Faith Whittlesey, R.I.P.

The mice had a problem with Faith Whittlesey.  These mice were not the four-legged kind; they were Chief of Staff Donald Regan’s functionaries in the Reagan White House, scurrying around and gnawing away at conservative policy efforts.  Faith was Reagan’s director of the Office of Public Liaison, and she was not just a conservative but a warrior.  Early in 1985, she had arranged for a showing at the White House of The Silent Scream, a documentary that used ultrasound imagery to depict the violence of abortion.  The mice, and Regan himself, objected to the screening, and they objected even more to Faith’s attempt to give every member of Congress a copy of the video.  The executive branch just couldn’t do that, they squeaked.  So Faith called Rep. Henry Hyde, and he ensured that the film reached his colleagues through Congress.

Faith could not be deterred.  Yet she was one of the greatest diplomats the American right ever produced, best known as Reagan’s ambassador to Switzerland.  It was a position she held twice—at a time when repeat appointment was rare—first from 1981 to 1983, and then, following her time in the White House, from 1985 to 1988.  She was a true Reaganite in the best sense of the term: She had supported the former California governor when it was not safe to do so, in his 1976 challenge to Gerald Ford.  The GOP establishment...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here