Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Goldwater lost in a landslide – and won the GOP future
by Jeff Jacoby
TO THE RECENT spate of 50th-anniversary reflections on key political and cultural milestones — the 1963 March on Washington, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show — here's one to add: The presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater, the most influential also-ran in modern American politics.
Goldwater was nicknamed "Mr. Conservative," but now even liberals adore him. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. penned an essay a few years back effusive in its praise for Goldwater, whom he described as an exemplar of civility, decency, and integrity. Goldwater was "neither mean-spirited nor racist," wrote Kennedy; he challenged the liberals of his time through "sensible argument and honest conviction." A 2006 documentary produced by CC Goldwater, Barry's liberal's granddaughter, is strewn with such liberal tributes; Hillary Clinton, James Carville, and Walter Cronkite are among those who attest to the man's statesmanship and charm.
How things have changed.
In 1964, Goldwater appalled the political establishment. Though the blunt-spoken Arizonan's bestseller, "The Conscience of a Conservative," had made him a hero on the right even before his White House run, liberal commentators seemed shocked to discover that his conservatism was for real. When he declared, in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention in San Francisco, that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and … moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue," they were aghast.
What followed was one of the most ruthless campaigns of invective in US political history. Goldwater and his conservative supporters were repeatedly likened to Nazis, madmen, and warmongers. Jackie Robinson said he knew "how it felt to be a Jew in Hitler's Germany." Lyndon Johnson's notorious "daisy" commercial showed a little girl picking flower petals, until she is overwhelmed by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion. A month before the election, the cover of Fact magazine blared: "1,189 Psychiatrists Say Goldwater is Unfit to be President!"
Conventional wisdom said Goldwater didn't have a prayer, and conventional wisdom was right. On Election Day, the Republican ticket suffered a crushing defeat. Johnson amassed 61 percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage in presidential campaign history; Democrats at every level swept to lopsided majorities reminiscent of the FDR landslide of 1936. Goldwater — the most ideologically conservative GOP nominee since Calvin Coolidge — hadn't just lost, he'd been buried.
What that meant, said the nation's most respected political analysts, was obvious: Conservatism was political poison, and the GOP had just swallowed a near-fatal dose.
"Barry Goldwater not only lost the presidential election yesterday, but the conservative cause as well," pronounced James Reston of The New York Times. "He has wrecked his party for a long time to come." Time magazine said Republican conservatives had been so completely humiliated "that they will not have another shot at party domination for some time to come."
But about that, conventional wisdom was dead wrong. So were the Eastern liberal Republicans who had long dominated the GOP. They didn't seek to roll back the vast increase in government programs that Democrats since the New Deal had embraced; their pitch to voters was that they could manage those programs with more businesslike efficiency. Many establishment Republicans were as turned off by Goldwater's ardent conservatism as Democrats and media liberals were. The chairman of the New York Republican Party called the Election Day debacle the "shattering price" the GOP had paid for its "erratic deviation from our soundly moderate 20th-century course." The voters had spoken, and conservatism had been "decisively vetoed."
Conservatism was no suicide pill, it was the Republican future. "In your heart, you know he's right" had been a much-mocked Goldwater campaign slogan ("In your guts, you know he's nuts" was one rejoinder), but it became increasingly clear that the heart of the Republican Party did indeed incline rightward. Goldwater may not have been a very good presidential candidate, but millions of Americans found his conservative ideals refreshing and inspiring.
Even as Goldwater was losing 44 states, there were remarkable signs of grassroots enthusiasm for his political message. Historian Steven Hayward points out that the Goldwater campaign received more than 1 million contributions, 400,000 of them in amounts under $10. Four years earlier, Richard Nixon's campaign had received only 40,000 contributions.
In 1964, the GOP's center of gravity began its decisive shift to the West and South. Of the 12 presidential elections that followed 1964, Republicans have won seven, and every GOP ticket since the Goldwater campaign has included a conservative. Who doubts today that conservatives constitute the party's base? Until 50 years ago, Republican presidential hopefuls competed for the imprimatur of the party's liberal establishment. Now, even the Republican establishment calls itself conservative — while Goldwater, savaged by Democrats in 1964, is described with affection and admiration by Democrats in 2014.
Goldwater lost a presidential election, but he changed the face of American politics. All winning candidates appeal to the mainstream. But only the most influential redirect it.
On the Friday, April 18, All In show, during a discussion of the firing of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for simply donating to a political campaign opposing same-sex marriage, guest Richard Kim of the far left The Nation magazine intoned that he found it "disturbing" that gay activist friends of his have expressed interest in "targeting" more people who have made similar donations, and who have declared they should "find out where they live." Kim:
Here's a disturbing thing. I did ask some of my gay activist friends, I was like, "Look, here's a list; 6,500 people gave the same amount that he did or more in California. Should we go down the list and sort of start targeting all these people?" And I asked this facetiously, and people were like, "Let's do it. Let's find out where those people live. It's all-" To me, that's a disturbing level of targeting people.
Hayes, who had earlier expressed reservations about Eich's firing, exclaimed, "Yes," to Kim's view that such talk was "disturbing."
Liberals Announce Plan to ‘Purge’ Christians
They were always deadly serious about criminalizing Christianity and killing free speech, but now the American left has stopped pretending otherwise. In a recent column titled, “Why Are They Called ‘Homofascists’? Here’s Why,” I wrote that “progressive,” “Christian-hating fascists” – but I repeat myself – are “hell-bent on criminalizing Christianity and pushing to the fringes anyone who publicly acknowledges natural human sexuality and the age-old, immutable institution of legitimate marriage as created by God.”
I was referring specifically to the left’s well-organized and highly disturbing character assassination of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for his private support of natural marriage. I was also addressing the larger goal of the American left to completely shut down free speech and freedom of religion and to severely punish anyone who maintains both biblically and biologically correct views on human sexuality.
I closed with this: “They smell blood in the water. I’ve often said that these folks want those who speak biblical truth about human sexuality and legitimate marriage either 1) dead, 2) imprisoned or, if they can have neither of these, 3) marginalized to the point where they can’t even support their families.
“Check No. 3 off the list. I guess they’re working backwards.”
The very next day, and as if right on cue, lefty rag Slate magazine vomited evidence of my claims. It could not have been better scripted if I’d written it myself.
In an article titled, “Purge the Bigots,” Slate writer William Saletan penned these chilling words: “Some of my colleagues are celebrating. They call Eich a bigot who got what he deserved. I agree. But let’s not stop here. If we’re serious about enforcing the new standard, thousands of other employees who donated to the same anti-gay ballot measure must be punished.
“More than 35,000 people gave money to the campaign for Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that declared, ‘Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,’” he continued. “Why do these bigots still have jobs? Let’s go get them.”
Now, to be fair, Saletan later claimed that his article was intended as satire to illustrate the hypocrisy of his own “progressive” movement. Many, if not most, of his readers seemed to miss the joke,and the article’s comments section quickly filled with people agreeing that it was, indeed, time to “purge the bigots” (read: Christians).
The Fox News Channel observed that the piece “may or may not be tongue-in-cheek.” Satire is traditionally somewhat clever, witty and fairly easy to recognize as such. Mr. Saletan’s piece was none of these things. Nevertheless, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute noted, “The problem with Saletan’s satirical piece is that, unlike Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal,’ Saletan’s is not outrageous enough. It should be outrageous enough for a satire, but unfortunately, homosexual activists and their allies are tyrannical enough to do just what he’s proposing.
“I know there are many progressives who think such a proposal is defensible,” she observed. “In fact, eight years ago, a colleague (AMM) at Deerfield High School told me that she is so sure conservative beliefs about homosexuality are wrong that they shouldn’t be allowed to be spoken in public schools – even if kids are studying homosexuality-affirming resources. And she was not speaking satirically.”
So here we have Mr. Saletan playing the role of today’s Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi propaganda minister, in an effort, albeit a clumsy one, to underscore how utterly out of control his own “progressive” movement has become and, in the spirit of argumentum ad absurdum, gently coax his fellow bohemians from madness.
Slate was apparently in on the fun too, pretending, for a day, to be “Nationalsozialistischen Briefe,” Goebbels’ parallel publication, in an equally awkward attempt to use the power of metaphor as a scrub brush to wash away the stench of totalitarianism from an American left bathed in it.
But as you read the article a frightening reality quickly rises to the surface. It’s neither funny nor untrue. None of it. The cultural Marxist American left is 100-percent serious about “purging” Christians from society.
They’re as serious as Josef Stalin’s heart attack.
Continued Saletan: “To organize the next stage of the purge, I’ve compiled the financial data into three tables” (he actually did this). He then listed details from, and linked to, the Proposition 8 hit list reportedly leaked by the Obama IRS and meticulously assembled and published by the Los Angeles Times.
This was all by design. It’s what led to Brendan Eich’s career beheading. But Eich was just the opening act. The list provides the exact names, employers, places of residence and dollar amounts of every single person in America who donated even a dime to the Golden State’s campaign to protect natural marriage (I realize it’s hopelessly symbolic, but as matter of principle I will not link to the list).
This is a level of voter intimidation and journalistic terrorism on the part of the Obama administration and the L.A. Times that is unprecedented in American history.
Joking or not, Herr Saletan then gave the rainbow-shirts their jackbooted marching orders: “If we’re serious about taking down corporate officers who supported Proposition 8, and boycotting employers who promote them, we’d better get cracking on the rest of the list,” he said, concluding, “otherwise, perhaps we should put down the pitchforks.”
You do understand this, right? Obama, the L.A. Times and America’s larger “progressive” movement are dead serious about purging Christians and other traditionalists from both the workplace and society at large. It’s coming. Mozilla was just the opening salvo.
In the very same way Eich’s forced resignation was deliberately calculated to terrorize any American who might resist the left’s sexual anarchist agenda, and support some future, legally executed pro-family ballot initiative, the clear purpose behind releasing the Prop 8 donor list was to instill terror in the hearts of Christians and other traditionalists who support natural marriage, family and human sexuality. It was a not-so-subtle shot over the bow.
It was also a call to arms. It’s fight or flight time, America. I’ve made my choice.
I say that if we once crushed fascism from without … we can sure as hell crush it from within.
Black activist mocks people hurt by Obamacare
On the Sunday, April 20, Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, as host Harris-Perry chastised Democrats for not bragging about ObamaCare for the year's midterm elections, she at one point mocked Americans angry about having their health insurance plans cancelled, which she referred to as "crappy plans," as she lamented that Democrats are not boasting about ObamaCare or declaring, "Yeah, you can't keep your crappy plans. Just deal with that!"
Her mockery of the ObamaCare-induced insurance cancellations came as she compared Republicans to people who flip houses and brag about doing only a little work, as she characterized Democrats, by contrast, as people who do substantial work on houses but fail to boast about it adequately to potential buyers. Harris-Perry:
You can have some people -- let's call them Republicans -- who will go into a fallen down blighted house, slap on some granite counter tops, while ignoring real problems, and declare their work is the best thing ever.
After boasting about Democrats passing ObamaCare, she lamented:
And they're not even owning it. No confidence, no swagger. No, "Yeah, you can't keep your crappy plans. Just deal with that!"
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.
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Posted by JR at 12:40 AM