January 16, 2017. By Kelley Kidd
I have sometimes heard Trump referred to as a Goldwater conservative, a reference to the Republicans who nominated and campaigned for Arizona’s sometimes very controversial Senator. Barry Goldwater was a frequently brusque ideologue who won the Republican nomination for President in 1964, then lost by a landslide to Lynden Johnson.
Barry was serving in the Senate during the summer of 1959 when many of his senatorial colleagues were running for President. I was there as a flunkie of sorts in the office of Richard Russell, the senior Senator from Georgia. Mesmerized by the lyrical conservative prose of Barry’s writings about political and social issues, I studied him carefully and remember him well. He would be angered today to hear anyone characterize Donald Trump as a “Goldwater conservative”.
Barry could be orally foolish. Witness his famous announcement that extremism in the defense of liberty was no vice. He could be dead wrong, as he was when he argued that common law tradition forbid the government to require public accommodations to be open to people regardless of race; actually common law traditions required innkeepers and hotel owners to serve anyone who offered payment for service. But I have always believed he was a decent man who worked hard to take positions he believed to be moral and just.
Barry Goldwater hated tyrants, especially Russian ones. He showed respect, even deference, towards women and the parents of American servicemen. He would have been outraged at Trump’s groping, his taunting of John McCain’s captivity as a POW, his insulting and bigoted pretense that the President was not an American, his smearing of the gold star parents of an American military hero, his outrageous attacks on the voting system as rigged, his constant whining that the media which has created his prominence is singling him out for unfair criticism, and his ostentatious display of wealth. Barry had the word gold in his name and a gold eagle pin to proclaim his patriotism. He despised the sort of special privilege that Trump claims for the super rich and the hubris that leads Trump to taunt others with sexual innuendoes. He would have been horrified by evidence that any foreign government had tried to influence our election, and he would have vehemently attacked Trump for his contempt for NATO. No, Trump is not anything like Barry Goldwater. Those who say otherwise are ignorant or deluded.