Mr Ron Neff has written an interesting piece which I recommend.
You can read the whole article at The Last Ditch (click on "new article by Ron Neff"), but it begins thusly:
In 1975, I met a man I shall call Cameron.
Cameron ran a local Western Islands bookstore. For you youngsters, Western Islands was the publishing arm of the John Birch Society and it operated a chain of bookstores. It is not clear to me whether the JBS still operates any bookstores, but given the state into which independent bookstores have fallen, I suspect that it does not.
The store Cameron ran offered many more books than those published by Western Islands. Despite its size, he was able to display titles attractively and in an orderly fashion. I visited it often — it was there that I first heard of the Council on Foreign Relations and its role in the ruling of the United States — but not nearly as often as I wish I had. Cameron was an intense guy, prone to overstating things, I thought, but always interesting. I was sorry to notice that I was often the only person in the store.
The store had fairly limited hours: there was no possibility that Cameron could base his living on the work he did there. Or that the store could afford to pay for employees to remain open during ordinary business hours. It was above all a labor of love for him. And the exact status of the store's ownership was never clear to me. Was Cameron a franchisee? Or merely a hired manager? Events suggest that the latter is not plausible. He was probably something in between. To keep body and soul together, he worked at a nearby Safeway as a check-out clerk. Whenever I saw him there, I made a point of going through his line just to say hello and maybe exchange a few words. He always seemed happy to have someone to talk to and he always had some little bit of information to impart that was new to me.
In the election of 1976, conservatives were alarmed that if Gerald Ford were defeated by Jimmy Carter, the latter's left-wing policies and positions would, if put into effect, spell the end of the middle class. Their concern was not entirely misplaced. In 1976, the United States was still in the throes of high inflation and high unemployment, which threatened to do just that. (A whimsical image for the former may be seen in the opening credits of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," where Mary is shown looking with distress at the price of a package of meat in a grocery store, and resignedly tossing it into her shopping cart.) As a point of reference, the dollar had lost nearly
In the event, I suppose it may be said that the only thing that saved America's middle class from Carter's policies was something no one could have foreseen: the fact that the oligarchs of Carter's party were so unhappy with having lost control of the nominating process that they determined to destroy his presidency. The culmination of this effort came with Ted Kennedy's fake primary challenge in 1980. I say "fake" because Kennedy — after causing the death of a female campaign worker in a 1969 drunk-driving incident — had no chance of winning anything other than a protected senatorial re-election bid in Massachusetts. (How the Democracy destroyed the Carter presidency is one of the subjects of Walter Karp's Liberty Under Siege, a discussion of which may be found in my article "'Any Day Is a Good Day to Fight for Liberty.'") But even a fake challenge to a sitting president weakens him in the eyes of a public not conversant with the conventions of political theater.
(I interrupt my flow of thought here to note that in 1969, Kennedy was not in favor of making abortion legal. Once the Supreme Court had overthrown the laws of all fifty states, however, he became one of abortion's champions. My friend Joe Sobran sometimes speculated that his many re-elections despite the scandal of the death of Mary Jo Kopechne were pay-off for that support. Or perhaps that his support was the price he paid for re-election support. I suppose they amount to the same thing.)