Politics

Everything Old Is New Again

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It seems like some Democrats still embrace Barry Goldwater’s style of conservatism, and I can’t say I disagree.

From Editor & Publisher:

NEW YORK An interview in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine with C.C. Goldwater reveals that her HBO film to be aired Sept. 18 paints her late grandfather, Sen. Barry Goldwater, “as a kind of liberal,” with testimonials from Al Franken, Sen. Ted Kennedy, James Carville and Sen. Hillary Clinton.

In fact, Hillary campaigned for Goldwater in 1964 in his race for president against Lyndon Johnson. “Hillary was a Goldwater girl,” says the filmmaker, interviewed by Deborah Solomon. “She passed out cookies and lemonade at his campaign functions.”

The film — made on a budget of $800,000 — will note that the straight-talking Sen. Goldwater, author of the classic “The Conscience of a Conservative” (soon to be reissued by Princeton University Press) favored abortion rights and allowing gays in the military, and refused to attend President Nixon’s funeral because he “cheated” the country.

Interesting…I know that Goldwater inspired many of conservatives who ushered in the era of Ronald Reagan and are now crying foul at Dubya’s brand of politics. He also spoke out against the Republican party’s affiliation with the Left Behind crowd, and in particular called guys like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell to the mat.

And let this passage from the book Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus shock and amaze you:

“Think of a senator winning the Democratic nomination in the year 2000 whose positions included halving the military budget, socializing the medical system, reregulating the communications and electrical industries, establishing a guaranteed minimum income for all Americans, and equalizing funding for all schools regardless of property valuationsâ€â€?and who promised to fire Alan Greenspan, counseled withdrawal from the World Trade Organization, and, for good measure, spoke warmly of adolescent sexual experimentation. He would lose in a landslide. He would be relegated to the ash heap of history. But if the precedent of 1964 were repeated, two years later the country would begin electing dozens of men and women just like him. And not many decades later, Republicans would have to proclaim softer versions of those positions to get taken seriously for their party’s nomination.”

What if Goldwater would have become President? Would the Republican party be where it is today?