“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”William Shakespeare
Barry Goldwater was a U.S. Senator from Arizona and the 1964 Republican presidential candidate. Goldwater, whose nickname was ‘Mr. Conservative,’ may be most famous for his nomination acceptance speech in which he said,
“… extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice… moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
Goldwater was considered to be too conservative to be president. He lost the 1964 election to Lyndon Johnson in a landslide. After his landslide loss, Goldwater became known as a maverick Republican. Goldwater addressed the growing threat of religion encroaching on politics:
“The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both.
I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’ “
“The oldest philosophy in the world is conservatism, and I go clear back to the first Greeks. … When you say ‘radical right’ today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.”
“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”
Goldwater on gays serving in the military:
“The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they’re gay. You don’t have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that’s what brings me into it.”
“Having spent 37 years of my life in the military as a reservist, and never having met a gay in all of that time, and never having even talked about it in all those years, I just thought, why the hell shouldn’t they serve? They’re American citizens. As long as they’re not doing things that are harmful to anyone else… So I came out for it.”
“Gays and lesbians are a part of every American family. They should not be shortchanged in their efforts to better their lives and serve their communities. As President Clinton likes to say, ‘If you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll be rewarded’ and not with a pink slip just for being gay.”
“You don’t need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.”
Barry Goldwater and fellow Republicans Hugh Scott and John Rhodes confronted Republican President Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal. Goldwater made it clear to Nixon that he would be impeached and convicted:
“Nixon was the most dishonest individual I have ever met in my life. He lied to his wife, his family, his friends, his colleagues in the Congress, lifetime members of his own political party, the American people and the world.”
History will remember Barry Goldwater as the candidate who was too conservative to be president. The good will be interred with the bones.
Thanks and a tip of the hat to Wikipedia for the image.