Skip to comments.Rick Perry: GOP savior or Goldwater II?
Posted on 08/26/2011 5:56:38 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Texas Gov. Rick Perrys suggestions that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernankes 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 (Perrys loose lips worry Hill Republicans).
This is a very critical period for Perry, Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole told reporters Jonathan Martin and Jake Sherman. Hes got to prove he wont self-destruct.
However, Perrys 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 Obamas 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 candidates 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?
Its 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 McGoverns liberalism and his perceived intimacy with the radical antiwar movement. Walter Mondales statements about coming tax increases in 1984 may have similarly destroyed any chance of defeating President Ronald Reagan.
But its Sen. Barry M. Goldwaters 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 Kennedys proposal for a manned moon mission: I dont want to hit the moon, Goldwater said, I want to lob one [presumably a nuclear missile] into the mens 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. Johnsons 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 Johnsons voice intoned, These are the stakes; to make a world in which all of Gods 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 Johnsons other nuclear-themed spots destroyed Goldwater. The polling data, however, suggest that Goldwater had already done most of that work himself. Johnsons 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 Goldwaters name nor showed his image.
It didnt 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 Goldwaters ill-fated campaign and its self-inflicted wounds. The plainspoken senators extreme rhetoric like Perrys and Bachmanns had enormous appeal to many Republicans disgusted with the incumbent presidents 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 Universitys 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.
Does he realize that the assassination of the incumbent President is needed to create a true parallel?
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.
These guys reek of downright fear that their savior is going down.
or closet RINO?
The biggest difference is that the leftest MSM no longer has a monopoly on news.
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.
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.
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.
The more appropriate comparison for Rick Perry is LBJ himself. Both are corrupt arrogant cronyist jerks, regardless of party label.
...Waiting for Sarah....
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 well.....you 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 say....it 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
Spot on with that analysis. Well said!
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.
THE LBJ “Daisy” AD AGAINST BARRY GOLDWATER:
This ad was what helped turn the tide against Goldwater. LBJ went on to win by a landslide.
Guess who is working with the Republicans to take barry out? Powerful dems...
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?
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.
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.
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?