Skip to comments.Heritage Foundation President's Essay on The Conscience of a Conservative
Posted on 12/22/2004 2:14:36 PM PST by bruinbirdman
The 2004 Essay: The Conscience of a Conservative
by Barry Goldwater
by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
Among the many analyses about the 2004 Republican National Convention, one offered by the eminent conservative columnist George F. Will caught my eye. "Barry is back," he wrote, referring to Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who won the Republican presidential nomination forty years ago but was then crushed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the general election, receiving only 38.5 percent of the popular vote and carrying just six states.
Notwithstanding his resounding defeat in the fall of 1964, wrote Will, Goldwaters nomination sealed "the ascendancy of conservatism in the [Republican] party." Goldwaters brand of conservatism, Will explained, included a "muscular foreign policy," economic policies of low taxation and light regulation, and a "libertarian inclination" regarding cultural questions. While not "fully ascendant" in the GOP, suggested Will, Goldwaterism made a comeback at the 2004 convention, as evidenced in the "rapturous reception" of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, known for their unyielding opposition to terrorism and their tolerant views regarding abortion and gay rights. The reemergence of conservatism with a socially libertarian (but economically conservative) cast, Will wrote, could make the Grand Old Party more appealing to the many young suburban voters among whom the Democrats have made substantial gains.
As usual, George Wills political analysis was thoughtful and provocative, with a sense of history rarely found in todays journalists. I was particularly struck by his opening words "Barry is back" because I had already decided to write the 2004 Presi-dents Essay about the Arizona senator and his remarkable book, The Conscience of a Conservative, that had a profound impact on me and many other young conservatives of the 1960s.
(Excerpt) Read more at heritage.org ...
Barry Goldwater did not write "Conscience of a Conservative" -- Brent Bozell did. In fact, before agreeing to have the book published under his name, Goldwater did not even read it.
Yeah-but, he did encourage a young Ronald Reagan to give a pretty damn good speech.
"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is "needed" before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents "interests," I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."
President Bush has never said that he would appoint conservative judges. He has always and consistently said that he would appoint strict constructionists.
All we can do is hope. Hope, at least, that he will not
dig up a Souter.
Hopefully, he has teams looking for futureappointees.
Let us hope that he will find someone of the caliber of Scalia.
I agree. I think the politicians like the country being governed by judicial fiat. It leaves them off the hook.
It's certainly possible to have second thoughts about Goldwater and Goldwaterism. A less uncompromising and divisive candidate would have held Johnson's percentage of the vote down, held on to some Republican seats in Congress, and made it harder for Johnson to get what he wanted. But there wasn't any such candidate around in 1964. Rockefeller was quite liberal for a Republican, and Scranton, Lodge, Smith and the others were more or less Rockefeller Republicans. That accounts for why Goldwater got the nomination: there didn't seem to be any other alternative to Rockefeller's free-spending, New York-style of governing in the race.
It might be interesting to speculate that had Rockefeller or Scranton won the nomination in 1964 the backlash would have gone the other way, and Reagan, or some other more conservative Republican been elected in 1968. But that's not at all a certainty. Nixon looks liberal to us now, because the country's changed so much since his day, but he seemed quite conservative to many in the more liberal climate of the 1960s. How likely is it, really that a more conservative Republican could have been elected then.
Sorry to say, I haven't read the book. It's on my list for the New Year. I'm very interested in the Heritage Foundation. Any members here?
I think they go hand in hand
Time for a new TV show: GW's SCOTUS Apprentice
GW: "This week I wanna take you all to a Blue State. There's a town there where the Courthouse has been trying to be the Legislature House and run people's lives. Your job is to run the weenies out of town using the Constitution..."