Veteran Conservative Leader Howard Phillips Dies at 72

By:  John F. McManus
04/22/2013
       
Veteran Conservative Leader Howard Phillips Dies at 72

Howard Phillips, a lifelong activist for conservative causes, passed away April 20.

Born in 1941 and raised in the Boston area, Howard Phillips (shown in photo) graduated from Harvard University in 1962. Always a conservative activist, he won election twice as Harvard’s student council president. A Jewish convert to the Christian Reconstruction movement, he and wife Peggy (née Blanchard, a lifelong Catholic) raised six children and were fortunate to enjoy many grandchildren.

A lifelong activist for conservative causes, Phillips rose from precinct worker to campaign manager, congressional aide, chairman of the Boston-area GOP, and assistant to the GOP’s national chairman. A determined and knowledgeable student of the U.S. Constitution, he delivered many speeches about America’s “law of the land” to numerous groups, including The John Birch Society. 

In 1973, during the Nixon administration, he won appointment as the director of the Lyndon Johnson-created Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). When President Nixon reneged on a pledge to abolish OEO funding of leftist causes, Phillips resigned from the OEO in disgust. In 1974, he quit the Republican Party and unsuccessfully sought the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1978.

In the 1980s, during the Reagan administration, Howard sought to have left-leaning James A. Baker III removed as presidential chief of staff. Baker was eventually removed from that post, but won appointment as treasury secretary, hardly a victory for conservative principles. 

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Photo of Howard Phillips during a radio interview while the Constitution Party candidate for president in 2000: AP Images

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