n the mid-1970s, the founding fathers of the New Right almost walked
away from the Republican Party. Sickened by Watergate and angry at what they
perceived as the Republican Party's moderation, Richard Viguerie, Howard
Phillips, and Paul Weyrich strove to bring together the disparate conservative
forces spawned by Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign into a single
powerful coalition they hoped would form the base of a new political party.
President, movement, and party, they thought, needed to be brought together in a
new organization on the right.
A White House congratulatory ceremony for a championship
sports team is usually just a big, friendly photo opportunity,
filled with the platitudes and gift exchanges typical of such
an apolitical celebration. But in 1991, when the National Basketball
Association (NBA) champion Chicago Bulls paid a visit to George
Bush, Craig Hodges, then a backup guard for the Bulls, saw an
opportunity for activism. Instead of presenting Bush with the
customary team jersey, Hodges, who wore a dashiki for the occasion,
handed the President a letter asking him to be more vigilant in
rectifying injustices against African Americans.