Skip to comments.The Goldwater Talking Point (gearing up for Rick Perry)
Posted on 08/22/2011 2:29:17 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
The media typically begins any Presidential campaign with comparisons to Harry Truman. The Reagan re-election in 1984 had the comparison. The Bush re-election in 1992 had the comparison. The Clinton re-election in 1996 had the comparison. Humorously, the off year election of 2002 used the Truman comparison too, as did 2004.
The media does this not only because a lot of them are lazy and not only because a lot of them talk with each other at beltway soirees where they infect each other with their various often contrived narratives and talking points, but also because they really do want to help put the election in some historic context.
Whenever a President is embattled, the media falls back to Truman.
But there is something else the media does and typically does because of a leftward bias, a reliance on both establishment Republicans in Washington as their chief GOP sources and their Democratic friends as Democratic sources they compare the Republican Primary to 1964.
Every conservative candidate must withstand the Is he Barry Goldwater question. Never mind that Barry Goldwater has been tried repeatedly by the Democrats and the only person it ever worked against was Barry Goldwater.
The Democrats have made clear, and the media is seizing on, President Obamas campaign statements that if Rick Perry is the nominee, theyll go with Goldwater 1964 and if Mitt Romney is the nominee, theyll go with John Kerry 2004 as the flip flopping opportunist. Neither of these will work this year and all you have to do is follow along as I step in the way back machine and take you back to the news as it existed on the campaign trail of 1979 and 1980.
Is defeat probable for GOP if Reagan wins nomination? blared the headline of the Christian Science Monitor on March 5, 1980. That was just the start of it.Can conservative Ronald Reagan possibly attract enough independent and Democratic votes to win in November? wrote Richard J. Cattani in that Christian Science Monitor article. He continued,
Reagan is the opponent of choice for Carter, says I. A. Lewis, director of the Los Angeles Times Poll, a point on which most analysts agree. But Reagan can reach across and cause mischief in the Democratic constituency, Mr. Lewis says. Reagan appeals to blue collar, working-class voters. He can win Democratic votes.
Carter could beat Reagan more easily than he could Bush or Baker, Mr. Lewis says. A moderate Republican would appeal to moderate Democrats, while upper-income Republicans might defect from Reagan to the Demcorats. Ford is of course, the strogest in the polls against Carter. But if he became a candidate, he could sink the same way Kennedy did after he declared.
Elections analyst Richard Scammon, who thinks a candidate must command the political center to win the presidency, gives neither Reagan nor Ford much chance.
The Christian Science Monitor led the field for the month of March with a number of overwrought analyses on just how vulnerable Ronald Reagan was as a far right extremist.
Five days after Cattanis article, Newsweeks Dennis A. Williams penned The GOPs Hamlet. Parroting talking points that the McCain campaign could have given in 2008 or the Huntsman camp this year, Williams wrote
The talk of another Ford candidacy only three months after he formally removed himself from a string of primaries betrayed an air of alarm on the part of many middle-road Republicans. Faced with Bushs unexpected slide in New Hampshire and Howard Bakers chronically weak campaign, GOP centrists Ford among them saw in Reagans resurgence the potential for another Goldwater debacle. Ford, by contrast, was an ideologically safe, fondly remembered party loyalist who very nearly beat Jimmy Carter in 1976. Gallup polls last month showed Ford leading Reagan and trailing Carter by a narrower margin than any other GOP contender in general-election trial heats. Jerry Ford, argues one former aide, is the only politician around who neutralizes Carters positives solid character and Presidential stature and accentuates his negatives primarily an inflation rate 10 points higher than when Ford left office. Thus, even though the odds are long, the hour late and the scenario strewn with ifs, Ford remains the panic-button choice of many in his party and the Republican most feared by Carter strategists.
And there it was the Goldwater Talking Point. Only useful against Barry Goldwater, it became the media template for the far-right candidate who could not win over the American public because of his far-right extremism. The moderate candidate was most feared by the Democrat. Surely the GOP would not be suicidal enough to go with Reagan.
Building off the Goldwater Talking Point, George Esper of the Associated Press wrote up a press conference from moderate, soon to be third party candidate, John Anderson on March 21, 1980.
I cannot believe that the Republican Party will condemn itself to the kind of lopsided electoral contest that took place in 1964, Anderson told a regional meeting of business people in Stamford.
It was one of his strongest statements against Reagan. He referred to the 1964 presidential election when the Republican candidate Sen. Barry Goldwater, like Reagan, a conservative was swamped in a landslide victory by Lyndon B. Johnson. I am afraid that the nomination of Mr. Reagan will only ensure the re-election of Mr. Carter and further ensure the continuing economic disaster that we have suffered now for three years, the Illinois congressman said.
I cannot believe that with the mounting problems America faces, he said, the voters in November will have a choice only between the economic policies of Ronald Reagan and those of Jimmy Carter.
Get ready to call Jon Huntsman John Anderson if a guy like Rick Perry gets the nomination.
On the same day, the Canadian Globe and Mails Lawrenece Martin called Reagan Ronald send-in-the-Marines Reagan . . . whose appeal to [independents], at best, is limited.
All of these articles were in March of 1980, around the time Reagan clearly was locking up the nomination. Back in 1979, they were just as predictable.
As early as January 29, 1979, in an article by Peter Goldman and Eleanor Clift in Newsweek entitled The Politics of Austerity, we learned this interesting nugget:
[I]t remains a measure of the stresses between Carter and the Democratic left that his people anticipate more trouble with his renomination than his re-election. Their winter-book bet for the Republican nomination is Ronald Reagan, and they consider him beatable, so long as Carter monopolizes the center just 80 per cent of the people, says Jordan and isolates Reagan on the outer right.
The left and media began immediately building up the concerns about Reagan being too far right.
On June 23, 1979, Barry Sussman in the Washington Post wrote, Reagan has not picked up substantial support from party activists who represent either strong moderate or small liberal elements of the party, the poll indicates. Many appear to be concerned about some of Reagans followers arch-conservative kooks, one poll respondent called them.
Then, in an echo of the Perry criticisms from conservatives in Texas and elsewhere, Newsweek kicked off on October 1, 1979, with The Leading Man by Tom Mathews. In the article, Mathews suggests one of Reagans problems is surprisingly that he is too moderate for some, but is still too far right for most.
And before staking out his position on SALT last week for genuine arms control, against any one-way street favoring the Soviet Union he consulted Albert Wohlstetter, an academic expert on national-defense and security issues who has Democratic ties. He wants to get the best advice he can whether these people support him or not, says issues adviser Martin Anderson.
All this has led to some grumbling among righter-than-thou Republicans that Reagan may be sacrificing his ideological purity to his White House ambitions, a charge he angrily denies. His strategists quivered rather ambiguously last week when The New York Times reported that his latest position on SALT II was moderately worded. If The New York times says hes softening his image we cant control that, said Lake. It might even help in the East, but over-all it could hurt. And the truth seemed to be that Reagan intended to shift as little as possible. Anyone who wants to moderate him is going to have a tough time, said former aide Lyn Nofziger, who dropped from the Reagan campaign after losing a squabble over campaign assignments and policy issues. They have taken a little of the hardness out of the hard line but thats a long way from moving him to the left.
As an aside, the same Newsweek article notes that Reagan was in favor of a Chrysler bankruptcy instead of a bailout a position many Republican donors were uncomfortable with.
On November 16, 1979, Walter R. Mears wrote an AP News Analysis for the Associated Press in which he wrote, Last time, one of Reagans problems was to dispel the suggestion that he was too far right, too extreme a conservative, for the nomination or the presidency. When that came up, as it often did, Reagan would recite his record as a candidate and as governor of California. When Ford called him too far right, Reagan replied that the president twice had tried to recruit him for Cabinet positions.
The Economist followed a few days later on November 24, 1979, explicitly drawing the Goldwater-Reagan connection.
Ever since 1964, when he made a rousing speech at the Republican convention that nominated Senator Barry Goldwater for president, Mr Reagan has been the darling of the Republican right. . . .
If Mr Reagan does not lose the Republican nomination, present opinion polls suggest that he will lose to either Senator Kennedy or President Carter next November. The latest Gallup poll shows Mr Reagan trailing the senator by 16 percentage points, and Mr Carter by six. The Republican partys minority status among registered voters also puts Mr Reagan at a disadvantage.
But the Economist also did what frequently happens with the far-right candidate they given a wink-wink to the supposedly far-right voters suggesting they should back away from their extremist candidate because he really isnt that extreme. Even though he practised conventional, middle-of-the-road politics as governor of California from 1967 to 1975, his political language had a hard right edge, the Economists reporter wrote. So hes far-right, but even the far-right shouldnt trust him because his record is really that of a moderate or something like that. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney could sympathize.
The far-right theme continued all the way to the 1980 convention and the election.
On July 12, 1980, Haynes Johnson, writing in the Washington Post, began his profile of the Republican Convention this way:
Gone are the conflicts between progressive and conservative wings, between East and Midwest, of the past.
Absent are the personal clashes Taft and Eisenhower, Goldwater and Rockefeller that marked other conventions. TheGrand Old Party that has emerged out of those disputes is smaller and ideologically purer than ever and it stands enthusiastically behind its conservative choice, Ronald Reagan.
And yet the nagging doubts intrude. They love Reagan, all right, but they cant quite shake their worries about him. If the delegates could speak directly to their candidatein one voice now, the message would be clear Dont blowit!
They dont want Reagan to renounce his conservative principles, but they are concerned he will be perceived by voters as too right.
Temper your ideology with pragmatism up to a point, is the way one delegate offers advice tothe certain GOP standard-bearer. Dont depend totally on the right-wing groups. Be sensibly conservative.
Mirroring some of the journalistic excesses of coverage today, Johnson continued, And in a day when political party differences have blurred or become nonexistent in the eyes of manyAmericans, and in face of the continuing rise of independent voters, these Republicans cling to their convictions.
And then Johnson delved into responses given to the Post, which are eerily similar to those of today.
Do not compromise in order to get votes, says a California delegate another very conservative one.
Continue to shoot from the hip, remarks a West Virginian, who has stood behind Reagan in the past as well as now.
But such views do not dominate the responses given The Post. What comes over is a desire and an appeal that Reagan be cautious in his actions, tempered in his words, and conciliatory in his approach.Uniting the party, moderating the views of the more extrememembers of the GOP, paying heed to wider range of national opinion, expanding the circle of his advisers to include a better ideological mix these are the major concerns expressed.
The pattern is quite striking. The rhetoric and reporting mirror the fight the GOP is having today. LIke in 1980, however, and the same with 2004, the media is missing key details in their abridged world view of elections.
In 1964 and 2004, the United States was engaged in a political campaign in the middle of heightened national security tensions. In 1964, the Cold War had escalated, President Kennedy had been assassinated, and Lyndon Johnson was trying to scale back the nuclear arms race. Using a series of ads, including the famous daisy ad and the even more direct ice cream ad, Johnson portrayed Goldwater as someone who would ignite a nuclear holocaust.
In 2004, the issue was surrender in the war on terror. John Kerry portrayed himself as strong on defense, but his record suggested otherwise. Using a now famous advertisement with a pack of wolves, the Bush campaign destroyed Kerrys reputation as someone who could be trusted to keep us safe.
In 1980, while the media rushed to the Goldwater talking point and considered Reagan too far-right to beat Jimmy Carter, the nation found itself in an economic mess. It was very hard to characterize Reagan as too far right for a country craving new policies to get it out of its economic mess. Voters wanted a change from Jimmy Carter.
Carters campaign eventually had to drop the hes too radical approach and instead do what the left is now doing to Rick Perry claiming Reagan actually did nothing to help people in California when he was Governor. They tried to destroy the idea of California as a paradise, which in 1980 was a place millions were flocking to in search of work, just as people are now going to Texas.
It did not work. Neither the Goldwater narrative nor the he sucked as Governor narrative worked for Carter because, quite simply, the public had given up on him.
The greatest lesson to take away now is that the media is going to again fixate on Goldwater from 1964 and Kerry from 2004, and they will probably mostly ignore the most historically relevant election points Carter in 1980 and George H. W. Bush in 1992.
History doesnt repeat itself. The media does.
Perry was the 1st GOP Lt. Gov elected in Texas  since reconstruction.
Along with Perry's last landslide victory in Texas [re-elected to 3rd term], we also have a legislative GOP super majority.
I went to New York with Young Americans for Freedom for its convention resolving to draft Goldwater.
Moyers the Church Lady floated the disgusting daisy-plucking girl, painting Goldwater as some kind of neanderthal warmongeryet history showed it was the Tonkin Gulf target-sanitizer who made defeat inevitable: Bui Tin said failure to close the Ho Chi Minh Trail was Mistake Number One. Johnson cursed the Chiefs when they sought his permission to bomb Hanoi and mine Haiphong: The Day It Became The Longest War
America chose Medicare, a six-trillion-dollar war on poverty, and a war which consumed sixty thousand of our finest on the basis of a lack of political will.
Now comes the nauseating Huntsman who flaunts his gullibility with his belief in the hoaxes of global warming and evolution.
Who does not wish to criticize Obama the islamo-communistjust as the brainwashed loser McCain attacked any Republican exposing the current traitor-in-chief.
But Perry has that hated free and unfettered tongue which has marked Palin; Perry cares more for his country than for the sensitivities of the narcissist on the throne of megalomania.
Huntsman is despicable.
The traitor is in the gates.
We'll shove Huntsman off the walland use his skirts to clean the cannon.
Or as Perry’s been known to say,
Perry is a compromise candidate. He has mostly conservative positions, but is not going to pass any purity tests. If he goes on to win it is because he gets enough tea party support along with enough voters from the less ideological voters. The idea that he is some sort of Goldwater is idiocy. Bachmann or Palin might potentially fit the Goldwater storyline. Even Paul. Not perry.
I challenge you again to say that you are NOT a campaign professional hitting the boards for Governor Goodhair.
Go on, let's see how many people believe you aren't pro.
Actually I’m quite sure if it’s Romney they’ll go with “flip-flopping Barry Goldwater”.
Haynes Johnson .... vanguard liar of the Armies of the Night. His spot in the middle circles of Hell is surely merited for all time.
Typical talking head of the TV news shows for over 20 years. What a SOS, offering phony advice to Republican candidates and voters.
He’s got quite the experience!
I wonder how many years Governorship Perry has compared to Romney.
Before The Storm
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And .....moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" 1964 acceptance speech .......
Actually, I get up around 2AM every morning.
Just pealed some boiled eggs, put a load in the laundry and set the trash by the curb.
I should get paid, shouldn’t I?
In this instance though, in the general election he drew votes from Carter.
Anderson's popularity came from a debate answer about regretful actions, where Anderson said, if he could, he would reverse his vote for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
Perry has told the MSM he isn't going through them -- he didn't get a signal msm endorsement in his last gubernatorial  victory.
Notice where Perry gave his announcement -- Red State gathering.
I always noticed the LEFT always accuse their opponents of the Dirty tricks they are currently implementing ?
So who do you Smear Perry for ?
Sad to see it has spread to here.
But we'll let it go for now.
Unless I find out you're an Austin lawyer. .... oh, wait, they don't get up until 9 a.m.
Everyone on the Texas board calls him that. We take turns. Molly Ivins called him that, and it stuck because he's just like Glen Campbell in True Grit, who "cultivated his hair like a head of lettuce".
The beeves Texans have with Rick Perry are many and honest. He got 40% of the statewide vote in 2006 and returned to office with a mere plurality. People who had options, didn't knock down any turnstiles fighting their way into the voting booths to vote for him.
He also has crummy friends: very rich uber-billionaires who employ tons of illegal aliens.
Read all about it, any newsstand is your friend.
Advantage Perry, I believe. Governor since January, 2001.
Unless you disqualify Romney's incumbency altogether on the grounds that Taxachusetts isn't a State after all, but a semiautonomous exarchate of Ingsoc.
I don’t work (paid or unpaid) for any political party or candidate.
Lord! I guess no one can just spend their own time doing something because they believe in it anymore.
I am not happy with Perry's friendship with "King" Aga Kahn, but I'm not inclined to withhold my support based on just that. I am still in wait and see mode.
As a favor to the rest of us, please answer her question: are you a paid or unpaid worker for any particular presidential candidate?
No, not unless you count my poll-watching on Election Day 2010 for one of the GOP judge candidates .... and for Cathy Engelbrecht and her King Street Patriots, who are baggy-core Tea Party people. "Got the shirt" too.
He had received no endorsement from any msm outlet.
BY the way the entire GOP in TX has to deal with owner of
H-E-B and his rich buddies.
But the fact that Kay Baily Hutchinson and the Bush family crowd are fighting Perry makes Perry a decent choice.
There is no one perfect out there.
WHO DO YOU SUPPORT ?
And I support Sarah Palin, the next President of the United States and our best shot at a Rushmore-quality president for about the next 60 years, unless I miss my guess.
Listen "palmer" if you don't like my postings get lost.
There are plenty of other threads you can post to.
You don't like Perry? Fine.
You don't like me getting information to the forum? Tough!
You voted for Bill White in the general election for Governor.
I’m not “pro,” and yet spend hours and hours promoting the Governor. Not everyone has some hidden agenda, some of us just like our candidate.
What’s really funny is that I could have easily gone for -— most likely would have, after seeing “The Undefeated,” — Sarah Palin if she had just entered the race earlier. I started defending some of our Texas laws and events — and opposing comments like yours — and became more and more certain that Governor Perry is the candidate I want to support.
And that is only because it was a very unique election, one year after the assasination of a popular dem prez and the veep Johnson rode those emotions to a landslide. No pubbie even had a chance to win, it was bad timing for Goldwater. In a normal year he would have done much better.
The two seem to have mutual respect for each other and may end up on a ticket together. These two have the GOP DC insider crowd like the Bush, Hutchinson, Rove,etc completely freaked out since they would completely be out of power and influence.
I agree the TX GOP has been held hostage by HEB crowd for way too long.
But if you want to see some employed posters just watch the Perry haters swarm here at night. It appears to be a mix of Ron Paulites and some Axelrod Obots and they are use this newly created Soros-John Thorton funded propaganda website called the “Texas Tribune “
"Appears" indeed, because most of them will not state who they support, its like pulling teeth and they never fess up. So, yes, they either must be the Axlerod gang or the Paulistas, or both. They are extremely annoying.
Why would any self-respecting conservative quote Molly Ivins? That woman was so wacked-out in her politics and so mean-spirited, she made Ann Richards look like a cuddly, little puppy.
Of the candidates (declared), or those of us holding out to decide from the current field if Sarah doesn't declare?
Perry just entered the race, many of us are relatively unfamilliar with him, and he's going through vetting for us.
If that gets all y'all's panties in a wad, so be it!
We are in the process of comparing candidates. If someone is going to bash a candidate for not being conservative enough then it must in the context of "compared to who." If the basher is not willing to fess up who their candidate is, then their argument is moot. Palin/Bachmann supporters don't hide who their candidate is, as such, one can safely assume that the bashers who don't indicate their preference are either Mittsters, axlerodians, or Paulistas. It is that simple.
Sure, that's right. John Kerry lost because Rove and company ran an ad that featured wolves. Remember how it became the focal point of the campaign?
Okay, maybe not.
Not really, more of a 'compared to what'?
I want to know where they stand on the issues, not who is on which side of them.
What have they done? What statist acts have they either supported or opposed?
Proof of fiscal responsibility?
Moral fiber? Et cetera.
Let's see how they all add up compared to a fixed standard, and not just who is relatively more or less than the other.
Political (moral) relativity instead of an absolute standard is how we got to the point where pro-abortion, anti-gun statists are deemed "conservative" in some areas.
If the discussion is about Perry, or Palin, or Bachmann or whoever, discuss them, don't go off to Freeper Island bashing someone else instead of discussing whoever is being discussed.
Perry supporters don't gain squat by going off on people calling them 'Paultards' and launching into tirades about Ron Paul if they haven't answered the questions about Perry, for example, because it is just changing the subject.
If anything, that'll cost Perry a second look and support because people weary of that crap.
You don't need to bash some other candidate to support your own, or you haven't got much.
When the standard is "who is most conservative", which appears to be THE standard here at FR, and there is only a small pool of candidates to choose from that demands by necessity "relativity." Weighing a candidate against some airy ideal is fine when choosing a hero, but when there is competition for a political seat, one must choose which one "best" fits the ideal.
Then, of course, there is the added, and very important, consideration, which one can win.
I have no time for those who won't show their cards. BTW, it isn't just Perry supporters that rail against "Paultards", Palin, Bachmann, Cain supporters do it too, its not like the term "Paultard" was coined AFTER Perry got in. Far from it.
Interesting, but you are going to alienate the undecided--and you won't convert any 'paultards', either.
But because no declared candidate has strongly advocated doing what really needs to be done to keep our great-grandchildren from living in economic slavery, I'm still undecided.
There are 'stoppers' out there, too: some issues which frankly will cost an otherwise good candidate my vote if they take the wrong side.
I don't expect perfection, but I do expect a clear effort or at least a willingness to admit mistakes and learn from them. Actions speak louder than words, though, and if their actions belie their words, the words don't count.
Aside from that, I've noticed hostility toward people who don' just sing praises for Perry.
Well, as I said, many of us don't know him. Get over the Tejas-centricity and tell us why we should vote for him.
If there are some ugly bits, better discuss those as well, rather than berate those who bring them up. Address the issue. You won't sell me a Toyota by howling about 'Ford-bots' and berating Mercedes.
(Did you know the one made cars for the Nazis and the other had factories in the USSR?--back in the 40s!)
There are still those of us who want to kick the tires, slam the doors, look under the hood, and check under the vehicle for drips and leaks--especially the latter, because those of us who believe in a far more originalist interpretation of the Untied States Constitution than any candidate has thus far embraced have spent plenty of time under the bus--after every election.
So some of us will be slow to declare support for any primary candidate, especially this year.
We'll vote for the most Conservative, so long as we find them credible.
Sorry I should have been more clear, I wasn’t asking you since you had already answered.
I’ve always enjoyed reading accounts of your many interesting experiences over the years, Phil. You should write a book!! Perhaps you have.