What Was Great About Goldwater

From Lou Cannon’s review of Pure Goldwater and Flying High in the Washington Post:

In 1958, as related in Buckley’s memoir Flying High, Goldwater charged that Walter Reuther and his United Auto Workers “are a more dangerous menace than the Sputniks, or anything Russia might do.” Goldwater hurled around the words “socialist” and “socialistic,” using them to describe domestic policies of FDR and Harry Truman, the attitudes of various reporters and columnists, and the relatively timid proposals of the Eisenhower administration to spend federal money on health care and education. Goldwater refused, in Buckley’s words, to “bend with the spirit of the age.”

Of course, Cannon considers these bad things, or at least stances that put Goldwater far outside the realm of electability. The latter is probably true, though in ’64 all it took to stop Goldwater from getting elected was the recent memory of JFK’s assassination. It was game over from day one.

Cannon doesn’t talk too much about either book. You can get my take on Pure Goldwater in the current (June) issue of Reason. I should have a review of William F. Buckley’s posthumous Goldwater book, Flying High running elsewhere a few months down the line, if all goes well. I’ll post the details on that at the appropriate time.


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