You are viewing an obsolete version of the DU website which is no longer supported by the Administrators. Visit The New DU.
Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Barry Goldwater. [View All]

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU
No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-01-13 07:07 AM
Original message
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Barry Goldwater.
Advertisements [?]
Edited on Sun Sep-01-13 07:29 AM by No Elephants
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Barry Goldwater.

Just kidding.

I never learned to stop worrying.

Or to love Barry Morris Goldwater.

Goldwater has been included the revisionist history campaign of some Republicans to rehab Republicans discredited in their own time, now that fewer and fewer who know the truth first hand are around to dispel the illusion of halo glow the right is trying to create. (Other beneficiaries of revisionism: Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, McCarthy and even Tricky Dick. No, not Cheney, Tricky Dick the First.)

As may become evident below, Goldwater's wiki bears the hallmarks of the rehab effort, as in {theoretical rehabbing wiki contribution in ital), "Goldwater did X but he never did Y." Passing the fact that millions of Americans never did Y, either, how bad is it when efforts to rehab you have to resort to pointing out things that you never did?

"No Elephants may have been a serial killer, but she never once stabbed a single human being, not even one."

Goldwater was not quite an old school Republican. Yes, his mother traced her WASP ancestry way back (perhaps a bit ironically to Roger Williams of Rhode Island, who was a Baptist (pretty fundamental!) However, Williams was also a patron of actual freedom of religious choice, as opposed to (We Puritans don't want to be Anglican, so we offer everyone the religious freedom--to be a Puritan, too). Williams also advocated separation of church and state, though I am not sure of the extent or nature of that.

Anyway, on his mother's side, Barry was classic, old school Republican. But his father was Jewish ("Goldwasser"). But, wait, there's more.

His father was also his father was a beneficiary of inherited wealth, as was Barry. (A department store, what an old school New York Jew might refer to disparagingly as "the rag trade" and what a Texas Jew might refer to as Neiman Marcus. And Barry attended the Episcopalian Church (very close to Anglican, so full circle). Again, very close to classic, old school Republican.

The best thing about Goldwater? Bill Moyers has a television show today.

Bill Moyers made his reputation with the mushroom cloud ad when Goldwater ran against Johnson; and Bill Moyers is now one of the last, if not the last, lights on television. Besides my guilty pleasures, of course. If he goes off the air for good, I am going to cry a lot.

As with the Swiftboat ad, air time for the mushroom cloud ad was paid for only once. Nonetheless, the ad was very effective.

In the abstract, Johnson's re-election was a very mixed blessing--the Great Society, including Medicare, Head Start, etc. (much of the rest having since been dismantled). However, there was also the horrible toll of the Vietnam War.

That's in the abstract. When we leave the abstract, the alternative to Johnsons winning the election would have been President Barry Morris Goldwater, and probably until 1972, too boot. Goldwater was quite the hawk (hence the inspiration for the mushroom cloud ad, even though we were already deep in war in a line from Truman to Eisenhower to Kennedy to Johnson), as well as being quite the anti-Communist. Moreover, both before and after he got into politics, Barry Goldwater opposed social programs, like the New Deal. He also union busted at Daddys department store before even getting into politics.

So, had Goldwater won, we most likely would have had the same mess in Vietnam or worse, but without the domestic vision, and an even worse deal for workers in the 99%. (Then, it may have been 85% or the 90%, as the number allowed to share at the top trough tier keeps shrinking, including during this administration--as if the status quo of 2008 were not heinous enough. Funny, the more tax breaks the top tier gets, the fewer in the tier there are.)

But I digress.

While Goldwater lost the Presidential election by a historic landslide, we are still grimacing over the bitter fruit of Goldwater's legacy.

Goldwater is the politician most often credited for sparking the resurgence of the American conservative political movement in the 1960s. He also had a substantial impact on the libertarian movement.<2>

Goldwater rejected the legacy of the New Deal and fought through the conservative coalition against the New Deal coalition. He mobilized a large conservative constituency to win the hard-fought Republican primaries. Goldwater's right-wing campaign platform ultimately failed to gain the support of the electorate<3> and he lost the 1964 presidential election to incumbent Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson by one of the largest landslides in history, bringing down many Republican candidates as well.

The Johnson campaign and other critics painted him as a reactionary, while supporters praised his crusades against the Soviet Union, labor unions, and the welfare state. His defeat allowed Johnson and the Democrats in Congress to pass the Great Society programs, but the defeat of so many older Republicans in 1964 also cleared the way for a younger generation of American conservatives to mobilize. Goldwater was much less active as a national leader of conservatives after 1964; his supporters mostly rallied behind Ronald Reagan, who became governor of California in 1967 and the 40th President of the United States in 1981.


A significant accomplishment in his career was the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which restructured the higher levels of the Pentagon by increasing the power of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to direct military action.

Standing army issues aside, increased control of the military by the military, of course, subverts the Constitution, which very deliberately put the military under the control of the nation's number 1 civilian. Yet, Goldwater-Nichols bears the name of the man who preached that conservatism was a return to the original principles of the Constitution, which Goldwater was always purporting to uphold. (The Scalia of his Day?)

While Goldwater certainly did not intend to lose the 1964 Presidential election, thereby paving the way for Reagan, the Reagan re-election victory, among other things, paved the way for the Democratic Leadership Council to complete the takeover of the Democratic Party, where efforts to do so after the Nixon re-election victory had failed to finish the job.

Goldwater's wiki says that he avoided the excesses of the anti-Communist movement. I don't understand that because Joe McCarthy, destroyer of reputations, careers, and maybe some physical lives, too (suicides), was one of the very worst excesses of the anti-Communist movement, inspiring Miller's allegorical play about the Salem Witch trials. (Sadly, an effort to demonize Miller by attacking the fact that he put his daughter in an institution is part of the McCarthy rehab efforts. If you want more info about this, read Miller's wiki. FWIW, a relative on my husband's side got the same advice and did the same thing, though it broke her own heart for life.)

Goldwater's wiki also makes a point of saying that he himself never accused anyone of being a Communist. Well, geez, if you're publicly supporting McCarthy that much, and hate Communists that much, who knows what you and Joe are talking about in the Senate cloakroom? Besides, during the McCarthy-Cohn-Hoover massive witch hunt, who the hell needed anyone else to accuse people of being Communists?

Rehab aside, Goldwater's not so insignificant faults included his staunch advocacy of "States' rights." That, of course, is old school conservative code for "Oh, just let the Southern states have Jim Crow laws and all that goes with that as long as they want," aka Southern Strategy, Republican style. Goldwater also refused to vote for MLK, Day, but, standing alone, without his "states' rights" stance, that could be chalked up to pro-employer.

(See, Lee Atwater didn't invent it, though Atwater did take it to a new and even uglier level.)

Like Richard Nixon, Goldwater also supported Joe McCarthy to the bitter end, being one of only 22 Senators to vote against formal criticism of McCarthy. (Whether it was censure or condemnation or something else is "fuzzy history" at this point.) The vote was 69-22, with Senator JFK in the hospital). Of the 69 who voted to censure/condemn/criticize, 22 were Republicans. (Articles mention JFK never did say how he would have voted, had he been present. They dont say that anyone ever actually asked JFK the question, though.)

Of course, you know who took Goldwaters Senate seat. Goldwater's successor also opposed MLK Day. Still, he's moderate compared with Goldwater, who was known for his extremism--and proudly defended it with his famous quote, "Let me remind you that extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice. (pause for applause) And, let me also remind you that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

That may sound great to a liberal out of context, until you think about things like extreme eagerness to go to war and extreme desire to put people in jail. Or things like the kind of extremism in pursuit of liberty that gives us "right to work" states and causes Paulites to applaud at the prospect of a human being lef to die outside the door of an Emergency Room because he or she could not afford to purchase private health insurance.

PS. The one time I use spellcheck, it chokes on "Rhode", as in Rhode Island. Really, DU2?
Refresh | +1 Recommendations Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top

Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC