I have never seen greater manipulative self-serving tripe than “Mr. Conservative”. Grandkiddy Goldwater talks to prominent liberals to provide a more “interesting” look at Granddaddy Goldwater. This is done in the purple context of a progeny trying to learn more about a famous branch on her family tree. Only a true A-Hole would talk negatively about someone to that person’s granddaughter. Still, it is telling that Barry’s biggest barker in “Mr. Conservative” is the pseudo-intellectual George Will, the paragon of Tightie-Whitey Conservatism that is uncomfy with what FDR and Civil Rights wrought.
Goldwater made it from history’s trash can to its recycling bin because Ronald Reagan took on his faux-individualistic ideology with success and he became “liberal” by rejecting the Christian theofascism prevalent in today’s Republican Party. Reagan’s actualization of elements of Goldwater’s conservatism had disastrous effects for the poor and Goldwater’s liberalism-via-libertarianism only proves how low the statesman bar is set for Republicans. The pathetic Bush Patsy John McCain is a “Maverick” for not being willfully ignorant of Global Warming and for being against torture. Wow, what principle! Even for its rejection of the Christian Right, Goldwater conservatism still contained the seed of the divisive hate-based politics that Rove and company have slickened up today and that LBJ so ably denounced in his 1964 campaign.
The problem with romantic cowboy conservatism is that it is a myth. Yes, rugged individualist type settlers did work the West. But the pattern westward was one of small groups of whites living mostly peaceably with the native Indians. Then more mostly whites came and began to encroach on Indian lands. The Indians rightfully grew hostile and then the federal army came and that was that. It was the federal government that built the highways and dammed the rivers that allowed the west to blossom. This isn’t romantic or even necessarily interesting, but for better and worse it is true.
We have grown so accustomed to the society forged by FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, and LBJ that it is impossible to imagine America without it. Goldwater conservatism rejected this America. Beyond its false and petulant pretext Goldwater conservatism is heartless. True, Barry did say that he regretted voting against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but he only learned that he was on the wrong side of history after history passed him by through the efforts of truly great people like Rosa Parks, Hubert H. Humphrey, Martin Luther King and countless others.
Let us not forget that a Goldwater America would be an America that never “stepped forthrightly into the sunshine of human rights.” It would be an America where millions of elderly are destitute. Where there is no electric infrastructure to deliver kilowatts to sparsely populated rural areas. There may be nothing stopping individual states from enacting Civil Rights laws or allowing gays in the military, but there would also be no national force willing to take on the KKK or other domestic terrorist groups. There would be lynching. Unopposed, hate groups would work to divide America by color, ethnicity and religion. America would be hindered by not being able to tap the talents of all its citizens. Such a nation, in my opinion, would have lacked the moral authority necessary to lead the west in the Cold War. But at least we would use nuclear weapons with impunity.
Fuck Barry Goldwater.