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View Diary: The Descent of Republicans (163 comments)

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  •  Except Goldwater supported gays in the military, (26+ / 0-)

    and that was quite a while ago. He was ahead of his time on gay rights. From a 1994 Washington Post article:

    in recent years he's championed homosexuals serving in the military and has worked locally to stop businesses in Phoenix from hiring on the basis of sexual orientation. This month he signed on as honorary co-chairman of a drive to pass a federal law preventing job discrimination against homosexuals. The effort, dubbed Americans Against Discrimination, is being spearheaded by the Human Rights Campaign Fund, the influential gay lobbying organization.
    Goldwater was not operating out of Christian-End-Times-Nutsiness, and that means he was far from the fringe-laden opinions of the current Republican party.

    We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

    by Tamar on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:16:44 AM PST

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    •  Goldwater May Have Made Sense in 1994... (32+ / 0-)

      ...but in 1964 he was absolutely NUTS and it was that campaign, with its opposition to the Civil Rights Act, Social Security, and its "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" that laid the path for the wingnuts in control of the party to today to take it over via "movement conservatism."

      “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

      by RoIn on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:25:42 AM PST

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      •  As a high school student, I campaigned for Johnson (44+ / 0-)

        in that election. I come from a family of hard-core liberal, sign-carrying, equal-rights supporting, war-protesting Democrats.
        Goldwater certainly came across in the election exactly the way you describe.
        A couple of years later he came to my university and gave a talk. I went, assuming he would be a crazy extremist that people in the audience would decimate with their questions.
        The opposite happened. He came across as reasonable -- even when I disagreed entirely with what he said. And when a young woman got up and started spouting truly extremist right-wing ideas, he verbally took her down. I ended up still disagreeing with him, but liking him and respecting him a great deal more.
        I think he was the precursor not of the current crazy right wingers but of the libertarian streak in the Republican party.
        But like all things Republican, their libertarian parts are infected with bigotry, hatred and dishonesty.
        I'm a big government fan myself -- I believe in government services and programs; I want a single-payer health system; I think the taxes on the rich including capital gains taxes, should increase to rates higher than the Clinton levels; I think Social Security is one of the best things our country has ever created, followed by Medicare.
        But I can at least respect the consistency of real libertarians. I don't view either of the Pauls as real libertarians -- they're only libertarian when it suits their white male viewpoint.

        We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

        by Tamar on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:42:08 AM PST

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        •  Difference between Goldwater and today's Repubs... (13+ / 0-)

          ...can be found in your comment right here:

          And when a young woman got up and started spouting truly extremist right-wing ideas, he verbally took her down.
          Both in 2008 and 2012, one thing that we've repeatedly seen and read about are instances where someone on the right says something truly nutty and extreme...and there's nary a smackdown from the Republican party leadership or it's presidential/VP candidates.

          More to the point...would you trust McCain or Romney to handle that extremist the same way Goldwater did all those years ago?

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:33:58 AM PST

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          •  In a word (0+ / 0-)


            We can live in today or live life not understanding yesterday is a cancelled cheque, tomorrow but a promise all while we piss on today.

            by TtfnJohn on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:11:58 PM PST

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          •  Goldwater said one thing I agree with: (0+ / 0-)

            “There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me ... that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are?”  — Senator Barry Goldwater, R-Arizona

      •  Don't forget the Cold War (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the USSR was scary to people back then. A huge majority of voters feared Goldwater would use nukes on the Russians. He did come across as being unhinged.

        Later in his career he did not seem so extreme. But liberals certainly saw him as a harbinger.

        I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

        by sillia on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:48:22 AM PST

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      •  Remember the skewing of his slogan (0+ / 0-)

        In your heart, you know he's right  to In your guts you know he's nuts?

      •  Goldwater's views didn't change (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        417els, CookyMonzta, indres, BYw, bill warnick

        between 1964 and 1994. The party moved to his right.  The same views that were unacceptably extreme-right in 1964 were to the left of most of the GOP thirty years later. By the 1990s, Goldwater was endorsing Democrats for Congress... which says more about the Republican Party than it says about him.

        I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.
        -- Barry Goldwater, 1981

        Our party is being hijacked by a bunch of kooks!
        -- Barry Goldwater, 1989

        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 and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.
        -- Barry Goldwater, 1994

        We're the new liberals of the Republican Party. Can you imagine that?
        -- Barry Goldwater, 1996, to Bob Dole

    •  Extreme, though honest, libertarianism (17+ / 0-)

      led him to his position on gay rights.  Otherwise, the commenter is pretty much on target:

      Forty-eight years ago, Goldwater's views on economics, foreign policy, and the welfare state were all seen as occupying the rightmost extreme of mainstream American politics -- just a shade removed from the John Birch Society. Nowadays, Goldwater's fondness for economists like Milton Friedman, generals like Curtis LeMay, and presidents like Calvin Coolidge would place him well within the Republican mainstream.
      From Elias Isquith's reflections on how Goldwater's legacy lives on in Paul Ryan's vice-presidential candidacy.

      Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
      ¡Boycott Arizona!

      by litho on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:28:17 AM PST

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      •  Also (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aunt Pat, ConfusedSkyes, Janet 707

        His son is gay.

        Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

        by dpc on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:43:55 AM PST

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        •  but the really crazy wingers, like Schlafly, (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ichibon, Nag, JerryNA, libnewsie, Seneca Doane

          are still anti-gay even when their children are gay. Look at Gingrich with a wonderful activist lesbian sister -- hasn't seemed to moderate his views on gay rights.
          An old bit of wisdom about Republicans that my husband and I always say is that they only understand problems or issues when they are directly affected -- either family members or close friends. So George Will with a son who has Down's Syndrome supported programs for people with developmental disabilities (but not for people with other types of disabilities) or Pete Domenici supported services for people with mental illness because of his schizophrenic daughter. Goldwater fits right into that type of Republican. The new (or old like Schlafly but now considered acceptable by the party) more awful type of Republican would rather disown a family member in order to stick with their antagonism against certain groups or against government providing anything for anyone other than the rich.
          Now they make an exception only for their family member or themselves but don't care anything about other people with the exact same issue -- Mary Cheney anyone? Limbaugh with his drug addiction.

          We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

          by Tamar on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:49:38 AM PST

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      •  Goldwater's campaign staff was nuts! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Having met Goldwater a few times in the 70s, I found him a decent guy privately, intensely interested in photography, in particular of his home state and in general just not frothing at the mouth.

        It was fwiw hard to square the personal experience and the early public eruptions from him about stupid extremism with the campaign of 1964, which lest it be forgot won a handful of Deep South States and Arizona. Especially given that I had direct exposure to his campaign in three of those Southern states.

        When I look back at that period, I remember that his writings and campaign statements veered to the far right in the context of a very real, far right political movement. I can't decide now whether to attribute that to his own naiveté or his acceding to the con job campaign staffs sometimes pull on candidates.

        One thing is certain. Much of his campaign staff that I knew were fucking hard right lunatics, more authoritarian than libertarian and they were brutal on anyone who got in their way. Could be that Goldwater had time to reflect on that sort of thing in the 60s after absorbing one of the worst beatings ever in a presidential election. But in my limited exposure to the personal Goldwater and the public man of the 80s, I saw someone who didn't square with the neo-nazis who ran his campaign. They didn't mind playing the race card in the South for advantage over LBJ.

        I don't generally trust the assignment of libertarian beliefs that is used to explain some of the Cowboy conservatives and the others of that ilk. Libertarianism is forever tainted by its association with Ayn Rand and her cult of whacks. Goldwater and some or the cowboy clan bought into, I think, the phony western frontier myths.

        Non-sequitar. I remember with approval LBJ yanking federal contracts out of Alabama and Mississippi after the Wallace Charades began along with those of Ross Barnett. Major military installations were closed down and the Marshall Space Flight Center was deemphasized, eventually leading to Von Braun leaving. LBJ was a master string puller and it might not have been provable, but it was something we ought to be looking at for these Red States who want their low taxes along with blue state money. Screw them.

      •  He wouldn't qualify as Republican right now (0+ / 0-)

        I'd question that he'd fit into the Republican mainstream any longer.  What passes for mainstream in the party now is somewhere between Tea Party mild and Tea Party Extremist.

        Just remember the recent election.  Romney was, not so long ago, considered something of a moderate.  Out of touch, for sure, but a moderate.  To win the nomination and keep support in the party he had to morph into at best a tea party lite guy.  Still totally out of touch with the electorate but moving right which he continued to do right through the cycle.

        Goldwater came across in the election we're discussing as an extremist war monger in a country already deeply exhausted by Vietnam.   Then along with that came the attack ads of all attack ads from LBJ.  It was, remember, a time of extremes.

        Goldwater would never get nominated today.  The secular Republican saint Reagan would never get nominated either.  Nor would Nixon, Eisenhower, Coolidge and certainly not Teddy Roosevelt.  That is how far right the party is drifting, all the while denying that it's drifting at all.  At least till earlier this month.

        Even now I'm sure there are those in the party that will deny the rightward drift, the shrinking base and blame it all on left wing media (what left wing media????) and Obama giving so-called gifts out to so-called special interest groups.

        We can live in today or live life not understanding yesterday is a cancelled cheque, tomorrow but a promise all while we piss on today.

        by TtfnJohn on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:02:30 PM PST

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    •  "movement conservatism" looks like a (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      randallt, Janet 707, cocinero, a2nite, 417els

      reference to what is commonly referred to as constipation.

      We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:59:20 AM PST

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