To the Editor:
Democrats did a number on Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater during the 1964 Presidential race by defining him as a warmonger. The “Daisy” attack ad showed a three-year-old girl picking petals off a daisy in a field eventually juxtaposed against a mushroom cloud. The not-so-subtle implication? Goldwater would lead us into nuclear war.
Although the ad was pulled after one viewing, the damage was done — in part by Goldwater himself. Goldwater’s “…extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” statement from his Republican convention acceptance speech didn’t help his cause.
Interestingly, Goldwater’s views evolved after leaving office as he supported homosexuals serving in the military, abortion rights, and the legalization of medicinal marijuana. In today’s post insurrection world, he could almost vie for the Democrats’ favorite Republican. Almost.
Would today’s conservatives even claim Goldwater? He wasn’t one to blindly tow the party line. During the 1988 Presidential race, Goldwater told VP nominee Dan Quayle, “I want you to go back and tell George Bush to start talking about the issues.”
How would such candor play among the Mitch McConnell/Kevin McCarthy and MAGA crowd? Would a third political party be in the making?