Monday, August 28, 2006

Berry Goldwater, DCL hero

This is in the way of olds, not news, since Editor & posted the following article Friday.
NEW YORK An interview in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine with C.C. Goldwater reveals that her HBO film to be aired Sept. 18 paints her late grandfather, Sen. Barry Goldwater, "as a kind of liberal," with testimonials from Al Franken, Sen. Ted Kennedy, James Carville and Sen. Hillary Clinton.

In fact, Hillary campaigned for Goldwater in 1964 in his race for president against Lyndon Johnson. "Hillary was a Goldwater girl," says the filmmaker, interviewed by Deborah Solomon. "She passed out cookies and lemonade at his campaign functions."

The film -- made on a budget of $800,000 -- will note that the straight-talking Sen. Goldwater, author of the classic "The Conscience of a Conservative" (soon to be reissued by Princeton University Press) favored abortion rights and allowing gays in the military, and refused to attend President Nixon's funeral because he "cheated" the country.
Berry Goldwater, "liberal" hero? Well, if you merely go with the social, or "cultural," stance of a Berry Goldwater, then yes, he's a liberal. But otherwise no.This was a guy who said in his 1964 presidential nomination acceptance speech at the GOP convention,
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...
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 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.
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 last one was the killer. Goldwater thought that this was the catch phrase that would resonate with the American people. It didn't. Lyndon Johnson's campaign managers saw to that.

Goldwater even hints at NAFTA-like trade agreements,"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."

If anything Goldwater's conservatism might be labeled "libertarianism" today. A soft libertarianism, to be sure because Barry thought that at the very least there should be a modicum of welfare to keep starving people from rioting in the streets. But just a bare minimum. And coming from a dry, desert state, Arizona, Barry knew that his Jewish-turned-Episcopalian grandfather and father couldn't have flourished in the department store business without help from the federal government, especially during the New Deal era.

So, no, in my opinion Barry Goldwater is, and never was, a "liberal." The same can be said of the above mentioned Hillary Clinton, her husband and DLC strongman Tom Vilsack.

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