Thursday, 12 January 2012

Barry Goldwater

Recently C-SPAN ran a series about presidential contenders, who had run for the presidency, and despite failing (sometimes repeatedly), had still made a permanent impact upon American politics and history.

The 1964 campaign was a particularly significant election. Lyndon Johnson won with a landslide victory - but its long term significance resulted from the candidacy of Barry Goldwater. He was definitely NOT the establishment candidate for the Republicans. Nelson Rockefeller, the Governor of New York and a moderate "enjoyed" that status, at least initially. However his family life led many "social Conservatives" to shy away from him. Other potential candidates mainstream candidates failed to inherit the establishment mantle. The Republican Party had become bitterly divided - and Goldwater fired up more hard line Conservatives. He won the nomination, but was vulnerable to charges of extreism - which LBJ exploited. The result, as stated above was a landslide.

The conservatives learned much from that defeat - and began a slow, but very effective comeback. While Nixon (and his un-elected Vice President, Gerald Ford, who succeeded him in 1974), were moderates (certainly by today's standards, though Nixon was certainly not portrayed as such at the time - the conservatives who had organised effectively had succeeded in achieving a revolution - which culminated in the succesful election of Ronald Reagan. His speech in 1964 supporting Goldwater and his conservative agenda can be viewed below.

The C-SPAN programme can be accessed at


Below are a series of books relevant to Goldwater; the 1964 Election and the "conservative revolution"

Right Star Rising (esp p21 - 33)