Morton C. Blackwell (born November 16, 1939, in La Jara, Colorado) is a high profile conservative activist. He is president and founder of the Leadership Institute (established 1979), a 501(c)3 non-profit educational foundation.
In youth politics, he was a College Republican state chairman and a Young Republican state chairman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Blackwell served on the Young Republican National Committee for more than a dozen years. He rose to the position of Young Republican National Federation national vice chairman at large. He worked for seven years under direct mail conservative guru Richard Viguerie of Falls Church, Virginia. Off and on for five years, 1965-1970, he worked as executive director of the College Republican National Committee under four consecutive College Republican national chairmen. He served on the Louisiana Republican state central committee for eight years.
Blackwell was first elected to the Arlington County Republican Committee in 1972. He is a member of the Virginia Republican state central committee and was first elected in 1988 as Virginia’s Republican National Committeeman , a post he still holds. In 2004 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the RNC.
Longtime political activist
Having worked actively in politics for more than forty years, he has probably trained more political activists than any other conservative. Starting in the 1960s, he has trained thousands of people who have served on staff for conservative and Republican candidates in every state.
Blackwell was Barry Goldwater’s youngest elected delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco. In the spring of 1966, he worked for the election of Roderick Miller of Lafayette as only the third Republican member of the Louisiana legislature since Reconstruction.
In 1980, he organized and oversaw the national youth effort for Ronald Reagan.
Blackwell is considered something of a specialist in matters relating to the rules of the Republican Party. He served on rules committees of the state Republican parties in Louisiana and Virginia. He serves now on the RNC’s Standing Committee on Rules and has attended every meeting of the Republican National Conventions’ Rules Committees since 1972.
Council for National Policy
Blackwell is a founder of the Council for National Policy, a secret group of politically active conservatives. Other founders included Richard Viguerie, the Virginia direct-mail specialist, Paul Weyrich, Howard Phillips of the Constitution Party, and Phyllis Schlafly, a St. Louis activist who led the opposition to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. Another founder was Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind novels. In that the council does not make its proceedings public.. When he first ran for president, George W. Bush addressed the Council for National Policy. His remarks from 2000 have never been unveiled.
- President, International Policy Forum
- The Council for National Policy
- Executive Director of The Council for National Policy, 1991-2000
- White House Staff as Special Assistant to President Reagan for Public Liaison, 1981-1984
- Former Staff Member, Senate Republican Policy Committee
- Founder and President, The Leadership Institute
- Founder and Chairman, Conservative Leadership PAC
- Former Treasuer, Reagan Alumni Association
- Former Editor, The New Right Report
- Board member, American Conservative Union
- Board Member, Free Congress Foundation
- Director, Free Congress Foundation
- Chairman, Legislative Studies Institute
- Director, National Right to Work Committee
- President, International Policy Forum
In December 2000, during the Florida recount controversy, Blackwell decried the perceived tactics of the Democrats. "These people are basically Leninists. They will stop at nothing to win." He opined that "it could get bloody — figuratively and, I fear, literally."
Blackwell was also at the center of controversy during the 2004 Republican National Convention, when he passed out purple heart bandages which were perceived as an attack against Democratic nominee John Kerry. The Kerry campaign attacked the activity as the Republican Party mocking United States Soldiers.
Byron York, The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy (New York, Crown Forum, 2005), pp. 233-234