Friday, October 24, 2008
Are We There Yet, 1964
Writing earlier this week in the Washington Post, Richard Cohen concluded his column that this is “the second time that a senator from Arizona has led the GOP into the political wilderness.” While his implications that the 1964 campaign of Barry Goldwater is being revisited by the GOP in its ugliness, there are some striking differences.
The most striking is the choice of vice presidential candidates. For Goldwater it was the formidable William Miller, an attorney and 14 year congressional legislator who went from being an assistant prosecutor in the 1945 Nuremburg Trials to becoming the Chairman of Republican National Committee. Goldwater would have found Mr. McCain’s choice unconscionable, especially the wardrobe and expensive makeup to hide the lack of any substance.
Goldwater believed that the Johnson administration had usurped constitutional role of Congress. Whether or not the Old Maverick believes the same thing, McCain has voted with the Bush administration to get away it. But then again, Old Goldie thought he was going to run against Jack Kennedy and later said he had no chance of defeating LBJ, "because the country was not ready for three presidents in two and a half years."
Helping to assure his defeat, Goldwater turned the GOP into a conservative institution that would beget the elections of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. To assure his defeat, McCain has “driven out ethnic and racial minorities” as well as “a vast bloc of voters who, quite bluntly, want nothing to do with Sarah Palin.” As Cohen says, “For moderates everywhere, she remains the single best reason to vote against McCain.”