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Seeing past labels to principles

Guest Tampa Yankee
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Guest Tampa Yankee

With all of the post-election rending of clothes and analysis – some thoughtful and some reactionary, I thought I’d offer the perspectives of one the most revered and hated conservatives of our time. For the record, I was vehemently against his candidacy but too young to vote. Later I came to see him as principled statesman with REAL conservative principles.


For the record, I dont know anyone that I agree with all the time but I do know people that I respect all the time. I wish we had more like him today. Interesting that he and McCain hail from the same state.


What does this have to do with the Bush/Kerry election? Nothing. It has more to do with the agility of our minds. And an interesting and sometimes humorous read.




Barry Goldwater Quotations


I’ve often said that if I hadn’t known Barry Goldwater in 1964 and I had to depend on the press and the cartoons, I’d have voted against the son of a bitch.



History has to judge every man who served. I don’t know how they’re going to treat me. I may be the worst S.O.B. that ever came down the pike. But I won’t lose any sleep over it. I just like to be remembered as an honest person who tried.



Goldwater Quotes:





Goldwater Nuggets


By Lloyd Grove

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, May 30, 1998; Page E1



Unlike nearly every other politician who ever lived, anywhere in the world, Barry Goldwater always said exactly what was on his mind. He spared his listeners nothing.


In July 1994, the then-85-year-old former senator, best known as "Mr. Conservative," granted one of his last interviews at his hillside house in Phoenix. Distracted by the yapping of his wife's pet schnauzer, Goldwater began the session by roaring at his secretary: "Throw that damn dog in the incinerator and turn it on!"


His other comments were equally unrestrained:


* On his 1964 presidential opponent, Lyndon Baines Johnson: "The most dishonest man we ever had in the presidency."


* On conservative religious activists in the GOP: "When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."


* On Bob Dole: "I said one day that Dole had a temper, and he got madder than hell. He has one. He has a mean one."


* On President Clinton: "The best thing Clinton could do – I think I wrote him a letter about this, but I'm not sure – is to shut up.... He has no discipline."


* On former Goldwater Girl Hillary Rodham Clinton: "If he'd let his wife run business, I think he'd be better off."





A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.


After one of his [Hubert Humphrey] long-winded harangues I suggested he had probably been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. He responded by saying that I would have been a great success in the movies working for Eighteenth Century-Fox.


Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.


Hubert Humphrey talks so fast that listening to him is like trying to read Playboy magazine with your wife turning the pages.


I could have ended the war in a month. I could have made North Vietnam look like a mud puddle.


I won't say that the papers misquote me, but I sometimes wonder where Christianity would be today if some of those reporters had been Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.


I wouldn't trust Nixon from here to that phone.


If everybody in this town connected with politics had to leave town because of chasing women and drinking, you would have no government.


If you don't mind smelling like peanut butter for two or three days, peanut butter is darn good shaving cream.


It's a great country, where anybody can grow up to be president... except me.


It's political Daddyism and it's as old as demagogues and despotism.


Nixon was the most dishonest individual I have ever met in my life. He lied to his wife, his family, his friends, his colleagues in the Congress, lifetime members of his own political party, the American people and the world.


Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.


The income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government.


The only summit meeting that can succeed is the one that does not take place.


To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable.


To insist on strength is not war-mongering. It is peace-mongering.


When I'm not a politician, I'll be dead.


You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.


You've got to forget about this civilian. Whenever you drop bombs, you're going to hit civilians.




"Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives."



"I don't think there was any Reagan revolution. This country is based, its economy is based, on free enterprise. The government's based on a constitutional democracy. And all Reagan did was to continue what Harry Truman did and George Washington started."

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Thanks for this. He was, IMHO, a truly great man.


A trip down memory lane.... When I was in high school, I got active with the Young Americans for Freedom and campaigned for Goldwater in 1964. If you were on that side that year, the last month or so of the campaign was like the Bataan death march. There was no hope, no hope at all. The night of the returns a friend of mine and I were at his house watching, and at about 5 pm Pacific time his father came in and turned off the tv. Parents could still do that then. He was afraid we would be scarred by the experience.


One of the last stops Goldwater made in the campaign was at McCarren Field in Las Vegas, which was a pretty dinky airport in those days. All the active volunteers in Vegas were rounded up to greet and cheer, and there couldn't have been 100 people there, including the press, such as it was. Goldwater gave a stirring speech, more or less about Johnson being a liar about Vietnam, which of course he was. Then he took the time and trouble to meet each and every person there, asked out names and what we did and just chatted. It was one of the nicest political moments of my life, and I am tearing up thinking about it, comparing him to the phony nastiness on all sides today. He was honest, a truthteller, kind and gracious, generous, and brave. I don't know how many politicians could have run against LBJ in those circumstances and carried it off. He did.


There has been a lot of talk here about why the Democrats lost this year, but one thing has not been mentioned. The modern conservative movement began with the Goldwater campaign, and it has two roots, not one, I think. The first is Goldwater's unequivocal and brave assertion of principle in the face of certain, overwhelming and humiliating defeat, an act now seen, and rightly, as an act of courage and integrity, even by Hillary Clinton, who was also part of that movement then and still reveres Goldwater. That was the positive base. But the negative one is just as important. For many Americans, LBJ's lying about Vietnam remained fixed in their minds. He is the president who finally converted the Democratic Party to its current incarnation as social activist and liberal. That image of LBJ as a liar on Vietnam became attached for many to his party as well, and not just for conservatives, but for those opposed to the Vietnam War as well.


But Barry was gallant.

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Even Buchanan is appalled


Great recollections.


This is not to compare Goldwater to Buchanan, but just to note that truthtellers come in all stripes. Christopher Lydon in his engrossing (for lefties, at least) blog http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/lydon/ points out that things are getting so bad under W that critiques from the right and the left are converging on each other. Of course Buchanan's critique is grounded in ideologies that are in many ways as bad as this administration's, in some ways even worse. But none of that nullifies his analysis:


The Issue is Empire


...In his new book, the rightist Pat Buchanan hones what sounds to me like the unspoken leftist critique:


First, on the unilateralist Bush Doctrine issued in September, 2002. It is "a prescription for permanent war for permanent peace, though wars are the death of republics," Buchanan writes. "This is democratic imperialism. This will bleed, bankrupt and isolate this republic. This overthrows the wisdom of the Founding Fathers about what America should be all about.”


Second, on the war on Iraq: “...listening to the neoconservatives, Bush invaded Iraq, united the Arab world against us, isolated us from Europe, and fulfilled to the letter bin Laden’s prophecy as to what we were about. We won the war in three weeks -- and we may have lost the Islamic world for a generation."


And third, on the war on terrorism: “U.S. dominance of the Middle East is not the corrective to terror. It is a cause of terror. Were we not over there, the 9/11 terrorists would not have been over here... Terrorism is the price of empire. If we do not wish to pay it, we must give up the empire.”

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