Conviction and Courage
Editor’s note: We at HUMAN EVENTS are pleased to bring you this week a series of profiles from the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. These are profiles of influential and prominent conservative women who have made a tremendous impact for the better on this great country.
Convictions, born of her upbringing and the beliefs she holds, and the courage to defend them not only in defeat but beyond defeat, make my sister one of the ten most influential conservative women in America.
Early on Bay got a severe test. Her first post in politics after earning a masters in mathematics at McGill was as bursar for the Committee to Reelect the President. When some of her co-workers became famous in Watergate, Bay decided to get as far away from U.S. politics as she could. She moved to Australia.
After her sabbatical, she came home, moved to California, and went to work for the two-term ex-governor then considering a challenge to President Gerald Ford. Bay was soon treasurer of Ronald Reagan’s first full-fledged presidential campaign and, though that campaign fell short at Kansas City, Bay believed in him and stayed on as treasurer of his new political action committee. Then she became treasurer of his 1980 campaign.
According to CIA director Bill Casey, who took over the day of the New Hampshire primary, Bay’s management of campaign finances helped save Reagan after his defeat in Iowa. And when he won his 44-state landslide, President Reagan reciprocated Bay’s loyalty by making her, at 32, the Treasurer of the United States, youngest in history. A decade out of college, Bay’s name was on every U.S. dollar bill.
After her tour at treasury, Bay got married, gave birth to three sons, served as treasurer for the Reagan reelection, and went back to California to run for the Republican nomination for state treasurer, but lost in the primary to Gov. Pete Wilson’s appointed incumbent.
By 1991, Bay and I had come to believe that President George H. W. Bush, with his tax hikes, quota bills, failure to secure the border and talk of a New World Order had to be challenged. If no other conservative would do it, we would go to New Hampshire and do it ourselves.
President Bush defeated us, 51-37, but, with Bay as campaign chair, we won three million votes and sent a message: Conservatives are not again to be taken for granted.
Bay chaired that campaign and the campaign of 1996, where we won the first caucuses in Alaska and Louisiana and the New Hampshire primary, but ran second to Bob Dole for the nomination. In 2000, Bay gave up her party card to chair our Reform Party campaign.
During her off-years from politics, Bay became known nationally by co-hosting “Equal Time” on MSNBC, had her own national radio show and appeared regularly on the national and cable networks as a social and political commentator. Again, her convictions, her capacity to convey them coolly and her courage in defending them were at the heart of her appeal.
After 1992, Bay created The American Cause, a foundation of which she is still president, which deals with the issues we raised in the 1990s, from economic patriotism to pro-life. In 2000, she became co-chair of Team America, dedicated to opposing amnesty and securing the border.
Truly, Bay belongs in the distinguished company of the Clare Boothe Luce Institute’s most influential conservative women in America.