Posts Tagged ‘barry goldwater’
The Arizona Republic ran a lengthy story on the front page of a recent Sunday edition about the 1964 presidential campaign of conservative icon Barry Goldwater.
Here is the lede:
“Barry Goldwater’s insurgent presidential bid 50 years ago was a spectacular failure as a political campaign.”
What jolted me was the “50 years ago” phrase. 50 years! That’s nearly a lifetime. And yet his campaign was one of the most consequential efforts of the modern-day conservative movement. As George Will has quipped, “Goldwater won the election, it just took 16 years to count the votes,” in a nod to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
It was Reagan’s epic speech “A Time For Choosing” that launched his national profile.
In that speech he said:
Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, “We don’t know how lucky we are.” And the Cuban stopped and said, “How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.” And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.
And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man.
This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down: [up] man’s old — old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.
You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, “There is a price we will not pay.” “There is a point beyond which they must not advance.” And this — this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater’s “peace through strength.” Winston Churchill said, “The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we’re spirits — not animals.” And he said, “There’s something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.”
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.
We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.
We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.
Thus, Goldwater’s loss was America’s, and the world’s, gain with the election of Reagan in 1980.
When you look back at Goldwater’s convention acceptance speech, at this moment in time it is downright prophetic:
Now, my fellow Americans, the tide has been running against freedom. Our people have followed false prophets. We must, and we shall, return to proven ways– not because they are old, but because they are true. We must, and we shall, set the tide running again in the cause of freedom. And this party, with its every action, every word, every breath, and every heartbeat, has but a single resolve, and that is freedom – freedom made orderly for this nation by our constitutional government; freedom under a government limited by laws of nature and of nature’s God; freedom – balanced so that liberty lacking order will not become the slavery of the prison cell; balanced so that liberty lacking order will not become the license of the mob and of the jungle.
Now, we Americans understand freedom. We have earned it, we have lived for it, and we have died for it. This Nation and its people are freedom’s model in a searching world. We can be freedom’s missionaries in a doubting world. But, ladies and gentlemen, first we must renew freedom’s mission in our own hearts and in our own homes.
I know this freedom is not the fruit of every soil. I know that our own freedom was achieved through centuries, by unremitting efforts by brave and wise men. I know that the road to freedom is a long and a challenging road. I know also that some men may walk away from it, that some men resist challenge, accepting the false security of governmental paternalism.
And I pledge that the America I envision in the years ahead will extend its hand in health, in teaching and in cultivation, so that all new nations will be at least encouraged to go our way, so that they will not wander down the dark alleys of tyranny or to the dead-end streets of collectivism. My fellow Republicans, we do no man a service by hiding freedom’s light under a bushel of mistaken humility.
I seek an American proud of its past, proud of its ways, proud of its dreams, and determined actively to proclaim them. But our example to the world must, like charity, begin at home.
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.
The beauty of the very system we Republicans are pledged to restore and revitalize, the beauty of this Federal system of ours is in its reconciliation of diversity with unity. We must not see malice in honest differences of opinion, and no matter how great, so long as they are not inconsistent with the pledges we have given to each other in and through our Constitution. Our Republican cause is not to level out the world or make its people conform in computer regimented sameness. Our Republican cause is to free our people and light the way for liberty throughout the world.
Ours is a very human cause for very humane goals.
Arizona should be proud of producing the father of modern-day conservatism. Barry Goldwater was a principled and stalwart defender of freedom every moment of his political career. He saw the future of the conservative movement in Ronald Reagan, and it is now the time for conservatives to redouble our efforts to groom the conservative leaders of the future.
The future of our country depends on it.
“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution … or have failed their purpose … or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty, and in that cause I am doing the very best I can.” –Barry Goldwater
Remember the year 1952. As you read about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his reelection prospects, remember 1952.
1952 was the year a relatively young and unknown upstart businessman (who only had a few years experience on a city council) challenged the sitting Senate Majority Leader and won.
The challenger was Barry Goldwater and he beat Earnest McFarland – in a state in which Democrats outnumbered Republicans nearly 5-1. McFarland was seen as too out of touch with Arizona, too much a part of the “inside the beltway” problem. Reid seems to have a lot in common with McFarland – and that could prove to be a problem for him.
If 2010 repeats 1952, it will be the first time in 58 years that the sitting U.S. Senate Majority Leader is defeated in an election. Couldn’t happen at a better time.
There are moments when I stop to reflect on the world around me, and sometimes I am very skeptical about the future of our state and country, and other times I have great faith that our best days are yet to come.
Last night was one of those moments when the future looks very bright. I attended a fundraising event for incoming Arizona State Speaker of the House Kirk Adams. This is a young guy who has leadership, resolve and vision. His election to the Speakership created one of those “shock and awe” moments among the political chattering class because not many people believed the previous Speaker could be beat.
What made last night all the more poignant was that the event was held at Be Nun I Kin, the former home of Senator Barry Goldwater that was beautifully restored by Karen and Bob Hobbs (a couple of the most gracious hosts in Arizona).
Standing on the back patio taking in the beautiful view of the valley, I was content to know that Goldwater’s principles of limited government, expanded personal freedom and personal responsibility will be championed by another young,up-and-coming conservative Arizonan in the form of Kirk Adams.