing liberal policies and programs through the OEO was wrong. It was then that he started the Conservative Caucus (TCC) that eventually became Americans for Constitutional Liberty (ACL) in 2014. The organization’s objective was to start grassroots efforts to mobilize conservatives. It was the TCC that led him to found the New Right movement along with several other prominent conservative figures.

President Lyndon B. JohnsonSource: jfklibrary

This was a moment where even though his ideologies were conservative leaning, the propositions and demands were even harsher than the Republicans. Howard Phillips was considered a problem for many Presidents as he actively lobbied to defy some of them that he believed would go against traditional American values. This included some Republican party presidents as well.

In the middle of 1970, Phillips, among his other New Right compatriots, met up with Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, to convince him to run independently for president in the next elections. They believed they could really invoke some fire into the conservative advocacy that was gaining momentum. But Reagan refused, saying he was a Republican first and a conservative second. After losing his first nomination in ‘76, Reagan went ahead to win twice in’ 80 and ‘84. Phillips, however, did not believe in Reagan’s conservative ethics and thought they lacked original conservative values. Not only that, Reagan was among the Republican presidents that Phillips actively went against, especially when he nominated Sandra Day O’Connor for Supreme Court Justice.

Ronald Reagan, then governor of CaliforniaSource: pri.org

In the year 1992, Phillips started what he named the ‘U.S. Taxpayers’ Party ’that he believed would truly embody America as the founding fathers envisioned it. He said the party would ‘restore American jurisprudence to its biblical premises.’ He ran for president on behalf of it in the years 1992, 1996, and 2000. His best results came in 1996, when he received one-fifth of one percent of the vote.The Taxpayers’ Party got renamed to ‘the Constitution Party’ later on and continues to work under that name.

He wrote multiple books throughout his life to theorize his values and ideologies in text. The New Right at Harvard (1983), Moscow’s Challenge to U.S. Vital Interests in Sub-Saharan Africa (1987), The Next Four Years (1992), and Victory 2000 (1999) are his four books. Howard Phillips died in 2013, at the age of 72, at his home in Vienna, Va. Temporal frontal lobe dementia was confirmed to be the cause of his death by his sister Susan Phillips Bari. He is survived by his wife, Margaret “Peggy” Blanchard, their six children, several grandchildren and his sister.