Barry Goldwater Was Right

I recall my dad’s quips about Barry Goldwater – laced with profanity and superlative, he had some pretty harsh things to say about a man he though betrayed the country. My dad wasn’t what you’d call a hardcore Republican, but he definitely sympathized with “the cause.” Which is weird because my dad was also an atheist. But I digress. Imagine my surprise as I grew into adulthood to find that although Barry wasn’t the more statesmanlike of statesmen, he had some pretty insightful things to say about the Radical Right.

A set of them comes from a speech he gave in 1981, summarized in the New York Times, September 16, 1981. In this first clip, he despairs over the Radical Right’s unwillingness to compromise. Tell me if you think this sounds familiar:

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. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom.

In the same speech, he goes on to decry how they control the political dialog:

I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen 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? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?

This is 1981, mind you; the very apex of the movement that Jerry Falwell dubbed the “Moral Majority” and that Pat Robertson tried to appropriate for his own presidential bid in 1988. Although Falwell and Robertson did not have compatible views on Christianity, they were in lock step where governance was concerned. They envisioned a CHRISTIAN United States of America. That’s probably why Goldwater rankled at the pressure he and other “old school” Republicans had to endure for political and financial support.

I’m sure that as he saw the closing years approach, Goldwater became somewhat bitter about how he was thrown aside by the Radical Right. That bitterness comes out in this well-trod, oft-cited Goldwater gem from John Dean’s book Conservatives Without Conscience (2006):

Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.

Yet, there’s a better, more prophetic view from an interview published in the Washington Post, July 29, 1994.

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.

Given all of the evidence – the vitriol that has surrounded Obama since Day One of his administration, the hateful things that the Radical Right has committed against Hillary Clinton and other Democrats (and even several Republicans) that the soul of the Republican Party is no longer has the best interest of America and for Americans?

Weary and Wary

Say “aye” if you’re weary and wary of rump-headed politicians and their insipid slogans. They say it’s for the sake of democracy, but is it really? I reached my saturation point during the runup to the primaries – made my choice once it became clear that RMONEY was going to win the GOP nomination. Lacking any dazzling alternative, RMONEY seems worse than the usual “lesser of evils.” The SOB is evil because of the interests he represents. But I digress…

The campaigning only exemplifies the terrible lack of choice our so-called democracy gives us. But… can I successfully argue non-participation? Nope. Gotta vote. Gotta stand up and be counted. I’m weary of the campaign, wary of the promises, but there’s no way in hell that I’m going to allow the lowest common denominator be our only voice. No way in hell.


To My Surprise

Ohmy!I’m a bit surprised by the results from the latest primaries… surprised that we’re diving into the motherlode without clear front-runners. But this is a good thing. Like a close World Series or a hot match up in the NFL, the race is heating up the popular vote, making people pay attention (we Americans love a close race). Here’s my opinion slate as of today: I’m giving Obama a second look – impressed that he has galvanized younger voters, but there are simply not enough of them to matter I think (the ‘Boomers’ and elders outnumber them 3:1 in voting). But I really dig the way he’s rattled up those folks in the ivory tower – I savor good strong debate between him and just about anybody from the red column. I’m still askance with Hillary, never did like her laugh, but I am more than interested in the idea of her as America’s first female president (note: nearly every developed nation on the planet has had a woman in their executive office; so what’s up with that?).

Pretty much over Huckabee – he’s just way too Baptist for me. I’m not in the least entertained by that proclivity of his leaking out little foibles over social issues (e.g., religion vs constitution). I’m still rooting for McCain, but I always have had a soft touch for perennial underdogs. I’m very happy to see Edwards’ falling star – the man was just pissing me off with his populist gladwrapping and glittering generalities. I’m even more irritated with Romney, perfect hair and all – but that cultish religion of his his will never go over with me (yep, I said it – Mormonism is a cult). Glad to see people have pretty much forgotten about Rudy – what a ‘tard. And I have all but given up hope for Michael Bloomberg and a third party. The timing isn’t right – again. Way too many populists appealing to the indies. Maybe next time, Mike. But I think that Hillary is going to clench it with the Dems. Too early to tell if she’ll be in a position to pick Obama as her running mate (certainly will not be Edwards). Clinton-Obama. What a ticket that would be!