Barry M. Goldwater: Extremist Nomination by datsun80


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									April 25, 2008

                                       Barry M. Goldwater:

                                      Extremist Nomination

       After Barry Goldwater was nominated and preformed his acceptance speech many

Americans decided to vote Democrat. The battle for nomination was between two men:

Nelson Rockefeller and Barry Goldwater. When it was all said and done there really wasn’t a

battle, but rather extermination winning 883 votes to Rockefeller’s 214. This was the last of

Goldwater’s dominance in the 1964 political arena.

       The GOP’s decision to nominate Barry was a bad choice but it had to be done. Many

critics said “that Goldwater’s nomination would cause an irreparable split, that by nominating

Barry, the G.O.P., in effect, would be committing suicide in full public view” (“Cinched”). On the

contrary, the split would not be as likely if he was elected compared to if he wasn’t. If

Goldwater “were to be denied the nomination, there would indeed be a split, even the

possibility of a third party formed by his followers. But with Barry on the very brink of victory,

there was no evidence whatever that his Republican critics had enough cohesiveness to make

1964 a Bull Moose year” (“Cinched”). The critics were somewhat right, Goldwater was

nominated and there was not a split but rather the biggest division since 1912.

       Goldwater’s nomination acceptance speech was one that went down in the record

books. Goldwater had a knack for saying the wrong things. Ultimately his knack cost him the

minuet chance of winning. Goldwater’s main focus in his speech was freedom. He invited

“anyone who join*ed+ *them+ in all sincerity” and rejected “those who *did+ not care for *their+

cause” (Middendorf II 131). He also stated covered various topics on the war in Vietnam.

Stating that we were at war with Vietnam and the commander-in-chief has not told us if the

goal is victory. Barry later went on saying “I could have ended the war in a month. I could have

made North Vietnam look like a mud puddle” (BrainyQuote). Goldwater ended his speech with

a hard blow to the GOP stating, “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!”

(“Barry”). Goldwater also hit the topic of extremism in his speech and his last line almost totally

contradicted it. Saying that extremism is ok if liberty is at stake was pretty extreme in itself.

This was his statement that all but sealed his fate in the election.

       After the nomination, Barry took a six week vacation giving the standing president

momentum. Goldwater as well as the rest of the United States knew that he didn’t stand a

chance against Johnson. Within Kennedy’s shadow, Johnson had:

                just about everything on [his] side. The economy was strong. The nation had

               enjoyed over forty consecutive months of economic growth under the Kennedy-

               Johnson administration and all economic indicators pointed to continued

               growth. The gross national product was up; consumer spending was up;

               business profits were up; and unemployment was down, below 5 percent in the

               summer just before the election. The Democrats could take credit for the

               creation of some 4 million jobs since Kennedy’s inauguration. There was also a

               sense of action in Washington. (Donaldson 234)

Knowing this, Goldwater had to try to avoid embarrassment in November and his main theme

had to be to reunite the GOP. This however was a difficult task. Because Goldwater had the

tendency to say the wrong things the press went nuts bashing him every chance they got.

Goldwater voiced out his opinion on the use of nuclear weapons and stopping Social Security

and “was attacked by Democrats and opponents within his own party as a demagogue and a

leader of right-wing extremists and racists who was likely to lead the United States into nuclear

war, eliminate civil rights progress and destroy such social welfare programs as Social Security”

(Barnes). Along with Barry’s poor choice of words there was also the fact that his campaign was

“one of the most inept and unprofessional campaign in American political history” (The Ripon

Society 18). After the San Francisco convention “Republican organizations were pleading for

campaign brochures, pamphlets, bumper strips, buttons, etc., but the National Committee did

not have anything” (Shadegg 186). When brochures were finally released, they contained

photographs of Goldwater which gave him the impression of a stern, unrelenting,

uncompromising candidate. There was also a straight-on shot of Goldwater with glasses talking

with his mouth open which was named by his staff “the old snarly picture” (188).

       Barry started his campaign on his home front. Making the decision to move his speech

ahead a day and move the time ahead two hours was a bad move. The local newspapers were

not able to get him in because of his last minute decision. There was a whole four thousand

people who made it to the newly planned speech out of the estimated twenty to fifty thousand.

When the Democratic commercial “Daisy Spot” aired a hard blow was taken by Goldwater. In

the commercial a little girl is pulling the petals off a daisy counting down. When she gets to

nine a deep voice takes over and counts down to zero. The screen goes white then a nuclear

mushroom cloud is displayed. At the end there was a final message, “vote for President

Johnson November third”. According to a poll taken a week after the first airing of the

commercial, “53 percent of women and 45 percent of men believed that Goldwater would take

the country to war” (Middendorf II 164).

       The topic of crime in the streets was one that Goldwater was putting into his speeches

ever since the convention. However he was accused in using code words in his statements

against street crime. In his Prescott speech Goldwater stated that wives and woman feel

unsafe on the streets. Newsweek saw this as a coded message to racial tensions. But in an

interview Barry denied the acquisitions and continued to add it to his speeches given in the

southern and the urban northern areas. During his 2 week southern tour, Goldwater “seemed

to fall into something of a self-destructive mode” (Donaldson 257). In early September he

voted against Medicare and then traveled to St. Petersburg, one of the nation’s largest

retirement communities, and spoke out against it. In an attempt to gain more numbers,

Goldwater set up a meeting with Eisenhower which was to be caught on national cameras.

They were supposed to talk casually about the nation and its problems but instead they

appeared stiff and rehearsed.

       Even though his image was being bombed away by the press, “Goldwater continued to

push a hard-line foreign policy-a policy that left the nation uneasy in an uneasy time. His stance

allowed Johnson to carry the banner of peace-mostly by default” (258). In late September the

Gallup poll stated that 24 percent of those polled described Goldwater as reckless. Ironically

enough, in his speeches Goldwater called for a Cold War victory, even though he insisted he

was for peace. With all of Goldwater’s contradictions he was gaining a hated reputation and

became the laughing stock of many jokes and slogans. One standup comedian claimed that

Goldwater’s watch went “tock, tick” and the wound up Goldwater doll walked backwards.

       When October finally rolled around Goldwater’s situation wasn’t good. Looking back

Goldwater stated that they couldn’t get any lower and could only go up. He was of course very

wrong, for he did get lower much lower. Time reported that “Barry Goldwater creates many of

his own problems. His statements are so imprecise that they lead to a wide variety of

interpretations and misinterpretations” (261). Goldwater’s organization was breaking down

and his party was failing to unite. His decision to pick his top officials who were most loyal over

who were experienced had come back to kick him in the rear. In his final weeks, Goldwater

tried to salvage himself and what was left of the ever so frail Republican Party.

       Things started to turn for Goldwater on October 12. LBJ’s personal assistant, Jenkins,

was charged for committing homosexual acts in a public bathroom at a local YMCA. This

however was short lived, LBJ covered up the incident very well, telling the press that his

assistant was being hospitalized. The press stopped there due to a “quick succession of

international incidents [that] put the commander-in-chief smack in the public eye [driving] the

Jenkins story into obscurity” (Middendorf II 198). Goldwater eager to get an edge in the

election spent a massive amount of money on TV spots. One of the most noted was when

Ronald Reagan gave his speech “A Time for Choosing”. On October 30 Barry reported that

according to a recent Harris poll, many Americans were now on his side on a number of issues.

Still not being able to overcome his past actions this and “Unaccountably, 60 percent of *the+

same respondents *in the poll+ still favored LBJ over Goldwater” (211). The poll merely showed

that people were moving right of center but were still not “toward Barry the bomb thrower, the

Grinch who wanted to steal Social Security” (211). From the middle of October until Election

Day Goldwater was considered a goner. One farmer from Iowa switched parties claiming that:

               ’if the Republicans had somebody a little more level-headed, I’d vote for him, …

               I’m afraid for Goldwater,’ he continued, ‘I don’t know what he’d do if he got hold

               of the nuclear trigger, and Goldwater wants to get out of the farm programs. I

               hate inefficiency and waste in a growing federal government, but I don’t see how

               we can get along without production controls for the present’. (Shadegg 211)

       Goldwater never stood a chance, but he was willing to give it a shot. Much of his failure

was and can be attributed to his eagerness to speak his mind and his radical options about war,

social security and civil rights. He was always contradicting himself when it came to extremism,

talking about how extremism is bad then later saying that we are all extremists to an extent.

The election of 1964 was considered a remarkable one when millions of Republicans casted

their first ever Democratic vote giving Johnson the landslide victory he was after.

                                              Works Cited

Barnes, Bart. "Barry Goldwater, GOP Hero, Dies." Washington 30 May 1998. Washington Post.

        15 April 2008 <


"Barry Goldwater's 1964 Acceptance Speech." 10 Apr. 2008


BrainyQuote. 10 Apr. 2008 <>.

"The Cinched Nomination." TIME. 17 July 1964. CNN. 10 Apr. 2008


Donaldson, Gary. Liberalism's Last Hurrah. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2003.

Middendorf II, J. William. A Glorious Disaster. New York City, NY: Basic Books, 2006.

The Ripon Society. From Disaster To Distinction: The Rebirth Of The Republican Party. New York, NY:

        Pocket Books, 1966.

Shadegg, Stephen. What Happened to Goldwater? , Canada: Holt, 1965.

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