Father of Western Conservatism
Senator for Three Decades
Shoot from the Hip Presidential Nominee, 1964
(1909 - 1998)
Michael "Big Mike" Goldwasser was born in Tonin, Poland around 1822 joining twenty-one siblings. By the time he was fourteen he was a candidate for the Imperial Russian Army, because this was an area claimed by the Russian Czar. In this era, this would be the only future for a Jewish boy, and it would never be attending the institutions of learning. And around this time, because he associated with some insurgents, he fled fearing for his life to Germany, never to see his mother Elizabeth, and father Hirsch again.
Not staying in Germany very long, in spite of its more liberal attitude toward Jews, Michael went to Paris. He thrived there as a tailor, learning French and bankrolling some cash. But the political instability of early 1848-- the rumblings that developed into the Second Empire, included street-fighting nearby -- prompted Michael Goldwasser to pack up and head for England.
In London, the twenty-six year old man showed more of the gutsy survival skills that would eventually be passed down to his progeny; which included learning another language, English. He also met at this time the Miss Sarah Nathan, and she became his bride at St. Luke's Episcopal Church on March 6, 1850. She might have passed on to the descendants some business acumen since her family prospered in dealing furs.
The next year he and his new wife opened their house, which also included children Carolyn and Morris, to his recent immigrant baby brother, Joseph. Joe started sharing his dream of moving to an even better land of opportunity, the New World. The news of Gold in California was the impetus they needed; and leaving the women and children behind, Mike and Joe arrived to be merchants in San Francisco in late 1852. In a couple of years they had saved enough running a saloon in Sonora to bring the wives and kids, and even a widowed sister-in-law to this Territory. Somewhere along here the family name was anglicized to Goldwater.
Eventually so many adventures in the 1850's taking him through Los Angeles, helped by loans from Bernard Cohen, to the New Mexico Territory, including the closing of his bar due to financial over-extension in 1860, forced him to leave his family in Los Angeles. He was insolvent again in Los Angeles in 1862, so they eventually moved back to San Francisco, but for Mike, only for a short while, for there was an Arizona gold rush. Mike was called "Big" -not because of physical attributes- but for the courageous size of his heart.
Thereafter the brothers and a Dr. E.B. Jones formed a wagon freight company that had offices in Tucson, Phoenix, Yuma, Bisbee, Prescott, and Wickenburg. Mike and Joe then established a general store in Prescott in the new Territory of Arizona In 1877 Mike had turned Arizona property over to sons Morris and Henry. Joe, who joined Mike in San Francisco eventually died there.
While the family was in San Francisco in 1866, the son Baron was born. He finally left by 1882 to help in the Prescott store, and after some time convinced them to expand their wares. But, prescient-like, he believed their retail success would be in, and thus they should open up in, Phoenix, which was based on farming. Indeed, the brothers had tried it before in 1879 and it failed, but Baron was insistent --as he had felt the mining would tap out in Prescott. He only got his wish in 1896 when he beat them in a game of casino and thus Goldwater and Sons was set up in Phoenix.
Miss Josephine Williams of Nebraska, not only arrived in Arizona in 1903 to be a nurse, (she did some nursing schooling in Chicago) but
to follow her doctor's advice to go to this arid region for her 'lung fever.' After becoming acquainted with Baron in his store, they were married by 1907.
In 1909, three years before Arizona became a state, Barry Morris Goldwater was born in Phoenix. She was able to raise her family with her same Episcopalian discipline. She also was instrumental in getting her son interested in the history and geography of the region with camping trips all about. His mother was also a conservative Republican.
Baron Morris Goldwater, who would be called Barry, also carried his uncle's name. This figure who, like others was involved in Freemasonry, was also a big politico. How interesting that these relatives were Democrats, and they, especially Morris, were located in its hierarchy. He passed on some of the wild west stories to Barry that were right at their doorstep. In fact, with his grandfather Morris they found the murdered German engineer, Ehrenberg, near La Paz whom they honored by establishing a town with his name. He finally died in Prescott in 1939.
After succeeding more in sociability than studies in his first High School years, he was sent to a military academy in Staunton, Virginia. Nevertheless he enjoyed the military history and tough regimen, and he graduated as the top cadet of his class. But, by 1928, with his father very sick, he decided to do his college work at home at the University of Arizona. Sadly, his father passed within a year.
Additionally, the Great Depression put a damper in his being able to live the scholarly leisure life, and he joined forces at the store to help during the tough times. They hit hard by 1932, everyone agreed to take salary reductions.
It was during this time that his sense of success based on fiscal responsibility, especially being debt-free, was instilled. That is why Barry developed his loathing for the easy but dangerous solution to debt and borrowing, by the one institution that was able to do it: a government that just printed more money.
Not only during the thirties did the now general manager Barry start to take up his lifelong passion flying, (politics would be added later) --it also represented freedom (for which he would always champion), but he met Margaret Johnson. He made acquaintance with her while her parents were winter vacationing in 1930. She was not endeared to parochial Phoenix, and he had to continually struggle to get her deepest interest; but his persistence paid off when he married her in her hometown of Muncie, Indiana on September 22, 1934. By 1937 he was president of the department store business.
Though he failed to be an Air Cadet in 1932, he had become a U.S. Army Reservist Second Lieutenant a few years earlier --he would get his chance to serve his country while flying soon.
When World War II was upon them, Barry tried his best to sign up for combat aviation, but at 32, with his mediocre eyesight, they gave him a desk job with the Ferry Command out of Delaware. As pilot Colonel Goldwater, he delivered materiel all over the world, from the U.S. to the Azores, India, Africa, and South America. Writing about this time, Barry made this strong point: we were not the aggressor, nor did we extract reparations, but we helped rebuild. Anything else would be revisionist non-truths. He also teaches and explains:
I became convinced the isolationist mood of the country after World War I, not the harsh terms of the Treaty of
Versailles, had made World War II inevitable. If we had maintained our military superiority throughout the twenties and thirties, President Roosevelt could have warned Hitler not to invade any neutral countries, and that warning would have been heeded.
Throughout history civilian populations and political rulers have talked of peace. We have never been free of war. The soldier, whose profession is war, understands that peace must be enforced by superior military might. The certainty of defeat is the only effective deterrent we can use to maintain peace. Furthermore, we can be strong without being aggressive.1
A little after his return after the War in 1945, he hoped there would be change for growing Phoenix into something better than the town which was off limits to GI's because of the brothels. Meanwhile he still loved his military fly-boy time and for life he stayed with it and eventually became a major general in the Arizona Air National Guard. He got his opportunity to get involved politically when the thirty-seven year old vet was appointed in 1946 by Democrat Governor Sidney P. Osborne as part of the Colorado River Commission. He learned quickly how water could start real fights. However his first elected position --as a Republican -- was for a place on the Phoenix City Council running in 1949 specifically on a ticket promising to rid their community of gambling and prostitution. He insisted that he had became a Republican, not because of his mother, but that he sided "with the underdog." He told his brother Robert, "Don't cuss me too much. It ain't for life, and it may be fun." He also discovered while on the Charter Government Committee how much corruption jammed the works. He began to be very upset about the "no win" Korean War policy.
The First Senate Campaign
In 1952, sick of Democratic 'Deals' and feeling that folks would support someone opposing President Harry S. Truman
's Majority leader and Senator Ernest McFarland
Barry Goldwater ran for the Senate slot. In spite of the fact that Arizona was predominantly registered Democrat, he won: riding on President Dwight D. Eisenhower
's coattails by less than 7000 votes.
By 1958, Goldwater was going to have to go against the odds to remain the incumbent. Now it was against his same earlier opponent, McFarland, who was the current Governor. (Victory was won over his Republican challenger in 1956 by 50,000 votes.) To add to the uphill battle, Republicans had declined in numbers lately because of the recession, and he had naysayers everywhere. They embarked on much door to door canvassing, and exposed dirty tactics the Democrats had used distributing phony Goldwater pamphlets that had compared McFarland to Joseph Stalin. There were even phone taps on Goldwater as well as various threats, some lethal. They suffered office burglaries, and this was more than twenty years before Watergate. Goldwater was still able to beat the guy by 35,000 votes.
Winning his seat back got him respect and a Chairmanship of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. He almost declined when he discovered that the oft-times Democrat-voting but Republican Jacob Javits boo-hooed Goldwater as one who would alienate the liberals of the party. Barry had been outspoken about some of Eisenhower's policies. He also let it be known how he felt about what was called the "Eastern Establishment" when he quipped around a Christmastime news conference in 1961, "...sometimes I think this country would be better off if we could just saw off the Eastern Seaboard and let it float out to sea..." It was at this time he wrote his first book (with some ghostwriting aides), Conscience of a Conservative, which warned about increasing dangers to the Constitution. It went on to sell three and a half million copies.
Goldwater and McCarthy
A word must be put in here about Goldwater's voting in 1954 against censuring Senator Joseph McCarthy, a person he had mixed feelings about. He explains:
Joe McCarthy was the most contentious, controversial, and stubbornly cussed character that I ever met in my life. He also was a very sick man physically and needed treatment. Few people knew how sick Joe really was. He used to invite me over to his house near the Capitol. He'd go out in the kitchen with the excuse of making me a drink and would have four or five shots, then return with our drinks. Unfortunately, Joe became a real booze hound --the worst. Without telling anyone, including Joe, I went up to see Francis Cardinal Spellman in New York and told him that someone had to have a fatherly talk with McCarthy. The cardinal did, but McCarthy never changed.2
In the 1960 presidential election, Barry Goldwater was touted as a favorite son candidate, though Nelson Rockefeller and especially Vice-President Richard M. Nixon were strong candidates. This was too early for Barry to know of all the defects they had, as he gave a speech in 1959 invited onstage at the Western Republican Conference in LA by Rockefeller. In this venue he proselytized and prophecized his new Republican hopes:
For the past twenty-five years the apostles of the welfare state, some Republicans, some Democrat, have been busy transforming that stern old gentleman with the top hat, the cutaway coat, the red, white, and blue trousers, from a symbol of dignity and freedom and justice for all men, into a national wet nurse, dispensing a cockeyed kind of patent medicine labeled "something for nothing," passing out the soothing syrup and rattles and pacifiers for grateful votes on election day.3
Interestingly, Goldwater, not wanting to be the candidate himself, and believing Nixon was the best choice, actually arranged election year covert ops for him to uncover vote fraud by the Kennedy team, but they wussed-out using the affidavits.
At the Convention in Chicago at one point he told the crowd, "Let's grow up, conservatives. If we want to take this party back, and I think some day we can. Let's get to work."
But later to a chorus of noes, he gave these words when he went to the podium:
Thank you. Mr. Chairman, delegates to the convention, and fellow Republicans, I respectfully ask the chairman to withdraw my name from nomination. (The crowd yells "No!")
Please. I release my delegation from their pledge to me, and while I am not a delegate, I would suggest that they give those votes to Richard Nixon.
Now, Mr. Chairman, with your kind permission and indulgence as a conservative Republican, I would like to make a few statements I think might help this coming election.
We are conservatives. This great Republican party is our historic house. This is our home. ...
...I am a conservative. I am going to devote all my time from now until November to electing Republicans from the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ticket, and I call upon my fellow conservatives to do the same.
As we know, the debates, and big money and party machinations, were the edge that won the day for the charismatic and young John F. Kennedy.
The Man Who Would be President
By 1962, forces in the Republican party were working on the 1964 election to unseat the popular President John F. Kennedy, but significantly too, there was a growing contingent of conservative youth who were eager to get the country off the big government sugar daddy trip. But, Goldwater's interest in becoming a candidate was due to witnessing the disconcerted president during an invite to the White House to discuss his opinion on the Bay of Pigs operation. He observed:
Kennedy was clearly having second thoughts about U.S. participation in the action. He was questioning the planning for the invasion and further involvement. The President finally said he thought the whole operation might fail. He turned, sitting on the edge of his desk, and faced me directly. Kennedy then asked what I would do in the situation.5
Goldwater's advice to commit with "whatever is necessary" was not taken, and he saw an inherent weakness in Camelot. So, in 1963 Barry threw his hat in the proverbial ring and got Phoenix lawyer Denison Kitchel to open an office and to start running the show. He actually liked Jack Kennedy very much, but was concerned with his policies domestic and foreign. But after the assassination of Kennedy he did not want to go up against the now President Lyndon Baine Johnson
's intrigues. His wife did not want him to run. He even answered the new man Stewart Alsop
's question about how would feel to wake up in the morning and be president with "Frankly, it scares the hell out of me!" But his group of conservatives kept hammering away at Goldwater's conscience, while he resisted with this foresighted argument:
Well, I'm impressed by the sincerity of those fellows. They've obviously gone out on a limb for me. I think they're great guys. But, Denny, this isn't the time for a conservative Republican to run. The country doesn't want three different presidents in a year's time. I can't win. In the process, we could harm the conservative cause. I'm not inclined to do it-- for all those reasons and the simple fact that I don't like or trust Lyndon Johnson.6
But at the end of that meeting after bringing up all the conservative supporters in the country that hoped he would at least try it, said, " All right, damn it, I'll do it." History is witness to his integrity, that unlike Johnson who ran for his senate seat simultaneously in 1960, Goldwater did not.
The Battle for Nomination
A Choice Not an Echo
These words were his campaign slogan. His ideals for the campaign were simple:
--greater national respect for and support of individual initiative, fiscal responsibility by the federal and other governments, more power in the hands of local citizens, and a strong national defense.
He wanted also to educate Americans on what true conservative values were. But he had the Eastern Liberal Wing of the Republican Party to contend with --Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Cabot Lodge, George Romney, and Bill Scranton. Also on the ballot were Margaret Chase Smith, Hiram Fong, and Walter Judd. During the primaries, his own GOP started adding fuel to the fire with many subtle and direct hints that Barry Goldwater was way too extreme right. His once friend Rockefeller now showed what ugliness he had politically -- linking Barry with the KKK, Birchers (John Birch Society) and even communists as bring dis-reputation to the party. Kitchel summed up the frustration:
There was no use trying to conciliate with guys as adamant as the Rockefeller, Romney, and other groups. I think it would have been wrong to try to heal those wounds before taking on Lyndon Johnson in that speech. We wanted to get the party on a new track. I agreed a hundred percent with Barry attacking his critics and Johnson.7
His address at the convention would keep that tone. After all even Scranton hinted that he was too quick to use nukes. As fate would have it, a professor of political science, Harry Jaffa, brought to Barry an excerpt from a Roman Senator, Marcus Tullius Cicero. It was his speech aimed at a power-lusting patrician, Lucius Sergius Catilina.
I must remind you -- Lords, Senators --that extreme patriotism in defense of freedom is no crime, and let me respectfully remind you that pusillanimity in the pursuit of justice is no virtue in a Roman.8
Of course many remember today Barry Goldwater's famous line, inspired by his ancient colleague, from his acceptance speech after the vote was swung by the South Carolina delegates in the Cow Palace.
Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice and . . . moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.9
He meant the dictionary definition of extremist which is one "...of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average--the utmost of highest degree." But the connotations were not going in his favor, and he scared the hell out of most people. All they had was visions of World War III. This would be the beginning of more fodder to feed his enemies during the hard campaign ahead. Goldwater reveals how Bill Moyers
was the architect of the negative ad onslaught:
I was depicted as a grotesque public monster. They converted my campaign slogan from "In your heart, you know he's right." to "In your guts, you know he's nuts."
Their "card" ad showed two hands--meant to be mine-- tearing apart a Social Security card. That was what Barry Goldwater would do if he became President, the commercial threatened, so save the system and elect Lyndon Johnson. The ad was a repellent lie. Moyers knew it yet approved the ad, and it was shown throughout the campaign
Moyers ordered two "bomb" commercials from the New York advertising firm of Doyle Dane Bernbach. He oversaw and approved their production. The first was a one-minute film which appeared during prime time on NBC. It showed a little girl in a sunny field of daisies. She begins plucking petals from a daisy. As she plucks the flower, a male voice in the background starts a countdown ... ten ... nine ... eight ... becoming constantly stronger. The screen suddenly explodes, and the child disappears in a mushroom cloud. The voice concludes by urging voters to elect President Johnson, saying "These are the stakes: To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die. Vote for President Johnson on November third. The stakes are too high for you to stay home."
Goldwater said later that if it was true what was said about him in print, TV, and radio he would have voted against himself, too. (Of course in May 1963 he did suggest the use of low yield nuclear weapons could be used
for defoliation in Vietnam. And his going to lengths to explain that it was not an avocation of it still did not help the faux pas.)
They followed up with another one similar, but with the child eating an ice cream cone. The Federal Campaign Practices Committee forced them after complaint to drop the ads, but the damage was done.
Ronald Reagan's speech supporting Goldwater was another highlight, and it put the spotlight on this newcomer's potential. He would eventually make things 'right' again.
There are words of mine floating around in the air that I would like to reach up and eat.
How ironic that Johnson criticized Goldwater's stand, but not publicly during the campaign --they both had a gentleman's agreement to not use the issue -- on using superior military power to end the war, or pull out, when after he was elected escalated the war, but still too tentatively (according to Goldwater) right away. The black voters also did not understand Barry Goldwater's vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act as his strong concern for the Constitutionality of the law as it was written, not its premise. They made that known at the ballot box.
After the elections which they lost 43 million to 27 million, Republicans began their regrouping starting with a meeting at Ike's. He felt as if he was as he said, "A defeated presidential candidate is the lowest man on the political totem pole."
Goldwater did counsel LBJ on firing Robert McNamara, but he did not; and only later after three quarter of a million troops were committed to Vietnam did he admit his mistake. Goldwater was constantly chiding the "no win" mentality of this Southeast Asia fiasco. But, he made it clear he did not condone draft dodging.
Hiatus is Over
Though he enjoyed his break from elected office, by 1966 he was planning his return to the Senate. It happened to coincide with the Nixon resurgence. Richard Nixon had initially denied his desire to run, but the right side of the party wanted to head off Romney and Rockefeller, and Richard Kleindienst developed a plan that attracted Nixon. Nixon only trusted John Mitchell to chair the campaign, though he lacked the political acumen. Goldwater put his support behind Dick Nixon, though later in hindsight he had wished there had been someone better.
In January of 1969, while Nixon took the oath of office of President for the first time, a sixty-year old Barry Goldwater was sworn in for the third time as a U.S. Senator. He would serve in the Senate three more terms.
Barry and Dick
Of course now Barry went on with his career as the outspoken, opinionated maverick. During the Nixon years he counseled them about the new open China policy with warnings about their helping the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. He also was privy to Agnew's discontent within the administration, especially their apathy concerning his tax legal problems. As a matter of fact, the administration would let the hounds loose if he did not resign --even if in shame. Then a little later in 1973 early in the Watergate crisis he made press statements that basically told Nixon to stop the lying. At a Christmas get-together at the White House Goldwater answered Nixon's worried and almost not-too-subtle question, "How do I stand, Barry?
People are divided --those who want you to go and others who wish you'd stay. Among the latter, there's a particular group a President should not resign.11
At that time, Goldwater did not think the Commander-in-Chief should quit.
But eventually Goldwater made the official visit to the White House explaining that the Republicans could not stop the impeachment.
The magnitude of the situation brought tears to my eyes. The President knew what he must do. Thank God he did not require us to spell out the message we carried. When we left, he was smiling. Whatever else I may or think about Richard Nixon, he displayed a quality of courage I have rare encountered on that Wednesday afternoon.12
The next day, August 8, 1974 at Prime Time, Richard Nixon became the first Chief Executive of the United States to resign.
Finally in 1980, after almost losing to millionaire Bill Schultz, when Ronald Reagan was elected in the "Republican Revolution" many said that Goldwater's Western style Constitutional Fiscal Conservatism had made it. His dedication to our strong National Defense stands in legacy with the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act and it's fruits were reaped in the successes in the Persian Gulf Wars, whether it was command structure, the M-1 Abrams tank, or the Patriot missile. He had cooperated with Georgia Democrat Sam Nunn to reform the defense department. Though Goldwater would not be so kind to many of the Moral Majority's programs, he not wanting intrusion from the government in that direction either. He opposed school busing programs and he favored prayer in school but he was adamant about separation of powers when he thought Congress would order the Federal courts on these issues. Though he opposed abortion, he felt that those with that opinion should not be able to legally force it upon others, like his wife Peggy, who was more pro-choice. But, in 1994 he did say to the Los Angeles Times:
They think I've turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the religious right. It's not a conservative issue at all.
If he was not liberal, he was somewhat progressive as in the 90's he chaired the drive against Federal discrimination of homosexuals. Explaining:
The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they're gay, you don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that's what brings me into it.
He always continued to champion a strong military, and smaller government. He never lost the edge on his knife-like mouth, he made it clear that the news people who leaked the secrets about our aiding the Afghan rebels in 1980 should be up for treason. He retired after 30 years a Senator in 1986, his wife dying the year before.
In 1992, at 83 he married 51 year-old health care executive, Susan Schaffer Wechsler.
His last political stand was the endorsement of Bob Dole's Presidential candidacy in 1996. But, not too long afterward his health declined, a stroke crippling him mentally. Suffering from brain damage and Alzheimer's, he died at 89 years of age in Paradise Valley near Phoenix on May 29, 1998. He left behind wife Susan, and his children with Peggy, Michael, Joanne, Peggy, and Barry, Jr.
Even President William Jefferson Clinton said in honor,
He was truly an American original. I never knew anyone quite like him. He was a great patriot and a truly fine human being.
I think Republican Arizona Senator John McCain's statement is the most fitting end to this story:
I am both blessed and burdened to have succeeded Barry Goldwater to the United States Senate. I am blessed by the honor of it, but burdened by the certain knowledge that long after I have left public office, Americans will still celebrate the contributions Barry Goldwater made to their well-being, while I and my successors will enjoy much less notable reputations. Barry Goldwater will always be the Senator from Arizona, the one history recalls with appreciation and delight. In all the histories of American politics, Barry Goldwater will remain a chapter unto himself. The rest of us will have to make do as footnotes.
1 Barry M. Goldwater, With No Apologies (New York: Wm Morrow and Co., 1979) 4:38.
2 ibid., 11:98.
3 ibid., 13:116-7.
4 Barry M. Goldwater and Jack Casserly, Goldwater (New York: Doubleday, 1988) 5:129.
5 ibid., 5:135.
6 ibid., 5:153.
7 ibid., 6:186.
9 Here is Barry Goldwater's 1964 speech at the 28th Republican National Convention, accepting the nomination for president.
(Text Provided by the Arizona Historical Foundation)
To my good friend and great Republican, Dick Nixon, and your charming wife, Pat; my running mate and that wonderful Republican who has served us well for so long, Bill Miller and his wife, Stephanie; to Thurston Morton who has done such a commendable job in chairing this Convention; to Mr. Herbert Hoover, who I hope is watching; and to that great American and his wife, General and Mrs. Eisenhower; to my own wife, my family, and to all of my fellow Republicans here assembled, and Americans across this great Nation.
From this moment, united and determined, we will go forward together, dedicated to the ultimate and undeniable greatness of the whole man. Together we will win.
I accept your nomination with a deep sense of humility. I accept, too, the responsibility that goes with it, and I seek your continued help and your continued guidance. My fellow Republicans, our cause is too great for any man to feel worthy of it. Our task would be too great for any man, did he not have with him the heart and the hands of this great Republican Party, and I promise you tonight that every fiber of my being is consecrated to our cause; that nothing shall be lacking from the struggle that can be brought to it by enthusiasm, by devotion, and plain hard work. In this world no person, no party can guarantee anything, but what we can do and what we shall do is to deserve victory, and victory will be ours.
The good Lord raised this mighty Republic to be a home for the brave and to flourish as the land of the free-not to stagnate in the swampland of collectivism, not to cringe before the bully of communism.
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.
During four futile years, the administration which we shall replace has distorted and lost that faith. It has talked and talked and talked and talked the words of freedom. Now, failures cement the wall of shame in Berlin. Failures blot the sands of shame at the Bay of Pigs. Failures mark the slow death of freedom in Laos. Failures infest the jungles of Vietnam. And failures haunt the houses of our once great alliances and undermine the greatest bulwark ever erected by free nations - the NATO community. Failures proclaim lost leadership, obscure purpose, weakening wills, and the risk of inciting our sworn enemies to new aggressions and to new excesses. Because of this administration we are tonight a world divided - we are a Nation becalmed. We have lost the brisk pace of diversity and the genius of individual creativity. We are plodding at a pace set by centralized planning, red tape, rules without responsibility, and regimentation without recourse.
Rather than useful jobs in our country, people have been offered bureaucratic "make work," rather than moral leadership, they have been given bread and circuses, spectacles, and, yes, they have even been given scandals. Tonight there is violence in our streets, corruption in our highest offices, aimlessness among our youth, anxiety among our elders and there is a virtual despair among the many who look beyond material success for the inner meaning of their lives. Where examples of morality should be set, the opposite is seen. Small men, seeking great wealth or power, have too often and too long turned even the highest levels of public service into mere personal opportunity.
Now, certainly, simple honesty is not too much to demand of men in government. We find it in most. Republicans demand it from everyone. They demand it from everyone no matter how exalted or protected his position might be. The growing menace in our country tonight, to personal safety, to life, to limb and property, in homes, in churches, on the playgrounds, and places of business, particularly in our great cities, is the mounting concern, or should be, of every thoughtful citizen in the United States.
Security from domestic violence, no less than from foreign aggression, is the most elementary and fundamental purpose of any government, and a government that cannot fulfill that purpose is one that cannot long command the loyalty of its citizens. History shows us - demonstrates that nothing - nothing prepares the way for tyranny more than the failure of public officials to keep the streets from bullies and marauders.
Now, we Republicans see all this as more, much more, than the rest: of mere political differences or mere political mistakes. We see this as the result of a fundamentally and absolutely wrong view of man, his nature and his destiny. Those who seek to live your lives for you, to take your liberties in return for relieving you of yours, those who elevate the state and downgrade the citizen must see ultimately a world in which earthly power can be substituted for divine will, and this Nation was founded upon the rejection of that notion and upon the acceptance of God as the author of freedom.
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality, ladies and gentlemen. Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.
Fellow Republicans, it is the cause of Republicanism to resist concentrations of power, private or public, which enforce such conformity and inflict such despotism. It is the cause of Republicanism to ensure that power remains in the hands of the people. And, so help us God, that is exactly what a Republican president will do with the help of a Republican Congress.
It is further the cause of Republicanism to restore a clear understanding of the tyranny of man over man in the world at large. It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the illusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression - and this is hogwash.
It is further the cause of Republicanism to remind ourselves, and the world, that only the strong can remain free, that only the strong can keep the peace.
Now, I needn't remind you, or my fellow Americans regardless of party, that Republicans have shouldered this hard responsibility and marched in this cause before. It was Republican leadership under Dwight Eisenhower that kept the peace, and passed along to this administration the mightiest arsenal for defense the world has ever known. And I needn't remind you that it was the strength and the unbelievable will of the Eisenhower years that kept the peace by using our strength, by using it in the Formosa Straits and in Lebanon and by showing it courageously at all times.
It was during those Republican years that the thrust of Communist imperialism was blunted. It was during those years of Republican leadership that this world moved closer, not to war, but closer to peace, than at any other time in the three decades just passed.
And I needn't remind you - but I will - that it's been during Democratic years that our strength to deter war has stood still, and even gone into a planned decline. It has been during Democratic years that we have weakly stumbled into conflict, timidly refusing to draw our own lines against aggression, deceitfully refusing to tell even our people of our full participation, and tragically, letting our finest men die on battlefields (unmarked by purpose, unmarked by pride or the prospect of victory).
Yesterday it was Korea. Tonight it is Vietnam. Make no bones of this. Don't try to sweep this under the rug. We are at war in Vietnam. And yet the President, who is Commander-in-Chief of our forces, refuses to say - refuses to say, mind you, whether or not the objective over there is victory. And his Secretary of Defense continues to mislead and misinform the American people, and enough of it has gone by.
And I needn't remind you, but I will; it has been during Democratic years that a billion persons were cast into Communist captivity and their fate cynically sealed.
Today in our beloved country we have an administration which seems eager to deal with communism in every coin known - from gold to wheat, from consulates to confidence, and even human freedom itself.
The Republican cause demands that we brand communism as a principal disturber of peace in the world today. Indeed, we should brand it as the only significant disturber of the peace, and we must make clear that until its goals of conquest are absolutely renounced and its rejections with all nations tempered, communism and the governments it now controls are enemies of every man on earth who is or wants to be free.
We here in America can keep the peace only if we remain vigilant and only if we remain strong. Only if we keep our eyes open and keep our guard up can we prevent war. And I want to make this abundantly clear - I don't intend to let peace or freedom be torn from our grasp because of lack of strength or lack of will - and that I promise you Americans.
I believe that we must look beyond the defense of freedom today to its extension tomorrow. I believe that the communism which boasts it will bury us will, instead, give way to the forces of freedom. And I can see in the distant and yet recognizable future the outlines of a world worthy our dedication, our every risk, our every effort, our every sacrifice along the way. Yes, a world that will redeem the suffering of those who will be liberated from tyranny. I can see and I suggest that all thoughtful men must contemplate the flowering of an Atlantic civilization, the whole world of Europe unified and free, trading openly across its borders, communicating openly across the world. This is a goal far, far more meaningful than a moon shot.
It's a truly inspiring goal for all free men to set for themselves during the latter half of the twentieth century. I can also see - and all free men must thrill to - the events of this Atlantic civilization joined by its great ocean highway to the United States. What a destiny, what a destiny can be ours to stand as a great central pillar linking Europe, the Americans and the venerable and vital peoples and cultures of the Pacific. I can see a day when all the Americas, North and South, will be linked in a mighty system, a system in which the errors and misunderstandings of the past will be submerged one by one in a rising tide of prosperity and interdependence. We know that the misunderstandings of centuries are not to be wiped away in a day or wiped away in an hour. But we pledge - we pledge that human sympathy - what our neighbors to the South call that attitude of "simpatico" - no less than enlightened self'-interest will be our guide.
I can see this Atlantic civilization galvanizing and guiding emergent nations everywhere.
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.
In our vision of a good and decent future, free and peaceful, there must be room for deliberation of the energy and talent of the individual - otherwise our vision is blind at the outset.
We must assure a society here which, while never abandoning the needy or forsaking the helpless, nurtures incentives and opportunity for the creative and the productive. We must know the whole good is the product of many single contributions.
I cherish a day when our children once again will restore as heroes the sort of men and women who - unafraid and undaunted - pursue the truth, strive to cure disease, subdue and make fruitful our natural environment and produce the inventive engines of production, science, and technology.
This Nation, whose creative people have enhanced this entire span of history, should again thrive upon the greatness of all those things which we, as individual citizens, can and should do. During Republican years, this again will be a nation of men and women, of families proud of their role, jealous of their responsibilities, unlimited in their aspirations - a Nation where all who can will be self-reliant.
We Republicans see in our constitutional form of government the great framework which assures the orderly but dynamic fulfillment of the whole man, and we see the whole man as the great reason for instituting orderly government in the first place.
We see, in private property and in economy based upon and fostering private property, the one way to make government a durable ally of the whole man, rather than his determined enemy. We see in the sanctity of private property the only durable foundation for constitutional government in a free society. And beyond that, we see, in cherished diversity of ways, diversity of thoughts, of motives and accomplishments. We do not seek to lead anyone's life for him - we seek only to secure his rights and to guarantee him opportunity to strive, with government performing only those needed and constitutionally sanctioned tasks which cannot otherwise be performed.
We Republicans seek a government that attends to its inherent responsibilities of maintaining a stable monetary and fiscal climate, encouraging a free and a competitive economy and enforcing law and order. Thus do we seek inventiveness, diversity, and creativity within a stable order, for we Republicans define government's role where needed at many, many levels, preferably through the one closest to the people involved.
Our towns and our cities, then our counties, then our states, then our regional contacts - and only then, the national government. That, let me remind you, is the ladder of liberty, built by decentralized power. On it also we must have balance between the branches of government at every level.
Balance, diversity, creativity - these are the elements of Republican equation. Republicans agree, Republicans agree heartily to disagree on many, many of their applications, but we have never disagreed on the basic fundamental issues of why you and I are Republicans.
This is a party, this Republican Party, a Party for free men, not for blind followers, and not for conformists.
Back in 1858 Abraham Lincoln said this of the Republican party - and I quote him, because he probably could have said it during the last week or so: "It was composed of strained, discordant, and even hostile elements" in 1858. Yet all of these elements agreed on one paramount objective: To arrest the progress of slavery, and place it in the course of ultimate extinction.
Today, as then, but more urgently and more broadly than then, the task of preserving and enlarging freedom at home and safeguarding it from the forces of tyranny abroad is great enough to challenge all our resources and to require all our strength. Anyone who joins us in all sincerity, we welcome. Those who do not care for our cause, we don't expect to enter our ranks in any case. And let our Republicanism, so focused and so dedicated, not be made fuzzy and futile by unthinking and stupid labels.
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.
This Party, its good people, and its unquestionable devotion to freedom, will not fulfill the purposes of this campaign which we launch here now until our cause has won the day, inspired the world, and shown the way to a tomorrow worthy of all our yesteryears.
I repeat, I accept your nomination with humbleness, with pride, and you and I are going to fight for the goodness of our land. Thank you.
10 Barry M. Goldwater and Jack Casserly, Goldwater (New York: Doubleday, 1988) 7:198.
11 ibid., 9:268.
12 Barry M. Goldwater, With No Apologies (New York: Wm Morrow and Co., 1979), 31:268.
Goldwater, Barry M. With No Apologies: The Personal and Political Memoirs of United States Senator Barry M. Goldwater. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1979.
Goldwater, Barry M. and Jack Casserly, Goldwater. New York: Doubleday, 1988.
http://www.washingtonpst.com/wp-srv/politics/daily/may98/goldwater.htm, Copyright 1998.
Ken Rudin, "Goldwater Remembered."
John McCain, "Appreciation: Barry Goldwater, Patriot and Politician" Special to the The Washington Post, Saturday May 30, 1998.
Judis, John B., "The Man Who Knew Too Little" September 24, 1995. Note: He was a New Republic editor.
"A Look at the Life of Barry Goldwater: Important dates in the life of Barry Goldwater," Associated Press, Friday, May 29, 1998.
Mears, Walter R. AP Special Correspondent, "Goldwater was Outspoken, Untamable" Friday, May 29, 1998. Note: He covered the '64 campaign.
Goldberg, Robert Alan, "Barry Goldwater."
Greenberg, Robert, "Barry Goldwater," 1995.