Long before Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter or any of Roger’s Angels, Phyllis Schlafly brought a far right woman’s perspective to TV’s political chat shows. Never really a pundit, Schlafly, who died yesterday at 92, was nonetheless a familiar face and voice on the television landscape, whether appearing in support of Barry Goldwater in the 1960s, fighting the Equal Rights Amendment in the ’70s or supporting Donald Trump just this year. Interviewers from Tim Russert to Bill Maher questioned how she, the mother of a gay man, could be so staunchly opposed to LGBTQ rights, a question she typically sidestepped with a looks-could-kill glare and a retreat to privacy.
But unlike today’s shoutfests, not even the most prying questions did much to raise the decibel level of a steely Schlafly TV appearance, and say what you will about her, she never, ever humiliated herself on a Comedy Central Roast.
Take a look at the clip above. It’s from a 1973 appearance on William F. Buckley’s Firing Line. Schlafly, entering around the 1:13 mark, decries the pending (and doomed) ERA, which the other guest, Ann Scott of the National Organization for Women, supports. The red & blue battle lines were already drawn, the stakes incredibly high, but the fight itself was unnervingly genteel. In that respect, times most definitely have changed.
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