Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Rick Perry: GOP savior or Goldwater II?
POLITICO ^ | 08/26/2011 | Robert Mann

Posted on 08/26/2011 5:56:38 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s suggestions that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s monetary policies are “treasonous” might be just a rhetorical speed bump on his road to the White House.

The tough-talking Texas governor is likely to be far more careful about what he says and how he says it – especially after the message delivered via a POLITICO story on Friday (“Perry’s loose lips worry Hill Republicans”).

“This is a very critical period for Perry,” Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole told reporters Jonathan Martin and Jake Sherman. “He’s got to prove he won’t self-destruct.”

However, Perry’s controversial statements – about Texas secession, the unconstitutionality of Social Security, his refusal to acknowledge climate change, his comparing homosexuality to alcoholism, his doubts about evolution and his questioning of President Barack Obama’s patriotism — may have already inflicted grave damage and, perhaps, destroyed his chance to become president.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who has made similar jarring statements in the past few years, may also be waging a hopeless campaign for president.

Could it be possible that a candidate’s statements made months or years before the presidential election can render someone virtually unelectable — even if that person wins a major-party nomination? Have Perry and Bachman already suffered serious self-inflicted wounds?

It’s likely, for example, that Sen. George McGovern never had a chance against President Richard M. Nixon in 1972. Not because of specific statements, but rather due to McGovern’s liberalism and his perceived intimacy with the radical antiwar movement. Walter Mondale’s statements about coming tax increases in 1984 may have similarly destroyed any chance of defeating President Ronald Reagan.

But it’s Sen. Barry M. Goldwater’s 1964 Republican presidential campaign that may be more instructive for Perry, Bachmann — and the GOP primary voters who value winning the White House over ideological purity.

Well before the conservative Arizona senator captured the nomination in July 1964, he made a habit of uttering reckless and ill-considered comments that gradually cemented an image of Goldwater as an impulsive cowboy, at best; and a dangerous radical, at worst.

That is the same danger facing Perry (and, to a lesser degree, Bachmann) today.

In the wake of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, a majority of Americans considered nuclear war a very real prospect. Steady, sober and wise U.S. leadership by President John F. Kennedy had saved the world. Goldwater, at least in his public comments, seemed oblivious to that fact.

After the missile crisis, in April 1963, Goldwater was in full cowboy mode, chiding Kennedy for his unwillingness to challenge the Soviets over Cuba. “The question is,” Goldwater said, “are we afraid to go to war. If we are not willing to take risks in this world, we might as well give up.”

The following month, Goldwater bragged about the accuracy of U.S. nuclear missiles, and launched an indirect attack on Kennedy’s proposal for a manned moon mission: “I don’t want to hit the moon,” Goldwater said, “I want to lob one [presumably a nuclear missile] into the men’s room of the Kremlin and make sure I hit it.”

Goldwater also talked about using low-yield nuclear weapons to defoliate the forests of Vietnam, and giving North Atlantic Treaty Organization commanders in the field the authority to use nuclear weapons without prior presidential approval.

Reckless talk about nuclear war was only the down payment on the rhetorical gifts Goldwater bestowed on his opposition. He suggested ending Social Security and public education, selling the Tennessee Valley Authority and, jokingly, “saw[ing] off the Eastern Seaboard and let it float out to sea.”

By the time Goldwater won the GOP nomination, he had a well-earned reputation as a bellicose extremist, which he haplessly reinforced by telling Republican convention delegates that “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

On the night of Sept. 7, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign aired its famous “Daisy Girl” spot. In the commercial, aired only once as a paid ad on national TV, a tow-headed little girl counts as she plucks flower petals. Suddenly, a mission control countdown interrupts the tranquil scene, followed by apocalyptic images of a mushroom cloud and nuclear holocaust.

As the fiery cloud engulfed the screen, Lyndon Johnson’s voice intoned, “These are the stakes; to make a world in which all of God’s children can live — or go into the dark. We must either love each other or we must die.”

The Daisy Girl spot was followed by a series of Johnson spots that stoked fears that a President Goldwater would start a nuclear war.

Campaign lore has it that the Daisy Girl spot and Johnson’s other nuclear-themed spots destroyed Goldwater. The polling data, however, suggest that Goldwater had already done most of that work himself. Johnson’s campaign spots merely served as a kiln that baked the radical cowboy image into something hard and durable.

Besides the polling numbers — which barely changed all 1964 – there is one bit of compelling evidence about the overwhelming baggage that Goldwater had brought to the fall campaign. The Daisy Girl spot — which many contend was a hard-hitting negative attack – never mentioned Goldwater’s name nor showed his image.

It didn’t need to. Voters knew what — and who — the spot was about.

Goldwater acknowledged as much in his 1988 memoir. “There was no doubt,” Goldwater wrote, “as to the meaning [of the Daisy Girl spot]. Barry Goldwater would blow up the world if he became president of the United States.”

Indeed, Goldwater had worked hard over the years to portray himself as a cowboy. And voters got the message.

As Republicans begin the process of choosing a presidential nominee, they would do well to study Goldwater’s ill-fated campaign and its self-inflicted wounds. The plainspoken senator’s extreme rhetoric — like Perry’s and Bachmann’s — had enormous appeal to many Republicans disgusted with the incumbent president’s social programs and defense policies.

Though Goldwater channeled the anger that eventually matured into the modern conservative movement, that rhetoric branded him as reckless and bellicose. His words and demeanor frightened moderates and independents looking for stability in an uncertain and dangerous world.

While the threat of nuclear war with the Soviets no longer hangs over our heads, it would be a mistake for Republicans, in their raw anger at President Barack Obama, to believe that independent voters will be any less interested in sober and responsible leadership than they were in 1964.

-- Robert Mann, a professor of mass communication at Louisiana State University’s Manship School, is the author of “Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater and the Ad that Changed American Politics,” due out in November.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: barrygoldwater; gop; perry; potus; rickperry
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-65 next last

1 posted on 08/26/2011 5:56:47 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Does he realize that the assassination of the incumbent President is needed to create a true parallel?

2 posted on 08/26/2011 5:58:19 PM PDT by Lysandru
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Some huge differences be5tween LBJ and Obama:

* JFK Left a booming economy when he CUT TAXES dramatically. LBJ promised to continue his policies.

* LBJ had the sympathy tide behind him. People did not want Camelot to end, just one year after JFK was assassinated.

* People were tired of the Korean War, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, etc. They were not prepared to go to war again. LBJ promised that he would seek “no wider war”. Goldwater said he would Bomb the hell out of the communists.

Today, We have a lousy economy bordering on depression with real unemployment rates at double digit. Obama is healthy and playing golf and goes on vacation everytime he can.

3 posted on 08/26/2011 6:02:49 PM PDT by SeekAndFind (u)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

These guys reek of downright fear that their savior is going down.

4 posted on 08/26/2011 6:04:33 PM PDT by Kahuna
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

or closet RINO?

5 posted on 08/26/2011 6:05:07 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

The biggest difference is that the leftest MSM no longer has a monopoly on news.

6 posted on 08/26/2011 6:09:16 PM PDT by stinkerpot65 (Global warming is a Marxist lie.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

The Goldwater Campaign changed my political life forever.
My Mother always told me the Democrats were mean and wanted to control our lives. She lived through the depression and FDR. WWII etc. so I listened to what she had to say. It is funny how all the women in my fam have always been Repubs. Men (most) Dums. go figure.

The lies they told about Goldwater. And the LIES LBJ told re his policies towards SE Asia ended ANY possibility I would ever back a Dum. Ofcourse I belonged to the JBS back then.
LBJ telling Americans he would not send one more American to VN, and all the wehilde the plans were sitting on the runway with the engines running.
To try to compare ANY candidate to past leaders is meaningless. Times have changed. If I had to compare anytime it would be WWII. We are facing a bloodthirsty enemy marching across the Mid East/Africa. We have an FDR clone trying to Socialize the Nation and ignoring the enemy at the door. Will all this end with Nuke bombs dropping?
I hope not.

7 posted on 08/26/2011 6:13:18 PM PDT by Marty62 (Marty60)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

When you have Obama getting 40 pct of the vote it will be pretty hard to get to 270 EV’s. He has to defend FL which is gone NM will could go either way, He should spent all his time in MI,IN,PA,OH,WI,and hope like hell the rest of the country is insane again. Ron Paul could give him a run for his money for God sake, any breathing conservative kills Obama unless the real Messiah comes first.

8 posted on 08/26/2011 6:13:26 PM PDT by vicar7
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

If Perry gets the nomination and runs a conservative limited-government campaign, and Obama stills gets elected after the worst four years of presidential history ever, then this country is sunk. Obama is actually dumber than Carter...which says a lot. If Americans don’t vote Obama out by a two to one margin, then there’s no hope for us.

9 posted on 08/26/2011 6:14:01 PM PDT by driftless2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind; Liz

The more appropriate comparison for Rick Perry is LBJ himself. Both are corrupt arrogant cronyist jerks, regardless of party label.

10 posted on 08/26/2011 6:14:58 PM PDT by meadsjn (Sarah 2012, or sooner)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

...Waiting for Sarah....

11 posted on 08/26/2011 6:15:13 PM PDT by onedoug (!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

I agree! People trying to equate Goldwater II to today’s coming election are stupid. LBJ had a 70% approval rating, He was wrapping a then-beloved dead President agenda with his and the economy was doing don’t have that here with Obama who is now in the low 40s approvals, his agenda rejected by most Americans, with a bad economy and a “official” double dip recession looming. Even if Perry or Bachmann or Palin were as bad as the liberals are trying to would be a very close election because these voters are not going to turn around a approve of Obama, at the very least they wouldn’t vote and thus still hurt Obama with low turnout

12 posted on 08/26/2011 6:17:59 PM PDT by Bigtigermike
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Bigtigermike

Spot on with that analysis. Well said!

13 posted on 08/26/2011 6:21:26 PM PDT by MissyMa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

The media had a monopoly on information and were very anti-war at the time. They hated Goldwater and were determined to destroy him.

That alone is a huge difference. The MSM is now just another source of info, they don’t control it anymore.

14 posted on 08/26/2011 6:23:06 PM PDT by Tex-Con-Man
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Marty62


This ad was what helped turn the tide against Goldwater. LBJ went on to win by a landslide.

15 posted on 08/26/2011 6:23:38 PM PDT by SeekAndFind (u)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: driftless2

Guess who is working with the Republicans to take barry out? Powerful dems...

16 posted on 08/26/2011 6:26:36 PM PDT by shield (Rev 2:9 Woe unto those who say they are Judahites and are not, but are of the syna GOG ue of Satan.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind
“This is a very critical period for Perry,” Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole told reporters Jonathan Martin and Jake Sherman. “He’s got to prove he won’t self-destruct.”

He never has lost an election. He knows how to raise money. I don't know what all the concern is about.

Is Perry too conservative for the Republican ruling class?

17 posted on 08/26/2011 6:37:01 PM PDT by Kazan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: vicar7
I think it mainly comes down to the Southwest.

Barring a collapse, the GOP will retake Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio.

From there, all we really need are either one big state or a couple of small ones. To me, the most attractive targets are: Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.

Other GOP possibilities include: New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.

Again though, I think the tightest races are likely to be those Southwestern swing states. Win those (Rubio nomination perhaps?) and we recapture the Presidency.

18 posted on 08/26/2011 6:38:01 PM PDT by comebacknewt (Sheesh. Go away and stay away Newt.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

And Obama’s campaign pledge to re-distribute wealth “from each according to his ability to each according to his need” didn’t bother the Libs at Politico a bit. They will be slanting every news story to get the Communist president re-elected. No wonder they have zero credibility.

19 posted on 08/26/2011 6:41:22 PM PDT by kittymyrib
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kazan
Perry is well positioned mainly because he has a fair amount of Tea Party support along with a fair amount of establishment support. While he also is taking some heat from both of those groups, the net effect is that he is viewed as a main stream candidate -- which he is.

The notion that he will self-destruct is overblown. He is following the classic tactic of moving to the right in the primary, and then he will drift back to the center in the general (assuming he is the nominee).

I think he has an excellent chance to beat Obambi. My lingering concern is if he is elected, will he govern like the conservative from the primaries or like the more moderate politician from the general?

20 posted on 08/26/2011 6:42:32 PM PDT by comebacknewt (Sheesh. Go away and stay away Newt.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-65 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson