It was weirdly appropriate that Boehner chose to end his farewell press conference with the tune from A Song of the South. It was Milliken who moved to a solidly Democratic Dixie and transformed it into a bastion of Republicanism. Milliken built the South Carolina GOP into a national force, convincing Sen. Strom Thurmond to switch parties and birthing the “Southern Strategy” that put Richard Nixon and later Ronald Reagan into the White House. It was Milliken who inspired all future conservative candidates by pushing Barry Goldwater to run for president, then bankrolling his landmark campaign. Milliken was also the financial patron of the influential libertarian “Freedom School,” which trained a generation of conservative kingmakers, including Charles Koch. “He was the John the Baptist of the Koch Brothers,” says Marko Maunula, a historian at Clayton State University in Georgia.
It was appropriate, too, that when Boehner prepared to quit, he reportedly turned to Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, to encourage the South Carolina congressman to help take his place in the House leadership. Gowdy represents Milliken’s adopted home district of Spartanburg and helping to elect Gowdy in 2010 was one of the final political acts of Milliken’s life. He died just weeks after Gowdy won the House seat, after donating the maximum to Gowdy’s campaign.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/10/roger-milliken-republican-party-history-213212#ixzz3nVKnDVey